Lenovo ThinkCentre M90n IoT - opinions


I intended to build an IPFire box six months ago but life got in the way.

I am looking at this device. PDF data sheet on M90n IoT

Lenovo ThinkCentre M90n IoT
i3-8145U (2.1GHz)
4GB RAM (not expandable)
2 x NICs which are either i219-LM, RTL8111H, or RTL8111K

Does anyone see any risks with this device?

Thanks, John

Basically, I am looking for opinions on any risks with Realtek RTL8111 NICs. There are forums across the web that indicate there may be some issues, though possibly only with FreeBSD.

On the wiki Network Adapter Hardware Compatibility List, the RTL8111 is listed as compatible, however, the Intel i219 or i210 are not listed at all, so perhaps that page is just out of date? I assume the Intel NICs are universally compatible, however, regarding the RTL8111, even if it is compatible, does that mean it will likely be free of any issues?

I would buy an APU2e4 but they are out of stock everywhere until at least sometime in 2022.

My thanks for any and all opinions.


I can’t really competently comment on this. I am just giving my thoughts. Assuming that the card is supported by the kernel, the thing I would try to find out is if the cpu work load for the traffic will be distributed to all cores. How many lines does this card have? For having a gigabit speed, this is kind of crucial. As we were discussing in the other thread.

Hi cfusco,

Thanks again. This site in particular is very disparaging about RTL8111 NICs but it seems to have last been updated sometime in Spring 2020 (around Linux kernel version 5.6). https://linuxreviews.org/Realtek. This kind of makes me inclined to avoid any computer with Realtek NICs.

Reading that link, I agree. Also to keep in mind that IPFire is based on the kernel LTS 5.10 (end 2020). I do not know how frequently the LTS tree receives drivers update.

Hi cfusco,

Disregard, I’m a goof, I missed the August 2021 update to 2.27-Core 159 update announcement.

Are you sure that IPFire is based on LTS kernel 5.10? This post by Michael Tremer on 21 June 2021 announcing IPFire 2.25 - Core 157 states that they are using LTS kernel 4.14.232.

Thanks, John

Realtek NICs are cheap. I speak from experience when I say, you can use Realtek NICs (I have done so myself), if your requirements are low (up to 200-300Mbits). But don’t expect gigabit speeds.

The drivers will not support many cores, depending on the specific model you can expect single or dual core support, so having many slow cores is not a good idea.

Intel NICs are simply better in terms of hardware and drivers.

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The current IPFire release is Core160, and the kernel is 5.10.55 .