The perfect pfSense box of 2014 ($109/1037u/dual-lan/fanless/wifi/usb3/mSata/SD)



  • The last thread got extremely popular and then got deleted (mod claimed it was done by "accident"), so here it is again, this time with even more info to cover the basic questions

    This is it, a small/cheap/low-power/fan-less/wifi/dual-lan/usb3/sd/tf/sata/msata/8gb ram/1080p/much-more-powerful-than-Atom box you've all been waiting for.

    Forget mini-itx, this one is HALF that size

    This type of boxes will be everywhere in 2015 once SOC Broadwell is released, but the guys on Taobao are once again ahead of the curve in 2014.

    The most ingenious part of the design is the use of the entire pure aluminium case as the heat sink, allowing the box to be only 29mm thick.

    The motherboard is a custom no-frills board manufactured by the same major Taiwan factory that manufactures boards for top global brands such as Dxll, all the useless parts have been removed that is why this box is so small, power efficient and inexpensive, but don't let the low price fool you, the parts are of high quality, for example all the capacitors are tantalum solid caps that last 5 times longer than normal caps, it is cheap only because it is brand-less and there are no middlemen to rip you off.

    The box is also able to play high bit rate 1080p HD/3D video as large as 50GB without any issues, so it is perfect for HTPC as well.

    Specs:
    Celeron 1037u
    NM70 Chipset
    Fanless
    2 x Gigabit Ethernet NIC (RTL8168E)
    2 x Sata
    1 x mSata
    1 x Mini PCIE slot (for wifi card)
    2 x USB3
    3 x USB2
    1 x SD card slot
    1 x TF card slot
    HDMI+VGA (dual display supported)
    1 x DDR3 SO-DIMM ram slot (8GB single stick supported)
    HD Audio
    DC 12v input

    Dimension:
    197mm x 197mm x 29mm

    Power consumption:
    15w Idle
    23w Full load
    10% CPU load during 1080p playback
    28C Normal operating temperature
    49C High load temperature

    Costs:
    Barebone:
    US$109 (no disks, no ram, no wifi, no shipping)

    AC/DC adapater:
    Free if included in the package (usually is), or;
    Pick up a 12V 3A DC adapters from the same shop (make sure the wall sockets in your country has the same design as China's wall sockets), or;
    Pick up a 12V 3A DC adapters on eBay (easy to find)

    Wifi mini-pci-e adapter:
    Optional (the same shops have these, but I recommend buying them locally for easy RMA, Intel 4965AG is only $7 on eBay)

    Ram/HDD/SSD:
    Optional (I recommend buying them locally for easy RMA)

    Shipping:
    Depends on your location, but the box is really small and light (< 1kg) so it won't cost much.

    Links:
    Each link below are from different shops, these guys are competitors of each other, I am not affiliated with any of them, search for "1037u HTPC" on Taobao to find these (the results will be mixed with single and dual lan boxes, they look very similar so choose carefully).
    http://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=37480079350
    http://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=37481723084
    http://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=37225341944
    http://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=37195524317
    http://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=37215802317
    http://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=27538684806
    http://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=38125470613

    Links (english site):
    Update 1: Found these boxes for sale on an English site at the request of another member, costs a bit more than Taobao prices but includes the AC/DC power adapter ($175 for 1, $170 for 5, $165 for 10)
    http://www.hystou.com/products/mini-pc-thin-client/mini-desktop-computer/barebone-fanless-mini-computer-desktop-pc-intel-celeron-1037u-htpc-alloy-case-with-usb30-1084.html

    Update 2: Thanks to rjcrowder for the providing the tips that you can buy items on Taobao through Taobao agents:
    https://www.taobaoring.com (this is the one rjcrowder used)
    http://taobaofocus.com

    What is Taobao?:
    If you are wondering what Taobao is, then you've been missing out:
    Forbes - 10 Reasons Why Alibaba Blows Away Amazon And EBay

    Pics:





    These pics are from a slightly different board (with 1 lan only), but the design is very similar to the dual lan board:

    The CPU and the chipset is on the other side of the board, contacting the pure aluminum case with thermal paste in between, according to their description, they used a high grade US$1640/kg thermal paste (bulk pricing, not retail pricing), and they recommend people not to lift the board up unless they are planning to replace the paste, according to customer reviews, the box's temperature reaches 49c degrees under load, which is cooler than some of the notebooks I've used.

    OS Pics:

    10% CPU load during 1080p playback with Media Player Classic:
    This box is reported to be able to play HD/3D video as large as 50GB without any issues



  • Yet another alternative

    http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/2014-NEW-Intel-Celeron-C1037U-aluminum-fanless-dual-core-living-room-HTPC-Barebone-Mini-PC-with/800900_1638834276.html

    Aliexpress is, sofar as i understand things, the international version of taobao. So keep in mind you are still buying direct from China, with all the risks and complications that includes.



  • @ajdane:

    you are still buying direct from China

    wcoolnet is that you?  ;D



  • @DragonPF:

    @ajdane:

    you are still buying direct from China

    wcoolnet is that you?  ;D

    nope i am not wcoolnet, Sorry.



  • Just upgraded my wan connection to 1gbit so I was wondering if this box would be able to handle that plus the usual packages of squid/anti-virus/snort. Probably no VPN at this time.



  • for max-sized packets and little else?  probably.

    for real firewalling, (high PPS rates): unlikely.



  • @gonzopancho:

    for max-sized packets and little else?  probably.

    for real firewalling, (high PPS rates): unlikely.

    Yea I guessed that. I'll probably look at the other thread of the i3/i5/i7 itx and 6 port 1u system.



  • I'm a bit pessimistic about these no brand production units, reason being is there's really no one to take responsibility for premature failure, bugs in the unit, or take corrective actions. As for price, it seems kind of attractive, but you are taking on some risk as noted above.

    Heres a Gigabyte LGA 1155 Intel H61 Micro ATX board for $29
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128619

    Foxconn nT-i2847 Intel NM70 1 x 204Pin Intel HD Graphics Integrated by CPU Mini / Booksize Barebone System for $99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16856119095

    In essence what the Chinese manufactures are attempting to do is go around the middle man and sell direct and become billionaires over night. The problem I have with that, is they wont discount their merchandise to a fair level based on their cost to manufacture. Hell for how much the Chinese manufactures are making off Americans, it wont take much longer before they would have sucked all the wealth from America, if the smog doesn't kill them first.

    I think price is to high for the risk. If it will run Pfsense and fully functional with no hardware operating instabilities etc… I would pay $40 to $50 US dollars plus shipping and that's for the dual NIC board

    Anyone willing to purchase and post a honest review pointing out the pros and cons of the unit?



  • @Clear-Pixel:

    I'm a bit pessimistic about these no brand production units, reason being is there's really no one to take responsibility for premature failure, bugs in the unit, or take corrective actions. As for price, it seems kind of attractive, but you are taking on some risk as noted above.

    Heres a Gigabyte LGA 1155 Intel H61 Micro ATX board for $29
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128619

    Foxconn nT-i2847 Intel NM70 1 x 204Pin Intel HD Graphics Integrated by CPU Mini / Booksize Barebone System for $99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16856119095

    In essence what the Chinese manufactures are attempting to do is go around the middle man and sell direct and become billionaires over night. The problem I have with that, is they wont discount their merchandise to a fair level based on their cost to manufacture. Hell for how much the Chinese manufactures are making off Americans, it wont take much longer before they would have sucked all the wealth from America, if the smog doesn't kill them first.

    I think price is to high for the risk. If it will run Pfsense and fully functional with no hardware operating instabilities etc… I would pay $40 to $50 US dollars plus shipping and that's for the dual NIC board

    Anyone willing to purchase and post a honest review pointing out the pros and cons of the unit?

    I am surprised someone from America would ask Chinese manufactures to price their products at a "fair level", knowing the parties that have been making the most profit for the past decades are all in America. I mean, the Chinese (including the Taiwanese), or some countries in South-East Asia are making something like $1 per iPhone while Apple is making something like $400 per iPhone and then they park the profit offshore so they don't even have to pay taxes in the US, in a "fair" system that would never happen.

    And to top that off, the "money" Apple paid with, was actually just some numbers digitally "printed" by a foreign owned private corporation call the Federal Reserve, these numbers were then "lent" to the US treasury, that is, Apple paid with debt owned by the US, which has now accumulated to $17 trillion.

    So when you look at the big picture, each American individual or corporation are buying goods around the world - made with limited resources that ultimately came from land, with worthless digital debt - unlimtied digits that came from a computer inside a bank, and the reason this global USD ponzi scheme hasn't gone bust yet, is because it is still being supported by a system called the Petro-Dollar, which, when you get down to it, is just a system of bullying countries to continue to trade oil in USD. So again, there is nothing fair the moment something is USD related.

    So while I understand why you would feel uneasy buying things on Taobao (I would feel the same buying things on eBay, brand or no brand), I am really confused about the "fair" part, and the part where you suggested the Chinese are having some kind of advantage in this, afterall, the Chinese did dig things out from their land and then turn them into goods, while Americans ride aircraft carriers around and then became trillionaries by pressing buttons on a keyboard in a bank.

    Anyway, things on Taobao do screw up sometimes, so reading customer reviews is important, Taobao has return policies but international RMA is rarely worth the cost and effort. I gain nothing from this, I just like to share new finds, so if you don't like it, don't buy it.

    By the way, Yahoo owns a fairly large chunk of Taobao, if that makes you feel better.



  • @Clear-Pixel:

    I'm a bit pessimistic about these no brand production units, reason being is there's really no one to take responsibility for premature failure, bugs in the unit, or take corrective actions. As for price, it seems kind of attractive, but you are taking on some risk as noted above.

    Heres a Gigabyte LGA 1155 Intel H61 Micro ATX board for $29
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128619

    Foxconn nT-i2847 Intel NM70 1 x 204Pin Intel HD Graphics Integrated by CPU Mini / Booksize Barebone System for $99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16856119095

    In essence what the Chinese manufactures are attempting to do is go around the middle man and sell direct and become billionaires over night. The problem I have with that, is they wont discount their merchandise to a fair level based on their cost to manufacture. Hell for how much the Chinese manufactures are making off Americans, it wont take much longer before they would have sucked all the wealth from America, if the smog doesn't kill them first.

    I think price is to high for the risk. If it will run Pfsense and fully functional with no hardware operating instabilities etc… I would pay $40 to $50 US dollars plus shipping and that's for the dual NIC board

    Anyone willing to purchase and post a honest review pointing out the pros and cons of the unit?

    That's a rather narrow world view isn't it? Americans have been sucking wealth from the world way before the chinese started. In a way they just followed what the americans did.



  • Yes the petrol-dollar is the crutch holding up the entire ponzi scheme …. the financial markets which are rigged ..... governments around the world corrupt to the core. And the stories goes on and on.

    Manufacture that makes a $0.50 product and sell it for $4.00 to the public in their own home land ..... They cross the border and sell for $10, you think they are taking advantage of a situation? Same can be said about US companies taking advantage of slave labor pools around the world.

    The fact is the product which your marketing are US retail pricing for flee markets ...... that is why I posted the newegg links.

    Nice looking product, but with no one standing behind it, the value should be much lower than the price listed.



  • @Clear-Pixel:

    Yes the petrol-dollar is the crutch holding up the entire ponzi scheme …. the financial markets which are rigged ..... governments around the world corrupt to the core. And the stories goes on and on.

    Manufacture that makes a $0.50 product and sell it for $4.00 to the public in their own home land ..... They cross the border and sell for $10, you think they are taking advantage of a situation? Same can be said about US companies taking advantage of slave labor pools around the world.

    The fact is the product which your marketing are US retail pricing for flee markets ...... that is why I posted the newegg links.

    Nice looking product, but with no one standing behind the product, its value should be much lower than the price listed.

    I don't disagree with those points. I just look at companies such as Apple or Tesla in the US.

    I can't blame the China sellers for wanting their "fair share" too. But originally I thought it was a decent deal for a dual lan system with case and PSU included. The newegg system has a much slower celeron?



  • I ordered one of the two port 1037u aluminum boxes through taobaoring.com. I haven't gotten it yet, but just got the second bill for shipping… Nearly $50 The total for the box with shipping is a little over $170. That's not a bad price if it's as nice as it looks like it should be, but it's pretty steep on shipping. I''ll certainly look into bulk purchase/ship if I get very many of these...



  • @Clear-Pixel:

    Yes the petrol-dollar is the crutch holding up the entire ponzi scheme …. the financial markets which are rigged ..... governments around the world corrupt to the core. And the stories goes on and on.

    Manufacture that makes a $0.50 product and sell it for $4.00 to the public in their own home land ..... They cross the border and sell for $10, you think they are taking advantage of a situation? Same can be said about US companies taking advantage of slave labor pools around the world.

    The fact is the product which your marketing are US retail pricing for flee markets ...... that is why I posted the newegg links.

    Nice looking product, but with no one standing behind it, the value should be much lower than the price listed.

    LOL, I thought the two newegg examples you provided were part of the example of overpriced Chinese products because both Foxconn and Gigabyte has Chinese backgrounds.

    Now that I realize you were using them the other way around, well, that just doesn't make any sesnse to me, why were you comparing mass produced products with common features (your newegg examples) to a new product with unique features and smaller scale of production (the 1037u box of this thread)?

    They aren't even the same thing. But I supposed for some people everything from China should be flee-market prices, because they probably don't know wtf they're doing and they all live in huts and should be grateful for a few USD.

    The target market for this box isn't the cheapest bottom feeders, there are many cheaper solutions for that market, this box is a first generation, new and unique niche product made for people who demand specific functions and style, so it has R&D costs in it, and the thick aluminum case isn't cheap to make. This thing will sell for a lot more if marketed in the US by a well known brand.

    The fact that this box is one of the hottest product on Taobao of the HTPC category, in a market full of cheaper HTPC solutions, means it is priced right.

    Show me the "US retail pricing" for anything with 1037u dual lan and a case that doesn't cost at least twice as much, and we'll talk, hell, just show me the US retail price of any HTPC with dual lan, I don't care even if it is 100mm thick made with cheap plastic and come without PSU, just show me anything with dual-lan that doesn't cost twice as much.  ::)



  • @rjcrowder:

    I ordered one of the two port 1037u aluminum boxes through taobaoring.com. I haven't gotten it yet, but just got the second bill for shipping… Nearly $50 The total for the box with shipping is a little over $170. That's not a bad price if it's as nice as it looks like it should be, but it's pretty steep on shipping. I''ll certainly look into bulk purchase/ship if I get very many of these...

    What Clear-Pixel conveniently didn't tell you, is that his $99.99 newegg example originally costs $189.99. It is just on some kind of clearance sale.

    You can see the other normal "US retail price" (Newegg prices) here:
    http://www.newegg.com/Mini-Booksize-Barebone-PCs/BrandSubCat/ID-2136-309?Pagesize=100

    The single-lan D2550 version costs $154.99 (reduced from $179.99)

    Even the D525 version costs $114 (reduced from $174.99)

    And the no-lan i3-3217U version costs $442.

    Note that none of these are dual-lans, or support more than 1 disks, or has mSata, and Foxconn is already one of the cheapest brand around.

    So Clear-Pixel, you talk a lot about fairness, so if you want to make "fair" comparisons, why don't you wait a year or 2 for this 1037u box to go on clearance sale on Taobao?

    Or did you really think I wouldn't check the real numbers?  ::)



  • I'm pretty sure the point being made is that if I buy something from Foxconn (which btw I wouldn't) I am buying it from a trusted retail website and have at least 2 options for RMA, or at worst somebody to hold accountable.  I looked at the other boards you have posted in this forum, and, while they look nice, it's a pretty big leap of faith to send that much money to the other side of the world without even truly knowing who you're dealing with.  Google translate isn't perfect, and paid translators (e.g. taobao agents) aren't necessarily honest.  So people who don't speak Chinese (or understand the customs/culture) are taking a HUGE risk ordering what is ultimately an unsupported piece of hardware.  Pick your cliche…for that price it's either a case of you get what you pay for, or it's too good to be true.



  • @verigoth:

    I'm pretty sure the point being made is that if I buy something from Foxconn (which btw I wouldn't) I am buying it from a trusted retail website and have at least 2 options for RMA, or at worst somebody to hold accountable.  I looked at the other boards you have posted in this forum, and, while they look nice, it's a pretty big leap of faith to send that much money to the other side of the world without even truly knowing who you're dealing with.  Google translate isn't perfect, and paid translators (e.g. taobao agents) aren't necessarily honest.  So people who don't speak Chinese (or understand the customs/culture) are taking a HUGE risk ordering what is ultimately an unsupported piece of hardware.  Pick your cliche…for that price it's either a case of you get what you pay for, or it's too good to be true.

    It's simple really, just like everything else in life, either you pay someone else to take risks for you, or you be the pioneer yourself and take the risks and rewards. You can't have it both ways.

    Clear-Pixel suggested the board should have cost $40-$50 because it doesn't have a brand, frankly that's just ridiculous.

    The closest comparison currently in the market is Gigabyte GA-C1037UN (dual-lan 1037u), costs about $90, but it has a fan and doesn't have mSata, wifi or USB3, and you still have to pay for a ATX PSU, and then pay for a case, and the box will be noisy, consume relatively a lot more power, and it won't be 29mm thick.

    This box at $109 with the case and PSU included, you can reduce the risks by buying two and still be better off. But Clear-Pixel is still complaining about the price.

    The people who complain like this are always from the US. They are only willing to pay insane bottom prices (see Wal-mart) and then they complain about this and that. That's like going to some cheap motel and complain about not getting 5 star services.

    You never hear Europeans complain that way, at least not to such extreme level, because they can't print money all the time, they have a much more realistic idea on how much things really cost, and so China ended up trading more with the EU than the US.



  • @DragonPF:

    Clear-Pixel suggested the board should have cost $40-$50 because it doesn't have a brand, frankly that's just ridiculous.

    Is it really though? If you read reviews of virtually every motherboard on the market there is always a certain quantity that arrive DOA. If you buy it from a known company you can return it. If this is the same manufacturer that the brands use then you can also expect at least a similar percentage to arrive DOA. Only this time you have no ability to get a replacement apart from buying another.

    @DragonPF:

    The people who complain like this are always from the US. They are only willing to pay insane bottom prices (see Wal-mart) and then they complain about this and that. That's like going to some cheap motel and complain about not getting 5 star services.

    You never hear Europeans complain that way, at least not to such extreme level, because they can't print money all the time, they have a much more realistic idea on how much things really cost, and so China ended up trading more with the EU than the US.

    I'm from the U.S. I don't print money ever (I don't even have a printer), nor do I shop at Wal-mart. Please keep your generalizations to yourself. Nobody is complaining about price; it's simply being said that since the item in question is not guaranteed in any way shape or form and it cannot be replaced if it doesn't function then it should cost a fraction of the price.



  • @verigoth:

    Is it really though? If you read reviews of virtually every motherboard on the market there is always a certain quantity that arrive DOA. If you buy it from a known company you can return it. If this is the same manufacturer that the brands use then you can also expect at least a similar percentage to arrive DOA. Only this time you have no ability to get a replacement apart from buying another.

    See the part where I explained at $109 you can buy 2 and still be better off, that is 1/2 the risks for you already, for a box with more functionality. What Clear-Pixel was comparing with, costs even less than $109 on Taobao, there is a cost to everything, you can't just pull any numbers out of your ass and then expect everyone else to agree with you.

    @verigoth:

    I'm from the U.S. I don't print money ever (I don't even have a printer), nor do I shop at Wal-mart. Please keep your generalizations to yourself. Nobody is complaining about price; it's simply being said that since the item in question is not guaranteed in any way shape or form and it cannot be replaced if it doesn't function then it should cost a fraction of the price.

    I was talking about the big picture and you're not looking at the big picture, in fact I am willing to bet more than 50% of the things or materials at your home, at your office, and the things you come across everyday came from China, and those were at some point bought with "printed" USD by somebody, and those trillions of USD sitting in China are getting more and more worthless everyday as we speak due to something called the QE, which is the US's way of dragging the entire world down with them by printing nonstop, first there was QE1, then QE2, and then QE3 which was also nicknamed QE Infinity, because your central banks didn't even bother setting an end date to the printing anymore. You didn't do the printing yourself, but you have been enjoying the benefits, without that insane printing everything will just have to cost more, like in Europe. The point is, while Clear-Pixel was complaining about prices, as ridiculous as it was, he didn't even take into account the USD he pay people with is getting more and more worthless everyday.

    And I think you missed this when you claim nobody is complaining about price:

    @Clear-Pixel:

    In essence what the Chinese manufactures are attempting to do is go around the middle man and sell direct and become billionaires over night. The problem I have with that, is they wont discount their merchandise to a fair level based on their cost to manufacture. Hell for how much the Chinese manufactures are making off Americans, it wont take much longer before they would have sucked all the wealth from America, if the smog doesn't kill them first.

    I think price is to high for the risk. If it will run Pfsense and fully functional with no hardware operating instabilities etc… I would pay $40 to $50 US dollars plus shipping and that's for the dual NIC board



  • @DragonPF:

    And I think you missed this when you claim nobody is complaining about price:

    @Clear-Pixel:

    In essence what the Chinese manufactures are attempting to do is go around the middle man and sell direct and become billionaires over night. The problem I have with that, is they wont discount their merchandise to a fair level based on their cost to manufacture. Hell for how much the Chinese manufactures are making off Americans, it wont take much longer before they would have sucked all the wealth from America, if the smog doesn't kill them first.

    I think price is to high for the risk. If it will run Pfsense and fully functional with no hardware operating instabilities etc… I would pay $40 to $50 US dollars plus shipping and that's for the dual NIC board

    The way I read what Clear-Pixel is saying is that these manufacturers sell the components to the big brands (middle men who take on quality control responsibilities and are held accountable by their customers).  Then they sell the same components to consumers with no quality control and no accountability whilst simultaneously charging more than they charge the big brands. To me that's not a complaint about the actual price, but more for what you're getting at that price. You may see it differently; Clear-Pixel may have meant it differently as well, but that's how I interpreted it.

    As far as any discussion on banks and governments…I am wary to get involved. Particularly when it concerns the PRC. If America is exploiting the Chinese, who do you suppose is letting it happen and benefiting from it? At any rate I don't think we'll ever see eye to eye so I'll just agree to disagree.



  • Ok, I decided to give this a try.  Slight gamble but I'm ok with it.  Grabbed the bare-bones C1037U dual lan as pictured for $137 with wireless card and antenna from AliExpress from what appears to be a reputable seller.  Shipping via DHL is $38.07, so that's $175.07.  I have a 4gb ram stick around here somewhere and I'll probably grab a 32gb msata.  No paypal option, had to use visa.  There is a messaging system on the aliexpress site and I've been communicating with the seller fine so far, item in stock, payment received, preparing for shipping.  So we shall see.  The boxes look very cool, and I hope it arrives ok.  Anyone know if customs is going to hit me up for import/duty?  I guess that would be handled through DHL.

    If it gets here, I am definitely going to do a pfsense box with snort, etc, and I may also see if I can frankenstein the guts out of my Ubiquiti Enterprise AP – see http://www.amazon.com/Ubiquiti-Networks-UniFi-Enterprise-System/dp/B004XXMUCQ/ and throw them in the tiny aluminum box with that celeron board.  Not sure if it would fit (we shall see), but wow, talk about a killer wireless/fanless pfsense router.  If it all works I'll post here with results.



  • I like the idea of gutting a wireless router and adding it… I've considered doing the same thing. Something like the TP-Link tl-wr703n would work nicely. You could grab the board out of the 703n and stick it inside the aluminum PC case. There's a guy on eBay (wifiexpert) that adds external antennas to the 703n... could hook that up as well.



  • @verigoth:

    @DragonPF:

    And I think you missed this when you claim nobody is complaining about price:

    @Clear-Pixel:

    In essence what the Chinese manufactures are attempting to do is go around the middle man and sell direct and become billionaires over night. The problem I have with that, is they wont discount their merchandise to a fair level based on their cost to manufacture. Hell for how much the Chinese manufactures are making off Americans, it wont take much longer before they would have sucked all the wealth from America, if the smog doesn't kill them first.

    I think price is to high for the risk. If it will run Pfsense and fully functional with no hardware operating instabilities etc… I would pay $40 to $50 US dollars plus shipping and that's for the dual NIC board

    The way I read what Clear-Pixel is saying is that these manufacturers sell the components to the big brands (middle men who take on quality control responsibilities and are held accountable by their customers).  Then they sell the same components to consumers with no quality control and no accountability whilst simultaneously charging more than they charge the big brands. To me that's not a complaint about the actual price, but more for what you're getting at that price. You may see it differently; Clear-Pixel may have meant it differently as well, but that's how I interpreted it.

    As far as any discussion on banks and governments…I am wary to get involved. Particularly when it concerns the PRC. If America is exploiting the Chinese, who do you suppose is letting it happen and benefiting from it? At any rate I don't think we'll ever see eye to eye so I'll just agree to disagree.

    You claimed "Then they sell the same components to consumers with no quality control and no accountability":

    Taobao has buyer protection return policies, it also has an independent department full of staff to rule on buyer/seller disputes base on evidence, if Taobao believes the store is at fault, Taobao will return the money to the buyer (Taobao also owns the payment system).

    There are so many stores competing with each other on Taobao, Taobao don't really care if they piss off a store here and there, but they do care if customers are getting ripped off and stop using the service, so Taobao's dispute rules are slightly biased towards the buyers, the buyers are who Taobao makes the most money from, not the stores.

    Taobao is bigger than eBay and Amazon combined, to suggest they don't know how to deal with bad stores/bad items is just pure arrogance.

    If you buy things on Taobao in China and it is broken you can have it replaced cheaply. It just happens that if you're not in China, the return shipping cost may not be worth it for cheap items. I understand the emotional motivation to reject new ideas that threaten old ideologies, but you guys need to do more research before making posts to suggest I am helping Taobao to rip people off.

    You also claimed "whilst simultaneously charging more than they charge the big brands":

    Well show me the same box that is available in the US now, or anything even close to it, if you can't find it then what you claimed is just bullshit.

    Let's just call a spade a spade and call Clear-Pixel's post a bad mouthing attempt with false comparisons, bogus numbers and no facts. Why else would he pick an older, slower, on clearance item with less features to compare the price with this box? It is so obvious why do you even bother defending it.



  • I really like that package.  The constant power consumption of the pfSense computer bothers me.  One of the first things I did was replace our very inefficient HP xw4100 power supply with an 80-plus gold rated power supply.  Now at steady state it consumes 60 watts compared to 85 watts before the upgrade.

    But wow, this thing hardly consumes any power, and it would take up a fraction of the space compared to an ATX case.  Maybe someday if I upgrade I will look into one (although it will take a few years for my $40 ps upgrade to break even!).  Maybe in a few years they will be far more powerful and could easily support vpn along with many other pfSense packages.

    Nice find.



  • @vikingred:

    Ok, I decided to give this a try.  Slight gamble but I'm ok with it.  Grabbed the bare-bones C1037U dual lan as pictured for $137 with wireless card and antenna from AliExpress from what appears to be a reputable seller.  Shipping via DHL is $38.07, so that's $175.07.  I have a 4gb ram stick around here somewhere and I'll probably grab a 32gb msata.  No paypal option, had to use visa.  There is a messaging system on the aliexpress site and I've been communicating with the seller fine so far, item in stock, payment received, preparing for shipping.  So we shall see.  The boxes look very cool, and I hope it arrives ok.  Anyone know if customs is going to hit me up for import/duty?  I guess that would be handled through DHL.

    If it gets here, I am definitely going to do a pfsense box with snort, etc, and I may also see if I can frankenstein the guts out of my Ubiquiti Enterprise AP – see http://www.amazon.com/Ubiquiti-Networks-UniFi-Enterprise-System/dp/B004XXMUCQ/ and throw them in the tiny aluminum box with that celeron board.  Not sure if it would fit (we shall see), but wow, talk about a killer wireless/fanless pfsense router.  If it all works I'll post here with results.

    I just ordered mine from taobao but aliexpress has a great seller/buyer system. I've had tablets not arrive and aliexpress did full refunds without any hassle. Alot easier to deal with then ebay/paypal.



  • @DragonPF:

    Let's just call a spade a spade and call Clear-Pixel's post a bad mouthing attempt with false comparisons, bogus numbers and no facts. Why else would he pick an older, slower, on clearance item with less features to compare the price with this box? It is so obvious why do you even bother defending it.

    Listen here …. the forum monitors allowed you to come in here and spam up some post with your so called new buddies for what ever reasons. For the most part everyone else that is a regular here, knows what the cons are of what your doing, this is why you have your newbie buddies coming in supporting your post. But you come in dissing members, the monitors should Ban your spamming post!

    If we want second hand hardware, we can go to a local flea market and haggle with the venders....



  • @vikingred:

    Ok, I decided to give this a try.  Slight gamble but I'm ok with it.  Grabbed the bare-bones C1037U dual lan as pictured for $137 with wireless card and antenna from AliExpress from what appears to be a reputable seller.  Shipping via DHL is $38.07, so that's $175.07.  I have a 4gb ram stick around here somewhere and I'll probably grab a 32gb msata.  No paypal option, had to use visa.  There is a messaging system on the aliexpress site and I've been communicating with the seller fine so far, item in stock, payment received, preparing for shipping.  So we shall see.  The boxes look very cool, and I hope it arrives ok.  Anyone know if customs is going to hit me up for import/duty?  I guess that would be handled through DHL.

    You subject title says $109 US dollars?

    vikingred was charged = $175.07

    4GB DDR-3 DIMM = $45
    30gb MSATA = $50
    Wifi mini-pci-e adapter = $25
    2 Antennas = $7
    12V 3A DC adapter = $20
    –--------------------------------------
    Total = $322.07

    By the way, Pfsense does not require dual nics.

    Here's a Shuttle DS437 unit with dual nic for $190 from a US retailer which has a warranty, tech support and powersupply!…... http://www.provantage.com/shuttle-ds437~7SHCO0JP.htm?source=googleps&gclid=CLOLoNj3970CFWZo7Aod0gYAww

    Shuttle DS437 Product page
    http://us.shuttle.com/barebone/Models/DS437.html

    If you add a power supply to the price vikingred was charged, hes at $195.07

    So wheres the value in purchasing a Unit somewhere in China which you have no warranty! If the unit is DOA your screwed! For all we know they could be selling the units with motherboards which where classified as SECONDS or even worst refurbished boards with problems.



  • Thanks to the OP for posting this information. This looks like the ultimate PFSENSE box to run with squid and other packages.

    Due to the high power consumption of my PFSENSE box I recently turned it off and got a CISCO enterprise router that burns very little electricity.

    I've been looking for low power boxes to run PFSENSE but the offerings up to now are way too expensive and/or under powered.

    This new box looks like a game changer.

    I would hope that they have it on Ebay soon but if not may go ahead and order one from the sources listed.

    Thanks DragonPF!



  • @DragonPF:

    Taobao is bigger than eBay and Amazon combined, to suggest they don't know how to deal with bad stores/bad items is just pure arrogance.

    If you buy things on Taobao in China and it is broken you can have it replaced cheaply. It just happens that if you're not in China, the return shipping cost may not be worth it for cheap items. I understand the emotional motivation to reject new ideas that threaten old ideologies, but you guys need to do more research before making posts to suggest I am helping Taobao to rip people off.

    Look, dude, I didn't suggest anything about Taobao or any of it's sellers. My entire point has been that as someone in the United States the risk of buying some unknown piece of hardware from overseas comes with too high of a risk. That is my personal opinion and I'll thank you to stop being snarky toward me. I never said anything unkind about the manufacturers, the country they live in, you, or anybody else.

    @mromero:

    Due to the high power consumption of my PFSENSE box I recently turned it off and got a CISCO enterprise router that burns very little electricity.

    What? That makes no sense at all. An enterprise class router uses as much or more power than a desktop PC. If you need the power of an enterprise class router this SOC solution is not going to fill your needs. I think maybe you don't actually mean a "Cisco enterprise router".



  • @Clear-Pixel:

    Listen here …. the forum monitors allowed you to come in here and spam up some post with your so called new buddies for what ever reasons. For the most part everyone else that is a regular here, knows what the cons are of what your doing, this is why you have your newbie buddies coming in supporting your post. But you come in dissing members, the monitors should Ban your spamming post!

    If we want second hand hardware, we can go to a local flea market and haggle with the venders....

    Or, perhaps, everybody can just decide for themselves whether or not they're comfortable ordering something from Taobao? You may consider it too risky, but others may well weigh the importance of tech support and warranty coverage vs. cost and availability quite differently.

    Just because you disagree with something doesn't make it spam and everyone who does an idiot or shill.



  • @razzfazz:

    @Clear-Pixel:

    Listen here …. the forum monitors allowed you to come in here and spam up some post with your so called new buddies for what ever reasons. For the most part everyone else that is a regular here, knows what the cons are of what your doing, this is why you have your newbie buddies coming in supporting your post. But you come in dissing members, the monitors should Ban your spamming post!

    If we want second hand hardware, we can go to a local flea market and haggle with the venders....

    Or, perhaps, everybody can just decide for themselves whether or not they're comfortable ordering something from Taobao? You may consider it too risky, but others may well weigh the importance of tech support and warranty coverage vs. cost and availability quite differently.

    Just because you disagree with something doesn't make it spam and everyone who does an idiot or shill.

    This isn't a resellers forum for resellers…... The point of view your expressing is from like a shady retailers perspective. If you bought the units in bulk to retail, all your concerned with is selling the units and than skipping town. This is basically what your dealing with when you buy from Taobao or AliExpress. Their are more crooks than you can shake a stick at on these sites.

    Speculation
    For all we know DragonPF has a stock pile of the units here in the US already, which he received a bulk shipping rate at a very low rate. When you buy from his various accounts on Taobao or AliExpress you pay DragonPF for international shipping, yet it ships from a distribution center here in the US.

    Besides its overpriced by a long shot….



  • I have no affiliation with anyone here, I'm not a shill, and I'm a competent adult consumer and decision maker.  Quite honestly, too, $175 is nothing to me.  The hardware politics is getting thick in this thread.  I came here because I love pfsense, and innovative new hardware stuff.  This celeron thing looks cool, and I like that I'm getting it from china, so what.  Take a chance, why not.

    The current pfsense box that I've been using for the past year is low power and pretty badass in its own rite:

    Supermicro X7SPA-HF-D525-O (13 watts!/MiniITX) Dual Core Atom 525 1.8ghz fanless w/ Dual Intel 82574L Gigabit LAN ports
    It was about ~$210 for the board.  Super nice, stable, quiet, and dual intel nics!
    Check it out:  http://www.supermicro.com/products/motherboard/ATOM/ICH9/X7SPA-HF-D525.cfm
    Mine has 4gb ram / 64gb SSD / and I've got it packed into an M350 case, and using PicoPSU 80 power supply.  No moving parts.  All told cost was about $400 or so.  I love it.  Run pfsense, snort, ntop, and a few other goodies, and CPU stays at 2-3% most of the time, memory use is ~22% - 25% under light load (12 dhcp machines/devices) and 100MB cable connection.

    Now this new CHINA BOX should be even lighter/smaller/lowerpower!  Some forum members mite get mad!

    Sorry, I gotta do it:

    Clear-pixel:  U mad bro?  >:(



  • I'm just exposing the spin DragonPF and his buddies are putting on the roulette wheel ….. if you think you can win go ahead.

    As for me getting upset about this posting, the fact is I hate to see people getting screwed by these shady crooked Chinese exporters, and that's what they are.

    As for money ..... there are many crooked sellers world wide looking for people that think just like you, this is how they make big profit margins.

    I wish you the best of luck with the unit, let us know if you get Pfsence running on it, or if its DOA. Which I'm sure if its DOA, you can just simply send another $175.07 and DragonPF will ship you another one.

    An older Shuttle DS47 model running Pfsense
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eo4-xUMP6y4



  • @Clear-Pixel:

    I'm just exposing the spin DragonPF and his buddies are putting on the roulette wheel ….. if you think you can win go ahead.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eo4-xUMP6y4

    I hope you aren't lumping me in as one of DragonPF's "buddies"… I realize I'm taking a risk, but it looked like a cool little box and I thought I'd give it a shot. I'm not trying to push anything.

    @Clear-Pixel:

    I wish you the best of luck with the unit, let us know if you get Pfsence running on it, or if its DOA. Which I'm sure if its DOA, you can just simply send another $175.07 and DragonPF will ship you another one.

    Yea… my total ended up just a little over $170. To be honest, that's not bad, but as you've pointed out it is not a great deal considering the risk. I did it more as an experiment. I've looked at selling some pre-configured boxes with a "re-branded" version of pfSense and a reworked UI that is simplified for home internet filtering.  Something like the two port aluminum box would be perfect, but I'd probably have to figure out how to order them in bulk (lower price and lower shipping) in order for it to pay off...



  • As rjcrowder mentioned before me, I hope you aren't lumping me as a minion of DragonPF.

    I just got a new 1gbit WAN connection so I needed to replace my Asus router with something beefier and pfsense was recommended.

    Seems like Clear-Pixel has some agenda against buying from China while DragonPF was just sharing a good deal. If he was a reseller, I'm not sure why he would link to various different sellers on taobao.

    Not everyone in the forum is from the US so we don't all have the luck to have a newegg or tigerdirect deliver to us so this is a great deal. As for the DOA issue, I've had no problems returning android phones/tablets or various cables that didn't work or had issues and getting new ones in the mail.

    Also do note, vikingred paid for his unit to arrive via DHL. If he used normal air mail, it would have been a lot cheaper.



  • Since it sounds like you've done this before (ordered from China), a couple quick questions…
    @r3animation:

    As for the DOA issue, I've had no problems returning android phones/tablets or various cables that didn't work or had issues and getting new ones in the mail.

    Who did you use as an agent? As I said, I used taobaoring - but that's just because I happened to find them and saw some positive reviews.

    @r3animation:

    Also do note, vikingred paid for his unit to arrive via DHL. If he used normal air mail, it would have been a lot cheaper.

    Is that just standard china mail - or whatever they call it? I can't remember the options that I had available, but taobaoring was recommending EMS. It seemed awfully expensive to me… what would you recommend?



  • @rjcrowder:

    Since it sounds like you've done this before (ordered from China), a couple quick questions…
    @r3animation:

    As for the DOA issue, I've had no problems returning android phones/tablets or various cables that didn't work or had issues and getting new ones in the mail.

    Who did you use as an agent? As I said, I used taobaoring - but that's just because I happened to find them and saw some positive reviews.

    @r3animation:

    Also do note, vikingred paid for his unit to arrive via DHL. If he used normal air mail, it would have been a lot cheaper.

    Is that just standard china mail - or whatever they call it? I can't remember the options that I had available, but taobaoring was recommending EMS. It seemed awfully expensive to me… what would you recommend?

    Some guys must not like my posts and I haven't trolled or insulted anyone lol. -2 on the karma scale and I can guess who's doing it.

    I use daigou65 but that's specific to my country I'm in. My wife does alot of animal welfare charity work so buying in bulk for items like cages/toys/etc save alot of $ in the long run. I always use an agent when ordering from Taobao due to the language barrier (although I can read and write a bit). The agent takes care of problems and they've been fantastic at it. I'm assuming that taobaoring and daigou65 have different shipping options so I can't really advice you there (also I'm not sure of your location so shipping could be alot more expensive then mine).

    When I buy direct from aliexpress (no language issues there) and use their "normail airmail", it can take up to 2 weeks for the item to arrive. If you don't mind waiting, you can use normal airmail and the items always come with tracking so it's easy to see if the item has been sent or trace if it gets lost.



  • FOLKS - Let's keep it civil please. No personal attacks.



  • This topic is now locked.  Now that the 'Vendor' child board of 'Hardware' exists, any new threads should be started there.

    Topic has been moved to Vendors board, (at the request of OP) and unlocked.



  • @Clear-Pixel:

    Listen here …. the forum monitors allowed you to come in here and spam up some post with your so called new buddies for what ever reasons. For the most part everyone else that is a regular here, knows what the cons are of what your doing, this is why you have your newbie buddies coming in supporting your post. But you come in dissing members, the monitors should Ban your spamming post!

    If we want second hand hardware, we can go to a local flea market and haggle with the venders....

    You subject title says $109 US dollars?

    vikingred was charged = $175.07

    4GB DDR-3 DIMM = $45
    30gb MSATA = $50
    Wifi mini-pci-e adapter = $25
    2 Antennas = $7
    12V 3A DC adapter = $20
    –--------------------------------------
    Total = $322.07

    Here's a Shuttle DS437 unit with dual nic for $190 from a US retailer which has a warranty, tech support and powersupply!…... http://www.provantage.com/shuttle-ds437~7SHCO0JP.htm?source=googleps&gclid=CLOLoNj3970CFWZo7Aod0gYAww

    Shuttle DS437 Product page
    http://us.shuttle.com/barebone/Models/DS437.html

    If you add a power supply to the price vikingred was charged, hes at $195.07

    So wheres the value in purchasing a Unit somewhere in China which you have no warranty! If the unit is DOA your screwed! For all we know they could be selling the units with motherboards which where classified as SECONDS or even worst refurbished boards with problems.

    Listen Richard, whatever your problem is, you're not helping anybody by smearing a honest effort to share new cool things with people.

    You don't have to buy from Taobao, sometimes it is just good to know something like this exists, as mentioned in the first post, similar designs will be everywhere next year, so people currently thinking about investing a few hundred dollars on a pfSense box might be interested to know something like this is just around the corner, if they wait just a little longer that is what they'll be getting, locally, in their favorite brands.

    Posting false numbers in large red font doesn't make them more correct. Here are some more facts:
    1. The $109 price I posted was Taobao prices, not AliExpress prices, the links I posted was Taobao links.

    2. AliExpress prices are always more expensive than Taobao prices, the reasons and the benefits for that were explained in previous posts.

    3. The comparison you made, the Shuttle DS437, costs $228 (reduced by 17% to $190.11), as mentioned before, boxes like these cost at least twice as much elsewhere.

    4. The size of the box in the topic is 127x127x29mm, the Shuttle DS437 is 200x165x40mm. (1,320,000/467,741) = 2.8 times bigger, and the Shuttle DS437 is way less stylish, for many people, a smaller and more stylish design worth some money.

    5. If you have seen the unbox photos from first thread (you can still find them on customer reviews on Taobao), or have at least translated the Taobao page, you'd know the $109 price already includes the DC adapter and Wifi attenas. An Intel mini-pcie wifi module only costs $9 on eBay, even less on Taobao (not $25 as you mentioned).

    6. There are cheaper shipping methods than DHL.

    7. The Shuttle DS437 doesn't come with RAM or SSD/HDD, but you included that when making the ridiculous $322.07 to $195.07 comparison. You got the numbers wrong on BOTH sides.

    What you also didn't account for, is the fact that many pfSense users live outside America, so they'd still have to pay for costly shipping when buying from Provantage (the link you posted), some at a much higher shipping cost than buying from Taobao (depends on where they are located), and even with the brand and warranty, they'd still suffer costly RMA when something breaks if they're not in or close to the US.

    I haven't seen the inside of the Shuttle DS437 yet, but chances are it was made in China, perhaps even made by the same factory who made the the box in this thread.

    @Clear-Pixel:

    If we want second hand hardware, we can go to a local flea market and haggle with the venders….

    So wheres the value in purchasing a Unit somewhere in China which you have no warranty! If the unit is DOA your screwed! For all we know they could be selling the units with motherboards which where classified as SECONDS or even worst refurbished boards with problems.

    This box is way too new to have that many second hand floating around the market, this box is one of the hottest HTPC on Taobao, selling rapidly, scoring good reviews.

    @Clear-Pixel:

    This isn't a resellers forum for resellers…... The point of view your expressing is from like a shady retailers perspective. If you bought the units in bulk to retail, all your concerned with is selling the units and than skipping town. This is basically what your dealing with when you buy from Taobao or AliExpress. Their are more crooks than you can shake a stick at on these sites.

    That's not how Taobao works, as explained before, Taobao has a reputation and a review system to help you avoid the crooks, and there are judges on Taobao that will give you refund if you can prove to them the seller sold you junk, there are also stores that offer 7 days refund no questions asked (look for the "7" icon  next to a store's name).

    Most importantly, Taobao also owns the payment transaction system (known as Alipay), no matter what payment method you use, Visa or not, your payment will always first end up as credits on Alipay, and before the store owner can claim your credits, he/she must wait until you have confirmed receiving the package, if you're not happy with what you've received, and the seller refuse to replace/refund the item, just click the dispute button and the credits you paid with will be frozen instantly. A dispute case will then be opened, both sides can then present evidence to a Taobao dispute judge in a 3-way conversation (posting text/photos/video/etc), and the judge will make a ruling base on the evidence. Upon ruling, the judges on Taobao have the ability to move frozen credits to the buyer's or seller's account. So, Taobao's payment process is very different to eBay's, refunds on eBay has a lot more hoops and managements to jump through, because the credit transaction system is outside of eBay.

    You don't have to trust anyone, just know the fact that Taobao makes a lot more money by helping the buyers, so their judges are biased towards the buyers, not the stores. That is the business reality.

    I haven't used AliExpress before, but members here said they've experienced buyer protections when something went wrong.

    @Clear-Pixel:

    I'm just exposing the spin DragonPF and his buddies are putting on the roulette wheel ….. if you think you can win go ahead.

    As for me getting upset about this posting, the fact is I hate to see people getting screwed by these shady crooked Chinese exporters, and that's what they are.

    @Clear-Pixel:

    Speculation
    For all we know DragonPF has a stock pile of the units here in the US already, which he received a bulk shipping rate at a very low rate. When you buy from his various accounts on Taobao or AliExpress you pay DragonPF for international shipping, yet it ships from a distribution center here in the US.

    Besides its overpriced by a long shot….

    Now that is just personal, perhaps we should just skip the you-make-things-up-then-I-post-facts ping pong and just deal with this personally, so there'd be less clutter on here.

    You know, at first I thought this was an patriotic American looking for angles to attack outsiders, because he didn't realize there are a lot of pfSense users living outside the US, so however weak your points were, I could still respect that motive, taking care of your own is natural and respectable. But then I read some of the comments you made regarding your own gov, so that wasn't it.

    Then I found this, just a year ago you were telling people how great second hand hardware was, and I quote:

    @Clear-Pixel:

    As for the hardware ….. Used laptops and computers off of Ebay work far better for the simple fact they are Used and heavily discounted , and is some cases just as good as New.

    If you do a new custom build, a Cheap entry level build will start somewhere in the $600 range.  Do you want to put $600 + bucks in just a freak-en firewall device?

    And you were telling people where to get cheap Chinese devices on eBay:

    @Clear-Pixel:

    https://forum.pfsense.org/index.php?topic=53627.msg298803#msg298803

    There seem to be a few cheap Chinese USB devices based on the Ralinktech RT3070.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/USB2-0-High-Power-500mw-RT3070-150Mbps-150M-b-g-n-11n-Wireless-WiFi-Adapter-card-/230689039571?pt=US_USB_Wi_Fi_Adapters_Dongles&hash=item35b62364d3
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/EDUP-High-Power-150M-1000mW-WiFi-USB-Wireless-N-Adapter-Card-RT3070-Ralink-6DBI-/321004532728?pt=US_USB_Wi_Fi_Adapters_Dongles&hash=item4abd5c73f8
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Ralink-RT3070-Long-Range-High-Gain-1000-mW-Wireless-N-USB-WIFI-B-G-N-Adapter-/290661632668?pt=US_USB_Wi_Fi_Adapters_Dongles&hash=item43acc88a9c
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/High-Power-150M-1000mW-WiFi-USB-Wireless-Adapter-RT3070-/250824909812?pt=US_USB_Wi_Fi_Adapters_Dongles&hash=item3a665463f4
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/150M-Hight-Power-USB-Wireless-Wifi-Adapter-1000mW-RT3070-/150937983715?pt=US_USB_Wi_Fi_Adapters_Dongles&hash=item23249adae3
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Wlan-WiFi-Wireless-150Mbps-802-11N-USB-Adapter-6dBi-Antenna-LG-N23-Ralink-RT3070-/200845866526?pt=US_USB_Wi_Fi_Adapters_Dongles&hash=item2ec358b61e

    So now I am just wondering, just what the hell is wrong with you? Did Taobao steal your lunch money?


Locked