Am I overthinking this? Picking a PC to install IPFire on

Hi Everyone,

I’m picking final hardware for my firewall and have made an initial install to verify the NICs and various hardware will be identified and that IPFire will work on the boxes I am considering. In my search of the forums for what I can find of Hardware sizing, any of the 4 PCs I have will work just fine for this, but I want to make sure I use the one which is the least over qualified, in that I will have multiple network interfaces.

I have a Dell T1700 with a 3.6Ghz quad core (E3 1270 v5), HP Z440 with a 2.4Ghz 10 core (E5 2640 v4), Dell T3600 with a 2.9Ghz 8 core (E5 2690 v1) or a Dell T5610 with two 3.6Ghz 10 core (E5 2680 v2).

Does IPFire even utilize extra threads? Multi threaded performance is a big deal to me in other areas I work and play in, so if I can get away with great performance on the Dell T1700, that’s the one to pick for me. RAM is not an issue on each of these has at least 16GB.

@imaxim , welcome to the IPFire community.

Due to the nature of IPFire the performance and properties of the NICs are of interest also.

Hi @imaxim.

Me, choosing the processor, the one with the least vulnerabilities. Although from what I understand (correct me if I’m wrong, please) to exploit these vulnerabilities, it is necessary to run untrusted software and the good thing about IPFire is that all the software it has in the repository is trustworthy.

Another consideration to take into account, for me, the annual electricity cost. In other words, I would choose one with low consumption.

What he tells you @bbitsch is also very important.


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Electricity consumption is certainly important for a 24/7 system. Even the E3 1270, at 80 W just for the CPU, will be expensive to run, unless you are operating a medium-sized business enterprise.

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I tend to go with low power processors for this appliance. With a 35w quad core AMD APU it is almost always idle with IPSEC and openVPN connected, proxy, web cache, update accelerator, clamAV and many other options enabled. Best to say though what your use case will be to know what hardware is needed. I will say the equal if not more important items to consider are RAM (amount and speed), hard drive configuration (SSD is best) and size, which will again be decided by use case, and Ethernet card chipset.

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Agreed. I’ve recently gone to a 19 W quad core AMD APU, that has NVME on the mainboard. The last feature is not essential, but does facilitate a smaller case. It also runs 16 GB of DDR3, which should be adequate for most home-use cases as well as being less expensive than DDR4.

As you point out, all factors need to be decided based on use case.

Hi Bernhard,

Its a Cisco branded Quad port card, so 1Gbx4 and the chipset is Broadcom.

Hi Roberto,

Thank you for the thoughts and warnings.

Hi guys, thank you to all who have replied. Please! No more low power responses. Talk about low power options is all that came up from a Hardware Sizing search and does not answer my question. I’m still learning about firewalls and it “Sounds” like, from all the comments, I could grab an old Core 2 duo with a gig of ram and run IPFire.

Let me be clear and hopefully not offend anyone. I run four 20 amp outlets into my computer lab. 20w vs 300w will not be a noticeable difference in my annual power cost. I need to know where the horsepower needs to be and if IPFire, by itself without addons, can use 20 threads better than 4. Talking about power is not needed in this topic, please.

Certainly, as could any other new user of IPFire. It’s then a matter of matching NIC to required download speed. HDD of the era could be slow, in some scenarios, plus early chipsets for Core 2 duo don’t support AHCI, which is needed to run SSD well.

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