NIC selection / new build / pfsense newbie!

Hi All.

I have some unused hardware lying around which I want to repurposed for a pfsense build.

I have an ASRock N3700-ITX - quad core intel N3700, 8gb ram, and old vertex2 60gb ssd - all that’s missing on this build is a multi port NIC. This will be handling a 500/20 connection - possibly 1gb/50 in the future (but currently not likely)

I was set on getting a 4xGBe card but all the ones I found require a pcie 2.0 x4 slot and the mother board is spec’ed for a pcie 2.0 1x (single lane) which limit choice to a 2xGBe card.

TBH should be ok - what i found are Intel 82576 based 2x card. I would eventually need a managed/poe switch so don’t really require more ports on the firewall - what am i missing?

I wanted to confirm whether my conclusions are correct? And/or if you recommend any other NIC.

Cheers All!

If you do have more NICs on your pfsense then you can always put them in a LAGG, I’d say having a quad port card is just handy in case you need to later reuse it elsewhere.

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Thankfully the 2 port Intel Pro NICs are only like $15 or less, the quads are more like $45usd right now.

And that said, you have what you have, so don’t stress about dual or quad port right now, just install what you have an get going. Not too expensive to step up later and get something like an HP T620 with quad port card, though your current CPU is probably more powerful than the t620.

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I hadn’t thought of aggregation - assuming i would be using a managed-poe-switch, which i could aggregate for internal clients, then aggregation on the firewall would only come into play should i ever have access to >1gb internet - correct?

But anyway do I have such option on this motherboard?

Would using the onboard realtek and a 2x gbe intel be possible?

As I understand it the traffic is distributed over the LAGG, you won’t get faster speeds, however, if there is a failure on the NIC you’ll have redundancy on the others.
Though I have to admit I only used a LAGG because the box I have has 6 NICs.
I do use LAGGs between my switches but it’s more for redundancy as it’s a home network, I don’t have that much traffic.

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I ended up ordering what i believe to be Frankenstein card off ebay :smiley:

I say that cos’ it’s an Intel 82576 with four gigabit ports on a 2.0 x1 slot - all the spec I found says that chip is dual on 2.0 x2 and quad on 2.0 x4 - but went head cos’ i reasoned :

  • off the 50 mostly positive reviews from other buyers one simply read “pfsense works” :slight_smile:
  • pci-e 2.0 single lane is exactly the bandwidth for 4 gigabit connections (500 MB/s) which i’ll never come close to saturate anyway in my case.
  • decent price!

Not here yet - but once delivered i’ll disable onboard realtek and proceed with build.