Whats a good platform for pf sense that is under 80$.



  • I am looking for a platform for pfsense that is less than 80$ and better and quieter than an old pentium4 box. Perhaps a mini itx. It will have less than 30 devices.



  • I think you need to specify some more options otherwise I will just go for a "cheap box from ebay" as an anwer.

    • What kind of WAN connection are you going to use (speed)
    • Are you going to run any extra features other than basic routing and filtering
    • Any old hardware you have somewhere in a closet you forgot about and can be used with just a little tweaking / upgrading?

  • Netgate Administrator

    Yep, define 'better'. Faster? Less power hungry?
    What sort of throughput do you need? What packages are running?
    Number of interfaces?

    Steve



  • I want one LAN and one wan interface, the wan connection is 50mbs. Looking for a platform that is quiet and energy efficient. May be running antivirus. I do have an old giant dell optiplex pentium 4 box with 512mb ram??


  • Netgate Administrator

    Well I'm biased here. I'll suggest a repurposed firebox. The X-e boxes run at ~30W and should be more than capable of your throughput. They have more NICs than your need though and are not silent. You can probably pick one up for <$80. Some work is required to get up and running though.

    https://doc.pfsense.org/index.php/PfSense_on_Watchguard_Firebox#X-Core-e

    Steve



  • For that amount, you could probably pick up a used HP DC7800 or DC7900 box with a core 2 duo (off of eBay) and then add another NIC. They run around 40 watts with a 2.5" notebook drive or SSD (but those will add to the cost) and they are very quiet.



  • @stephenw10:

    Well I'm biased here. I'll suggest a repurposed firebox. The X-e boxes run at ~30W and should be more than capable of your throughput. They have more NICs than your need though and are not silent. You can probably pick one up for <$80. Some work is required to get up and running though.

    https://doc.pfsense.org/index.php/PfSense_on_Watchguard_Firebox#X-Core-e

    Steve

    Ive heard that the watchgaurd fireboxes have fan problems and are loud?
    Is this the best option?


  • Netgate Administrator

    Well I'm biased like I said.  ;) It may not b the best option for you.
    They are 1U rack mount boxes so they have small and loud fans. You can quieten them down though by slowing the fans. I haven't heard of any fan 'problems' other than noise.

    If you don't need it rack mount then much larger quieter cases can be used.

    Steve



  • I tried various hardware, from original Pentium onwards, but currently using  IBM Thinkcenter SFF P4 machines, clamshell box. They were ~$15 on Ebay and came with a 3GHz cpu. Power about 90w with the 3Ghz cpu, but replaced that with a 1.6GHz P4, $5 on Ebay, then adjust the frequency down to 399MHz and the power is around 40w. Perhaps not optimum, but they are cheap, quiet, plentiful, (so you can keep a hot spare),  have 2 pci slots and built in network. Build quality is above average as well.

    I would probably try one of the more specialist boxes, but they are far more expensive and don’t see any real advantage over generic hardware….

    Regards,

    Chris



  • @stephen:  Has the issue with the MSK(4) timeout issues on 88E8053 been resolved in 2.1?  I still have a spare A-open MoDT with dual 88E8053 onboard to muck around with.



  • I am using thinclient machine at the moment.. I have an HPt5730 which runs my 320mbps fiber connection without problems..  since mine has only one gigabit nic I run it using vlans for the lan/wan interface…

    you can score a t5730/t5735 + the hp GZ286ZZ expansion (containing either a pci or pci-e x1 slot) for less than your 80$ on ebay etc..  runs very quit (no moving parts)..

    The thin clients usualy contain a 512Mb or 1Gb ide (44 pin) flash module.. if that is not enough there are easy to replace with a ide/CD adapter and a CF card..  I even had one running a laptop HDD..

    Right now I'm working on a new version using a fujitsu siemens Futro S500.. Again, only 1 Gb nic on board + a CF sot.. however this one has a PCI slot available..

    Apart from that.. it has an onboard IDE 40 pin interface, they just didn't put on the connector, which is easy to solder on..  and as I turns out.. the thing has PCI-E on board for the nic etc which seem to be easy to tap into..


  • Netgate Administrator

    @dreamslacker:

    Has the issue with the MSK(4) timeout issues on 88E8053 been resolved in 2.1?

    No the watchdog issue in the driver remains.  :( But there's an easy work around that seems to have solved it.  :) At least nobody has reported any timeouts whilst using it and I haven't seen any.
    See: https://doc.pfsense.org/index.php/PfSense_on_Watchguard_Firebox#Known_Issues_2

    Steve



  • @stephenw10:

    No the watchdog issue in the driver remains.  :( But there's an easy work around that seems to have solved it.  :) At least nobody has reported any timeouts whilst using it and I haven't seen any.
    See: https://doc.pfsense.org/index.php/PfSense_on_Watchguard_Firebox#Known_Issues_2

    Steve

    Good to know that then.  I saw that but was wondering if they ever 'fixed' it in the newer drivers in 2.1.  Nevertheless, I guess I can donate my good old Pentium M setup to the new office for a pfSense setup.



  • Laptops can make for a great firewall appliance.

    Preferred Hardware Inside
    Intel Ethernet Chip-Set
    Low voltage Intel CPU and Chip-Set

    I chose the 12" HP 2530p Laptop …. Very Compact, Powerful yet Stylish.
    Laptop only draws 17 watts powered on .... and for the Passmarks it provides, you cant beat it .....

    As for needing dual interfaces I don't see the need for it. 30 Users and a 50Mbps connection is nothing more than a stroll in the park with a single interface setup.

    Ebay like new for $220 or so and down from there. If you search ebay long enough, I'm sure you can find a laptop of some sorts in the $80 dollar range that Pfsense can run on.



Log in to reply