<insert facetious answer>does the CPU or the RAM affect the performance for PFsense?
There are many decent NICs, I would definitely go for something that is Intel based, like the 1000 PT(do not get the full height version though, which is a 2x2 port controller + PCIe "bridge"), 1000 ET/ET2, I340 or I350.thanks for all the feedback.
now on to the NIC, which quad port NIC do you all use that will work?
It should be noted that eBay and Amazon are flooded with cheap chinese knockoffs, if possible I would try to avoid those and do as EffrafaxOfWug suggested and find something that was a server pull, preferrably from a trusted reseller.Pretty much any NIC supported by BSD will work, but the preference is usually for Intel chipsets since they tend to have the highest quality drivers. If you're looking to buy a quad-port you're into server-level gear in any case, there are plenty of QP cards out there based on the Intel i350 chipset which is probably the current gold standard for gigE, cheapest source of these is normally from server pulls. Quick shufti found me a new one in the UK for about £250 retail, dare say the US and/or ebay will be much cheaper.
I am in a somewhat more modest situation (150/40 Mbit/s on a home network, 2 VPN tunnels). My pfSense is a VM (yes, really) with 1 GB of RAM and 2 cores, running on VirtIO networking, and it fills the pipe without breaking a sweat.I've got a datacentre infra structure with 60 VMs, a 300/300Mbit connection and openvpn tunnels to 10 branches. 1 core (xeon 5600 series) and 1GB ram does the job without any problem for my pfsense VM