System Build Help



  • After having read pfSense the definitive guide cover to cover I am about to embark on building a nice pfSense system.  If anyone could kindly give me feedback it would be much appreciated.

    Motherboard:
    http://www.amazon.com/Gigabyte-SO-DIMM-DualBIOS-Motherboard-GA-Q87TN/dp/B00FU7U9EU
    or
    http://www.amazon.com/ASUS-Mini-Motherboard-Q87T-CSM/dp/B00FYMXEI4
    Any problems using both the realtek and intel jacks on these boards?

    NIC add on:
    http://www.amazon.com/Intel-Ethernet-Server-Adapter-I350T4/dp/B005ATA17I
    or
    http://www.amazon.com/Intel-E1G44HT-Ethernet-Server-Adapter/dp/B003A7WPB2
    I'm leaning towards the I350t4 board, but any feedback is good.

    Case & PSU:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.1836241

    Memory and CPU are still up in the air, but I am thinking 8GB (4x2) and either an i3 or i5 as I need to filter all packets.  Any recommendations on memory or CPU?
    I have several spare SSDs that I will use for system install.

    Thanks again you for your help.



  • 550W PSU in that particular case is overkill efficiency-wise. PSU's are most efficient running on 50% load or so. I only mention it because I suspect firewall drawing 200W+ is not exactly what you have in mind.

    And as PSU is going to be plugged in 24/7, get one with the best quality. I am not sure if SeaSonic or Antec does manufacture sub-400W PSU's but if they do, some fanless Platinum model from either of these manufacturers would be my pick..



  • @shaqan:

    550W PSU in that particular case is overkill efficiency-wise. PSU's are most efficient running on 50% load or so. I only mention it because I suspect firewall drawing 200W+ is not exactly what you have in mind.

    And as PSU is going to be plugged in 24/7, get one with the best quality. I am not sure if SeaSonic does manufacture sub-400W PSU's but fanless SeaSonic Platinum would be my pick. Top notch quality and 7 years factory warranty.

    http://www.amazon.com/Seasonic-80PLUS-ATX12V-Supply-SSR-360GP/dp/B008XEYT5M
    or
    http://www.amazon.com/FSP-Modular-Supply-Platinum-PT-450M/dp/B009X8E9D4
    or
    http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Modular-Bronze-ATX12V-EPS12V/dp/B00ALYORA4

    The first is a good Seasonic PSU; the second is platinum and probably the best of the bunch.  The last is the cheapest and is also modular, which is not bad for the price.



  • I did some research and general consensus in various hardware oriented forums seems to be that Antec, SeaSonic, Corsair, XFX, be quiet! are quality PSU brands. Plus couple of European brands which are not important since you appear to be living in US.

    Search for:
    -Gold or Platinum grade (if your wallet is able to digest it then Platinum)
    -200-400W. Depends on the CPU you are going to slap in.
    -fanless or not: down to personal preference. Fanless PSU would use slightly less power, reduce point-of-failures by one [fan] and be absolutely silent. In the other hand, fanless PSU would have higher internal temperature - should not be issue unless you put the system under heavy loads.



  • Honestly go look at the what's in the pfSense store and either pick one of those or build something similar, you'll get better bang for your buck and probably cheaper on electricity.



  • difference in power bill. Im not sure how much kWh would cost in NYC. I'm going to assume flat rate of 10 cents/kW.

    15W  device 13.14$/year
    60W  device 52.56$/year
    100W device 87.60$/year

    I looked over 90+ cpus available for socket 1150. Lowest TDP cpu's for this socket are 35W Celerons and i3's. If your HDD will be SSD then such system itself is probably going to draw 40W-45W or so from wall socket tops.
    That would be up to 39.42 USD/year written on power bill



  • @Moosecall:

    Honestly go look at the what's in the pfSense store and either pick one of those or build something similar, you'll get better bang for your buck and probably cheaper on electricity.

    Most of them are Netgate custom boxes that are difficult to upgrade over time.  I wish the pfSense store made a simple mITX system (e.g. something other than rack mounts) that could be component swapped over time.  I don't mind a bigger box and a little more electricity use in exchange for potential re-purposing and upgrade ability; but those are my preferences and may not reflect how other people feel.

    I will just order the components and go for it. 
    Thanks everyone for their help!  :D


  • Netgate Administrator

    Most important factors in hardware choice are:
    What is your expected maximum throughput? WAN bandwidth?
    Are you going to be running hungry packages like Squid or Snort?
    Are you using the box for VPNs?

    Be aware that most CPUs don't run anywhere near their TDP most of the time. The only way to really know what power your box is drawing is to measure it at the wall. For example my ancient and inefficient P4 based box draws ~40W.

    Steve



  • @manhattanboy:

    @Moosecall:

    Honestly go look at the what's in the pfSense store and either pick one of those or build something similar, you'll get better bang for your buck and probably cheaper on electricity.

    Most of them are Netgate custom boxes that are difficult to upgrade over time.  I wish the pfSense store made a simple mITX system (e.g. something other than rack mounts) that could be component swapped over time.  I don't mind a bigger box and a little more electricity use in exchange for potential re-purposing and upgrade ability; but those are my preferences and may not reflect how other people feel.

    I will just order the components and go for it. 
    Thanks everyone for their help!  :D

    Which is why I said to build something similar, source a C2738,C 2558 or C2358 mini-itx board and slap it in a case of your choosing.

    http://www.amazon.com/Supermicro-Atom-C2758-Motherboards-MBD-A1SRI-2758F-O/dp/B00FM4M7TQ

    As stephenw10 mentionned bandwidth/packages/vpn is your big determining factor, but since you were already looking at an I3 or I5 you probably wanted something beefier then an APU.



  • I am building up the unit as follows:

    1 - Supermicro A1SRi-2558
    2 - Kingston ValueRAM KVR16LSE11/4KF  2 x 4GB ECC
    3 - Intel SSD S3500 80GB
    4 - M350 Case (picoPSU-90W 12V DC-DC ATX power supply + 80W AC Universal Adapter 12V 6.6A & Euro Plug)
    5 - Noctua NF-A4x10 FLX (FAN, just in case)

    Parts have been shipped this week.

    I am going to use 2 LAN, one clear internet (browsing) and another one under VPN (NAS/Multimedia). I will run Snort or Suricata (I am still making the decision, any advise is more than welcome), I am planning to update my line to 100/10 (current 20/1).



  • @Moosecall:

    Which is why I said to build something similar, source a C2738,C 2558 or C2358 mini-itx board and slap it in a case of your choosing.

    http://www.amazon.com/Supermicro-Atom-C2758-Motherboards-MBD-A1SRI-2758F-O/dp/B00FM4M7TQ

    As stephenw10 mentioned bandwidth/packages/vpn is your big determining factor, but since you were already looking at an I3 or I5 you probably wanted something beefier then an APU.

    Went with this board after all.  The CPU is not the quickest, but apparently works well with snort, so hopefully punches above its weight class.  Not much experience with Supermicro but hopefully it will be nice. 
    Pairing it with 8 GB of the compatible ECC Kingston ram for now.
    Putting it into the CoolerMaster 130 case and have a semi modular Gold PS for it, but may downgrade if it draws too much electricity.
    I still want to put in a quadport NIC, but will see how it runs loaded up before expanding.
    Thanks for the help  :)



  • Looking at the C2758 since a while as a replacement to reduce my power consumption. Let me know how it spans on heavy load. I have Snort, Squid, pfblocker, Dans (with clamd). If it doesn't hold up then I suppose I can still live with my i3 (2nd generation) for now.


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