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Author Topic: ECS KBN-I/2100 AMD APU E1-2100 ITX board  (Read 11081 times)

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Offline Darkk

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ECS KBN-I/2100 AMD APU E1-2100 ITX board
« on: December 06, 2013, 12:13:01 am »
I've been using PfSense for several years and firm believer of this project.  I was using dual core Intel ATOM ITX motherboard by JetWay for several years and decided it's time for an upgrade.  Biggest reason for the upgrade is passive heat sink and more RAM for packages.  Did some digging around for best board that won't break the bank so I found one on newegg:

ECS KBN-I/2100 AMD E1-2100 Dual Core processor Mini ITX Motherboard/CPU/VGA Combo

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813135364

After rebate it's around $50 which isn't bad at all.  But had to get a new power supply combo because the original jetway case the DC-to-DC converter only supplied 20 pins instead of 24 required on the new board.  I found a very neat product that actually puts all of this directly onto the connector thus saving some space inside the case:

http://www.mini-box.com/picoPSU-150-XT-102-power-kit

It's picoPSU-150-XT + 102W Adapter Power Kit which replaced the DC-to-DC converter and power supply with a beefier setup.  Pretty easy to install after I remove the old components out of the case.

Then had to get the PCI-express riser card and dual gigabit NIC by Intel.

Took awhile to get the old stuff removed and then had to modify rear of the the case to accommodate new PCI express card since it didn't align up exactly like my old PCI cards due to different height of the riser card.  Few mins with a wire cutter was able to remove extra pieces of the metal to make room.  Pretty easy to do.

After I got all of the mix of old and new stuff together in the modified old case.  Off to fire up fresh PfSense CD to install.   Ran into an interesting quirk soon after I defined the NIC card as WAN and LAN it immediately rebooted.  This happened every time so had to fiddle around with the settings in the BIOS by turning off extra stuff I don't need.  Took awhile finally found it.  I had to disable the ACPI power management.  Soon as I did that system became very stable.  Everything else left as default in BIOS except disabled the onboard LAN which is by Realtek and didn't seem to recognize it.  No big deal since it's not a great network card to begin with.

Then after reading around the forums about this type of APU processor I noticed somebody mentioned about AES-NI feature.  It was disabled by default in PfSense so I turned it on and reboot.  Behold got this in the log (yay!):

kernel: aesni0: <AES-CBC,AES-XTS> on motherboard

So far it's been running great.  Performance-wise it's a little better over the dual core ATOM 1.6Ghz.  But like the idea the new processor runs alot cooler and low power consumption.

Below is what I am using:

AMD E1-2100 APU with Radeon(TM) HD Graphics
Current: 400 MHz, Max: 1000 MHz
2 CPUs: 1 package(s) x 2 core(s)

4 Gigs of RAM PC12800 but running as 1066 which is fine.


2.1-RELEASE (amd64)
built on Wed Sep 11 18:17:48 EDT 2013
FreeBSD 8.3-RELEASE-p11

Enjoy!


« Last Edit: December 06, 2013, 12:16:00 am by Darkk »

Offline tirsojrp

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Re: ECS KBN-I/2100 AMD APU E1-2100 ITX board
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2013, 05:43:09 pm »
Did you test the motherboard with the Jetway PSU?

Most MB work just fine with 20pins PSU. I have several units using PicoPSU 80 without any issues.
#1 - Fitlet-b  | GS110TP | UAP AC-Lite
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Offline Darkk

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Re: ECS KBN-I/2100 AMD APU E1-2100 ITX board
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2013, 09:37:18 pm »
No I didn't try it since I thought you had to use 24 pins for it to work instead of just 20.   Besides the power supply kit wasn't expensive and gave me decent power brick.  Already went through two fried power supplies the past couple of years even tho it wasn't drawing alot of power.  The latest incident made me think about just overhauling it anyway.

Thanks for letting me know.


Offline stephenw10

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Re: ECS KBN-I/2100 AMD APU E1-2100 ITX board
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2013, 07:41:45 am »
Any idea how much power it is drawing?
Looks like an interesting board, I've been looking for something to replace an ancient VIA M9000 for a while now. It's well past it's use by date and not really up to the job for anything much.  :'(
Can you get the Realtek NIC recognised using an updated driver? I thought the 8111E was supported out of the box by 2.1 though.
https://forum.pfsense.org/index.php/topic,65355.msg365028.html#msg365028

Steve

Offline Darkk

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Re: ECS KBN-I/2100 AMD APU E1-2100 ITX board
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2013, 02:54:49 pm »
It didn't recognize the onboard NIC at all during install.  At the time I was having heck of a time to get it to be stable so I turned off alot of devices to see what is causing it.  At the end it was the power management feature that was messing it up.  Cool and Quiet works fine.  PowerD feature in PfSense works fine which correctly controls the clock speed of the processors.  Whatever reason the thermal sensors does not work in PfSense so may have to see if I can find a package that will.

When I get a chance I will re-enable it and see if it sees it or not.  It's headless at the moment so have to hook up the monitor and keyboard to it so I can get into the BIOS.  Need to anyway to check on something.


Also, this board supports secure boot.  It's one of those new BIOS that uses UEFI.  Fortunately FreeBSD 8.3 didn't have a problem with it.  Disabled or not it had no effect on booting. 

I took a risk using bleeding edge stuff that may run into problems with FreeBSD 8.3.  Other than that one glitch it's been working fine.  I will let you know about the onboard NIC and power draw.
 
« Last Edit: December 07, 2013, 03:02:33 pm by Darkk »

Offline Darkk

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Re: ECS KBN-I/2100 AMD APU E1-2100 ITX board
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2013, 09:25:04 pm »
Didn't get a chance to hook up the monitor and keyboard to enable the on-board NIC yet but able to get the power draw for you.  At boot up draws around 22 watts with the spinning hard drive going at full speed.  Then it hovers around 16-18 watts on average.  Never really got past 18 watts at full load of the processor, this includes heavy transfer via VPN IPSEC using AES feature built in the processor.  I'd imagine if you use squid it'll probably push the power draw around 20 watts.

Not bad for a firewall that is going to be running 24/7.  This is with a 500 gig laptop hard drive and dual NIC server class Intel PCI express card.  The power brick can supply over 100 watts so definitely overkill with this setup.   

Offline stephenw10

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Re: ECS KBN-I/2100 AMD APU E1-2100 ITX board
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2013, 09:34:59 pm »
Thanks for that. That's nice and low, should be ok in my passively cooled case.

Steve

Offline Darkk

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Re: ECS KBN-I/2100 AMD APU E1-2100 ITX board
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2013, 09:56:34 pm »
I just re-enabled the onboard NIC and it's a no go.  Tried a few things such as making sure the network cable is plugged in to be sure that power management wasn't turning it off.

Nadda.  So yeah it's odd that FreeBSD 8.3 didn't seem to recognize it.  Even during install it never did.  It could be something with the chipset?

Like I said I'm fine with my Intel add on card.

Offline Darkk

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Re: ECS KBN-I/2100 AMD APU E1-2100 ITX board
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2013, 09:57:53 pm »
Thanks for that. That's nice and low, should be ok in my passively cooled case.

Steve

Yes, since you mentioned it I have noticed my case is now alot cooler than my previous setup so going to ahead and set the fan to silent so it'll come on only if needed.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2013, 12:35:08 am by Darkk »

Offline Darkk

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Re: ECS KBN-I/2100 AMD APU E1-2100 ITX board
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2013, 10:56:46 pm »
Ok, this is odd.  I've ran phpsysinfo and it sees the on board NIC:

-   re0: RealTek 8168/8111 B/C/CP/D/DP/E/F PCIe Gigabit Ethernet

But nowhere to be found on the interface page to assign re0:

Hmmmm


Offline stephenw10

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Re: ECS KBN-I/2100 AMD APU E1-2100 ITX board
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2013, 05:11:14 am »
If it's a later revision 8111E or an F or G you will need newer drivers than ship with 8.3.

Steve

Offline Darkk

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Re: ECS KBN-I/2100 AMD APU E1-2100 ITX board
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2013, 05:43:43 pm »
That would make sense.  Probably FreeBSD 10 will have this covered.

Offline Fevan

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Re: ECS KBN-I/2100 AMD APU E1-2100 ITX board
« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2013, 10:47:35 am »
Lovely work Darkk I am glad to see other people taking large note of finding an AES NI enabeled CPU for VPN/Openvpn use not to mention to find a cpu with low power draw like 10-20 watts !

It would be awesome if the new pfsense got released for xmas with 10.0 support and updated nic drivers included.

Was going to order something very similar as yourself but was going to go with the AMD A4-500 (1.5ghz quad) cpu which uses 15 watts max most importantly it supports AES, I may still get it and then a low profile HP NC360 intel dual nic card.

I would be very interested if you can post performance (once up and running) of your bb speeds and how the cpu overhead is doing with AES enabled,  hopefully you max out your VPN connection and bb speeds :)

Offline Sabrewarrior

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Re: ECS KBN-I/2100 AMD APU E1-2100 ITX board
« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2013, 02:25:37 pm »
Hello, I just got the same board! I plan on making a proper router out of it. Still trying to figure out what mPCIe card to use that will actually work. All the ones I have lying around are Intel which have terrible hostapd support.

As for the on board NIC (8111E) you can either compile the driver, instructions for which are on my blog in my signature (driver information is towards the end) or you can download the Realtek if_re.ko v1.83 amd64 driver I have built http://www.mediafire.com/download/18y790u3kuule6s/if_re.ko just put that at /boot/modules/if_re.ko and in /boot/loader_custom.conf or /boot/loader.conf add the line if_re_load="YES"
« Last Edit: December 16, 2013, 02:27:28 pm by Sabrewarrior »

Offline Darkk

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Re: ECS KBN-I/2100 AMD APU E1-2100 ITX board
« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2013, 08:45:46 pm »
Sweet on the on-board NIC drivers.  I will give it a try soon.  I haven't tried using the mPCIe slots yet.   I was going to use the wifi card for it but already have an external dual band access point that works. 

I've tried using WiFi cards in the past and always had problems getting certain features to work due to driver issues.  I am willing to get a wifi card that works both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz in dual band but again drivers always been an issue.

You will love the new board.  Let me know how it is working for you.