pfSense on a Dell Optiplex 990 with 2nd Gen i5 2500 vs other hardware

So i'm the new guy to the building a pfSense Router. I watched the Level1Techs video of building one and i noticed he was using a Dell Optiplex and to me it make scene. I have access to to version of the Dell Optiplex 990 one with 2nd Gen Intel i5 2500 (what was used in the video). Should I get one and use that or should I buy one of these Chinese boxes that I can install pfSense on that I found all over youtube. What would you guy recommend? I'm looking to not spend more to mush money. I have a 50MB/s connection and looking to run 1 VPN for a few users.

Any help is very appreciated.


Many of those cheap Chinese boxes use Intel Celeron/J1900 CPUs that do not have AES-NI extensions which means that using a VPN with AES encryption might be an issue on them, additionally @Zumps pointed out in another thread that pfSense as of 2.5 will remove support of all CPUs which do not use AES-NI so going for one of those Chinese boxes will stop further upgrades up to 2.5 when it is released:

Source article:

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I am using the dell 990 w/ 8GB RAM, a 120gb SSD and 2- 4 port intel 1000 card. Definitely overkill :slight_smile:

2 Public NICs coming in from the Modem.
2 NICs for link aggregation to my 24 port nic.

I will likely be adding a couple more switches (10gbe lab, 1gb POE video) so it should play well.

I gave the tiny low power option serious consideration but in the end it just didn't make sense to pay more for less.

Thank you! That's really helpful. I was not a ware.

Nice! Good to know. What type of extension are you running with it?

acme, darkstat, nmap, notes, ntopng, open-vm-tools, pfblockerng.

I want to MITM http/https (proxy) and use Suricata for DPI but haven't gotten there yet. Dungeon lab has no ethical issues mitm'ing https as there is no one here but me.

Working on Setting up Samba4 on Centos this evening as an Active Directory server.

Nice setup! I will get there. I got a QNap as a file server and a Asus AC3200 running Merlin's firmware. Looking to replace the Asus firewall with the pfSense and use the AC3200 for wifi and switch.