MX945GSE board - enough for home use?



  • Hi guys,

    a friend gave me this board from their closing warehouse and I was thinking to make a decent router out of it and retire my dd-wrt one.

    The good thing is it has 2 Intel Gigabit NICs onboard and fanless. I would use this for our house (4 people, a few laptops, a OBI200 VOIP, a HTPC and a FreeNAS server and I need QoS) and I wonder if it's capable to serve it considering that the mobo only supports a MAXIMUM of 2GB memory according to manufacturer specs and I want to avoid speed problems.

    Also is it OK to use an SSD as I read that it writes intensively to the disk or is it better to use a laptop HDD?

    Thanks for your input.


  • Banned

    Hi!

    I'm running some smaller pfSense 2.3 devices (one with 1 GB RAM) and full-install on SSD and even with snort it's OK at a 100/100 MB fibre link, although it takes some time for a snort update. Normal home-use should be no problem at all.

    If you care about SSD wear-out you can keep /var and /temp in the RAM, should work anyway. But I would not care to much, as discussed here frequently…



  • @2chemlud:

    I'm running some smaller pfSense 2.3 devices (one with 1 GB RAM) and full-install on SSD and even with snort it's OK

    Thanks for the quick reply :)
    So if I get what you're saying right then 2GB is plenty/enough…


  • Banned

    Go for it. ;-)



  • So, he posted it yesterday and hopefully will be with me next week (coming from the other side of the pond) I have also bought a SM CSE-101i case as this was £3 more expensive as the M350 which is the cheapest box I could find in the UK.

    I was wondering if you could tell me the benefit of more than 2 NICs on a pfSense box? Is it just to eliminate the use of a switch or rather to create completely separated LAN segments?

    Thanks



  • I was wondering if you could tell me the benefit of more than 2 NICs on a pfSense box? Is it just to eliminate the use of a switch or rather to create completely separated LAN segments?

    Definitely: NO, Yes!

    IMHO using extra NICs as quasi-switch ports is simply poor use of hardware at best and counter productive leading to poor (or complete lack of) performance at worst.

    Extra NICs opens up the possibilities of Multi-LAN, Multi-WAN setups and all their variations.


  • Banned

    @makesnosense:

    … to create completely separated LAN segments?

    Thanks

    Yepp! :-) Very helpfull (if configured correctly) to keep guests/potentially contaminated stufff etc. out of your "real" network. And/or to service your box on a network not otherwise accessible, or or or …. :-)



  • Thanks guys!

    @divsys:

    IMHO using extra NICs as quasi-switch ports is simply poor use of hardware at best and counter productive leading to poor (or complete lack of) performance at worst.

    I do have a switch (Netgear GS108T) so that won't be a problem :)

    @2chemlud:

    to service your box on a network not otherwise accessible

    You mean in a commercial environment, right?

    I'm still worried about the 2GB memory limitation of this board though.
    I've bought a UniFi AC-AP-Pro and I want some of the features which are only available when running their controller 24/7 and some reported 2GB of memory usage by running the controller and all the underlying apps the controller needs (Java, etc)

    I need time restricted internet access for the kids (continuously) & guest WiFi (occasionally). I reckon I could do the first one with pfSense much better than with the UniFi controller but what about guest WiFi?



  • @makesnosense:

    I need time restricted internet access for the kids (continuously) & guest WiFi (occasionally). I reckon I could do the first one with pfSense much better than with the UniFi controller but what about guest WiFi?

    Simply setup VLANs on pfSense to create separate networks for the kids and guests.

    Then setup separate SSIDs for the kids and guests and tag them with the respective VLANs.

    This way, you get to use pfSense to control/ schedule access rather than relying on the Unifi controller (except to setup/ configure/ update the access point(s)).



  • @dreamslacker:

    Then setup separate SSIDs for the kids and guests and tag them with the respective VLANs.

    Thanks for the reply.
    The VLAN segments are fine but I've thought the SSID can only be assigned on the UniFi. My bad…

    Board will be delivered on Saturday, the AP, the SSD & the case are already here so I hope it's raining on Sunday ;)



  • About the only thing that would concern me is the lack of 64 bit support. And concern may be a bit strong of a word to use. pfsense will eventually be going 64 bit only and 32 bit hardware will leave you with a dead end as far as an upgrade path goes.

    But for the price you got this board for it's worth it.



  • @Jailer:

    About the only thing that would concern me is the lack of 64 bit support. And concern may be a bit strong of a word to use. pfsense will eventually be going 64 bit only and 32 bit hardware will leave you with a dead end as far as an upgrade path goes.

    But for the price you got this board for it's worth it.

    Yeah, it does.
    I was looking into the ASRock AD2550R/U3S3 but it's a bit pricey…


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