Fanless dual NIC system

  • Hi everyone.
    I've been playing with the idea of building a PfSense system for a couple of weeks now, and I decided to go ahead with it.
    Currently I'm running an Asus RT-N66u which runs merlin firmware, which I'm quite happy about.

    The reason I want to switch to PfSense is because I want to have an integrated Snort solution. Currently I have pseudo-portmirroring running on my RT-N66u by using iptables to forward all incoming and outgoing traffic to a separate box running snort.
    I have a 150Mbps downlink, 10Mbps uplink internet connection, and want to run an OpenVPN server as well on the PfSense box.

    Now I've been reading quite a bit, and have decided I want a fanless solution, not that I'm concerned about noise, in fact the box will be installed a in a 19" rack (no rackmount needed though).
    However I don't want to worry about fans clogging up with dust.

    It seems most members here are using the Akasa Euler case, which seems nice enough.
    I think with todays Intel 1150 socket, using a 35W TDP CPU should not be a limiting factor for PfSense.
    In fact I could install a Core i3 4360T CPU which would give me plenty of headroom from what I can read.

    Now I'm having difficulties picking a nice motherboard, most topics I can find seem to suggest using the intel DQ77KB, however this seems to be end of life and (at least locally) not available anymore.
    The only board which is listed as supported by the Euler case, and has dual-NIC support, is the gigabyte GA-Q87TN.
    This board on the other hand, has 1x Intel GbE and 1x Realtek GbE LAN connection, and I read here and there that realtek is not preferred for PfSense…

    So if anyone could suggest a nice motherboard which fits the Euler case, that would be awesome.

    As for the other components, I will probably go with an mSATA SSD, and 8GB RAM (it's cheap!! :-)).
    Any other suggestions are off course also welcome.


  • If you like the gigabyte case, then just buy another intel nic and plug it into the x4 pci express.
    I'm running a G1840 proccessor with gigabit up/down and it's staying at 500 mhz all the time. So only for NAT is overkill, but i think it would be ok with snort with 150/10.
    I will try to activate snort and see how the cpu handles it and post here.

  • Hmm just found this topic:

    This box would also be sufficient for my needs…
    Only thing is with China you never know what you get until you open the box...
    Choices Choices...

  • Hello vyruz,

    any news on this?
    I suggest the same as @Harvy66 4 Core / 2 - 4 GB or 8 Core / 4 - 8 GB based on the
    new Intel C2xxx CPU SoC if VPN becomes a really point in this game, also likes Squid
    and Snort, if not so, I will suggest the new Alix APU 1d4 as a complete bundle.

    This would be,

    • saving power
    • small enough
    • upgradeable
    • powerful enough
    • long time usage

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