• I'm thinking to build a PfSense unit with the primary intention of running OpenVPN so that I can distribute the PIA service to all my household devices. I'll experiment with some other stuff just for fun, but VPN is the main point.

    I have some stuff kicking around that I've accumulated over the years so, to keep the cost low, I'm wondering if it would be practical to use any of it. I have:

    2x2.66 GHz dual-core Xeon processors, socket LGA-771 (extracted from a 2006 model Mac Pro)
    2x512MB PC2-5300 DDR2 RAM (extracted from same 2006 Mac Pro)
    2x2GB of PC3-10600 1333 MHz DDR3 RAM (extracted from a 2011 MacBook)
    1x60GB 2.5" SSD (Sata 2)
    1x320GB 2.5" Seagate Momentus 5400 RPM HD (extracted from 2011 Macbook)
    1x1TB 3.5" WD Caviar Blue HD; 1x500GB 3.5" WD Caviar SE16 HD

    I'm thinking a motherboard to support the Xeons might not be worth the cost or effort, but I could be wrong. Any input appreciated.


  • Practical, maybe. A motherboard could be found pretty cheaply on ebay. But that would be a seriously power-hungry setup, you'd probably be better off with something newer. Depending on your cost of power, it might have a pretty quick payoff to buy something brand new that's more efficient rather than piecing together whatever old stuff you can come up with. Any of those drives would be fine, so you could recycle those at least.

  • Yes, I am already noticing a bunch of boards on eBay anywhere from $30 up to $200. And I do have the 1GB of DDR2 that I could start to work with. Of course, there would then still need to be power supply, case, etc. The cost might climb.

    Power hungry? Here I was thinking that it might be a bit of overkill for the intended purpose!

    Do you think something like a refurb computer in the $120 range would be more practical? They're a dime a dozen these days. What would you recommend?


    Edit: Just realized that by "power hungry" you meant needing a beefy power supply, producing lots of heat and noise, as opposed to not having enough juice for the job. Haha…

  • Yeah by power hungry I meant it'll use a lot of electricity, generate a good deal of heat, require fans that will make noise, etc. It's more than powerful enough of a system for what you're wanting to do, just maybe not desirable to mess with for power consumption and heat generation reasons.

    Any old PC in the sub-$200 range is probably going to be an older CPU that's equally power hungry.

    My recommendation would be to buy one of our options at store.pfsense.org. :D

    If you want to DIY, there are a number of threads here and on our sub-reddit about people's DIY builds. Lot of people build Atom systems for home use which don't cost much more than what you're talking there, and with the greatly lessened power consumption, might pay for themselves.