HP T5740 gigabit over PCIx



  • Hello everyone,

    So I have been using a HP thin client as a pfsense box for my local network for a couple years now. The box I am using doesn't have SATA so i have been running embedded on a USB flash drive. This has been working quite well however I would like to have the features that a full install of pfsense offers.

    I received two HP T5740 thin clients for free from work and I have decided to switch over to this for pfsense. http://h18000.www1.hp.com/products/quickspecs/13496_na/13496_na.PDF

    These boxes are sweet, up to 4gig ddr3 intel atom 1.6Ghz and they have a SATA port, and a place for a wireless card (any recommendations?)

    So this is the hardware I have.
    Intel NIC -  http://www.ebay.com/itm/Intel-D35034-004-IBM-Quad-Port-Pro-1000-GT-4-Port-PCI-X-NIC-03N5446-/191209774058?pt=US_Internal_Network_Cards&hash=item2c84fd9bea
    HP T5740
    HDD - WD black 160gb
    RAM - 2 gig ( might upgrade to 4, why not)

    I have been using an Intel PCIx 2 port NIC on my previous hardware without problems. However I am concerned about using the PCIx card in a PCI slot.

    Questions
    There will be some bandwidth loss I am sure, but will I get gigabit speeds? Does the thin client even have the power to do that?
    Is there a better solution for 4 port NIC or 3? I would like to have WAN, LAN, LAN2, and an extra for playing maybe second WAN some day.

    Thanks!


  • Netgate Administrator

    The pdf you linked to refers to both PCIe and PCI expansion, are you sure yours is PCI?

    The wifi expansion looks to be via a half length mini-PCIe slot, is that right?

    Steve



  • From the PDF it looks like the T5740 has a PCIe(xpress) "x4" slot.  Did you misread that?

    If the IBM card is PCIx(tended) it won't go in the HP.  Better to pick up a used HP NC360T (2-port) or NC364T (4-port) but the latter may generate some heat.  Looks like a low-profile slot in the machine, though, so make sure you get the right bracket with the NIC.

    EDIT:  Maybe the machine has both PCIe and PCI edge connectors inside.  (The brackets face opposite directions, so that's possible.)

    PCIx may work in the PCI slot (I can't remember stuff like that) but it would still be better to use a PCIe slot for a 2-port or 4-port NIC.

    EDIT 2:  Just noticed a bit of fine print in the spec sheet:

    8 The PCIe/PCI Expansion Module should not be used if the HP 16GB SATA module is installed.



  • Now I see how they do it:

    http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c01925235&tmp_task=prodinfoCategory&cc=us&dlc=en&lc=en&product=3996165#N395

    Looks like your IBM card is a full length (64-bit) PCIx and the riser is only PCI.  Not sure that will work.



  • Thanks for all of the replies. So I will try to clarify some things. I purchased this http://www.ebay.com/itm/HP-T5740-Thin-Client-AZ551AA-PCI-Express-Expansion-Module-Chassis-581264-002-/231113076021?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item35cf69ad35

    It comes with two different cards the black one which is what is on the board so basically it is just a raiser/right angle.
    Then it comes with an adapter which makes it just PCI. ( I attached pictures of both )

    So in my current set up I am using a flash drive as a drive and I have a PCI (white) right angle adapter with a PCIx 2 port intel NIC installed. It has been working great for two years. So I know that the adapter SHOULD work.

    I didn't see the thing in the PDF about the PCI slot and the SATA not being used together. Thanks for pointing that out. That is a little concerning, but I'll see what happens.

    The wireless card is a half height slot, I found an intel wireless NIC (not sure the model) and put it in there I'll see how it does.

    I will post back with updates, should be getting the expansion module this weekend.

    Additional notes: I said in my original post that I got two of these T5740 thin clients. The first one I am using as a remote VNC box that I can ssh tunnel into from work and access everything/ browse the internet. I am using a 2.5" HDD in it which it is not designed for and it has been fine. Not using the PCI slot however.





  • Netgate Administrator

    Since the expansion module has PCIe capability you might consider just using a PCIe NIC instead. Obviously you've already got the quad port PCI-X card so that would be additional cost. You might as well try the PCI-X NIC and see how it goes. Like you said it should work fine in a PCI slot just with limited bandwidth. That shouldn't be much of an issue either since the Atom in that box won't do much more than 500Mbps anyway.

    Steve

    Edit: Typo



  • @stephenw10:

    Since the expansion module has PCIe capability you might consider just using a PCIe NIC instead. Obviously you've already got the quad port PCI-X card so that would be additional cost. You might as well try the PCI-X NIC and see how it goes. Like you said it should work fine in a PCI slot just with limited bandwidth. That should be much of an issue either since the Atom in that box won't do much more than 500Mbps anyway.

    Steve

    The dual port PCIe NIC biggsy mentioned is only $25ish on ebay so I will look into that. I got the 4 port that I have now for like $12 so it isn't that big of a deal.

    The two cards that biggsy mentioned HP NC360T (2-port) or NC364T (4-port) are not in the freeBSD hardware list should I be concerned about that?


  • Netgate Administrator

    There are many cards that are supported by virtue of having a supported chipset but aren't mentioned specifically. Check the forum, someone will have tried it.

    Steve



  • @stephenw10:

    There are many cards that are supported by virtue of having a supported chipset but aren't mentioned specifically. Check the forum, someone will have tried it.

    Steve

    Okay great thanks. Like I said I will post back with details and pictures after the build. Thanks for all the help.



  • Ah!  I didn't get there were both PCIe and PCI-X risers.

    I agree with Steve - given that you have the IBM card, try that first.

    I'm pretty sure the HP NC36xT cards are rebranded Intel cards.  They use an 82571EB chipset in the NC360 and 2 x  82571GB in the NC364.



  • For some reason this project got me interested and I did a bit of research today.

    Your IBM card is a 3.3V 64-bit PCI-X.  The riser with the white connector is a 5V 32-bit PCI .

    So I don't think you'll have much joy there, unless you feel like going down this path.  Of course, you could just end up frying the card.

    Overall the PCIe riser and dual-port NC360T might be easier and quicker.

    Good luck and please let us know the outcome.


  • Netgate Administrator

    Ah, of course. I always forget about the voltage!  ::) I guess it's so infrequently something that you have to worry about these days. Filing out the 3.3V notch seems pretty extreme to me. In the worst case you could damage both the card and the motherboard doing that.

    Steve



  • Well lol I got everything over the weekend and I did cut out the notch. That had been my plan the entire time never even thought about it really causing a problem. So unfortunately I don't have pictures at the moment but I will try to get some today. It was an extremely tight fit. I was able to get the HDD (XBox 360 20 gig), 4 port Intel NIC and wireless intel NIC all installed and all was recognized. Everything has been up and running since Saturday. Not sure what I am going to do with the wireless card kind of put it in just because I could. I am only using 2 of the 4 ports on the card at the moment so not sure how it will act once I use them all.


  • Netgate Administrator

    Nice. A good result all round then.  :)
    Post some throughput numbers if you do any testing, always useful.

    Steve



  • @stephenw10:

    Nice. A good result all round then.  :)
    Post some throughput numbers if you do any testing, always useful.

    Steve

    I have Time Warner Cable internet I am paying for 15 Mbps down and 1 Mbps up. I didn't test the upload but I did a test on IPv6 and IPv4 below are the results. The IPv6 is slower.

    IPv4
    [2.1.3-RELEASE][admin@pfsense.scanlon]/root(4): fetch -o /dev/null http://cachefly.cachefly.net/100mb.test
    /dev/null                                    100% of  100 MB 1713 kBps 00m00s

    IPv6
    [2.1.3-RELEASE][admin@pfsense.scanlon]/root(5): fetch -o /dev/null http://ipv6.download.thinkbroadband.com/100MB.zip
    /dev/null                                    100% of  100 MB 1343 kBps 00m00s


  • Netgate Administrator

    That's really just limited by your WAN speed then. A more interesting test would be between two internal interfaces, both on the PCI-X card.

    Steve



  • @stephenw10:

    That's really just limited by your WAN speed then. A more interesting test would be between two internal interfaces, both on the PCI-X card.

    Steve

    I was looking at ways to test that. I came across iperf so I am going to try it out later. I will post my results



  • iperf results (This is between a client and pfsense) I am doing this remotely so I only have access to pfsense and the client I am typing on now.

    Pfsense was the server.

    TCP test

     iperf -c 192.168.1.1 -t 20 -w 100k -P 20
    

    Output

    
    [ ID] Interval       Transfer     Bandwidth
    [  6]  0.0-20.0 sec  40.8 MBytes  17.1 Mbits/sec
    [  7]  0.0-20.0 sec  34.6 MBytes  14.5 Mbits/sec
    [ 12]  0.0-20.0 sec  34.6 MBytes  14.5 Mbits/sec
    [  5]  0.0-20.0 sec  36.2 MBytes  15.2 Mbits/sec
    [  4]  0.0-20.0 sec  41.4 MBytes  17.3 Mbits/sec
    [ 17]  0.0-20.1 sec  36.9 MBytes  15.4 Mbits/sec
    [ 20]  0.0-20.0 sec  43.6 MBytes  18.3 Mbits/sec
    [ 16]  0.0-20.1 sec  37.9 MBytes  15.8 Mbits/sec
    [ 22]  0.0-20.1 sec  35.5 MBytes  14.8 Mbits/sec
    [  9]  0.0-20.1 sec  37.0 MBytes  15.4 Mbits/sec
    [ 19]  0.0-20.1 sec  40.2 MBytes  16.8 Mbits/sec
    [  8]  0.0-20.1 sec  34.6 MBytes  14.4 Mbits/sec
    [ 13]  0.0-20.1 sec  41.9 MBytes  17.4 Mbits/sec
    [ 10]  0.0-20.2 sec  41.4 MBytes  17.2 Mbits/sec
    [  3]  0.0-20.2 sec  40.6 MBytes  16.9 Mbits/sec
    [ 15]  0.0-20.2 sec  40.0 MBytes  16.6 Mbits/sec
    [ 11]  0.0-20.2 sec  28.4 MBytes  11.8 Mbits/sec
    [ 14]  0.0-20.2 sec  31.9 MBytes  13.3 Mbits/sec
    [ 21]  0.0-20.2 sec  24.8 MBytes  10.3 Mbits/sec
    [ 18]  0.0-20.2 sec  26.6 MBytes  11.0 Mbits/sec
    [SUM]  0.0-20.2 sec   729 MBytes   302 Mbits/sec
    
    

    Max was 302 Mbps

    UDP Test

    
    iperf -c 192.168.1.1 -u -b 300m
    
    

    Output

    
    Client connecting to 192.168.1.1, UDP port 5001
    Sending 1470 byte datagrams
    UDP buffer size:  160 KByte (default)
    ------------------------------------------------------------
    [  3] local 192.168.1.2 port 57996 connected with 192.168.1.1 port 5001
    [ ID] Interval       Transfer     Bandwidth
    [  3]  0.0-10.0 sec   346 MBytes   290 Mbits/sec
    [  3] Sent 246971 datagrams
    [  3] Server Report:
    [  3]  0.0-10.0 sec   346 MBytes   290 Mbits/sec   0.017 ms   14/246970 (0.0057%)
    [  3]  0.0-10.0 sec  1 datagrams received out-of-order
    
    

    I am pretty happy with the results. Looks like the CPU is the bottle neck. Ran the TCP test for 200 seconds it transferred 6.83 Gigabytes of data at 293Mbps and the CPU was maxed out.


  • Netgate Administrator

    Interesting thanks. Be interesting to see how that compares with running thd server and client on separate mchines behind pfSense on separate interfaces.

    Steve



  • @stephenw10:

    Interesting thanks. Be interesting to see how that compares with running thd server and client on separate mchines behind pfSense on separate interfaces.

    Steve

    My plan was to try that when I get home. I will let you know.



  • two PCs on the same LAN, same pfsense port.

     [SUM]  0.0-20.1 sec  2.16 GBytes   926 Mbits/sec 
    

    two PCs on two different NIC ports

      [SUM]  0.0-20.0 sec   941 MBytes   394 Mbits/sec  
    

  • Netgate Administrator

    Actually faster than just receiving the traffic. I guess it's definitely CPU bound then.
    A further interesting test would be to enable IP fastforwarding. That may or may not have a dramatic effect on traffiic that is passed through the box but not terminated there.
    It's enabled in System: Advanced: System Tunables:. Set the net.inet.ip.fastforwarding tunable to 1. You may have to reboot to activate that. Be aware that setting that value WILL break IPSec pass-through so if you need that disable it again after the test.

    Steve



  • It seems that maybe I am wrong. The CPU will max out only when using the pfsense box as the server. I wasn't watching it when looking at the above tests. I set the fast-forward option and get about the same speeds. I believe the best was 394Mbps. The CPU only reached 67% and only for a moment the average for the 20 second test was probably 63%. So I am guessing that the PCI bus? is limiting the card to ~400Mbps?


  • Netgate Administrator

    Yes. You might expect a maximum throughput of half the bandwidth which would be ~512Mbps however that doesn't allow for any return traffic, error-correction, ACKs etc. Did you see any reduction in CPU use with IP fastforwarding enabled?

    Steve



  • Pictures of the box. it was a pretty tight fit. I had to cut the SATA cable strain relief so it would bend enough when the PCI right angel adapter pressed on it. Tried uploading these pictures to this post but they were too big.

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2OPLQVuFuhDNFh0WmhhazJrUmJHUngxM0FHR1BiQjRLTUZv/edit?usp=sharing

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2OPLQVuFuhDbF9xdEdkbGtwaWdzTTlvbW9MWWN5bVg1QmVR/edit?usp=sharing

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2OPLQVuFuhDSUJJMzZYVHU5SkwtNk9jcGtxWTBaRWNvUnFr/edit?usp=sharing



  • Looks great - one question - where did you get the power from to run your fan?


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