Storage options for use with x750e



  • Hi,

    I recently got my x750e and flashed the bios with no issues. Now I have read quite a few posts and the walk through for the firebox, but I am not quite clear on some issues. First of all should the CF card that holds the PF sense not be lager then 4 gig? its quite difficult to find such small CF cards in stores these days, I would buy them on ebay but dont like to wait. Locally I am not able to find anything less then 8 or 16 gig CF cards. Also is it possible to use a SD to CF card adapter in the x750e? That would be convenient since SD cards are so cheap. Also in terms using SATA HD in the x750e is a SATA to IDE adapter used? I have read people here using a SATA HD in the machine, but the means by how it is connected is not mentioned. I currently dont have any plans to use packages but would like to to keep it future proof in case I need the room later on.

    Thanks



  • You can write any of the nanoBSD images to a CF card at least as big as the image. No trouble getting an 8GB CF card and writing the 4GB image to it.



  • Thanks that clears up part of my first questions.



  • I just checked the options for the embedded images and I see options for several different sized images. Am I correct to assume that the larger the image file the more options included with that pf sense?

    Thanks



  • They all have identical software. You get 2 "slices/partitions" with identical copies of FreeBSD with pfSense code, and 1 partition for the config file. You can boot from either of the 2 FreeBSD-pfSense bootable partitions - that is very handy when doing upgrades, as the upgrade write the new version to the opposite partition and boots from that. Switching back is thus easy.
    A bigger image just means more free space in the partitions for installing packages. On 512MB and 1GB images you could install lots of packages and run out of space. On 2GB and 4GB images I thnk it would be practically impossible to use up all the space on packages.



  • I see that is very enlightening thanks. I have been really wrapped up with the hardware side of my x750e that I have not delved too deep into the software side, but will start looking into it.


  • Netgate Administrator

    At least 1 other user has reported success using a CF-SD card adapter to boot an X750e.
    I've not seen anybody using an IDE-SATA adapter though, where did you read that? In terms booting from a HD the larger IDE drives seem to fair much better against the buggy bios. >80GB you're probably OK with the default bios settings and booting pfSense normally. 20 or 40GB drives usually require special measures to boot.

    Steve



  • Hi Steve,

    in regards to the ide-sata adapter I read somewhere on this forum that someone had success using an ssd in the x750e, so I assumed they used some sort of adapter to connect the sata to the ide.


  • Netgate Administrator

    You can get IDE SSDs but I wouldn't ever get one myself. They are far more expensive and some are very early SSDs complete with all the short comings they had.

    http://www.amazon.com/Transcend-32GB-SSD-2-5-Inch/dp/B000T9QRKE

    Steve



  • Oh wow I didn't know they made ssd with IDE connection. Your right definitely not worth it. I think I will just grab two 8 gig CF cards off a local shop or even ebay. I would also grab a sata to ide adapter to try it out. Steve do you think there maybe big issues with that approach or is it something I can work out in time?

    Thanks


  • Netgate Administrator

    With using a CF card? Probably not. You may need to run from HD if you want to use Snort or Squid, though many people don't.

    With using an IDE-SATA adapter? No idea. The bios is picky about the geometry presented to it (some bug causes it to miscalculate the boot point with certain geometries) so anything could happen.  ;)

    Steve



  • Hi I managed to get my hands on two 8 gb Sandisk extreme III cards. Unfortunately I am having issues booting PF. I tried writing the 4 GB images to both the cards with either physdisk and also used win32diskimager with no success of getting a boot out of either of the cards. In putty I get as far as the post message where it shows all the onboard devices but goes no further. I have changed the speed to 9600 bauds on the motherboard so I can see the post messages and the PF start up, but I only see post message and nothing else. I have followed, as far as I can tell, the tutorial instructions for the x750e-e to the letter. Is their a way to test the cf cards and see if they are bootable?

    Thanks

    So I decide to try something to figure out if its a CF card issue. I popped in the original 128 MB CF card that came with the machine and which also has the freebsd image that I used to flash the bios. It does work, but when I wrote the same image to the 8 gig sandisk cards and went through the auto detect and then the setting changes for the large size to be recognized I dont seem to be able to boot from either card. I am guessing its a card compatibility issue? Is there more I can do or should I find some 4 gig CF cards.


  • Netgate Administrator

    Yep, it's probably a card geometry issue. Have you tried booting the cards with the bios settings all at auto?
    Are you going through the process of going to auto to detect the correct values for C and S before settings H to 2?

    I did, a while back, attempt to collect geometry values that worked and those that didn't in order to try to determine what values caused problems. I never got very far. It would also be interesting to know how the original user who suggested settings heads to 2 came up with that workaround. I have always assumed it was a well known bios workaround from earlier buggy bioses, like the 32GB bug for example. However I've never been able to find any references to that.

    Steve



  • Hi Steve,

    I have tried the steps you posted all last night with no results. I am going to try and find some 2 or 4 gig sandisks to try out.

    Thanks



  • Here is a pic of the card so other people dont run into the same issue.



    ![autodetect 1 .jpg](/public/imported_attachments/1/autodetect 1 .jpg)
    ![autodetect 1 .jpg_thumb](/public/imported_attachments/1/autodetect 1 .jpg_thumb)



  • I finally got my hands on a 4 gig CF card pic below. This one loads pf sense no problem. Now I have got a bit of an issue again with setting up the wan and lan. I follow the auto config and both connections get detected, but after the system reboots in the top portion where the wan and lan have IP addresses my setup does not. I also get the error
    "mskc2: Uncorrectable PCI Express error mskc3: Uncorrectable PCI Express error".
    I havent really seen this issue in my searches of the forum, but if there is a post I would appreciate a link.

    Thanks



  • Netgate Administrator

    That's normal, at least every box shows it and it doesn't seem to cause any problems.
    It is possible to stop that error by replacing the nic firmware config file. However doing so is quite difficult and potentially risky and as I say it doesn't actually help the function in any way.

    See: https://forum.pfsense.org/index.php/topic,20095.msg250430/topicseen.html#msg250430

    Steve



  • Thanks for the link. I did get it finally up and running just restarted the wizard again and this time it worked. Also got my D-link dir-825 as an AP for wireless connection. Now I will move onto fan modifications to quite them down.

    Thanks


  • Netgate Administrator

    They go fairly quiet once you've turned them down. I don't run them lower than 32 but others have gone lower.

    Steve