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PFsense Thin Clients


#1

I've come to share the new hotness in my thin client repurposing initiative: The HP T620 Plus PFsense Router

These babies pack a x64 AMD GX-420CA 4 core APU with AMD Radeon HD 8400E, 120GB M.2 Drive 8GB of ram and a Intel PRO/1000 dual gig nic

I have come to exalt the virtues of the not so thin client

My personal unit at home had been getting a real stress test but barely breaks a sweat


IDS/IPS other than pfSense w/Suricata?
Need some direction on multi building network planning
#2

Nice system - seems to scratch all the itches.

It has an 85W power supply. What is the actual power consumption (hook it up to a kill-a-watt)?
Where do you get these? I'm seeing about $280 on Amazon.

Any other caveats that you'd like to mention?


#3

There is actually 2 left from the seller I got them from on Ebay comes with 120gb m.2 and 4gb ram

I will kill-a-watt mine when I go home for a real power number

Observations:
The system is able to run with either PC3-10600S or PC3L-12800S sticks without issue. PCI-e slot is physically x16 but electrically x4. I runs other OS's including the stock W7 embedded very well we are using another unit as a host for a LabView PXI chassis on W7E 32-bit


#4

Pretty much what I was going to do with our HP systems but they only have 1 NIC. The older ones with the 5th gen processors in them that we are decommissioning have 1 PCIE port so I dropped a NIC in there and made that my PFsense. 16 gigs of ram, 250g ssd, and an i5 is just a little overkill for it I think.


#5

@meisnick How does this compare to your T610 build in terms of actual performance? I'm seeing more affordable T610's on eBay. What do you think the upper limits in terms or routing (Mbps up and down) would be for the 610 and 620?

Really like this idea, always good to repurposed perfectly capable equipment.


#6

In terms of raw throughput the two units would be about the same if you're just using it as a basic firewall/router. The 3 units I have at work are all connected to each other at 3 different sites over OpenVPN as a site to site link, they also are running Suricata IDS with a pretty heavy ruleset. All that VPN and Intrusion Detection requires a little more horsepower but at any rate the T610 Plus was a good unit besides the slower built in flash memory. Be sure when your looking at them you're looking for the Plus model that has the PCI-e slot otherwise if you're planning on adding a external USB 3.0 ethernet adapter you're going to have a lot of latency and a bad time.


#7

@meisnick Thanks for the info! I just received my T610 Plus today :slight_smile:

It turns out I got one with the AMD Firepro 2270 graphics card, which is occupying the PCI-E slot. Am I safe to just remove that and continue with the install when I have all of the parts (NIC, SSD, etc)?

If so, will the NIC I bought go where this white plastic is (which is where the graphics card was)? http://imgur.com/04JZdse Is this an adapter of some kind, or can my x4 NIC plug in here?

Also, I was told that the RAM is embedded, and that does seem to be the case because the RAM slot is empty. Do you think I'd be able to plug an extra 4GB in there?

Thanks for your help, can't wait to get it running!


#8

The NIC should just slot in its fine it doesnt take up the entire PCI-e slot you can plug any lesser size PCI-e into that slot the slot is only 4x electrically anyways.

As for the ram on that machine i believe that it is hidden under door on the opposite side of the motherboard it is not soldered in there is 2 slots and one should be occupied. If you are upgrading the ram be sure that you are using a PC3-12800 DDR3 1600MHz

I would still recommend upgrading the storage to something faster if you can the best fit is called a "half-slim sata ssd"
Here is a good deal. If not you're fighting against the SATA II 3gbps drive in there that maxes out at around 30mbps read/write. You may be able to slot a full size ssd in the top port if it doesn't hit the NIC

Let me know if you run into anything else with it :slight_smile:


#9

@meisnick Thanks again for the feedback! I've got the right kind of memory, but unfortunately they only sent me the low profile bracket for the NIC, so I need to wait for them to send me a standard.

I bought a standard 2.5 in SSD (a cheapie), not a half slim. It looks like its too small for the drove bay that is in there, but the bay looks like its smaller than a a 3.5? Is this a standard 3.5? Should I be able to get some type of adapter perhaps?

Thanks again for your help.


#10

The both the sata plugs inside are a standard size if worst case the drive doesn't quite fit you can pull the board out of the 2.5" ssd enclosure, most smaller SSD's are actually about a Half Slim size board inside. There is no need to secure the SSD just slot it in the sata socket and let it free float.


#11

@meisnick Thanks again for your help! So I've got everything installed and I have connection to the internet, just having some minor issues...

For whatever reason, my WAN port is only negotiating to 100baseTX. LAN has no trouble getting 1000baseT. I have tried swapping my WAN / LAN ports in the config, same issue. I have also changed cables, same issue. I also still have my old Verizon router, and it routes in excess of 100 Mbps, so I assume it's negotiating properly.

It doesn't seem to be my NIC, my cables, or my Verizon "connection".
I have tried a couple suggestions regarding my Intel-based em card here, as well as the flow control suggestion.

Thanks so much for your help.


#12

Weirdly enough it seems like it may be a problem with the NIC. There was an onboard Broadcom NIC that I wasn't even planning on using. However I configured this to WAN and it is working at 1000baseT for WAN. Not sure what this means. I would rather use my PCI-E card since I figured it was was of higher quality (and I bought it :)). This is the one I got: HP NC360T. It's based on Intel Pro/1000 so I figured it would be fine.
How do you think I should proceed from here?


#13

That sounds normal, unless your internet connection is over 100mbps your never going to bump into 100Base-T speed limits. Most modems from ISP's are setup this way to save money on a Gigabit chipset.

In the case that you are exceeding a 100mbps connection I'd talk to your ISP because they need to answer for the slower modem.

I would plug your wan connection from the modem directly into your computer and see what the speed is in Windows, or if you can lookup the modem model and confirm.


#14

Did you ever hook this up to a kill-a-watt to see power consumption?