Input on boxes, Atom N280 or Celeron M 1Ghz


  • I've got my pfsense box up and running on an old PC (Intel Duo E2200) and it is running great.  Now I'd like to move it over to hardware I don't mind having running 24/7.

    I've seen a couple boxes on Ebay that look promising:
    The Atom N280
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Pfsense-2-1-5-HP-t5740-Intel-Atom-N280-2G-RAM-2G-Flash-SSD-3-10-100-1000-NICs/251673963351?_trksid=p2047675.c100005.m1851&_trkparms=aid%3D222007%26algo%3DSIC.MBE%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20131003132420%26meid%3D0cf29190e0d748a39c5423f9de96333d%26pid%3D100005%26prg%3D20131003132420%26rk%3D3%26rkt%3D6%26sd%3D221568018795&rt=nc

    And a Celeron M:
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Pfsense-2-1-5-Mini-ITX-Firewall-Router-1-WAN-3-LAN/221568018795?_trksid=p2047675.c100005.m1851&_trkparms=aid%3D222007%26algo%3DSIC.MBE%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20131003132420%26meid%3D3934f1d3f99e4674b0ff2fd0ac543960%26pid%3D100005%26prg%3D20131003132420%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D6%26sd%3D251673963351&rt=nc

    Anyone have recommendation on these two pieces?  I'm running OpenVPN on a 20/1.5 Mbit cable connection.  With the E2200 it is at most 20% peak cpu  usage that I've seen so far.  When pfsense moves gets more support for wireless N, I'd like to add a card for that, but until then I'll continue to use my E3000 as an AP.

    From my looking it seems that either one of these solutions would be adequate for my use.

    Any other suggestions?  Hopefully someone here has direct knowledge as to the capabilities of these boxes.  I'm not particularly set on either of these two solutions, but they seem a fair representation of what is out there.

    thanks
    david

  • Netgate Administrator

    Both of those are significantly less powerful than your E2200. Are you wanting to run any packages?
    The figure given for the throughput of the N280 is surprisingly high. 500Mbps is about what I'd expect from the newer D510/D525. It's probaby similar for the Celeron-M though. For reference the Watchguard X-Core-e boxes run a 1.3GHz Celeron-M so figures you might find for them are relevant here. For example:
    http://www.copyerror.com/2012/10/27/watchguard-firebox-core-x550ex750ex1250e/4/

    Have you actually measured the power consumption of your E2200? I assume that's why you don't want to run it 24/7. You might be better off just investing in a high efficiency PSU.

    Steve


  • The biggest issue is that it is a mid-tower mico-atx computer and just doesn't fit very well.  I'm only using a WAN/LAN port on them so will be limited to supporting my cable speeds.  I do run OpenVPN and my concern was whether the cpus can keep up with the encryption and not bog down.  I also wanted to go fanless.

    I'll have to look around, maybe I can find a smaller case or something.

  • Netgate Administrator

    Either of those should push close to 50Mbps OpenVPN but not while also running heavy packages. Shouldn't be an issue at 20Mbps, no problem at 1.5, if you're uploading.

    Steve


  • Great.  I'm not running any packages.

    I went ahead and bought the Atom box, will test it out and report what I find.  In case someone else is ever curious.

    david


  • I got my box and was able to easily dump the config from my temporary router, simple modification of the WAN/LAN in the config file and upload it.  The N280 is running great.

    My internet got updated to 200/20 now so I have more to play with.  I've not been able to max it, when I run crashplan it maxes at 6Mbps, but it isn't limited by the network or the router.  I've not found a place where I could ftp a file to see what the Atom can do.

    How difficult would it be to configure my original pfsense box as a VPN server and put a laptop behind it, then connect it to the Atom router through OPT2 and connect as a VPN client.  Then I could push files all within my own network.

    Does this sound reasonable?

    david

  • Netgate Administrator

    Yes I've done that to test the vpn performance of a box. I think I ended up with a third router in front of the two vpn end points but many combinations are possible.

    Steve


  • @lovingHDTV:

    …  I've not found a place where I could ftp a file to see what the Atom can do.

    When I want to saturate my WAN line I usually start multiple http downloads from multiple linux distribution sites. Getting large ISO images from linuxmint, ubuntu, debian, pfsense, freebsd, openbsd you can generate 70-80 megabit per second data flow in an instant. Just don't overdo it and do it when it's late hours and likely not bothering other users  ;)

    Halea

  • Netgate Administrator

    Another good way of testing bandwidth is to use the test files provided for the purpose by several websites. Here in the UK I use thinkbroadband. Chris mentioned he uses cachefly in the US. A big advantage of this is that you can run the test directly on the pfSense box if need be to eliminate anything slowing the LANs side.

    [2.1.5-RELEASE][root@pfsense.fire.box]/root(1): fetch -o /dev/null http://download.thinkbroadband.com/50MB.zip
    /dev/null                                     100% of   50 MB 8550 kBps
    
    

    Steve


  • @stephenw10:

    Another good way of testing bandwidth is to use the test files provided for the purpose by several websites. Here in the UK I use thinkbroadband. Chris mentioned he uses cachefly in the US. A big advantage of this is that you can run the test directly on the pfSense box if need be to eliminate anything slowing the LANs side.

    [2.1.5-RELEASE][root@pfsense.fire.box]/root(1): fetch -o /dev/null http://download.thinkbroadband.com/50MB.zip
    /dev/null                                     100% of   50 MB 8550 kBps
    
    

    Steve

    I did a combo of both.  I found  a nice fast linux mint server used fetch to get the iso. I was able to sustain 40Mb down with 1.5Mb up at 50% cpu load.

    Who know it would be so difficult to force this much traffic.  I think the N280 will work just fine here at the house.

    thanks,
    david


  • Do you have the capability to measure power usage? If so, would you mind posting idle and load power draw? Thanks!


  • I asked the eBay seller wareagletek who is offering the HP-t5740 Intel Atom N280 units about power draw.  Here is what he said:

    I dont have anything official number since i do not have a killawatt but i have had other customer provide numbers, anywhere from 10-14w depending on workload, but at idle near 10W.

    YMMV