Which Atom CPU to buy for pfsense?



  • Hi, which Atom CPU gives better performance D525 or N2800 for pfsense?



  • D525


  • Netgate Administrator

    There is almost nothing in it in terms of raw CPU power:
    http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu_lookup.php?cpu=Intel+Atom+N2800+%40+1.86GHz
    However the n2800 is far more power efficient. It is a 'netbook' CPU that supports speedstep, it has a newer architecture and most importantly it uses a lower power chipset. A system based in the n2800 could be around 15w vs ~30w for a d525 system.
    On the downside the current release of pfSense does not correctly support with the on board graphics of the N2800. A fix has been added to the 2.1 snapshots.

    Steve



  • I see…

    Thanks for responses!



  • @stephenw10:

    A system based in the n2800 could be around 15w vs ~30w for a d525 system.
    Steve

    My previous pfSense build (https://www.dropbox.com/sh/iw2wjfcfit52074/TIXf6C7lDh) based on the D525 measured 16W at the wall. This was the board I used: http://www.supermicro.com/products/motherboard/ATOM/ICH9/X7SPA-HF-D525.cfm

    My current build is using the Intel D2500CCE board and it uses around 15W at the wall. http://www.mini-box.com/Intel-D2500CCE-Mini-ITX-Motherboard


  • Netgate Administrator

    Ah, interesting.
    Both using the PicoPSU-80?
    Were you using powerd?

    Steve



  • @stephenw10:

    Ah, interesting.
    Both using the PicoPSU-80?
    Were you using powerd?

    Steve

    I can't remember if I enabled in my current build, I'll have to check. The D525 for sure I wasn't using PowerD because I didn't find out about this feature until I was building my new system. Yes, they both used the same PicoPSU-80 with a 60W power brick.



  • I just checked my new build, PowerD was enabled and showed 15W. I disabled it and it now shows 16W so not that big of difference.



  • @kyronax:

    My previous pfSense build (https://www.dropbox.com/sh/iw2wjfcfit52074/TIXf6C7lDh) based on the D525 measured 16W at the wall. This was the board I used: http://www.supermicro.com/products/motherboard/ATOM/ICH9/X7SPA-HF-D525.cfm

    My current build is using the Intel D2500CCE board and it uses around 15W at the wall. http://www.mini-box.com/Intel-D2500CCE-Mini-ITX-Motherboard

    • What do you think?

    • Am I missing anything? Especially any cable adapters or mounts I'm not considering.

    • What would you do for storage?

    Intel D2500CCE Mini-ITX picoPSU-80 M350 pfsense Firewall w/ 2 GbE

    Hard Drive Options

    OCZ 32GB SATA II SSD

    Crucial 32GB SATA II SSD

    Newegg

    Serial-to-CF adapter

    CF storage

    Disk on Module

    40mm fan

    hacked in a larger fan



  • Both of those CPU's are pretty similar. There really is only one architecture used in ALL of the Atom's out at the moment. However some of the more recent ones do have a lower power chipset, which can be on the CPU package, and also be on a newer process. IMHO it would be wise to get one of the newer ones, if available. I doubt there would be much price difference.

    The latest gen PC ones are the D2500 (1.86Ghz, no HT), D2550 (1.86Ghz with faster GPU & HT) and the D2700 (2.13Ghz & HT), while the latest gen Nettop ones are the N2600 (1.6Ghz & HT), and N2800 (1.86Ghz & HT). These ones all have the GPU & memory controller on-die, and are 32nm.

    The N series have PowerVR GPU's and I am not sure about the D series, but I think they may have a standard Intel IGP graphics. The N series also has a notably lower TDP (3.5w-6.5w vs 10w). The N series and D series at the same clockspeed should be the same performance.

    See here for more information. The current gen ones are the 32nm ones.



  • @pfserik:

    First, where did you get that decal and how can I get one!?

    I made it myself  ;)

    I would get the 4GB kit. It's the max the board can handle and it's not that expensive. Gives you more room to work with if you decide to run stuff like Squid, Snort, or other memory intensive packages.

    I haven't used DOM's before but CF cards are super slow and have limited writes before it craps out. I'm in the process of replacing my CF boot drive with a cheap SSD like an OCZ Agility 4 64GB ($60). SSD's still can wear out due to writes but lasts much longer than CF.

    A slim 120mm fan would not fit if you installed the drive bracket. The cpu on D2500 board does not get too hot. The only part that gets really hot to touch is the south bridge. A 40mm fan would be a good idea.



  • @kyronax:

    @pfserik:

    First, where did you get that decal and how can I get one!?

    I made it myself  ;)

    I would get the 4GB kit. It's the max the board can handle and it's not that expensive. Gives you more room to work with if you decide to run stuff like Squid, Snort, or other memory intensive packages.

    I haven't used DOM's before but CF cards are super slow and have limited writes before it craps out. I'm in the process of replacing my CF boot drive with a cheap SSD like an OCZ Agility 4 64GB ($60). SSD's still can wear out due to writes but lasts much longer than CF.

    A slim 120mm fan would not fit if you installed the drive bracket. The cpu on D2500 board does not get too hot. The only part that gets really hot to touch is the south bridge. A 40mm fan would be a good idea.

    I'm looking at snagging this setup. Would you mine posting your CPU stats when its under heavy load? I just upgraded my connection to 100/20 and now am forced to upgrade in order to get my full speeds.



  • @BigTy:

    @kyronax:

    @pfserik:

    First, where did you get that decal and how can I get one!?

    I made it myself  ;)

    I would get the 4GB kit. It's the max the board can handle and it's not that expensive. Gives you more room to work with if you decide to run stuff like Squid, Snort, or other memory intensive packages.

    I haven't used DOM's before but CF cards are super slow and have limited writes before it craps out. I'm in the process of replacing my CF boot drive with a cheap SSD like an OCZ Agility 4 64GB ($60). SSD's still can wear out due to writes but lasts much longer than CF.

    A slim 120mm fan would not fit if you installed the drive bracket. The cpu on D2500 board does not get too hot. The only part that gets really hot to touch is the south bridge. A 40mm fan would be a good idea.

    I'm looking at snagging this setup. Would you mine posting your CPU stats when its under heavy load? I just upgraded my connection to 100/20 and now am forced to upgrade in order to get my full speeds.

    I have a 50/3 connection. Screenshot shows only 40Mbps usage.



  • Thank you I will be ordering later today.



  • @extide:

    Both of those CPU's are pretty similar. There really is only one architecture used in ALL of the Atom's out at the moment. However some of the more recent ones do have a lower power chipset, which can be on the CPU package, and also be on a newer process. IMHO it would be wise to get one of the newer ones, if available. I doubt there would be much price difference.

    The latest gen PC ones are the D2500 (1.86Ghz, no HT), D2550 (1.86Ghz with faster GPU & HT) and the D2700 (2.13Ghz & HT), while the latest gen Nettop ones are the N2600 (1.6Ghz & HT), and N2800 (1.86Ghz & HT). These ones all have the GPU & memory controller on-die, and are 32nm.

    The N series have PowerVR GPU's and I am not sure about the D series, but I think they may have a standard Intel IGP graphics. The N series also has a notably lower TDP (3.5w-6.5w vs 10w). The N series and D series at the same clockspeed should be the same performance.

    See here for more information. The current gen ones are the 32nm ones.

    I'm still thinking the Intel D2500CCE is the best choice right now. It's hard to find many boards out there with 2 x Intel GbE LANs, which I would prefer over Realtek for pfsense (probably overreacting since many Realtek Ethernet are supported). I guess you could do the following:

    What do you think about that?



  • Well, the D2500 is only 1.86Ghz, BUT it is 32nm and the latest gen platform, which is the more important part IMHO. Essentially any of the 32nm Atoms (ones with a 4-digit 2xxx series number) would be a good choice. The D2500 system would be perfect, the on-board dual-nic is definitely a great feature. With 4GB of ram it should be able to handle quite a bit.



  • @pfserik:

    I'm still thinking the Intel D2500CCE is the best choice right now. It's hard to find many boards out there with 2 x Intel GbE LANs, which I would prefer over Realtek for pfsense (probably overreacting since many Realtek Ethernet are supported). I guess you could do the following:

    What do you think about that?

    Not a bad idea, but wouldn't that force you to use an msata SSD since it doesn't have sata power. I am going to see what Haswell brings before building a new pfsense machine.



  • FWIW, It appears that only the DN2800MT has mSATA and the D2500CCE does not.



  • @extide:

    FWIW, It appears that only the DN2800MT has mSATA and the D2500CCE does not.

    D2500CCE has Mini PCI-e. Aren't Mini PCI-e and mSata compatible?



  • @margen:

    @extide:

    FWIW, It appears that only the DN2800MT has mSATA and the D2500CCE does not.

    D2500CCE has Mini PCI-e. Aren't Mini PCI-e and mSata compatible?

    No, they both use the same connector.

    MiniPCI-e doesn't guarantee mSATA support.



  • @tirsojrp:

    @margen:

    @extide:

    FWIW, It appears that only the DN2800MT has mSATA and the D2500CCE does not.

    D2500CCE has Mini PCI-e. Aren't Mini PCI-e and mSata compatible?

    No, they both use the same connector.

    MiniPCI-e doesn't guarantee mSATA support.

    This is correct, while the connector is the same, they are electrically different. SOME motherboards will allow you to switch a connector between Mini PCIe and mSATA duty, however not all do this. You cannot assume mSATA is supported unless it is listed in the specs.


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