Mini PC with dual Intel NICs?



  • I have read a recommendation for this mini PC which is supposed to have dual Intel NICs…

    http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/Latest-windows-8-mini-pc-mini-fanless-desktop-pc-with-Dual-Intel-82574L-Gigabit-Nics-Walk/1501885_32255088559.html

    but according to the specs on that page it says:

    Network card RTL8168E PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet NIC

    so it sems it doesn't use Intel NICs at all.

    Does anyone know of a similar product spec wise which definitely uses Intel NICs?





  • That looks good, but is there a place that can sell to the UK?



  • @Waqar.UK:

    That looks good, but is there a place that can sell to the UK?

    A SG-2220 would be better then that small PC shown under the first link.



  • Will that be suitable for a gigabit down & up connection?
    I forgot to add is there a EU or a UK store where I can order this from?

    :)



  • @BlueKobold:

    A SG-2220 would be better then that small PC shown under the first link.

    It would be nice if you would explain your reasons.  The small PC has a better CPU w/ AES support, more memory, more storage, and is much cheaper (other sellers on Ali sell 8GB RAM, 64GB SSD for $220).  It does have RealTek NIC's which might be a downside but I believe several people have reported that they work fine (and are improved in the latest version).  I'm not saying you're wrong - I'd just like to hear the reasons.



  • A SG-2220 would be better then that small PC shown under the first link.
    Is my personal choice or meaning about the price shown under the first link from $158 - $311 and if
    someone is inside the USA it might be better in my mind to go with the SG-2220 unit for $299.

    • AES-NI
    • Intel NICs
    • M.2 SSD slot
    • miniPCIe slot for WiFI or other cards

    And this without any kind of knowledge of the real use case! Likes 1 GBit/s at the WAN or +Snort, +Squid,
    +VPN, +ClamAV, +pfBlockerNG or other packets on top. Other can speak out what they think about and I
    should be able to do that too.

    Will that be suitable for a gigabit down & up connection?

    Never in my eyes. I really think a SG-4860, RCC-VE-4860 or a Supermicro A1SRi-2558-F should be
    doing it right then.

    I forgot to add is there a EU or a UK store where I can order this from?

    The SG units for sure, one in the UK and two in Germany as I know it right.

    • voleatech
      Or as a cheaper self made appliance by using the Supermicro A1SRi-2x58 and a M350 case.

    It would be nice if you would explain your reasons.  The small PC has a better CPU w/ AES support, more memory, more storage, and is much cheaper (other sellers on Ali sell 8GB RAM, 64GB SSD for $220).

    This could be owed to the circumstance from what area we both are looking on this case. Here in Germany
    I can get also a nice PC Engines APU2C4 bundle (case, PSU & Board) for ~190 € as single spare parts and
    a cheap mSATA with 60 Gb on top for 40 €. Also with AES-NI, Intel NICs, Quad Core CPU and three miniPCIe
    slots + 1 SIM slot.



  • Thanks a lot. 8)

    At $699.00 (https://store.pfsense.org/SG-4860/)
    A quite mark up compared to your recommendation. would not an i3 based system be able to handle Gigabit?



  • would not an i3 based system be able to handle Gigabit?

    For sure, it will. Any newer Intel Core i3, i5 or i7 @3,xGHz will do that job.

    • But not silent and fan less
    • not power saving as other CPUs or SoCs
    • Often not with Intel Ports soldered onBoard
    • not together with 3 miniPCIe slots for modem + SIM, mSATA and WiFi card support

    I personally would alternatively think about an Intel Xeon E3-12xx v3 or v4 together with ECC RAM
    that would be more power saving but also routing 1 GBit/s with ease at the WAN. Only my 2 cents.

    Gigabyte GA-6LISL would be one of this boards tha lets you realize it also for the home usage but not cheap!
    Board, RAM and CPU will be ending up also nearly in the region of the SG-xxx or RCC-VE-xxx units.

    So if cheap and 1 GBit/s should be the goal, it owuld be more fine to get those informations first and not
    that all must be fingered out of the nose of everybody or plain must be guessed.



  • So if I get a 'older' generation such as a sandy bridge i3 dual core will that suffice for a gigabit connection?



  • Are you averse to building one yourself?

    The reason I ask is, I was looking for the same thing you are, but couldn't find anything affordable.

    My target was was a mini-PC with low power consumption and dual on board Intel NIC's, like a NUC, but none of the usual suspects offered this.  I found a few specialty embedded-type mini PC makers, but their products were either prohibitively expensive or they didn't give me a good vibe.

    So I decided to try to build my own on the (relative) cheap.

    My planned specs at the onset were as follows:

    • Try to find an open box or otherwise cheap LGA1150 mini-ITX server motherboard with dual intel NIC's

    • Pair it with a low power 35W TDB Haswell Pentium or Celeron, Pentium GxxxxT or Celeron GxxxxT  (I didn't want the Atom based Nxxxx or Jxxxx models)

    • Get 2x1GB sticks of the cheapest compatible ECC RAM I could find to stick in it.

    • Install to a fast Sandisk USB3 stick to keep both cost and power down.

    • Build it into a M350 enclosure and use a picopsu+60w brick kit from mini-box.com

    My theory was that this will produce a low power solution (hopefully idle at 15W or less) by using the super efficient pico-psu's and disabling all the features I won't be using for a dedicated router in the Bios (Sata controller, all but one USB controller, sound chip, etc.)  I'd disable the onboard graphics too, if they weren't needed for booting, hopefully they won't use much power just displaying the pfSense console.

    This ought to be both low power, REASONABLY cheap (<$400), yet because it has full desktop cores (Haswell) and not the Atom based Nxxxx and Jxxxx cores should be able to handle whatever I throw at it.

    Right out of the gate I screwed some things up though.

    I found a Supermicro x10SLV-Q mini-ITX motherboard open box sale on Newegg for $139 and free shipping, with dual Intel 210 NIC's.  I pounced.  I have lots of experience with Supermicro server boards, and I trust their motherboards over any other when I build servers. Since it was the last one left at this price, and I am so comfortable with Supermicro I moved a little bit quicker than I should have.  I didn't realize that this actually wasn't a server board, but rather an "embedded" board.  What this means in a nutshell to me is that I'm not getting ECC.  I've never before heard of a Supermicro board that didn't support ECC, but now - apparently - I have one coming in the mail.  Oops I guess?

    Based on my other thread in this forum, and my own knowledge on the subject, I don't think the lack of ECC will really hurt me, but I would have preferred to have it.

    So, the next problem was that those pesky 35W T series chips are surprisingly difficult to find, and when located cost much more than a low end chip should, IMHO, presumably due to their relative rarity.  After either not being able to find the chips, or only finding ones for $200+ (which would blow up my budget) I turned to eBay.  Since I no longer needed an ECC capable CPU (since the motherboard doesn't support it anyway) I found a 35W dual Core i5-4570T. (I've never understood why low end Celerons and Pentiums in the range support ECC but some i5 and i7 models don't).  It has some benefits over the models I was originally shopping for (turbo core and higher clocks, which should be great for the massive QoS I want to be doing) and some features I don't need (and might disable to save power) like HyperThreading.

    Anyway, the core i5 chip set me back $139 shipped.  The chip is reportedly new, pulled from a batch of new computers with significant shipping damage.  You never know, people lie on eBay, but I'll test the hell out of it when I get it to make sure it is good.

    Since I no longer need ECC RAM (since the motherboard doesn't support it anyway) I lucked out and saved some money here.  I'm upgrading the RAM on my fiance's Dell Latitude e6430s laptop from 2x2GB to 2x4GB, and the old RAM from that laptop should be compatible with the Supermicro board, so free RAM!

    I also ordered a 16Gb Sandisk USB3 drive for $8.  Sandisk is one of the few USB stick makers I have come to trust when it comes to booting operating systems from them. My plan is to install pfSense in full install mode on the USB stick, even though this is not recommended in the documentation, because I believe the Sandisk USB stick can handle it.  If I have problems,  I'll either grab my old 8GB Supertalent 2.5" Sata SSD I'm no longer using from the old parts bin, or pick up a small Supermicro SATA DOM to boot off of.  Either of these solutions will probably increase power usage over running off of the USB stick with the sata controller disabled in bios, but if the USB boot method isn't stable, this is what I'll do.

    The M350 Enclosure and PicoPSU combo package was ordered from Mini-box.com for $69 with free shipping.

    Because I bought my CPU as a pull on eBay I won't wind up having a boxed cooler for it, so I also had to order a low profile CPU cooler for it.  I wound up with a $12 Rosewill low profile cooler from Newegg.

    Everything else (thermal paste, cabling, etc) that I might need, I should have in the parts bin in my basement.

    So long story short, I think I'm going to be happy with this router build, despite the fact that I really wanted ECC, and didn't wind up getting it.

    Final specs are as follows:

    • Motherboard: Supermicro X10SLV-Q LGA1150 with dual Intel 210 NIC's

    • CPU: Totally overkill Intel Core i5-4570T, 2.9Ghz base, 3.6Ghz turbo, with HT disabled for power savings

    • RAM:  4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 SODIMMS left over from Fiance's laptop RAM upgrade

    • Drive: 16GB Sandisk USB3 stick

    • Case: M350 Enclosure from mini-box.com

    • PSU: PicoPSU 80 + 60W power brick kit from mini-box.com

    • CPU Cooler: Rosewill low profile cooler

    Total price: $367

    It should wind up looking something like this (not my picture):

    I'll receive the last parts for it on April 18th, at which point I will build and test, and use my Kill-A-Watt to measure the power use at the wall (both at idle and load)

    Wish me luck!



  • Very nice setup. I am considering building a desktop cpu based pfsense system. It must be able to handle gigabit. I have seen sandy bride 13 or even i5 cpu + motherboard + ram (4GB) going for £150 in the UK on eBay. Will they do?



  • You may be able to save a few write cycles on the USB stick by enabling /tmp and /var RAM disk.
    (System / Advanced / Miscellaneous)



  • @NOYB:

    You may be able to save a few write cycles on the USB stick by enabling /tmp and /var RAM disk.
    (System / Advanced / Miscellaneous)

    That's a great tip.  I will look into it.  I wonder if I could set this up such that it dumps the /var/log to the disk on shutdown, so I don't lose the logs.



  • This is the one I built last month, altogether < US$250.

    The board is Jetway NF9HG-2930, quad-core Silvermount N2930 CPU, with typical TDP 4.5W & max. 7.5W, in my build there is no any fan inside.
    1xmini pci-E + 1xmSATA (shared with one of SATA2 port) definitely enough for most applications.

    I used the M350 case bought from Amazon, this case has a removable front cover which allows you to hide 2 USB sticks inside, so I don't need those micro size USB memory for my firewall. I had thought about Silverstone PT-13 but the horizontal pci-e x1 slot is an obstacle, if you are willing to cut a hole on the case then this is actually a very good looking case.

    I live in Hong Kong so you know…..it can be very hot sometimes, during my test room temperature 20 degree Celsius, CPU temp around 40, so I would say this board will not overheat at all.

    I did iperf test for WAN-LAN throughput (with Macbook Retina + thunderbolt GbE as client & Macbook Pro 2010 + onboard GbE as WAN side), 940Mbps achieved easily with cpu loading ~30% (which is slightly more than 1 core's loading), and when I perform a bi-directional test it averaged at 790Mbps (it fluctuates as you see, but cpu loading usually < 60%), I guess the Macbook ethernet is getting problem under high stress.

    I actually had one more build last year, I bought those Intel 1037U + 6 x Intel LAN small firewall appliance from China, single direction 940Mbps NAT throughput is also possible (bidirectional might be a problem since 50-55% cpu usage for single direction already).

    Hope this can help.










  • @mattlach:

    Are you averse to building one yourself?

    The reason I ask is, I was looking for the same thing you are, but couldn't find anything affordable.

    My target was was a mini-PC with low power consumption and dual on board Intel NIC's, like a NUC, but none of the usual suspects offered this.  I found a few specialty embedded-type mini PC makers, but their products were either prohibitively expensive or they didn't give me a good vibe.

    So I decided to try to build my own on the (relative) cheap.

    My planned specs at the onset were as follows:

    • Try to find an open box or otherwise cheap LGA1150 mini-ITX server motherboard with dual intel NIC's

    • Pair it with a low power 35W TDB Haswell Pentium or Celeron, Pentium GxxxxT or Celeron GxxxxT  (I didn't want the Atom based Nxxxx or Jxxxx models)

    • Get 2x1GB sticks of the cheapest compatible ECC RAM I could find to stick in it.

    • Install to a fast Sandisk USB3 stick to keep both cost and power down.

    • Build it into a M350 enclosure and use a picopsu+60w brick kit from mini-box.com

    My theory was that this will produce a low power solution (hopefully idle at 15W or less) by using the super efficient pico-psu's and disabling all the features I won't be using for a dedicated router in the Bios (Sata controller, all but one USB controller, sound chip, etc.)  I'd disable the onboard graphics too, if they weren't needed for booting, hopefully they won't use much power just displaying the pfSense console.

    This ought to be both low power, REASONABLY cheap (<$400), yet because it has full desktop cores (Haswell) and not the Atom based Nxxxx and Jxxxx cores should be able to handle whatever I throw at it.

    Right out of the gate I screwed some things up though.

    I found a Supermicro x10SLV-Q mini-ITX motherboard open box sale on Newegg for $139 and free shipping, with dual Intel 210 NIC's.  I pounced.  I have lots of experience with Supermicro server boards, and I trust their motherboards over any other when I build servers. Since it was the last one left at this price, and I am so comfortable with Supermicro I moved a little bit quicker than I should have.  I didn't realize that this actually wasn't a server board, but rather an "embedded" board.  What this means in a nutshell to me is that I'm not getting ECC.  I've never before heard of a Supermicro board that didn't support ECC, but now - apparently - I have one coming in the mail.  Oops I guess?

    Based on my other thread in this forum, and my own knowledge on the subject, I don't think the lack of ECC will really hurt me, but I would have preferred to have it.

    So, the next problem was that those pesky 35W T series chips are surprisingly difficult to find, and when located cost much more than a low end chip should, IMHO, presumably due to their relative rarity.  After either not being able to find the chips, or only finding ones for $200+ (which would blow up my budget) I turned to eBay.  Since I no longer needed an ECC capable CPU (since the motherboard doesn't support it anyway) I found a 35W dual Core i5-4570T. (I've never understood why low end Celerons and Pentiums in the range support ECC but some i5 and i7 models don't).  It has some benefits over the models I was originally shopping for (turbo core and higher clocks, which should be great for the massive QoS I want to be doing) and some features I don't need (and might disable to save power) like HyperThreading.

    Anyway, the core i5 chip set me back $139 shipped.  The chip is reportedly new, pulled from a batch of new computers with significant shipping damage.  You never know, people lie on eBay, but I'll test the hell out of it when I get it to make sure it is good.

    Since I no longer need ECC RAM (since the motherboard doesn't support it anyway) I lucked out and saved some money here.  I'm upgrading the RAM on my fiance's Dell Latitude e6430s laptop from 2x2GB to 2x4GB, and the old RAM from that laptop should be compatible with the Supermicro board, so free RAM!

    I also ordered a 16Gb Sandisk USB3 drive for $8.  Sandisk is one of the few USB stick makers I have come to trust when it comes to booting operating systems from them. My plan is to install pfSense in full install mode on the USB stick, even though this is not recommended in the documentation, because I believe the Sandisk USB stick can handle it.  If I have problems,  I'll either grab my old 8GB Supertalent 2.5" Sata SSD I'm no longer using from the old parts bin, or pick up a small Supermicro SATA DOM to boot off of.  Either of these solutions will probably increase power usage over running off of the USB stick with the sata controller disabled in bios, but if the USB boot method isn't stable, this is what I'll do.

    The M350 Enclosure and PicoPSU combo package was ordered from Mini-box.com for $69 with free shipping.

    Because I bought my CPU as a pull on eBay I won't wind up having a boxed cooler for it, so I also had to order a low profile CPU cooler for it.  I wound up with a $12 Rosewill low profile cooler from Newegg.

    Everything else (thermal paste, cabling, etc) that I might need, I should have in the parts bin in my basement.

    So long story short, I think I'm going to be happy with this router build, despite the fact that I really wanted ECC, and didn't wind up getting it.

    Final specs are as follows:

    • Motherboard: Supermicro X10SLV-Q LGA1150 with dual Intel 210 NIC's

    • CPU: Totally overkill Intel Core i5-4570T, 2.9Ghz base, 3.6Ghz turbo, with HT disabled for power savings

    • RAM:  4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 SODIMMS left over from Fiance's laptop RAM upgrade

    • Drive: 16GB Sandisk USB3 stick

    • Case: M350 Enclosure from mini-box.com

    • PSU: PicoPSU 80 + 60W power brick kit from mini-box.com

    • CPU Cooler: Rosewill low profile cooler

    Total price: $367

    It should wind up looking something like this (not my picture):

    I'll receive the last parts for it on April 18th, at which point I will build and test, and use my Kill-A-Watt to measure the power use at the wall (both at idle and load)

    Wish me luck!

    So, I completed this build yesterday.

    I can report that at typical use levels, the CPU scales back to between 900 and 1500 Mhz, and power use is between 12W and 13.5W as measured at the wall with a Kill-A-Watt device.  Really not bad for an x86 device with full (non-atom) desktop cores.

    You have to enable the power saving settings in the pfSense configuration menu though, otherwise it doesn't scale back the clocks when not used and sits at about 20-22W.  (While there it also makes sense to switch the temperature readout to Intel Core settings, as for some reason it defaults to AMD K8 temperature readouts, and just sits permanently displaying 27.8C)

    I have never seen the unit draw more than 22W at the wall, but I have only loaded it up with speedtest.net, and my connection maxes out at 160/160Mbit.

    I fully expect both power use and clock speeds to go up once I enable full QoS, which is my next little project once I get done with my massive VMWare ESXi to Proxmox/KVM/LXC migration I am doing in parallel to my router upgrade.



  • Try to push it to a higher load with iperf test like me, and you will know how far it will go.


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