Need a recommendation on mATX board/cpu for pfsense and vpn

amazingeric

New Member
Jun 17, 2020
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San Diego
Hi all, I picked up one one of these on a whim and after i got it and took a look at it, I think I'm going to try and turn it into pfsense box (with vpn as well).

It takes a micro ATX MB, and the one i had lying around here won't post, so I'm looking for a new combo. Requirements are:

  • 1Gbs throughput ( I have a few intel nics around i'm going to use)
  • Low-ish power consumption. I don't need single digit wattage, but don't want add too much to the already high usage.
  • DDR3 would be nice as I have a ton of it, but not required.
  • Cheap-ish is good, as always
  • No problem with used equipment.
Any suggestions? Anyone using something similar that works for them?
 

Marsh

Moderator
May 12, 2013
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I have 3 of these istar case that I picked up from ECS about 5 years ago, same price.
I am happy that ECS still have it in store . I am looking to buy few more of these cases.
Did you buy the case in store?

The case are made for Supermicro matx boards. SM front panel connector plug right in, ALL leds ( including fault , network activity) work without mods.

The case are currently housing SM X10SLH-LN6TF boards. Search the great deal section for these
SM boards with 6 x 10gb networks. SM borad takes DDR3 udimm memory , E3-12xx v3 CPU.

If you want low power , get a SM itx board like a2sdi-xxx or a1sai-xxxx
 
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kapone

Well-Known Member
May 23, 2015
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I recently re-did my pfSense from virtual to physical and used a teeny tiny board. It's a Gigabyte B75-TN thin-mini ITX motherboard. Has an mSATA slot onboard, a pci-e 3.0 x4 slot (which is where my 10g Nic is) and takes direct 12v/19v DC :)

The power consumption (i5-3570s, 2x4GB SO-DIMM RAM, mSATA SSD, passive heatsink , Mellanox CX3 10g Nic) is excellent. ~14w at idle with a platinum PSU.

 

amazingeric

New Member
Jun 17, 2020
15
1
3
San Diego
I have 3 of these istar case that I picked up from ECS about 5 years ago, same price.
I am happy that ECS still have it in store . I am looking to buy few more of these cases.
Did you buy the case in store?

The case are made for Supermicro matx boards. SM front panel connector plug right in, ALL leds ( including fault , network activity) work without mods.

The case are currently housing SM X10SLH-LN6TF boards. Search the great deal section for these
SM boards with 6 x 10gb networks. SM borad takes DDR3 udimm memory , E3-12xx v3 CPU.

If you want low power , get a SM itx board like a2sdi-xxx or a1sai-xxxx
Awesome - looking at ebay, it seems about ~$100 for that board which isn't too bad. It's $200 for a full 1U server for that MB. I'll have to ponder which way makes more sense.

Did you find a PSU that fits it correctly? I had a flex atx PSU laying around, but it's not an exact fit. Close, but mounting holes are off by about 1/8".

I actually ordered it online. I have an Fedex account with my company, so I had them pick up the shipping since I run some non-essential services for them out of my homelab. Probably wouldn't have gotten it if I had to do shipping too.
 

amazingeric

New Member
Jun 17, 2020
15
1
3
San Diego
I recently re-did my pfSense from virtual to physical and used a teeny tiny board. It's a Gigabyte B75-TN thin-mini ITX motherboard. Has an mSATA slot onboard, a pci-e 3.0 x4 slot (which is where my 10g Nic is) and takes direct 12v/19v DC :)

The power consumption (i5-3570s, 2x4GB SO-DIMM RAM, mSATA SSD, passive heatsink , Mellanox CX3 10g Nic) is excellent. ~14w at idle with a platinum PSU.
Cool, literally :) What case and PSU do you have that in? Is it rackmount or standard? I would guess a standalone (small) case, right?
 

ramblinreck47

Active Member
Aug 3, 2019
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Look at a Supermicro X10SLM+-LN4F. They can be found on eBay for under $100 and already come with 4 Intel NIC’s as well as a dedicated IPMI port. Put in a i3-4130T and you have a $20 CPU that should handle basically anything network wise.
 
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kapone

Well-Known Member
May 23, 2015
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Cool, literally :) What case and PSU do you have that in? Is it rackmount or standard? I would guess a standalone (small) case, right?
Actually...:) It's a Frankenstein server(s)....in a 1U chassis.

I have two of these (one pfSense, one Domain Controller) motherboards AND a standard ATX motherboard (Supermicro X9SRL-F), all in a single 1U chassis, running off of a single PSU. The mini-ITX motherboards are front mounted in the chassis, the ATX board and PSU are mounted in the usual spots. The PSU is a HP 460w platinum with one of those miner breakout boards.

I should have taken pictures... :)
 
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