New build for my father



  • I need to do a new build for my father but I am really torn on what to go with. I have narrowed it down to two choices but am open to alternatives. He is on a Cox residential connection which I think is 100/10 but he is in an area with 300/30 available and potentially 1Gb in the future. It's a 20 hour drive each way so my ability to support him is limited. He gave me a $300 budget to work with. My big concern is reliability and openVPN speed for the future once Google gets to my side of town.

    Part of me wants to tell him to purchase a SG-2220 and be done with it. It fits the budget but it's older technology with 2 cores, limited RAM and will likely never be upgraded from the onboard 4GB flash. The other big downside lack of VGA which will make it difficult for him to setup. He wants to set it up himself which really means me working blind over the phone to walk him through everything and he would have to find the console cable in the future if there is an issue.

    The second best option I have found is the Zotac CI323. It's on backorder for a few weeks but with a 64GB SSD and 8GB RAM will be about $80 less and more future proof spec wise. The biggest downside I see here is Realtek NIC's which could limit speeds in the future, cause disconnects or even become a non issue when 2.3 drops.

    What would you go with in this situation?



  • I'd go with a used notebook and smart switch.  Has built-in console (keyboard/display) and built-in UPS.

    LAN - native/physical
    WAN VLAN 99

    Anyone in the family and friends circle have an old notebook they'd like to part with?



  • $300?  Get this from the store and call it a day:  https://store.pfsense.org/SG-2220/

    I set up the negate version of that ($30 cheaper, I had to load pfSense myself) for my parents and it's probably overkill.  Has no problem handing 1GB and the Rangely Atom CPU has hardware crypto support support.

    It comes with 2GB of RAM and a 4 GB SSD.  For the money it's really, really hard to beat.

    And it just works, and works well.  You could whip something together - I scoured the forums for ideas, but after trying all kinds of other combinations the SG-2220 is really hard to beat.



  • Part of me wants to tell him to purchase a SG-2220 and be done with it. It fits the budget but it's older technology with 2 cores, limited RAM and will likely never be upgraded from the onboard 4GB flash.

    With the SG-2220 your father would be fine going if he wants to set up pfSense only as a firewall.
    The RAM and eMMC storage make it "ready to go" and the pre-installed and tuned ADI/pfSense store pfSense
    image will be exactly matching the hardware that is inside of this device. Again, without squid and Snort and
    HAVP (ClamAV) it would be enough. If more space is needed you/he can easily insert a M.2 SSD and on top if
    WLAN is a point to add a miniPCIe slot is also free inside. So all in all it would be e real fine thing to start with
    pfSense, if this might be not enough for you or your parents, it would be perhaps better to have a look on the
    SG-2440 unit, a little bit more in price but with more RAM, LAN ports and miniCPie + 1 SIM slots.



  • The SG-2440 is out, for that money I would build him a Supermicro box like the Rangeley sitting in my rack and it was though enough getting him to part with $300 for a router. This will be mainly just for firewall, NAT and OpenVPN between his house in California and mine in Texas. I'm still having a hard time saying no to the Zotac CI323. The specs are a lot better other than the realtek NICs, it's $150 plus $35 RAM and $35 SSD which is also a plus.

    I am thinking the N3150 CPU would be better in the long run for OpenVPN speed. We share videos and stuff which is currently limited by my 20Mb upload which doesn't take much to keep up with but I am in an area Google is deploying gigabit which makes me think the N3150 would allow for more speed.



  • This will be mainly just for firewall, NAT and OpenVPN between his house in California and mine in Texas.

    Pending on this it would be enough to go with an PC Engines APU2D4 or Jetway N2930 based device.

    Jetway N2930 ~$250 (board case & PSU)
    8 GB RAM ~$40
    mSATA 32 GB ~$40
    All in all ~$330

    PC Engines APU1D4 ~220 € with pre-installed pfSense

    PC Engines APU2C4 ~190 € (board, case & PSU) (AES-NI)
    mSATA 32 GB ~40 €
    WiFi ~40 €
    All in all ~270 €

    up with but I am in an area Google is deploying gigabit which makes me think the N3150 would allow for more speed.

    Good luck to you for both.


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