[Guide] JDM's Mini-ITX pfSense builds

My build is uploaded. Still working on making the post pretty though.

pfS_WAAAT i5-3470T / Intel VT1000 / 1U Rack Mount Firewall/Router

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This is pretty much what I’ve been looking for as an option for the pfsense build, very nice and I will be copying it almost exactly.

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Got two boards on order ($70 buy it now offer for two, quickly accepted). Gonna pair each with a 1260L and i5 3470T I have laying around. I will put together a build guide. The only difference is I will be running Sophos XG Home as my UTM instead of pfsense. Happy to answer any questions about power or Sophos should anyone like to know.

EDIT: I know they are not needed but I like the finished look of IO plates. When I made the offer for the two boards, they accepted $10 for two of the full IO plates.

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Sexy build. How are the temps on the DC transformer when being stuck in the case?

Temps and testing haven’t been completed yet. I’ll report back though.

Added another motherboard suggestion

Gigabyte GA-B75TN - Socket 1155, DDR3 SODIMM, Single-NIC, PCI-EX4

Seller is asking $36.00 OBO

Build complete (minus a full height IO shield en-route from ebay. The first case that arrived from Amazon had shattered tempered glass but their customer service being what it is I had a replacement in a couple of days.

CPU heatsink and case cost as much as the rest of the build but I’ve decided it’s going to take pride of place in my office so it had to be damn near silent. It pulls 12w from the wall average which is fantastic.

Full build components in this post

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You can get a five pack of those motherboards from same seller for $120 OBO, in case you want to do a group buy…with friends?

In case anybody is interested in logging CPU temperatures in Influx via Telegraf, I was able to get that working.

[[inputs.exec]]
  commands = ["sh -c 'sysctl -n dev.cpu.0.temperature | tr -d C'"]
  name_override = "cpu_temp" 
  timeout = "5s"
  data_format = "value"
  data_type = "float"
  [inputs.exec.tags]
    core = "core0"

If you have the Telegraf package installed on pfSense, then you would add this to the “Additional telegraf configuration” box on the Services > Telegraf page. If you have installed Telegraf manually, then just add this to your telegraf.conf file.

Note that the ‘0’ in dev.cpu.0… is the logical cpu number. You can add multiple instances of this to track temps for each logical cpu. Just make sure you change the tag to match the cpu.

I hope this helps, as there wasn’t a lot of information out there when I was trying to figure out how to get it working!

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I’m generally following COZisBack’s build, but was just gonna go for a pcie 4x riser or ribbon, and I found a reviewer that confirmed the following riser worked for exactly this use case, although the riser is a bit tall to be perfectly level:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00TUF2HBQ/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=A1UCLUF7KW7AYG&psc=1

I’ll update when I get back from GenCon, cause I’m an idiot and ordered a PCI-X quad port and the new quad port and the riser won’t be in until next week.

You’re going to have a gap, if I recall correctly. I don’t think it’s long enough.


Notice the significant gap that your 90° doesn’t make up for.

Well, let me modify that response. If you remove the bracket that holds the lower portion of the pci-e card and mount the tall NIC bracket in the short bracket slot, essentially floating the card, it will work.

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Now that looks workable. I can try and track down an x4 extension too.

I’m not saying anyone should buy this and use this for pfSense… but it has dual NIC and supports AES-NI…

https://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.com%2Fitm%2FIEI-NANO-QM871-i5-R10-Industrial-Embedded-Board-w-4GB-DDR3-RAM-i5-4400E%2F183763530503%3Fhash%3Ditem2ac928f307%3Ag%3As6gAAOSwt4VcqD1F&campid=5338535236&toolid=20008

Temps Update From BIOS

CPU Fan Speed: 1041 RPM

  • CPU Temp: 74°C
  • PCH Temp: 70°C
  • RAM Temp: 53°C
  • VR Temp: 54°C

Thoughts on if I need System/Case Fans?

That CPU and PCH are definitely way hotter than I care for. Have any spare GC Extreme?

I’d definitely add an exhaust fan or two.

There’s GC Extreme on the CPU already, but yes, I have more.

I’ve got mine running as just a router, and I’m at <30 C for the CPU. I’ll see if I can find a way to add the other temps to the pfsense dashboard.

The max temp on that CPU is 65°C. Check the BIOS settings for CPU Fan control. The default settings are WAY too high for that CPU. You can adjust the alarm temperature, as well as the target temperature for the CPU fan. For the case I’m using, I found that setting the target temperature at 50°C gave a good balance of maintaining the temperature without sounding like a jet engine.

I set the BIOS as tkohhh suggested and its running like a jet engine, but I’m maintaining mid 40s with decently high traffic.

Image

Follow up: was getting into the 50-60 range consistently under heavy load with the case closed. Left it running open over the weekend. Added two Noctua 40x20 fans to the front panel today, closed her back up, and will see how it goes.