Recommendation for compact hardware



  • I'm looking for compact hardware that will run pfsense but I'd like to make sure it's not under-powered.  This is my first build but I'm pretty motivated having had enough with the average consumer variety. Looking at builds like this: https://mateh.id.au/2014/09/build-awesome-apu-based-pfsense-router/ it seems reasonable but I'm not sure if a T40E is enough and would like to see if there are other options (perhaps not needing shipping for Switzerland) . I'd like not to exceed 200$ or so as I'd like to leave room in the budget for an access point. Any advice?



  • @sfl:

    … but I'm not sure if a T40E is enough ...

    Enough for what?
    Heating your room? Probably not.



  • @jahonix:

    [Heating your room? Probably not.
    [/quote]

    Well that settles that. Who would want hardware than can't heat a small apartment? What was I thinking?! ;-)

    If anyone has any better ideas than the build I linked to I'd love to hear it. I'm ok with ~200$ build but if I can do just as well some other way, would be great to know before I start ordering parts.



  • Once again: enough for what?



  • @sfl:


    Any advice?

    How would you test your system ? And then upon what decide to approve or disapprove of it ?



  • I have been running this for a couple months with a 120 GB Intel SSD and 8 GB RAM. Works great. It is about the size of a Mac Mini.

    http://www.aliexpress.com/item/2014-NEW-Intel-Celeron-C1037U-aluminum-fanless-dual-core-living-room-HTPC-Barebone-Mini-PC-with/1638834276.html



  • @jahonix:

    Once again: enough for what?

    This is for home so my needs are probably not too serious compared to the enterprise world but then again I'm sure there are heavier packages so I wanted to try to leave room for growth. To start I just need to be able to support a dozen or so clients with about half through the wireless access point (thinking ubiquity ap with poe). Would be using NAT of course, snort and I'd like to have a guest network (which I take it means vlan?) . I'd also like to set it up as vpn client. Wan connection is currently 50/10 but I may very well bump that up in the near future and I'm not sure just how much cpu I need to run encryption while maintaining good speed. Judging by past reply, I'm guessing I'm overthinking it?



  • @BeerBelli:

    I have been running this for a couple months with a 120 GB Intel SSD and 8 GB RAM. Works great. It is about the size of a Mac Mini.

    http://www.aliexpress.com/item/2014-NEW-Intel-Celeron-C1037U-aluminum-fanless-dual-core-living-room-HTPC-Barebone-Mini-PC-with/1638834276.html

    Hey BeerBelli, how was your buying experience on AliExpress?  A while back I heard it was like the old eBay days.  Is it better now?  The device you linked looks very interesting.  Thanks.


  • Banned

    @sfl:

    @jahonix:

    Once again: enough for what?

    This is for home so my needs are probably not too serious compared to the enterprise world but then again I'm sure there are heavier packages so I wanted to try to leave room for growth. To start I just need to be able to support a dozen or so clients with about half through the wireless access point (thinking ubiquity ap with poe). Would be using NAT of course, snort and I'd like to have a guest network (which I take it means vlan?) . I'd also like to set it up as vpn client. Wan connection is currently 50/10 but I may very well bump that up in the near future and I'm not sure just how much cpu I need to run encryption while maintaining good speed. Judging by past reply, I'm guessing I'm overthinking it?

    Should be just fine if you get the 4GB RAM variant. Except that people are not happy with the Realtek NICs. In fact, even the vendor is unhappy.



  • @Sir:

    Hey BeerBelli, how was your buying experience on AliExpress?  A while back I heard it was like the old eBay days.  Is it better now?  The device you linked looks very interesting.  Thanks.

    I was very satisfied, I ordered it on Friday night, they confirmed everything that Sunday night, shipped it Monday, and I had it on Thursday. I paid the extra $2.00 or whatever for DHL shipping instead of the slow boat from China. I am extremely happy with it and it runs cool, (27.8 C). I had been using a Netgate  FW 7541 and while that was awesome, it was so fricking hot. I use PIA VPN for all connections and I get the full speeds from my FIOS. 75/75.



  • @doktornotor:

    Should be just fine if you get the 4GB RAM variant. Except that people are not happy with the Realtek NICs. In fact, even the vendor is unhappy.

    Thanks for the reply (and the tip about the NICs). I read a bit more about the issues people faced with realteak NICs and I have to say it's making me think twice. I also wasn't considering I'd get AES-NI with a C2358 based system which would be nice for VPN I would think.



  • It also depends on your definition of "small".  Refurb SFF (small form factor) PCs like the Lenovo Core2Duo units are 12.5" W x 14" D x 4" H.  That size comes with (1) low-profile PCI and (1) low-profile PCIe slot (probably x8 or x16).

    There is also the "ultra-small" variant which is 10.8" W X 9.4" D X 3.1" H - but that only has a single PCI slot (which is okay up to about 200Mbps?).

    The Lenovo M58 series units come with a single Intel NIC, which is a big positive for them. You can easily add a 2nd low-profile Intel single/dual port NIC for not too much.  Mine draws about 38-40W idle and 50-65W under heavy load.


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