Thoughts on Celeron N2930 with Intel NICs



  • My current Atom D525 box is getting a bit slow for the packages I'm running, so I'm replacing it with current hardware.

    This is what I've picked up (cost me about $350 USD):

    Jetway JBC200F9N-E4IN-B [specs]

    • Celeron Processor N2930 ARK link

    • 1 x Intel i211AT

    • 4 x Intel 82574L

    • 2 x Micron 4GB DDR3L-1600 (I decided to go with DDR3L-1600 since DDR3L-1333 costs the same)

    • 1 x Hitachi 7,200 RPM 500GB 2.5" SATA3 (I decided to go with a mechanical drive for now since I had read reports of pfsense killing SSDs)

    I've got 300/20 DOCSIS 3.0 from my ISP.

    Any thoughts on this particular processor, especially throughput with and without VPN?  I think 5 Intel NICs is a bit overkill for my use case (home office/home lab).  Currently my Atom D525 box is using only 3 out of 4 RealTek NIC (WAN, LAN, GUEST), though sometimes I use the 4th NIC for DMZ.  What would people use the 4th and 5th NICs for?  I spent some time looking for a cheaper set of hardware, but none had what I needed (at least 3 NICs and reasonably current hardware, in mITX size).  I'm well aware I could've gained more horsepower for cheaper/comparable price if I had gotten an i3/i5 mATX based pfsense box, but I'd really like it to be small and low power.  I considered waiting for the APU-1d4 to come back from backorder, but couldn't be patient enough :)

    For packages, I usually run snort, squid, and heavy traffic shaping.

    Any help is much appreciated!



  • Celeron Processor N2930 ARK link
    1 x Intel i211AT
    4 x Intel 82574L
    2 x Micron 4GB DDR3L-1600 (I decided to go with DDR3L-1600 since DDR3L-1333 costs the same)

    Ok, this would be a really rocking pfSense machine as I see it right.
    Only for the 7200 RPM HDD I would consider more a mSATA drive that is capable of TRIM support
    this would not so heating up this unit as the spinning HDD and its perhaps a little bit faster also.
    pfSense TRIM support

    If the 5 GB LAN Port is not really needed, you could have a closer look to this nearly identically
    mini ITX unit with nearly identically board and case, only 1 GB LAN Port less but 1 SIM slot on top.
    Jetway NF9HG-2930 Intel Celeron Quad Core Fanless PC w/ 4X Intel LAN, 2GB, M350

    The Alix APU is really wicked but to perform 300 MBit/s WAN and snort and heavily traffic shaping
    I would go more with the Jetaway units, because;

    • 8 GB instead of 4 GB total of RAM
    • 4 Intel GB LAN Port instead of 3 Realtek based GB LAN Ports
    • 4 CPU cores compared to 2 CPU cores
    • ~2,2GHz compared to 1,2GHz

    I spent some time looking for a cheaper set of hardware, but none had what I needed
    (at least 3 NICs and reasonably current hardware, in mITX size).

    Intel Celeron G3260 @3,2GHz & 8 GB RAM
    mini ITX Board with 2 Intel GB LAN Ports
    1 Intel I210-T1 NIC or Dual/Quad Port NIC
    1U or mATX case related to the PCIe card that then is needed

    I'm well aware I could've gained more horsepower for cheaper/comparable price if I had gotten an
    i3/i5 mATX based pfsense box, but I'd really like it to be small and low power.

    For sure not really cheaper as I see it right.

    For packages, I usually run snort, squid, and heavy traffic shaping.

    A SG-2220 & small GB LAN Switch with 5 or 8 Ports and capable of VLANs and QoS
    or a SG-2440 unit would be also really matching your criteria.

    • Low power and running Squid & SuidGuard & Snort is often coming with low throughput
    • mini ITX Boards are often comes only with one or two GB LAN Ports and then also based on Realtek
    • mini ITX case is often then not able to stich out the PCIe slot for a PCIe NIC card for more ports!


  • I've been looking at the Jetway N2930 units.  i'd really like to do the 8-core C2758 build, but not sure I can really justify the cost.

    The celeron should be capable of doing gigabit routing through NAT with enough leftover for PF/NAT overhead right?



  • @dopey:

    I've been looking at the Jetway N2930 units.  i'd really like to do the 8-core C2758 build, but not sure I can really justify the cost.

    The celeron should be capable of doing gigabit routing through NAT with enough leftover for PF/NAT overhead right?

    If its for home use, C2558 should be enough.



  • @pfcode:

    If its for home use, C2558 should be enough.

    Sure, I know the C2558 should be enough, but that's not the point.
    The Celeron N2930 is alot cheaper than even the C2558 which honestly isn't that much cheaper than a C2758 build.

    So I'm curious just what kind of throughput could be expected of the N2930.



  • I finally received the unit, and am now running pFsense 2.2.4 on it.  It handles my connection just fine, compared to my older Atom D525 which would sometimes experience slowdowns.  I'm only using 3 ethernet ports (WAN, LAN, OPT1) out of maximum of 5.  I noticed that annoying, the NIC daughtercard's ports don't get recognized in order (I think mine, from the left, is em0, em3, em1, em2) which gave a minor headache figuring out which port was which.

    I've got snort, squid, installed but haven't had time to configure it yet.  I've implemented heavy traffic shaping to prioritize accordingly VoIP, p2p, streaming, and OPT1 (which my housemates use).

    If anyone can point me to how to run some network tests, I'll gladly do it and post the results.

    Overall, the barebones unit has more depth than my old Atom D525's M150 chassis, by a few inches, so that could be a consideration for some people, but it's not a dealbreaker for me.



  • @grdk:

    I finally received the unit, and am now running pFsense 2.2.4 on it.  It handles my connection just fine, compared to my older Atom D525 which would sometimes experience slowdowns.  I'm only using 3 ethernet ports (WAN, LAN, OPT1) out of maximum of 5.  I noticed that annoying, the NIC daughtercard's ports don't get recognized in order (I think mine, from the left, is em0, em3, em1, em2) which gave a minor headache figuring out which port was which.

    I've got snort, squid, installed but haven't had time to configure it yet.  I've implemented heavy traffic shaping to prioritize accordingly VoIP, p2p, streaming, and OPT1 (which my housemates use).

    If anyone can point me to how to run some network tests, I'll gladly do it and post the results.

    Overall, the barebones unit has more depth than my old Atom D525's M150 chassis, by a few inches, so that could be a consideration for some people, but it's not a dealbreaker for me.

    how did you install, i have got my box here, but when i try to install it is only finding the 1st lan port, hope you can help!!!!

    i used the memstick img is that correct ? pfSense-memstick-2.2.4-RELEASE-amd64.img

    Andy.



  • First, been using pfSense since it first forked off of M0n0wall (started with M0n0) - great piece of software!

    Ok, so we tried to install pfSense 2.2.4 on one of these (JBC200F9N-2930-B), but with a 32Gig mSATA drive.  Installed fine, but will not warm reboot.  Cold boot works fine, but if you reboot from the console or the webGUI, it comes up and cannot find the drive (along the lines of 'No boot device - replace drive and try again').  Powering down, and then back on, and it boots just fine.  Reinstalled a couple of times - no change.  Replaced mSATA with a regular 120GB SSD, and it works fine - warm reboots without any issues.  With the mSATA, tried tweaking a number of settings in the BIOS - disabled other SATA port, disabled USB Mass Storage settings, disabled uefi - no help… Any thoughts?



  • So, figured out the issue with the mSATA drive.  Turns out that the BIOS defaults to 'Gen1' for the mSATA speed setting.  Setting this to 'Gen1' seems to have fixed the issue (that is, pfSense 2.2.4 will now do a warm reboot correctly).  The mSATA drive in question (came with the box) is a SanDisk SD6SF1 32GB drive.  Seems to be some sort of timing or reset issue during a warm reboot.  I also found that the pfSense boot loader runs a little faster with the following BIOS settings (no serious testing here, mostly perception, but the boot loader seemed to pause a few times with these at default settings):

    All of the various Video size (memory, aperture, etc) settings:  minimum settings
    IGD Turbo:  Disabled

    I'm guessing that this SanDisk mSATA is not a Gen2 drive…

    And, yes, the NIC sequence is a bit strange - from left to right:  igb0, em0, em2, em3, em1

    Hope this helps someone else - these seem like nice boxes for pfsense...



  • Well, one more update on this mSATA issue.  Not totally happy yet as it turns out.  The box will warm reboot consistently now, but it is quite slow, with a lot of long pauses early in the boot process.  Much slower than booting from a USB 2.0 stick (!).  Might do some more research on the FreeBSD forums, as once it starts loading the pfSense config, it is nice and fast with no pauses, so may be more of a FreeBSD issue with this box/drive combo.  However, for now, for these two, we are going to revert to a couple of Crucial 120GB BX100 SSDs…



  • Hi thanks for the helpful information.  I've recently bought the same Jetway and I'm running into the same issues as you.  Have you identified what might be causing the issue with using msata?  Thanks



  • Ok, it looks like changing the SATA mode from AHCI to IDE solved the issue.



  • Ok, it looks like changing the SATA mode from AHCI to IDE solved the issue.

    Thank you good to know.


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