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Cheap Hardware


Hey guys, I’m trying to build my own pfsense router for dirt cheap.
I live in the San Francisco Bay area and was I wonder if anyone knew any good places to get used or recycled hardware.

Any help would be appreciated thanks!


What’s wrong with craigs list?
There are all sorts of used PC vendors advertising stuff on craigs list.
You’re literally in one of the best areas in the world for finding used computer hardware.
3 seconds searching in craigs list will get you tons of results.
I don’t know why you even have to ask.


Not from SF and I’m not sure where you are located, but here’s some suggestions:
WeirdStuff Warehouse
Anchor Electronics
Fremont Surplus Computer
HSC Electronic Supply
Al Lasher’s Electronics

Perhaps these recycling centers also sell stuff?
TDR Electronic Recycling
Green Ewaste Recycling Center

These were all just taken from yelp posts, so check that perhaps


As someone currently running an old core2duo based optiplex for my home router, I’m not sure that buying old hardware is the way to go anymore. Especially in light of Intel management engine flaws that go unpatched on old hardware, now Specter and Meltdown vulnurabilities… its getting bad.

That and now I hear the next major release of PfSense requires AES/NI for encryption which rules out most cheaper intel hardware entirely.

I’m beginning to think that perhaps I should go out and build a cheap, new rig to run my firewall on…


not really. C2D, for sure (but that was already a bad deal, because power consumption — and honestly, I wouldn’t look at 32-bit * anything * these days). AES-NI is supported (at least?) as far back as sandy bridge i5’s. Just don’t buy an old i3 or less.


Unfortunately, around here, the price of anything intel 4+ cores is generally almost as much as it would cost to build a new low end system that would have AES/NI and be more power efficient and also be more likely to receive bios fixes for the latest security issues from the vendor…


where are you? it’s relatively easy to find an optiplex with an i5-2500 or 3450 (i grabbed a bunch of the latter) on craigslist for between $50 - $100 where I am (midwest US).


I got a couple of these for dirt cheap on ebay.
Dual core Haswell Xeon with AES-NI, 13W TDP.


same here; that’s what i’m using in my pfsense box now. but i did already have the board + ram + box + etc. .


Sure, but you will need those parts anyway and how you put it together was not my point. Just wanted to bring that chip up because it is so damn perfect for a build like that. :slight_smile:

One idea would be to buy a more powerful system first and then swap the CPU. You might make some money back from the better chip and a potential cooling/noise problem is just gone.


yes, you need them anyway. but i got my optiplex 3010 for not too much more than my e3-1220L, and it was everything i needed except the quad nic.


That’s tempting, what motherboard would you pair with that for a PfSense build?

Also, what about the security concerns I brought up? Would you be able to patch against those?


I did pair it with a pretty expensive one because I bought that new. Here is my build:

The Gatekeeper II

PFSense Router

  • Intel Xeon E3 1220L v3 CPU
  • Asus P9D-M M-ATX mainboard
  • 6GB (3x2) of DDR3 1066 ECC memory
  • Corsair Force GT 60GB SATA SSD
  • Draytek VigorNIC132 PCIe DSL modem/router
  • Intel Pro 1000 PT dual port gigabit NIC
  • Seasonic SS-350 ES PSU with Noctua NF-A8 ULN mod
  • Noctua NH-L9i low profile CPU cooler
  • 2x Noctua NF-A6 60mm PWM fans
  • Inter-Tech 2U 2098-SK rack case
  • 5.25" hot-swap bay for one 3.5" drive
  • Icy Dock EZConvert Pro 3.5" cage for one 2.5" drive

But of course you can stick it on anything that fits the budget.

I am however thinking about switching to IPfire, so the AES-NI might have been for nothing in my case.


Most of the sales on i5 used business systems seem to go for about $270-400. If I were careful with my parts, I can build systems that cheaply using newer hardware.

Perhaps not the greatest on power consumption but I got a great black friday deal on an AMD 8320e system that I built for a buddy who doesn’t have much money and needed a computer. I think all the parts for his system only cost me $160 new after rebates from Microcenter.


How cheap are we talking?

(Work at a computer recycling / refurbishing company in the north bay)


if OP/anyone wants to go with a C2D, btw, I have three or four which I presume still work. board + cpu + ram. PM me if you want one, it’ll be free + shipping (and I’ll check whether it works, first).




Reads like an LTT script… :stuck_out_tongue:


… Jayz is that you?