Hardware recommendation for routing gigabit connection

  • Hey guys, I'm looking to maximize the use of my fiber gigabit connection at home.  I've tried a few fast consumer routers  (currently using a Netgear R7000) but can't get over 300-400Mbit throughput with the firewall and monitoring configuration I have setup (directly at the wall, I can easily get over 850Mbit speeds)

    I'd like to have something fanless and small (or at least very quiet) that has enough speed to route/firewall a gigabit connection as well as have enough power to do some other tasks like VPN and possibly do some security camera monitoring/processing.  From my research, it sounds like dual intel nics are a must have and that onboard ethernet isn't as fast as PCI-e cards.  I'm looking at an i7-3770 processor to handle some other server tasks, which I assume is beefy enough to handle any firewall processing as well.  I was curious if anyone knew of a good small case/mobo setup that would work for this task?  Any recommendations on hardware in general for this task?

  • Netgate Administrator

    To do it fanless you are going to have to spend big on the case. The  i7-3770 is a 77W TDP CPU so you would need a really seriously big heatsink to get that fanless. You don't need anything quite that fast though for Gigabit firewall/routing. You will do it with a low power i3 or i5 for example.
    A Celeron G530 has been shown to do it as a data point.
    What sort of VPN speeds do you need?


    onboard ethernet isn't as fast as PCI-e cards.

    That's not necessarily true. Often the included on-board NICs on destop boards are not that special but if you have server hardware the NICs are likely to be good. There's no advantage to being on a PCIe card, the connection to the on-board NICs is identical.


  • Whoops, I meant the i7-3770s at 65W, not that that means a whole lot of difference as far as cooling.  I'd be ok with a fan as long as it's quiet.  This would live in a bedroom and I'm trying to limit the fan noise.

    VPN speeds of 100Mbit would be plenty, 50Mbit would be the minimum I'd want for 2 simultaneous connections

    As far as processing, I've got some intensive tasks I'm planning on (live motion detection through ZoneMinder on a couple of security cameras) that already task a core2 6600 @ 2.4GHz pretty well.  It usually sits around 50-60% usage and I'm looking to increase the load with some other tasks.

    From all my searching, I have a hard time finding dual intel ethernet on mini-atx boards.  The boards/barebone kits I come across all seem to be realtek.  I was hoping to get away from needing a rackmount or larger sized case for this setup, but I'm not sure I can get everything I need otherwise.

  • Netgate Administrator

    So are you planning to run pfSense virtualised then? In which case you should try to get a CPU that has virtualisation pass-through features.


  • I'm planning on getting a Supermicro A1SRM-2558F-B. It's fanless, has AES-NI, 4 of the latest intel NICs, and is fast enough to route Gigabit on each core. I think it only works with ECC ram so that might be an issue or good thing depending on if you already have ram.

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