Yikes! 70W on a Dell Optiplex!



  • I just got my new (old) Optiplex/Core2 Duo set up and it's drawing 70W average! Where I live, that's about $6/month in power.

    …So I think I want to spend $70 or less on one of those integrated boards and swap it out. I am fine with buying used on eBay, but could use some recommendations. I already have an Intel PCIe dual NIC, so a motherboard that has a slot would be nice.

    Other than that, I am light user who will be running a 50/50 connection, 4 clients at the most, and occasionally I will openVPN into my network (but when I do, nobody is home). I would like to run Snort and Squid just to learn them. I am thinking this might be much for an Atom. Maybe I should go up to a Celeron? I'd like to keep this under 20W.

    Thoughts on a board?

    …or is the problem the power supply? Would I be better suited installing an efficient PSU instead? Could I get it down to 35W that way?



  • Less power using is a really big concern today for home usage and for sure the most peoples were
    looking for something cheap also, but combining this together will be not even so easy as thought.

    My suggestions for your home set up would be the following.
    PC Engines APU 1D4 complete bundle with 3 miniPCIe & SIM slots
    This is not for $70 and around but really less using power.

    Jetway NF9HG-2930 board only
    Jetway N2930 with 4 Intel GB LAN Ports with 2 miniPCIe & SIM slots ready to go
    Jetway N2930 with 5 Intel GB LAN Ports with 2 miniPCIe slots ready to go

    This options are also not for $70 but you are getting much headroom on top and they are all
    using a really small power budget so that you will perhaps in some years having back your investment.

    And related to your small wishes this could be a long time running option for you.

    I would like to run Snort and Squid just to learn them.

    But this must be also running on the box also only for learning!

    On top of your wishes only ClamAV is not there and then we are talking about a full featured UTM device
    and to drive this with accommodated speed and throughput, what should it be, drawing only some watts
    but activating nearly all that is sucking power!?



  • Let's compare this to server platforms:

    • modern Dell blade server takes 80-375W with avg. around 85-90W depends on load
    • modern Dell rack server takes 110-250W with avg. around 115-250W depends on load (and CPU technology)
      But:
    • modern PC is between 70W (Intel) and 140W (AMD)

    Because of this issue we're working on porting BSD to ARM platform, which take ~5W without additional modules. Definitely good choice for router.



  • Because of this issue we're working on porting BSD to ARM platform, which take ~5W without additional modules. Definitely good choice for router.

    You you come closer who´s "we"?

    And by the why if this is allowed to ask, why not porting it to MIPS based platforms
    that can be used much better for a router device, likes the MikroTik RouterBoards or
    the UBNT Edge router series, they all come with enough power and ports!



  • @TooMeeK:

    • modern PC is between 70W (Intel) and 140W (AMD)

    whaaaaaaat?



  • @Bear:

    I just got my new (old) Optiplex/Core2 Duo set up and it's drawing 70W average! Where I live, that's about $6/month in power.

    (snip)

    …or is the problem the power supply? Would I be better suited installing an efficient PSU instead? Could I get it down to 35W that way?

    I have a bunch of similar boxes deployed for various purposes.  70W is when both cores are running at maximum.  Avg 30-35W when the systems are "idle" - which includes an Intel Dual Gigabit NIC.  I've verified this via kill-a-watt meters at the wall outlets.

    Since it seems you state you are learning, and no one else has bothered to suggest something that is actually useful:

    1. In the Webui > Dashboard > System Info > CPU Type : what is the CPU speed reported?  Is it always showing the maximum speed?

    2. Have you enabled powerd?  If not, search the forums for how to use/enable.  The pfsense wiki apparently has no obvious tutorials I could find otherwise I'd post a direct link to the article.

    Every Dell/Core2 box I've used pfsense (from version 1.2 on to 2.2.4) on requires powerd enabled to throttle down the system to a manageable power consumption.

    If you do have powerd enabled, I'm curious as to what model optiplex and core2 processor you have in there.

    Good luck…



  • @tirsojrp:

    @TooMeeK:

    • modern PC is between 70W (Intel) and 140W (AMD)

    whaaaaaaat?

    Yup.  That was my thought too.  Total exaggeration.
    My Acer i5 notebook doesn't draw no 70W.  Can have it directly on lap all day long and it doesn't hardly even get warm.

    Intel NUC doesn't consume no 70W either.

    Somebody must be stuck in the last decade.  Hey, TooMeeK, 2005 called.  They want their heater, uh I mean PC, back.



  • Discussing this point is quite difficult until you clearly define what kind of service you're going to deliver.
    If you run pfSense with, e.g. HTTP proxy + squidguard or AV, then ARM will never fit your performance expectations.
    If goal is to deploy pfSense as a firewall "only", ARM might be one of the best choices  8)

    f.i. Banana Pi BPI-R1 is definitely platform I would consider, even if this is about twice your cost target.

    This being said, the ultimate and perhaps blocking question is about ARM platform with pfSense: I've no idea and haven't tried yet  ;)



  • And by the why if this is allowed to ask, why not porting it to MIPS based platforms

    I and friends. In our free time. It's a hobby, not goal itself. I hope You undestand.

    whaaaaaaat?

    That.

    I have a bunch of similar boxes deployed for various purposes.  70W is when both cores are running at maximum.  Avg 30-35W when the systems are "idle" - which includes an Intel Dual Gigabit NIC.  I've verified this via kill-a-watt meters at the wall outlets.

    70W? My first server was taking this power at average. The average is based on experience - I was using different CPU and technologies and measured them with Withenergy (and other) power meters. Servers were measured by PDU wattage report or server itself (if available for server).

    Yup.  That was my thought too.  Total exaggeration.
    My Acer i5 notebook doesn't draw no 70W.  Can have it directly on lap all day long and it doesn't hardly even get warm.

    Intel NUC doesn't consume no 70W either.

    Somebody must be stuck in the last decade.  Hey, TooMeeK, 2005 called.  They want their heater, uh I mean PC, back.

    Hey, wake up! We're not speaking about LAPTOPs, but PCs! But anyway, You have partialy right.. these CPUs were old, but newer aren't (AMD FX series, Intel Xeon 5600 series). Still taking lot of power.

    f.i. Banana Pi BPI-R1 is definitely platform I would consider

    Yes, I was thinking about Banana, but not with built-in switch (R1). Use VLANs. Use Gigabit port. Should handle up to 100-200Mbit for such config with some tweaking.

    EDIT:
    I'm sorry for misunderstanding. Here are my records from archive:
    old server running Celeron 1.7GHz min. 40W max 110W, avg 42W, 3.7W powered off (standby), 90W at 80% CPU load, one disk, switch + server + UPS + modem
    old AMD FX server, 6 core, max 103W, avg 85W, 115W switch + server + UPS + modem, 3 disks
    newer Intel server, 12 cores, avg. 115-130W switch + server + UPS + modem, 3 disks
    now: Intel server, 12 cores, taking 91-95W @ load avg 1.58 1.67 1.72,  but now only server + UPS, 3 disks



  • I am awake.  Laptops/Notebooks are PC's.  So are NUC's, and other NUC style devices.  And in many cases make good pfSense appliances for far less than 70w.


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