Looking for some advice on a home setup of pfSense



  • I have 5 old socket 478 Pentium 4 single core systems.  All are at least 2GHz and running 2GB or memory and can be upgraded.  Would these run well pfSense well enough and at a low enough power consumption or would it be better to spend ~150 dollars and buy a dual or quad core Celeron or Atom that would potentially use less power?

    After I have settled the above question I am going to be setting this up for myself at my home.  I want to use it to learn more about security and management in combination with working on my CCNA as I want to head into IT Security.  That said, does anyone have a comprehensive list of what packages I should setup and configure within pfSense?

    I was also wondering if anyone has setup pfSense with Cincinnati Bell Fioptics or another similar Internet & TV Fiber service and if they have any advice they could give?

    Any help would be appreciated with this.
    ~Insidious



  • Internet speed for pfSense? (CPU)
    Any VPNs? (CPU)
    Any planned pfSense packages? (CPU & memory)

    I would check the wiki and search the forum. I think the official pfSense page has a "how fast shoud my CPU be?" page.



  • My apologies, I meant to include that must have gotten distracted.  The super high speed fiber I have is a whopping 30mbps plus whatever the TV pulls which should be at most another 50mbps.  I do plan to have a VPN but it would only serve myself when I am away.  So I have a potential 80mbps & vpn.

    According to pfSense the P4 should suffice but I am curious how it would compare in power consumption against something like the dual and quad core Celerons or Atoms.  By hardware spec they would use less power, but by actual cycle usage I don't know how the 80mb load would push either CPU and thus draw more or less power.

    I'll take a look through the packages and see what I should be running and post back again.  It may be a bit though.



  • @Insidious:

    My apologies, I meant to include that must have gotten distracted.  The super high speed fiber I have is a whopping 30mbps plus whatever the TV pulls which should be at most another 50mbps.  I do plan to have a VPN but it would only serve myself when I am away.  So I have a potential 80mbps & vpn.

    According to pfSense the P4 should suffice but I am curious how it would compare in power consumption against something like the dual and quad core Celerons or Atoms.  By hardware spec they would use less power, but by actual cycle usage I don't know how the 80mb load would push either CPU and thus draw more or less power.

    I'll take a look through the packages and see what I should be running and post back again.  It may be a bit though.

    My pfSense using a dual-core 2.8Ghz Pentium D is always idling, though I do not use VPNs and I only have 6Mbit ADSL.



  • If you want low-cost and reasonably power-efficient, consider a refurb SFF (small form factor) PC with a Core2Duo that is at least 2GHz.  I have a 3GHz (E8400) with SSD and a dual-port Intel NIC that only pulls 38W when idle and 50-65W under load.  It cost me $75-$85.  I spent more on the refurbed dual-port Intel low-profile NIC and the SSD.

    There are dozens/hundreds of reburbs out there with 90 day warranties from places like NewEgg.

    My estimate is that the C2D 3GHz would be able to handle about 1.2-1.5 Gbps of bidirectional traffic routing.  Maybe 1/2 to 1/3 of that if used with a lot of packages or VPNs.  Since I only have a 50/50 WAN and only need about 100Mbps between the various VLANs, it's enough for the moment.


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