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Author Topic: Potential Build Advice  (Read 13046 times)

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Offline wrems

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Potential Build Advice
« on: May 04, 2012, 10:27:38 am »
I've built a couple of pfSense routers in the past.  All have been with old decrepit hardware and now I want to build a nice one.

This is what I have so far:

How does this combination look for a pfSense build?  Any recommendations or other hardware considerations?  I'm still in the planning stages and welcome any and all comments about this process so I get it right the first time.

BTW, are there any links to good prices on Intel nics?  Is there a specific model I should be opting for in either a dual or single?  Id prefer a dual but a single will work.  Is it wise to purchase used Intel nics off ebay?

TIA for your help and input!

Offline wrems

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Re: Potential Build Advice
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2012, 12:25:22 pm »
Ok, so I've already changed my mind, I think.  I would still go with that case M350 but I would substitute the board with this one:


It's hard to beat the dual Intel nic built into the mobo.  Combine this with the M350 case/pico psu, 2GB ram, HDD and I think I have a really pretty decent router.  All for about $165 shipped.  That's sans ram and hdd.

Offline sab

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Re: Potential Build Advice
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2012, 08:13:43 pm »
How did the install go? I might purchase this board but some have said they ran into problems with the video drivers.

Offline wrems

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Re: Potential Build Advice
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2012, 06:59:56 pm »
I haven't pulled the trigger yet.  I too have read those other users troubles with the drivers and have been reluctant.  I'll probably still pull the trigger on this in the near future.  I'm not in a big hurry, at the same time, I want to get it right and not have problems to contend with.  It seems like the perfect mobo. 

Offline stephenw10

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Re: Potential Build Advice
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2012, 04:58:26 am »
Which drivers are you worried about?
There were some reports of newer Intel NICs being unsupported but I seem to remember that they worked fine if you used 64bit. Alternatively the 2.1 snapshots are becoming more and more stable and will almost certainly support anything on that board.

Steve

Offline wallabybob

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Re: Potential Build Advice
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2012, 06:53:03 am »
Which drivers are you worried about?
If I recall correctly problems on that board were reported with the video driver in 64 bit mode.

Offline RocKKer

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Re: Potential Build Advice
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2012, 03:30:06 pm »
This setup seems to work well and was easy!

I got:
D2500CCE
M350-enclosure-with-picoPSU-80-and-60W-adapter
2X4GB - picked it up at Fry's B&M

Re-purposed a 1TB Sata fullsize I had sitting around.

I installed W7 in order to prove the hardware (I ran HCI memtest and LinX - (linpack) each for ~12 hours) while W7 was installed, I updated the BIOS and disabled unnecessary BIOS devices. I'm sure there are Linux version of stress testing packages but I am more familiar with W7 stress testing, so for me it was quicker/easier to set up. I also pulled the CPU heatsink and replaced the thermal paste with Arctic Silver 5, during the tests (case top off) the passively cooled CPU cores never got above 52C! (79F ambient room). (Currently with case top off, it just sits at ~50C! ambient 77F - With case on it runs ~58C).

After it passed all the hardware stress tests I initially tried 64bit pfSense but I didn't get past the video issues - it looked like video wouldn't scroll during install - one line overlayed the next while not completely erasing the previous line, not sure if the install could have gotten past that or not. I wasn't that patient so I aborted and installed 32bit pfSense-memstick-2.0.1 (i386 from a USB flashdrive). There were a few video issues at install, ie: white squares where characters should have been, and blank lines on some of the graphics, hit the F10 to refresh and got thru it easily enough.

This is for my home network so my configuration is not very complex at all - I came from a DD-WRT, so there was a bit of a learning curve to get pfSense configured. I played with it a short time on a private network and got familiar with the basics. I replaced the DD-WRT router with pfSense and it's been up working for all of 1 day!

I plan to upgrade the the HDD to an SSD soon and swap to 64bit when FreeBSD supports the video better.

EDIT - Changed the temp info, originally the case top was off, when I put it on the CPU temps rose to ~58C (ambient was 79F), which is still I believe, well within Intel spec's.
EDIT #2 - Kill A Watt says 23 watts.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2012, 12:21:02 am by RocKKer »

Offline wrems

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Re: Potential Build Advice
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2012, 09:54:15 pm »
Thanks for all the info RocKKer!  BTW, did you ever hook up your new rig to a Killawatt?  I'm wondering what the draw would be.

Offline RocKKer

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Re: Potential Build Advice
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2012, 11:11:00 pm »
Sure, I will Kill A Watt it later tonight!

Offline stephenw10

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Re: Potential Build Advice
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2012, 09:20:49 am »
23W, nice.  :)
Is that with the 1TB sata disk?

Steve

Offline wrems

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Re: Potential Build Advice
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2012, 10:12:44 am »
23W, nice.  :)
Is that with the 1TB sata disk?

Steve

Thanks for the update.  I was wondering this too.  I am thinking that an SSD would be a great addition to my original rig.  That would cut the wattage draw too. 

Offline RocKKer

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Re: Potential Build Advice
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2012, 11:57:37 am »
Yes SATA (SATA 300), it's a WD "green". (wd10eads).

Offline RocKKer

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Re: Potential Build Advice
« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2012, 12:45:01 pm »
Update: I've got SSD installed. OCZ Agiltiy 3 60GB - power usage is down to 18!

Offline stephenw10

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Re: Potential Build Advice
« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2012, 05:08:50 pm »
A useful reduction and good solid information. Thanks for the update.  :)

Steve

Offline RocKKer

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Re: Potential Build Advice
« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2012, 07:54:30 pm »
I noticed a couple minor quirks about this Mboard:

- After a power failure it will not power back on unless you push the power button. I changed the bios to "on" after power resumes but no change. The enclosure has a jumper that enables autostart, so the button is always "on", but still no change.
- The little speaker on the Mboard is a bit loud so I put some tape over it, quieted it down rather nicely.


EDIT - Checked Intel, there is a bios update (5/11) which fixes the power issue I was having.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2012, 08:25:59 pm by RocKKer »