Considering a HP MicroServer

  • I am considering using a HP MicroServer G7 N54L NHP 250 ( as my pfSense box and was wondering if anyone had any experiences or feedback on this unit?

    It comes equipped with a "AMD Turion II Neo N54L Dual-Core" CPU, 4GB RAM and a "NC107i PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet Server Adapter" which seems to be supported by pfSense.


  • For pfSense it's kind of a large in size, it lacks a second NIC and in general it's more build towards usage as a NAS more than a router/firewall. I'm not completely sold on the performance of the CPU either.

  • They do run VMware ESXi nicely so you can have your pfSense, NAS4 free (to use up the disc slots/space) and whatever else - all running in a box that doesn't consume a lot of power.  They're also not that big and they are quiet.  A dual Intel NIC like the HP NC360T is also a good option.

  • The CPU was the one thing that I was apprehensive of, but I would assume it should suffice for my needs which would be a 20/20 internet connection to run pfSense with Snort, Squid, clamAV, and VPN services.  It's for a SOHO with only 100-200MB nightly remote backups and periodically (20-30GB) remote backups.

    I like biggsy's idea of incorporating the dual Intel NIC and setting up VMware ESXi & NAS4 free.

  • Like fragged I think the N54L is more to be used as server, NAS or both using ESXi but if you're only looking for a system to use pfsense why not building your own system with a mini-itx board?

    You only need a cheap case, a mainboard with 2 Nic's or a PCi with an additional Nic, a memory dimm and a hard drive. I think this will be cheaper than a N54L with a dual LAN card.

    Personally I've both, simple mini-itx for pfsense and N36L running WHS 2011 and both are working pretty good  ;)

  • i have a pair of these at home running FreeNAS (based on FreeBSD).

    they are OK but not great. the CPU is underpowered unfortunately and NOT in a socket.

    you can get 16GB of ram in these if you have the patience to try a bunch of different
    dimms til you find a set that works. dont ask me how I know.

    ESXi is probably the best virtualization software BUT if you plan to do anything serious
    with it AVOID it on this hardware.

    i run a DUAL intel Nic (and disable the onboard one) as well as the HP management card….

    i have 7 spindles in each one of mine (7200rpm Seagates) and i see about 100Watts running
    per machine at idle.

  • I would have to agree that the CPU in the N54L is a bit underpowered for heavy duty work.  It will do quite well in the pfSense role and if you're not pounding NAS4free they should both be fine under ESXi.

    HP are supposed to announce the successor to the N54L tomorrow.  The price of the N54L might come down after the announcement - or it might not, if there is still demand because HP prices the new ones too high.

    There are a couple of sites out there that list compatible 8GB DIMMs but, with earlier models people seemed to have mixed success.

    If you are buying a used NC360T (or any dual-port) NIC, make sure it comes with a low-profile bracket.  Getting the DIMMS and NICS in or out is a PITA.  That's something HP have certainly fixed in the new models.

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