Questions about CF write limits and netinstall

  • Hello,

    I am using the the embedded platform 1.2RC2 on a CV860A VIA main board. Its been a great device so far with pfsense. The CPU is 999 Mhz and I have 512MB SDRAM chip in it. The board has three nics (Realtek) and I have a 1GB Kingston CF card for the OS. Like I said I am really happy with this box. I have done upgrades with just swapping out the CF cards with no problems. I have several deployed in remote sites with uptimes of over 6 months. Before I start deploying these in bigger offices I have a few questions:

    My questions concerning CF writes:

    1. I know my CF cards have a limited life span due to the number of writes allowed. Does logging count as writes to my CF card or are these somehow kept in Memory?
    2. In general what kinds of activities are actively writing to the CF?
    3. Has anyone out there had their card hit this limit? If so how long did your card last?

    I would like to do a full install using this board and a hard drive. It has a USB port and I have installed OpenBSD using a CDROM via the USB port. However, pfsense LIVECD install hangs when I try to install. I have looked around the forums and have seen this mainly has to do with FreeBSD. I saw several posts talking about a netinstall document but the links got me no-where. It was written by Tenzen if I am correct.


    1. Does anyone know where I might find this document?
    2. Has anyone out there done a netinstall?

    Thanks for any help you can give,

    Granada Spain

  • 1: Logging goes into the memory.
    If you want to store log setup a remote syslog server.

    2: Swap-writes. Only when you use the full install. The embedded install does not have a swap-partition.

    3 My sisters CF card in her digital-camera died after about 2 years of normal camera usage.

    Flash memory, regardless of format, supports only a limited number of erase/write cycles before a particular "sector" can no longer be written. Memory specifications generally allow 10,000 to 1,000,000 write cycles. Typically the controller in a CompactFlash attempts to prevent premature wearout of a sector by mapping the writes to various other sectors in the card - a process referred to as wear levelling.

    1: i'm not sure a netinstall is what you want.
    If you search the forum on USB-CD-Drives you'll find that they generally dont work.
    Is there no way for you to install it just with a normal IDE-CD-Drive?

    2: no me ^^"

    I dont think that you want to install a full version to a CF.
    An alternative is to install it to a microdrive.,7001.0.html

  • 1. OK, then if I understand well what you said, with my present setup I am only doing writes to the CF when I do config changes. Correct?

    2. The netinstall was going to be my attempt to work around a small hardware problem. This board has two IDE slots. One for normal IDE and another for 2.5 laptop hardrives. The normal IDE slot has 40 pins whereas the cables today only have 39 holes (one hole is blocked). I busted out a lighter and a heated up a tiny screwdriver to open up the blocked hole. I have pfsense running off the CD right now. I will soon install to hard drive. So this problem has been solved.



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