Virtualbox vs old pc

  • I am running pfsense with dansguardian package in a virtual machine on my main pc which is windows 7 haswell i5 , the vbox machine has got 2gig ram. The vbox sits between the internet and everything on may lan. The pc is used by all  and also acts as my fileserver, mysql server.

    I have an old dell gx260 pentium 4 2gb ram and was wondering would there be any performance benefit in terms of internet browsing speed etc in have this old box run pfsense dedicated vs my current setup.

    I would have thought the virtual i5 would be far better, but does anyone have any actual experience  between the two?

  • Netgate Administrator

    The vm is potentially far more powerful but it deppends on what resources you've assigned to it.

    The P4 may be pushed to run those packages, it depends what bandwidth you are pushing through it.


  • I'd go for a separate box because I've seen hacks for ESXI and other VM's so because you ultimately have little control over what can read the memory or access the disks on your main machine through a pipe for example, you best bet is a standalone independent machine like your old dell.

    Bear in mind no AV software can find all viruses, plus the very nature of virus definitions is its just a list of whats been found and the vendor has decided is a virus. Virus definitions updates are an automatic process where software looks for "signatures" ie just a unique set of hex inside the files and decides what variant it is, when they find a new variation of it, they update their list and punt it out.

    The actual task of deciding if a program is a virus can take many months of reverse engineering depending on how the programmer(s) wrote the original code, so just like it took over a year before anyone discovered and considered stuxnet a virus, so the same can happen today, ie you could get infected and not know about it for months.

    It also never ceases to amaze me when I plug in old hard drives to retrieve something that a new virus is often found on the drive even though it might not have been used for over a year and was not found at the time of it being in daily use.

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