I am looking into building my first pfSense box and playing around with it a bit. I have a options and would like some input on what I should do. The first idea I have is to put my old gaming rig to use. I have the following parts laying around.
Mobo: Gigabyte GA-EP45T-DS3R (Socket 775, DDR 3 Support, 2 x PCI-E, 2 x PCI, 2 x gigabyte LAN ports)
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 Wolfdale 3.16GHz
Video: ATI Radeon HD 4870 1GB Ram
Ram: OCZ Platinum 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1333
I also have a spare case, but I did steal the HD, DVD-ROM and PSU for my new machine. The DVD-ROM is a non issue since I only need it to install the OS, so I will just borrow it back. Now the biggest questions I have are regarding the video card. I really see no reason to even need one after I get the OS all setup. Can I unplug the video card after the system is up and running? Or does it really need a way to output video in some form? If I can use it just to get setup then unplug after, I will be able to save a decent amount on PSU rated capacity. Now I also have the option of going with a mobo that has onboard video which would be great, but it is just more money I will have to spend to get this thing running.
Now onto Network adapters. Will there be any speed difference between a network adapter in a PCI slot vs a PCI-E slot? I would like to add wireless as an option in my build, I am wondering if the card is the same for receiving wireless on a desktop or if they are different parts. If you can point me in the right direction, that would be great.
Thank you for your help.
Your computer won't boot without a video card.
Forget about PCI, use Intel PCI Express cards.
Avoid wireless cards, use an access point.
I would really only use that machine because you already have it. A gaming rig is unlikely to make a good pfSense because of it's high power consumption. Check the BIOS for options to allow it to boot with no video card, you can use a serial console if you have a port.
Really you need to define what you are going to be doing with the box. What is your WAN bandwidth? Do you want to run a web proxy or IDS/IPS? VPNs maybe? If you're going to have several internal interfaces do you need gigabit speed between them?
Thanks for the replies. I will make sure to use the PCI-E slots then thanks. I will certainly look at the wireless access points instead of the cards. In all honesty I really don't NEED to have it, it is just one of those why not things.
I know it is not the best possible machine to run this on, but I just wanted to play around with it a bit before I go out spending more. Currently it will just be used in my house. That is 2 heavy gamers / downloaders and a 3rd PC that is a media computer / storage box that we stream content from or watch on the TV. I am not sure what speed is necessary for this application or honestly if I even need to build a pfSense box, but I do like playing around with things and hate to have good parts not being put to use. The main thing that I really like about pfSense is the antivirus on the router. I don't run anti virus software since it slows down my machine. This results in me formatting every 6-12 months lol. So it would be nice to have something there.
Just because you can is reason enough IMHO. ;)