HW for 1Gbps pfSense system is an E8500 sufficient?



  • I want to try out pfSense by using an old PC that I have.  One of my motivations is that my existing router is an Asus RT-N66U and it can't handle my WAN speed of 330 Mbps, at least not when HW acceleration isn't on and for some reason it seems to not be working.  Also, my ISP (Rogers Cable) is supposed to be rolling out 1Gbps in the next year and I wonder how many routers can handle WAN speeds that fast?  I don't want to use the router that comes built into the Gateway devices, which is likely made by Hitron, as these are generally horrible, especially compared to the flexibility of pfSense.  I don't care about Wifi as I have several Ubiquiti Unifi WAPs in my house.

    The PC that I have is a Dell OptiPlex that has an Intel E8500 3.2GHz C2D.  It has one NIC on the mobo (likely an Atheros chip) and I hav epurchased an Intel PCIe NIC.  Should that be fast enough for a pfSense system to allow full usage of 1Gbps?  I will likely be occasionally using OpenVPN but not too much other funky stuff on the router other than port forwarding.



  • For only 1 GBit/s at the WAN port not a problem as I see it right and if you want to use
    or install some packets you might be inserting 4 GB till 8 GB of RAM, if you want to use
    Squid as a proxy server you might be inserting a SSD drive for more speed and if you
    need more LAN ports you might be installing a server grade dual or quad port Intel NIC
    that is better supported with drivers inside the pfSense code likes;

    • Intel i350-T2/4 or
    • Intel i354-T2/4 or
    • Intel i210-T1/2/4 or
    • Intel i211-T1/2

    But if you are inside of a country where electric power is hard to pay, I would personally
    think about a smaller and more low power appliance that comes with a more modern CPU,
    faster RAM and also a smaller form factor to save much more money over the electric power
    if this is a home installation. A SG-2440 and above unit from the pfSense store might be also
    interesting for you.



  • Thanks Frank. I wanted to go this route, at least for now, since I don't have to buy any hardware, except for one Intel NIC and I can always use that on another PC.

    I live in Canada where my average electricity cost is about C$0.20/kWh.



  • Thanks Frank. I wanted to go this route, at least for now, since I don't have to buy any hardware, except for one Intel NIC and I can always use that on another PC.

    I would be aware of the internal NIC inside of this PC and would be more tend to another one made by Intel
    and then also a server grade one over a consumer one. But in all cases with more then one Port for sure!

    I live in Canada where my average electricity cost is about C$0.20/kWh.

    Oh ok this might be long away from the costs in Germany here. If I run a PC such yours
    for 5 or 6 years I spend something around ~500 € more then you and this might be
    prevent by using a smaller Intel Atom C2x58 based appliance.



  • Just to let you know that I am using 2 of similar HW CPU E8500 ( PC-Fujitu-Siemens ) and E8400 ( PC-Lenovo ) each with 3Gb RAM ( and 3 & 4 LAN's Gb ) connected also with OVPN site to site without any problem.
    At the moment I am not running Gb WAN because I need a converter from fiber to Gb UTP or an Emulex LPe11002 PCIe card but I have no idea if pfsense support this Emulex hw.

    Consumption is ~45W / h.


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