Cheap Compact pfSense Router

This is my take on a compact, low budget pfSense router. I couldn’t find the exact motherboard listed in the build guide at anything close to a reasonable price, the cheapest being around $95 US. Fortunately I was able to find the gigabyte GA-B75TN board for $36. this board only has a single NIC onboard so I needed an expansion card. I also wanted it to be in a case and didint feel like spending $80 for an itx case that had a bunch of things I dont need for a router. So I decided to use an old eMachines case I had lying around. It needed a bit of dremel work for the board to fit but other than that it was perfect. This motherboard has a jumper near the front of it that allows it to run on 12v or 19v which allowed me to use a normal desktop power supply with a jumper wire on the 24 pin connector, and half of the 4 pin cpu connector plugged into the 2 pin DC header on the motherboard. This has been my router for several months now and has been working flawlessly since I set it up. I only get 100Mbps down from my ISP but my previous router struggled to maintain 60Mbps. This does 115 constantly and routes my entire gigabit network without an issue. I have no doubts it could handle a full gigabit connection from my ISP if it were available and could route 10Gbe internally. I’m using a 50 port cisco poe gigabit switch for connections to my pcs and unify access point. I got that for $25 on fb marketplace.

Parts summary

  • Motherboard: GA-B75TN $36
  • CPU: Intel Xeon e3-1260l $35
  • RAM: 2x2GB DDR3 laptop ram $0 (had lying around from broken laptops)
  • SSD: Micron 128gb mSata $30
  • Interface Card: Intel PRO/1000 PT PCIe Dual Port Gigabit Nic $19
  • Cooler: Arctic Alpine 12lp $9
  • Case: eMachines sff desktop $0 (bundled with ram bought for another project)
  • PSU: liteon psu $0 (came with the case)

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Very nice looking build!

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