Need more ports! SuperMicro X7SPA-H
I have a SuperMicro X7SPA-H in a 1U SC502L-200B chassis. I need to add an extra two ports - any recommendations on what to get?
Do I need a riser card? Would a AOC-SG-I2 work, or would that not fit? Anything better/cheaper?
Yes, you'll need a riser card, unfortunately the manual for the board says to check the SuperMicro web site, but the web site does not seem to list the optional piece on their respective product pages.
Riser cards are usually easy enough to find, though. You need a PCI-Express x16 riser card. The slot is x16, although wired at x4, so, in theory a riser card of the same number of lanes as your card is all you need, but at least having the slot itself be x16 has all the advantages and no disadvantages (assuming similar price and availability.)
Since your slot is x4 wired in an x16 slot, this would work for you:
It's an x8 "card" to x16 slot at a left angle.
Card wise, the AOC-SG-I2 is an Intel based card, but with a low profile bracket. With the riser card the card would electrically function, but it won't mount in your case with the "stock" bracket. As such, I didn't research the chipset to see if it'd work in pfSense. Your case has provisions for a standard height, although half length card.
The general consensus is that Intel cards, or other OEM's cards that use Intel chips (HP, IBM, etc. often make or simply re-brand cards with Intel chips) are your best bet. But, a PCI-Express dual port card with an Intel chip is likely to be a nice Gigabit card, which aren't cheap in the standard retail market. They can be had on ebay for decent prices, though, new and used. Look up the chip designation and see that it's in the BSD supported hardware list for the pfSense version you are/will be using.
Thanks very much for your detailed reply :)