Safe Motherboard purchase?



  • Ok 4 part question. I have been checking around on Newegg for motherboards and trying to find hardware listed on the FreeBSD 6.2 Hardware compatability list, without much luck.

    1. I was curious to know if since nVidia actively develops FreeBSD x386 drivers for its northbridge if that would be the safest bet to go with?

    2. I also read a couple places on this forum that there is a pfSense 1.2 release based on FreeBSD 6.3, but I am unable to locate it.

    3. I realize this is a very broad question and that FreeBSD 6.x are getting dated (by what I saw with motherboard hardware compared to the compatibility list) but as far as other hardware chipsets go (SATA is all I can think of at the moment as important for a remote access web GUI) Does anyone know any manufacturers/3rd parties that develop modern hardware drivers for FreeBSD 6.x or even 7.x for pfSense 1.3?

    4. Does FreeBSD and/or pfSense have any type of semi-automated driver/OS/package updating akin to Microsoft Update?

    Thanks in advance.



  • 2. http://blog.pfsense.org/?p=207

    3. Intel is my bet.

    4. No is the short answer. But as you can see on blog with the dns security problem an update will come. That can also happen if a new product gets a lot of attention (alix in the past maybe intel atom board in the future).



  • 1. Any takers yet? Intels are still pretty much ruled out at this point, unless I am missing something.

    2. Thanks for the link there Perry, Im pretty excited now that I realize I have 7.0 to play with and get a feel for.

    3. I have checked Intel's website, and their 3 prospective single cpu server class motherboards that had 2+ PCIe slots do not have BSD or even UNIX listed on the drivers downloads OS selection.

    4. Again, thank you for the info Perry. I have not seen the blog really yet, but I will be sure to check it out and see if I find any useful information.



  • OK, even though I'm looking to build a pfSense 1.2.1 based on FreeBSD 7.0 machine, and I am still having difficulty finding a "sure thing" motherboard that is guaranteed to work. I have not found anything in the way of nForce drivers here or at nvidia, although on the FreeBSD 7.0 Release Hardware Notes here: http://www.freebsd.org/releases/7.0R/hardware.html#INTRO it states the following nForce chipsets as being supported:

    nForce
    nForce2
    nForce3
    nForce4

    Can anyone inform me of what variations of these are known to work/not work under the default drivers?

    Can anyone point me in the direction of current nForce FreeBSD drivers?

    Can anyone point me in the direction of better motherboard chipset for FreeBSD?

    If at all possible I would like to find something easily purchasable from Newegg, preferably server class but that is not a requirement.

    I am also concerned about a SATA chipset driver, if anyone has any bones to throw me regarding that as well.

    This is getting pretty difficult, Thanks in advance guys



  • In the main, the drivers you need are built in to FreeBSD, rather than downloaded - which is why you won't see driver downloads offered for many boards or cards. In a similar vein, there's less need for something like Windows Update - you simply update pfSense to the latest version (or FreeBSD if you're not using pfSense).

    Anything that needs a downloaded driver will be harder to get working with pfSense than anything for which the driver is built in to the FreeBSD kernel.

    If you're looking for server class, why not go for a machine that others have already used successfully. I'm not the only person using a Dell PowerEdge R200 for pfSense. This is an inexpensive single socket 1U server that's fairly low end - single PSU, non hot-swap hard disks, though remote management is available (mine has it). The two built in NICs are bge devices (Broadcom NetXtreme gigabit) which work fine under FreeBSD, including with ALTQ (the traffic shaper technology used by pfSense) and 802.1q VLANs. Dell do not enable AHCI in the BIOS, so if you want RAID, order the SAS 6/iR option (which will work fine with SATA drives). There's two PCI-E x8 slots unless you have remote management, which reduces you to one slot.

    You will have to use the pfSense 1.2 on FreeBSD 6.3 (which I'm running), 1.2.1-BETA or 1.3-ALPHA-ALPHA snapshots for an R200, because it uses an ICH9 SATA controller which is not supported in FreeBSD 6.2.

    Pretty much the entire Dell PowerEdge range works just fine in a recent enough version of FreeBSD - the same is true for the server ranges of other Tier 1 manufacturers. If you want higher end, the 1950 III, 2900 III and 2950 III work under FreeBSD - these are basically the same machine in different form factors. Of the three, the 1950 III may be most suitable for use as a firewall. (I do have a 2950 III running FreeBSD 7.0, but it's too high end a machine for my firewall needs).

    If you want to buy a board and processor, Intel boards tends to be the best supported by FreeBSD. Outside special cases like ALIX boards and some of the VIA mini-ITX boards (which are well supported under FreeBSD), I stick to Intel chipset boards.



  • IT will support a lot of stuff.  You are buying new? I've installed around 20-30 of these for work and 2 for personal use.  I've installed for work on p4's with sata drives and onboard intel nic and 2 netgear nics.  Personal use, i've used a p2, a few different p3's with no issues at all, using 10/100 intel cards, and onboard intels, and 1 3com.

    Are you only building 1 box?  This will run perfect and efficient on a p3 1.2ghz, which is what I have mine running on with no issues or notice of slowdown.  I have the 2nd one on my father's home network on a p2 450 running smooth too.  The p2, bought fo 10 bux at a yard sale, for pc, kb, mouse, and monitor.  My p3 bought for $15, keyboard, mouse, monitor and pc….I'd go yard sale shopping if I were you.  Or have your wife keep a lookout like I do.  She calls and says I found one...15 bux...I talk to the person selling, they tell me it's slow, and it's a p2 or p3 and they say you can have it all for 10-15 bux usually.  Im thinking to myself man thats great for a pfsense box for 15 bux..nice.  I have an another HP for $15 this weekend, I'm going to test pfSense on it too,prolly 1.3 alpha.  The people at yard sales think in terms of XP and it cant run it smooth, but I can definitely tell you it's plenty for this.

    Good luck.



  • Thanks for the info guys, Yes I am buying new, and I'm thinking of just going 100% Intel hardware from the looks of it. I understand that those old 15 dollar junkers are great for applications like this, but those aren't exactly professional looking. I would like to be able to market these to people I do networking for once I get one running myself and get all the kinks worked out. It seems like 1.2.1 is the best release, I have not really checked the forum about it yet to see what is broken at the moment, but if there are problems, I'm confident that based on what I see comparing the 6.2/6.3/7.0 hardware notes that the hardware should maintain across all 3 releases.

    Cheapest Intel Motherboard with 2x PCIe - $64.99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813121323

    Cheapest Intel Processor for the Motherboard - $124.99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115052

    Cheaper Memory 2x 1GB Kingston CAS lat. 4 - $55.98
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820134065

    Cheapest Name Brand SATA 3Gbps HDD - $38.99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136195

    2x Intel NICs - $173.98    These 9400's come with standard and LP brackets.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833106010

    Cheapest 2U Rack mount Chassis - $79.99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811219023

    Cheapest Name Brand 300W Power Supply Unit - $29.99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817194023

    Anyone see any reason why this wont work?

    Price tag so far: $568.90 + Tax ~$46.94 =$615.84 + Shipping + Shipping Tax so basically this is a ~$650.00 version of a $2500 firewall.



  • Question was partially answered at the smallnetbuilder crosspost.

    PSU is wrong size for chassis. May fit (barely), but it won't be mounted properly. Hardly professional. Also, the cost of a PSU is inversely proportional to the probability of it bursting into flames. You don't want to skimp on the one device that can damage everything else.

    I don't know if the retail CPU heatsink will fit in a 2U chassis.
    Ditto for the oversized passive northbridge cooler.

    2U chassis requires low profile NICs. That's the LP designation.

    TBH, it sounds like you have no experience with rackmount equipment. I suggest either getting a 4U case or finding a suitable barebones 1U.



  • The chassis manufacturer's website clearly states that ATX power supplys are a viable option for this chassis. Pretty professional if you ask me. And this computer is way over powered for what it is doing. I may be wrong, but I hardly think a larger PSU is necessary for how much of this computer is going to just be sitting mostly idle.

    From my experience the fan/heatsink combos that come with CPUs are WAY smaller than the 3rd party ones i have picked up from thermaltake, etc. Remember, the fan/heatsink shipped is what the manufacturer (Intel) KNOWS will run this thing under normal (non overclocked) conditions for the least amount of money (read: smaller). I'll go ahead and see if i can get measurements on the CPU heatsink/fan to see how close it is, but i doubt this is a problem. Hell if the heatsink is too big I just buy a shorter 2U heatsink. This is not a serious issue.

    Height of the chassis is 4.3" or 88mm. The shipping dimensions of the mobo (mobo inside the mobo box, probably inside a shipping box as well) is 3" so the northbridge heatsink is not a problem.

    I stated in my last post I know I need low profile NICs.

    No, I don't have much experience with rack mount equipment,  And suggesting I a buy a 4U because I am not as experienced as you is just ridiculous. Why don't I just go buy a tower and lay it down sideways on a shelf in there? I will learn just as much doing it that way. I went and checked bare bones 1U, sorted by 1U, manufactured by Intel, ordered by price. I got up to $950+ items without seeing one with 2 PCIe slots. And I really don't think you can even have more than 1 expansion card, even with different sized 90 degree plugs they would be too tall.

    Thank you for the constructive criticism though.



  • I understand the desire to learn - but there's also a place for buying an 'off the shelf' solution and knowing it will work when it comes to rack mount servers. You're not going to get some kind of weird compatibility issue when you put all your pieces together, or some hard to debug cooling problem.

    If you head over to dell.com and select rack mount servers in the Small Business store, you can choose the R200. The base configuration is US$699 - and it will work just fine with the built in NICs, so no need for add-in NICs unless you need more than two hardware NICs (one is enough if you have 802.1q VLAN capable switches). Now, I realise that the base configuration is very much base - I would add in at least a DVD-ROM, and at least a dual core processor. 2x1GB of RAM is so cheap that it would be stupid not to. The rack rails are, unfortunately, an extra cost item as well - add those, otherwise you can't mount the chassis in the rack (this is not a practice I've seen from Dell UK). There'll also be the usual Dell shipping charge to add. With my suggested upgrades, it will work out around US$950 including shipping, with no need to mess around ascertaining compatibility and the like. (For what it's worth, the R200 uses an SATA optical drive - so I can assure that that given the necessary controller support, SATA optical drives work fine with FreeBSD and pfSense).

    If you have any sort of relationship with Dell already, you may well be able to negotiate a lower price, especially if you're ordering other items at the same time. I'd send you contact details of my account manager, but it won't do you any good unless you're in the UK.

    However, I can assure you that the machine will run pfSense (so long as you eschew the 1.2-RELEASE build in favour of the 1.2-RELEASE build based on FreeBSD 6.3, or a 1.2.1-BETA build; pfSense 1.2-RELEASE is based on FreeBSD 6.2-RELEASE which is too old to support the ICH9 SATA controller in the R200 as I said in my first reply). There's thousands of these things in datacentres around the world, doing various jobs - I have heard of them being used in web server clusters, or as cheap machines for "dedicated server" hosting products.

    In the interests of fairness, I should also point out that the PCI-E slots in the R200 are one x4 and one x8, not two x8 as I had originally stated. There's a riser that lays the cards on their side, so you don't need low profile cards.

    There aren't many enterprise customers building their own servers - they tend to buy ready made servers, largely from HP, Dell, IBM and Sun. I'll certainly do what I can to help and advise if you go for the DIY solution, but my advice would be to go for a good name brand machine, especially for a 1U box.

    Edit to add…

    If you're going to be needing some volume of these, it's probably worth contacting Dell for a price. I realise the desire to have a box that you stuck your own name on, but really any x86 hardware solution you settle on is going to be COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) parts. IMHO, your value-add is the service you sell - you aren't just supplying a machine and a pfSense CD, you're supplying a service. In some ways, using hardware from a major vendor enhances the image of you as a company.

    If you are serious about being professional, I would hope that you felt able to tune the machines fairly carefully, rather than select parts based on the 'cheapest name brand' available. The hassle of doing this with parts going obsolete all the time is another reason to consider sourcing machines from a major vendor.

    Another advantage of going with Dell is the possibility of fitting the DRAC card, which will allow you to remote manage the server from the console. You can even set up a virtual optical drive and install a new OS remotely. There is something of a 'chicken and egg' scenario here, in that you can only use the remote management features if the customer site has Internet access - but it's still something worth thinking about.



  • I agree with David_W. Don't build your own systems if you're thinking about selling these machines to others. You really don't want to get involved with the hassle of warrenty issues.

    All major server builders offer decent SLA's so you can guarantee a defective server will be replaced in a certain amount of time. Just be sure to let your customers know that defective hardware will be replaced by the manufacturer and not yourself ;)

    So basically what you'll be selling is the knowledge of how to deploy a PFsense machine properly, plus a small percentage for the hardware and of course the time it takes to install and test a new installation. How well you do this depends on how much you learn about PFsense and basic server hardware. The main thing you should keep an eye on is that you know exactly what you're doing. When you can troubleshoot problems with servers yourself (or with a little help here and there), you're good to go.

    Don't ever experiment with a server that's for a client, always take the save route and go with what works. This sounds obvious but when a client wants a server yesterday and all you can get on really short notice is a server with only slightly different hardware, things can go seriously wrong. It's better to wait a day or two then to cause a lot of extra work, or worse: down-time.



  • I do understand your logic with that David, and I agree with it to a point as well. For the customer that wants one installed as quickly as possible and never wants to remember it again the Dell poweredge R200 look like a decent machine for this application. It depends though, each side has its ups and downs. Lets face it, there is nothing wrong with the "cheapest" brand name hardware. So what if its the cheapest? I know its all compatible. The cheapest hardware I can put together on newegg is magnitudes more powerful than just about all routers available from SOHO to even small corporations and enterprises. As stated here before, FreeBSD will run on any old junker. Like a 386 or 486 example mentioned in the FreeBSD manual. And outside of HDD failure, once something in these machines go, Dell or whomever will probably have them listed in the end of support category who knows how many years later. How do you handle parts replacements/warranties on those? What if the customer wants this thing to be a main switch as well? multiple wan inputs? most of those custom fab boards from hp/dell/etc have lousy expandability potential. I will even be able to throw 1 or 2 WIFI cards in the PCI slots and use it as an AP when I'm ready.

    But this machine I am building now is for personal use, both as a home router and a toy to learn on. When I get comfortable enough with it and learn the ins and outs then the customer can decide what route they want to take as far as hardware. It would be easier for both of us to get the dell, but its cheaper for him and more money for me to 3rd party it once I know what hardware works. Some guys will want the quickest, some the cheapest, and some of the eccentric types will want the biggest, baddest, most expensive and powerful machine that can be made today. The latter are the most fun, and my favorite.

    And I do feel comfortable tuning and tweaking settings on them. Upon further reading of the MB manual I found out the info on newegg was false, this is a 800mhz board, so the price has been kicked down another $100 on CPU and RAM savings. right now its at less than $600 shipped. That's about a $200 savings off the R200 with better performance to boot. AFTER their "instant savings" of $200 already. That's over $400 cheaper than list price.

    That DRAC does look pretty awesome though. Check out Intel's AMT. Thanks for the advice.



  • @Bril:

    there is nothing wrong with the "cheapest"

    Please don't take this the wrong way, I'm not trying to insult you or anything. But yes there is.

    A 'server' has to be online most of the time. If a company looses internet connectivity it means most employees can't work, which results in loss of revenue at the end of the day. Depending on the size and nature of a company, a few hours down-time can cost tens of thousands of dollars if not more.

    So a few hundred dollars more for a server that can save an hour or two of down-time in it's lifespan is a sound investment. The reason you pay more for a brand-name server is because the hardware is properly tested and software most often runs just a little more stable on it.

    I've seen a lot of custom build servers, and they run just fine. But brand-name servers simply run a little better and have way, way better warranty.Therefore they are cheaper in the long run.



  • Quoted out of context there Jantje.

    And no, there Isn't. The reason it's the "cheapest" now is because the technology is a year or 2 old. If I would have given you the same equipment list when it was fresh on the market a year ago, you would have had the same reaction if I gave you a list of fresh on the market equipment today. "Wow top of the line stuff, sound investment." Now its not top of the line anymore, but does that make it less reliable than it was when it was top of the line?

    I know it has to be online most of the time, that is why I referred to, and what you cut out, name brand equipment. Brand name equipment is brand name because it only breaks under extreme stress and very rarely from mishaps in the manufacturing process. I'm not going to get into a flame war here about the reliability and proper testing and ease of use of prefabbed by 3rd party computers, but the software point you made there is mute. Do any manufacturers ship their equipment with pfSense on it?

    Regarding the customer loosing money with an outtage well, depending on how much money they make, and how much is at stake for every hour they are offline, you could wrap up $30,000+ in equipment, redundancy, power backup, etc. pretty quick. You make a valid point, but its far too general. Whats at stake for being offline for any amount of time is dealt with case by case. for example, if the customer is going to loose tens of thousands of dollars or more for an hour or two down, hell no I wouldnt build him a server. i would buy the most expensive one on the market, maybe a spare for backup, and some UPS's for each. On the other hand, if its Joe Blow the small-medium business owner, his pockets might be tight and he isn't all that reliant on the internet in his workplace for his workplace to function.

    Come on guys. You act like I got my $600 router built in my living room and I'm off to market it to online sales companies and hosting operations and such. Most companies wont go for a custom built, some smaller ones will. I'm not trying to make it the cornerstone of my business. This is a side project. I certainly wouldn't make the only option available to the customer my custom built rig. The prefabbed ones are faster and easier, and as you guys love clinging to, they have that warranty for a while. Point here is, I want one custom built for me.

    And my opinion on warranties Isn't that great. Over a long enough time frame, they are all worthless. On a side note, if it was a custom rig, the downtime from an equipment failure would be less costly IMO, since I can just run to Fry's or whatever and pick up a replacement right then instead of tearing it apart and waiting for the mailman to do his thing, dell to do their thing, then the mailman to do his thing again.

    Yes I'm a noob to pfSense.
    Yes I'm a noob to BSD.
    Yes I'm a noob to Rack Equipment.
    And yes I'm a noob to Servers.

    But the only way I am going to cease being noobish in these areas is to go out there and mess around with them. I know enough about computers and networking to feel comfortable enough taking the plunge in building and learning this stuff. I don't want to be solely a maintenance technician and installer. It almost seems like you guys are attempting to deter me, like I'm gonna monopolize the market or something.  :D



  • Case: "Height of the chassis is 4.3" or 88mm."

    A 2U case is rated for 1.75" x2, or 3.5". Don't depend on any more space than that. U isn't an arbitrary form factor, it's a standard size.

    NICs: "These 9400's come with standard and LP brackets."

    Where did you see that? There is an important distinction between "available in full length and low profile" and "comes with both brackets." You can get a guaranteed low profile NIC for less than half the cost at the same site you linked: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833106007

    PSU: "Pretty professional if you ask me."

    Go to any PC enthusiast forum and ask "hey guys, why shouldn't I use the cheapest PSU I can find?" If you don't already know the answer, they'll set you straight. Be sure to mention that you you'll also have it crammed into a limited airflow case.

    Or you can chalk it up as a "learning experience" when you are blackballed by a customer once they realize the reason for their week-long outage was because you wanted to save $30 on a PSU. If Joe Blow doesn't need the Internet, then he definately doesn't need a custom built router. The one off the shelf at Best Buy is fine. For $600, he can buy a dozen, and get wireless.

    Usage peaks on startup. Newegg says you need at least a 260W: http://educations.newegg.com/tool/psucalc/index.html
    Power ratings are usually optimistic: http://corsair.com/cinema/movie.aspx?id=622747

    Chassis: I believe I've figured out where the PSU goes. Front of the case, upside down. That's awful for channeling airflow, but it could be worse.

    "No, I don't have much experience with rack mount equipment,  And suggesting I a buy a 4U because I am not as experienced as you is just ridiculous. Why don't I just go buy a tower and lay it down sideways on a shelf in there? I will learn just as much doing it that way."

    I didn't say that to belittle you; it's good sense. But I'll start now. :) 1) I think you insist on a rackmount case because it's rackmount. Oooh. Pedestal servers are everywhere; I'd say a good 2/3 of the servers I install are towers (currently 100% for retail locations). Getting a 4U case saves you the trouble of having to deal with size constraints, thermal management (well, to a lesser extent), and reduced component selection. And it's cheaper to boot, Mr. Only Going to Spend $30 on a PSU. As for not learning anything, I can't say that you won't learn anything, because i just mentioned many of the considerations. But your problem is that you're not learning it through research (U size, for example), you only find out because people are telling you why what you're suggesting is a horrible idea. If they don't, then you'll be paying for it, through incompatible parts.

    "It almost seems like you guys are attempting to deter me, like I'm gonna monopolize the market or something."
    There is nothing more irritating than a guy who asks a question, but already "knows" the answer.



  • Thanks for the tip on the U standard size, I knew it was out there but didn't bother to look for it, I figured the number I got from the manufacturer would be sufficient. My mistake.

    I heard the 9400's come with standard and LP brackets straight from Intel tech support email. The 9300's do not come with LP, and newegg currently isn't stocking LP 9300's. that was my reasoning there.

    Its not the cheapest PSU I could find, there are ones on there for 13 bucks. I went with a known name brand, Enermax, which I have yet to hear anyone here say anything good or bad about specifically, you guys are stuck on the $$ factor. $$ aside, is that Enermax PSU good or not? There is not a great power requirement here, why am I going to buy a 500W PSU from the same brand when 300W is plenty? I know what underpowered PSUs do to you. I bought a "portable" case with a 260W PSU in it a while back, stuck a micro atx and geforce 7600 in it. Worked great unless I wanted to play UT2k4. I finally stuck the parts in another case and PSU and trashed it, it had started randomly rebooting on me. That was a none name brand PSU as well. This system has got a weaker CPU, no PCIe Vid GPU, 1 less power hungry HDD vs 2 larger, higher RPM drives, 2 optical drives, and a FDD, generally a lot less power consumption than the average computer.

    A week long outtage is a pretty extreme example to cite. It's not like I'm flying cross country to get customers.

    My reasons for wanting rackmount: 1. To get experience with it. Oooh. Is that so bad? 2. This equipment is going to go into a closet that was designed for a furnace originally. If I throw a pedestal in there, I have essentially lost about a cubic yard of real estate. if its a rack mount, I can slap it under the shelf. I'm not worried about thermal restraints, this ~3x3x8 closet has its own AC duct now, And the case has 4 80mm fans in it, that will give it a ton of airflow IMO.

    Why would I come here asking advice if I "knew" the answer? I was trying to make the point that some of the feedback I have gotten here has been seemingly borderline malicious in tone. Maybe I took it the wrong way. I do that sometimes. If I was truly being arrogant I wouldn't have registered here in the first place. It's been rocky but I have managed to learn a great deal from you guys already, and believe it or not, for how bad of an idea this apparently is, I do appreciate you guys keep telling me why my crap sucks. You cant see yourself (or your toys) the way others see you (them).



  • Talking in general here, because all brands have their ups and downs. But in general, Enermax is "meh, ok" but not much more then that. I would never buy an Enermax PSU myself ;)

    Better PSUs are made by, for example, Tagan, Seasonic, Procase, Enlight, Thermaltake and Antec. But again, this is just in general. For specific PSUs you'll need to read a couple of decent reviews and line-ups. Sites like Tom's hardware and AnandTech are great resources in that aspect. Because even though I'm not too fond of Enermax, they do make decent PSUs from time to time. You just have to know which ones if you're planning on getting one.

    One thing's for sure though: a 'good' PSU will cost more then $50,-

    As for putting a server inside a closet. That's not a problem as long as warm air gets sucked out of that closet. If warm air accumulates you'll end up with a really hot closet. Seriously, if you put a regular PC inside a closet with no ventilation, it'll heat up to such a degree that it will crash or simply shut down. The case will be so hot that it's uncomfortable to touch. That happened to me once when the airco failed. But on the bright side, right up untill the point of catastrophic failure it was a nice and quiet experience ;)



  • Man…that was a lot of reading.  Everyone had some good points too.  In the end it is still your decision.  I build all my stuff and some friends and family from scratch too.  However for what you are doing, and the prices you had...and not to sound like a Dell salesman, they have been through several tests before selling.  Also if issues come up it will more likely that someone else may have similar hardware.  I know for the last company I worked for we bought a dell server just for DHCP and it was around 700 bux?  Looked great too.  I put quite a few of them in and was amazed on how cheap it was.

    You said something about wireless, I read some on how people did wireless here with their PCI cards.  That would be fine in small area, but if you are going to do this professionally, the room where the server is may be pretty far away.  So a regular nic would work and just hang ap's off that way.  I work for another place now and we have several pfSense machines with an interface called WiFi for our wireless...with our firewall blocking anything from WiFi lan from getting to our network.

    Let us know what you do...sounds like you are on your way to doing some good things, I thought of doing this on the side as well.  I like this product a lot and have even offered to put firewalls in friends in families home setup for fun, as long as they know there is no instant support if it breaks.  Cause most of the stuff I'm using are the 10-20 buys from yard sales. heh...easy enough to replace, and cheap.



  • @Bril:

    Thanks for the info guys, Yes I am buying new, and I'm thinking of just going 100% Intel hardware from the looks of it. I understand that those old 15 dollar junkers are great for applications like this, but those aren't exactly professional looking. I would like to be able to market these to people I do networking for once I get one running myself and get all the kinks worked out. It seems like 1.2.1 is the best release, I have not really checked the forum about it yet to see what is broken at the moment, but if there are problems, I'm confident that based on what I see comparing the 6.2/6.3/7.0 hardware notes that the hardware should maintain across all 3 releases.

    Cheapest Intel Motherboard with 2x PCIe - $64.99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813121323

    Cheapest Intel Processor for the Motherboard - $124.99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115052

    Cheaper Memory 2x 1GB Kingston CAS lat. 4 - $55.98
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820134065

    Cheapest Name Brand SATA 3Gbps HDD - $38.99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136195

    2x Intel NICs - $173.98    These 9400's come with standard and LP brackets.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833106010

    Cheapest 2U Rack mount Chassis - $79.99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811219023

    Cheapest Name Brand 300W Power Supply Unit - $29.99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817194023

    Anyone see any reason why this wont work?

    Price tag so far: $568.90 + Tax ~$46.94 =$615.84 + Shipping + Shipping Tax so basically this is a ~$650.00 version of a $2500 firewall.

    Uh, yeah. When putting components together for consumers, instead of cheapest, cheapest, cheapest…. Try Works, Functional, Quality. If I were to find out I bought ANYTHING from someone like you, I would punch you straight in the face. Thief!


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