Chelsio T4 vs T5?



  • I'm currrently building a proof of concept that will eventually turn into a portable data center with FreeBSD at the core (PFSense and ZFS File Server).

    LAN will be any of LTE modem, WiFi or Ethernet (RJ-45 or fiber).

    WAN will include WiFi, RJ-45 gbE and 10gb fiber. One of the 10gb cards will be connected via DAC to a workstation in the same enclosure.  The other would be open.

    The file server will be 3-4TB of RZ2 consisting of 960GB Samsung SV843s. If I chose a lower power Rangley I may use an Intel 9286 to offload processing power and reduce RAM needs. Anyway, this should easily saturate a single 10gb link, but that will be plenty of bandwidth for my needs.

    I currently have a few Intel 82599ES, Mellanox ConnectX2-EN and ConnectX3-EN Cards.

    gbE will easily handle my routing needs, but not file server needs. Based on the comments here about Chelsio cards I'm guessing the support issues are related to FreeBSD and not just PFSense.

    To the point…

    If I spring for a Chelsio card is a T5 worth it or is a T4 plenty for this use? Given the option would you chose a T520-SO-CR or a T420-CR (or even a T420-SO-CR)?

    I've been studying buffer bloat a bit and I wonder if the memory free cards might end up faster for lower numbers of connections.

    Also, is there a significant reason to Chelsio cards on both the PFSense box and workstation(s) or will connecting to the Intel or Mellanox cards work as hoped?

    I'm new to Chelsio and any help is appreciated. Thanks!



  • @tubeamps:

    Also, is there a significant reason to Chelsio cards on both the PFSense box and workstation(s) or will connecting to the Intel or Mellanox cards work as hoped?

    Chelsio has the best driver support/compatibility on a FreeBSD platform. In terms of 10 GbE NICs, Intels are stable but just don't have the power to saturate a wire speed link. Additionally, Mellanox cards are not currently supported on pfSense.



  • The Chelsio cards we sell are your best bet. Any driver-related issues should date back to FreeBSD 8.x based versions, pre-2.2x. I'm not aware of any issues with 2.2.x and Chelsio cards.
    https://store.pfsense.org/accessories/

    There won't be any performance difference on memory vs. non right now, though it's possible that will change in the future. That has no relation to buffer bloat regardless though. I'd probably go with the Celsio T520-SO-CR.



  • @cmb:

    I'd probably go with the Celsio T520-SO-CR.

    What are the differences between the T520-S0-CR vs T520-CR?



  • @neo_:

    What are the differences between the T520-S0-CR vs T520-CR?

    Additional hardware capabilities which aren't relevant to firewall use cases today (there is 0 functional difference today).



  • Thanks folks! I'll start with the Intel cards and put the money toward a better motherboard. Honestly, I'm more concerned with latency and stability than true wire speed performance.

    I am interested in exploring the Chelsio world soon though. I've seen 310 and 320s go for rather cheap. Is it worth picking one up to experiment with? On that note, how do the 300 series cards perform compared to the Intels?



  • @cmb:

    @neo_:

    What are the differences between the T520-S0-CR vs T520-CR?

    Additional hardware capabilities which aren't relevant to firewall use cases today (there is 0 functional difference today).

    Hi cmb,

    is this still the case with 2.3?

    thx



  • Yes.


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