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Author Topic: Questions on a new pfSense build - i5 7400, ASRock H270M-ITX/ac  (Read 142 times)

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Offline maxtoid

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Hi all,

New here, but an IT systems admin that has finally had enough of trying to run his home network (borderlining on enterprise-grade home network) through an Asus AC3200 router. The ASUS is a great router, but it can't keep up with the amount of traffic I'm pushing through it consistently (2 plex servers, 40+ wired devices, constant IO 24/7)... I have to reboot it almost daily and even then it could perform better.

It's finally time to build a machine that can handle my firewalling appropriatly, and keep up with the traffic I'm trying to send through it. I've been researching and researching across these forms for days, and here's what I have come up with:

+Motherboard: ASRock H270M-ITX/ac LGA 1151 Intel H270
-- My thought here is it has two onboard Intel NICs, the 1219V (apparently one of the best Intel desktop-grade NICs?), and the 1211, and it has onboard AC. I have heard Wifi is... sketchy... on pfSense? Or at least, it takes more processing power....

+Intel i5 7400 Kaby Lake
-- 3.0 quad core, turbo to 3.5 - I realize this is probably way overkill, but I figure better to over-prepare than under, yeah? And if I do create a wifi network off this, the 7400 should handle that fine. Using stock heatsink and fan... doubt I'll need anything better, especially if this is as overkill as I'm guessing it is.

+Corsair LPX 8GB DDR4 DRAM 2133MHz C13
-- I've read different things... some say 2gb is plenty, some say 4... one thread said if you're going to buy 4, might as well buy 8. Especially if it's only a few $ more for 8... and the mobo supports DDR4 2133 so I might as well use that.

+Samsung PM951 128GB NVMe M.2 SSD
-- I really don't feel like I need this... but it's $80... and it's an NVMe ssd, and I figure the board has an onboard M.2 ultra slot, might as well get the speed increase of NVMe if I need to buy SOMETHING, yes? If I'm wrong on that, let me know. It may be that I won't see ANY performance gains from running pfSense on a regular 32GB ssd vs this one, but if this one could offer any performance gains at all, seems like it might be worth it.

+Intel PRO/1000 Pt Dual Port Server Adapter
-- Not sure if I need this, but figured I have the slots on the mobo, might be useful to have a couple extra intel pro nics... this was the cheapest dual PCI intel pro card I could find... at only $45 doesn't seem like a bad deal. Says server grade, but obviously I can run it for desktop grade as well. Says it supports teaming, but I don't really have any uses for that so I probably won't use it.

+Thermaltake Core V1 Mini ITX Cube Case
--It's a little bigger than is probably necessary, but I have the space for it, and it looks nice... and it's cheap.

Thoughts and/or advice on this would be great. I don't KNOW what resource-heavy processes I might need, but I'd rather have a system that can perform flawlessly with the high amount of traffic I'm pushing through it, even if I spend a little more and only use 10-30% of the CPU most of the time. That way if I NEED it, and all of a sudden have to have all my devices pulling data through at the same time, I want it to be able to handle it. I'm fairly sure that's the bottleneck on my asus, is that it's a 1.7Ghz dual core processor, and I'm just pushing a Ton through it.

Outside of this, my whole network is connected by gigabit (Cat6/Cat7) and 5 or 8 port Netgear ProSafe Plus GS108E managed switches... everything is there for peak performance... I just need the device that can run it all with the most uptime, performance, and stability as possible. Do you guys think this will do the trick? Or is this still way overkill....?

Offline cwagz

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Re: Questions on a new pfSense build - i5 7400, ASRock H270M-ITX/ac
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2017, 10:45:03 pm »
How fast is your internet connection?

Offline maxtoid

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Sorry, meant to add that. I have 1Gbps fiber up and down

Offline athurdent

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Regarding WiFi, you should probably keep the AC3200 and set it to AP-only mode (presuming it does WiFi without problems). There's also no WiFi AC support in FreeBSD/pfSense.
If you just want to Firewall/Route/NAT, then a Core i5 or i3 might be overkill. If you want to run IPS/IDS or OpenVPN, things look different. For OpenVPN I'd head for a CPU with high single tread performance, it only uses one core ATM.