Torn between two hardware setups for pfSense



  • Hello pfSense community!

    I've hopped on the bandwagon and decided to ditch the old d-link, netgear and asus routers, instead opting for a powerhouse of a dedicated server/router. With so many devices connected to the network now-a-days, old fashion routers don't hold up anymore (in my opinion).

    So, I've ordered some hardware already, but beginning to have second thoughts whether or not I should opt for something even smaller, as it's going to be situated in our living room (WAF is key). Noise is a factor as well, as our appartment is small-ish (60 m2) and we both work shifts, so we're destined to spend some time awake at "night" when the ambient noise is almost non-existant, which makes it easy to hear even the fainthest of noises.

    With out further ado, the hardware I'm currently in posession of:

    • Fractal Design Node 304 case

    • Intel DQ77KB

    • Intel Celeron G1630 (box HSF)

    • 8GB mem

    • Intel 30GB 525 mSATA SSD

    • Intel PT 10/100/1000 dual NIC

    Now, in the above setup, a total of 4 fans will be spinning continouisly. I've made a few custom PC builds in my day, always edging closer to a build which is more or less silent. Out of this experience, I know for (almost) certain that spinning HDDs are the main source of noise, with default fans and HSFs coming in second. Well, maybe they share the top spot. Anyhow..

    I've also been tempted by the idea of getting an Akasa Euler thin m-ITX case. I would lose the ability to have more NICs, but is it really neccessary? I think I would have one port dedicated to WAN, and the other going to my unmanaged netgear 8 port switch. Also I have a DIR655 and NT56U, either of which I could use as wireless accesspoint and 3 additional ethernet ports should the need arise.

    If I order the Akasa Euler, I would also switch the CPU to an Intel Pentium G2130, since the price difference is almost non-existant here in Norway. Possibly get another 8GB memory module as well.

    My aim is to run most of the packages; snort, squid, openVPN, and whatever else I may find interesting.

    Thanks for reading, and thanks in advance for your replies!



  • My home network is similar to what you are describing. However, I've got a closet to put the hardware in. I had a 1U rack server in there for a while and it was annoyingly loud. I ended up just using an older core-2 duo HP SFF box that is very quiet. It has a PCI-E slot so I put in a dual port Intel NIC - but admit that I never use the third port… Just haven't had any need for it. I don't really need a different subnet and between the unmanged switch and access points, I have plenty of ports.


  • Netgate Administrator

    I believe the Akasa Euler requires you use a 35W TDP processor so you'd need to choose a 'T' variant.

    As to sufficient processing power, what is your WAN connection speed? Do you need to max out that connection with OpenVPN traffic?

    Steve



  • @stephenw10:

    I believe the Akasa Euler requires you use a 35W TDP processor so you'd need to choose a 'T' variant.

    As to sufficient processing power, what is your WAN connection speed? Do you need to max out that connection with OpenVPN traffic?

    Steve

    You can "cheat" with any of the dual core ivy bridge cpus in that case. They don't pull 55W anyways.



  • Hi

    I have followed this forum for a while. Just registered to chime in, a I've researched on this exact hardware combination somewhat "extensively". I was also looking for very quiet (fanless) setup. I think the DQ77KB is a great board for firewall, Intel 525 is my preferred SSD as well. Akasa Euler was also on top of my short list a case for this board, save for being limited to two NICs in this combo.

    The Streacom case FC8B / FC8S look similar to the Euler case - but they provide some expandability with one low-profile slot. (Dual) Intel Gigabit cards can often be found quite inexpensively on eBay. I really can't recommend USB Ethernet from recent experience (works, but kept losing DHCP lease on my WAN). If I remember correctly, the Streacom might also be under the "Wesena" (OEM) brand name.

    If you go with the Euler and find that you need more NICs, you could add a VLAN-capable switch later, to provide additional NICs. Entry-level models are inexpensive.



  • @stephenw10:

    I believe the Akasa Euler requires you use a 35W TDP processor so you'd need to choose a 'T' variant.

    As to sufficient processing power, what is your WAN connection speed? Do you need to max out that connection with OpenVPN traffic?

    Steve

    Decided to order the G2130 and the Euler..

    Now, if I wanted to make my pfSense into a wireless access point as well, what mini PCI-e card would fit, now that I've already saturated the full height mini PCI-e slot with the mSATA SSD?!

    Will this antenna, with this mini PCI-e card and this cable do the trick?!

    Or do I need an Atheros specific card? I'm not sure about compability.



  • @Applied, ahhhh thats an excellent alternative to the euler! I'm going to change my order to the streacom F08! Looks great, and the added expansion slot is most welcome!

    Do you have any insight on my WLAN access point question?

    Btw, stephen, my WAN speed will be 50/10 or 100/10 :)


  • Netgate Administrator

    Nope that Intel wifi card almost certainly won't work. There is no support for 802.11N in pfSense, the best you can do is get an Atheros 'N' card and run it at G speed.

    See this for the most complete information:
    https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0AojFUXcbH0ROdHgwYkFHbkRUdV9hVWljVWl5SXkxbFE&hl=en

    Steve



  • @stephenw10:

    Nope that Intel wifi card almost certainly won't work. There is no support for 802.11N in pfSense, the best you can do is get an Atheros 'N' card and run it at G speed.

    See this for the most complete information:
    https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0AojFUXcbH0ROdHgwYkFHbkRUdV9hVWljVWl5SXkxbFE&hl=en

    Steve

    pfsense wifi primer for 2.0.3 and now 2.1:

    Unless you only need G wifi and your system has a slot for an old PCI/mini-PCI atheros card (NOT express, NOT minicard), don't bother.

    I have several AR9280 cards (9002 series, which is the first mainstream full pci-e chipset atheros released back in 2009) and even with 2.1 drivers it is still not working properly in AP mode @ G rates. You can bet the farm 9003 and any of the stuff dual branded with qualcomm won't work yet either.


  • Netgate Administrator

    Indeed. I am running an AR5005G with good results. 802.11N is not important for me in that location.

    Steve



  • @mcmxvi:

    @Applied, ahhhh thats an excellent alternative to the euler! I'm going to change my order to the streacom F08! Looks great, and the added expansion slot is most welcome!

    Do you have any insight on my WLAN access point question?

    Btw, stephen, my WAN speed will be 50/10 or 100/10 :)

    I hope you haven't ordered this yet, the heatpipe design of the FC8 won't reach the cpu socket location on the DQ77KB or any other thin-itx board.
    (intel wrote the spec and it mandates socket in that corner for compatibility with a "zero profile" blower)

    FWIW the wesena version without heatpipes and even a pricey small footprint cooler (like NH-L9i) looks just as nice and still cheaper. Not fanless though.



  • I have ordered and received it, but I can always return it.

    So, I guess the F7C Evo is the next best thing, with a Noctua NH-L9i and an 80mm fan (most likely a noiseblocker multiframe S1).

    Looking at the fan that comes with the noctua cooler, its 1700rpm WITH the low noise adapter. Unacceptable. So another 92mm fan is needed to replace it, preferably another low profile one, or take my chances that a regular 25mm will fit.

    Another option is, again, the Akasa Euler. It'll be like a toaster for the memory module and mSSD at perpetual CPU load, but it'll at least by completely silent, and leave a smaller footprint (albeit not by much).

    Right now I don't see an immediate need for extra NICs beyond what the DQ77KB offers, but I'm building this router to last anywhere from 5 to 10 years (not knowing what the future might bring in terms of pfSense functionality and computing power needed for it), and as such, I want to future proof as much as possible.

    The router will be in my living room, underneath my TV. The living room isn't particularly big, hence noise is of a considerable concern. The F7C passes the WAF test, and I can't imagine the Euler doing worse either.



  • @Aluminum:

    I hope you haven't ordered this yet, the heatpipe design of the FC8 won't reach the cpu socket location on the DQ77KB or any other thin-itx board.
    (intel wrote the spec and it mandates socket in that corner for compatibility with a "zero profile" blower)

    If so, I apologize.
    However, I feel I did point to the Streacom "in good faith".

    At least I had found several mentions of such builds (Streacom FC8 & Thin mini ITX) on the internet.
    The relevant posts didn't mention any specific problems with this cooling:

    http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=64379
    http://www.xbmcnerds.com/index.php?page=Thread&threadID=27605
    http://www.hardwareluxx.de/community/f89/intel-dq77kb-core-i5-3470t-919589.html  (2nd post)
    http://techsupport.perfecthometheater.com/Components in conflict-ST.htm  (bottom!)

    (Intel DH61AG is Thin Mini-ITX as well)



  • So in essence, the problem is that the heatpipes are too short? Or barely long enough to fit just about half the cpu socket? If so, I guess I'll take my chances. Can't imagine the G1630 roasting itself?! Adding a silent 80mm exhaust fan will probably shave some 8-10 degrees off as well, no?



  • @mcmxvi:

    So in essence, the problem is that the heatpipes are too short? Or barely long enough to fit just about half the cpu socket? If so, I guess I'll take my chances. Can't imagine the G1630 roasting itself?! Adding a silent 80mm exhaust fan will probably shave some 8-10 degrees off as well, no?

    Too short and if I remember correctly the socket is actually a bit in front of one of the pipe brackets.

    I actually own both, let me see if I can dig up an old picture.


Log in to reply