Commell LV-673



  • Hi,

    I'm building a small Captive Portal system running on pfSense. The system is already running fine on a really old Pentium II system for testing purposes, but I'm planning to replace it with proper hardware in order to put it in production.

    The motherboard I found that more fits my needs is Commell LV-673 ( http://www.commell.com.tw/Product/SBC/LV-673.HTM )

    Before buying it, though, I'd like to know if it's fully supported, or if something isn't working fine on either pfSense 1.2 or 1.2.1. Also, if this motherboard won't work properly, may someone suggest me any similar Mini-ITX PentiumM/Intel Core 2 motherboard with 2 Ethernet controllers?

    The features I need the most to be working properly are:

    • IDE controller

    • SATA controller

    • 2x Ethernet controller
      (I read somewhere in the forum about Marvell chipsets not being supported on 1.2…is the issue solved on 1.2.1? They seem to be present in FreeBSD 6.3 HCL)

    • Serial port

    Thanks in advance
    ~Alucard



  • The 1.2.1 snapshot builds of pfSense are based on FreeBSD 7.0 which claims support for the Marvell 88E8053 Gigabit LAN which I presume would be the same as the 8053 listed in the board specs. (FreeBSD supported hardware list for 7.0 is at http://www.freebsd.org/releases/7.0R/hardware.html )

    I would guess the driver (msk) is included in the kernel but I don't have any experience yet with the snapshot builds. If I recall correctly its a fairly new driver to FreeBSD but I think those Marvell chips are reasonably commonly used in motherboards so the msk driver is probably built into the GENERIC FreeBSD kernel.



  • If you want an alternative, Liantec has been mentioned in the forums as a source of mini-ITX boards that can be ordered with Intel NICs. Intel NICs are the preferred option for pfSense - they're the best supported of all vendors in pfSense, as there's someone at Intel actively maintaining the drivers.

    The other option is to buy any old mini-ITX board and fit a PCI Intel server NIC with the appropriate number of ports. Server NICs are preferred over desktop NICs - FreeBSD will use many of the extra capabilities.

    If you're still hunting, it may be worth tracking a Liantec board down (start by searching the forums for Liantec) - though as wallabybob says, the Marvell driver has been added to FreeBSD 7.0 which will hopefully work.



  • Hi,

    I have been with this tiny board for 2+ years now running FreeBSD 6.0 thru 7.0, and recently moved to 1.2.1/1.3 when pfsense incorporated newer kernel 6.3/7.0 respectively.

    Yes, the Marvell chips were a kind of headache while using FreeBSD but it's now supported officially and works just fine with the msk driver, however, I would recommend using the myk driver from Marvell themselves because it is much more stable than the one in the current kernel. You can of course need to rebuild and configure the pfsense kernel which won't load its default msk driver but myk driver. That's what I do now.

    One last note, if you decided to go with kernel's msk driver, don't forget to add the following line in your /boot/loader.conf;

    hw.msk.msi_disable="1"

    otherwise your Marvell will easily screwed up with the messages below even in light/moderate traffic…

    msk0: watchdog timeout
    msk0: link state changed to DOWN
    msk0: link state changed to UP
    msk0: watchdog timeout (missed Tx interrupts) -- recovering

    Hope this helps.


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