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DIY router hardware, which setup?

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Jan 13, 2005
ok i'm like super bored and anxious waiting for call backs on jobs and i figured i'd get my router ready to give me something to do.
except i found another system and now i am not sure what one to use.

I'll be using these systems as a always on router using pfSense or OPNsense. i haven't decided which yet.
Either system is going to use a 2.5"ssd and a IBM quad gigabit NIC (49Y4242), i think these are made by IBM with intel chipsets.
i'm looking to route a gigabit WAN to a general household, pc or two, consoles, tv's and the like. I'll want to do some ad blocking at the router level, i mention this because it'll require more horsepower but i'm not sure how much. the LAN is going to start out at gigabit speeds with a cheepo off service rackmount layer 2 switch until i can figure out what i want to do in order to go 2.5 or faster over lan, if i need it.
it'll be a simple setup, i dont have a need for a VPN or vlans or anything like that at home.

what i am stuck on is the hardware...
i started out with an Asrock j4005b mobo/embedded cpu combo and 8 gigs of DDR4
i stuck it in a acer prebuilt mitx system case that had a nice little 80+ bronze 300w psu and decent i/o on the front with
its a ultra low power sort of thing, 10W cpu, probably maybe 20W total system. but with ultra low wattage usually comes ultra low performance.
only 1 pci express 2x slot for expansion. 2 cores/threads. nearly fanless (small psu fan)

this whole setup cost me $50. i had the ram, case/psu already, i just gutted it to swap my own board in.

then theres what i found a few weeks ago
dell 7020 SFF, i5 4690 16 gb DDR3
this is much more horsepower but also power consumption at 88w for the cpu by it self.
although from what i can find online thats a full tilt power draw and it should run at lower power when its not needed right?
i dont have any way to measure power draw at the moment. This system has a full 16x and a 4x slot. not at all fanless, case/cpu and psu have fans

this system cost me $5, i found it hard driveles at a last chance before the landfill thrift store where they toss everything into bins and people rummage through it all.

i'm not sure what way to go. the j4005b is ultra low power but i dont know if it'll handle the speeds, i know the 7020 will handle the speeds but what about the power consumption? how much does it drop off under lighter loads? electricity cost isnt high here but its also not trivial either.

either way i am not out much money. my initial investment was $20 for the NIC and $25 for the SSD, add that to either system and i am under $100
Any ~5-6 year old 4 cores and 2GB RAM should be enough. It's good to have more LAN ports or just use WiFi. To save money and space (especially if you have a stronger PC that runs 24/7) you can set it as a virtual machine, but then it's best to have a dedicated LAN card, and the best a 2-4 port one.
Either system will work, if it were me I'd try out the J4005b and if it can't keep up move to the 7020. As for OS I'll throw another contender, Sophos. I like it a lot. Sophos OS is the same product they use on their enterprise hardware. Tried OPNsense once and did not care for it. Never played with PFsense, but did use MonoWall (PF is Mono fork) back in the day.
i'll take a gander at Sophos. do you know if theres ad blocking at the router level with it?

also as far as network ports are concerned, the NIC i got is a quad port gigabit card (not sure if i said that before), plus each will have its onboard port.
i'll only use one in and 2 out (one to switch and another to AP)
Yes, Sophos has built in ad blocking. It's OK, but I've never played with it too much as I run piholes that handle that. Sophos overall is pretty slick. Full blown enterprise product for home use for free, only catch is free users get treated as beta testers sometimes. They supply two products to use. SG and XG. SG is the older end of life system I am so fond of, and XG is the newer current OS.
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is there another version i'm missing? all i can find is the "home" version:

no xg/sg and limited ram usage
Hmm, maybe they've changed things around? That home version looks like the XG. Here is a link to the SG, AKA UTM

Either way you have to create an account with them to get the license file. License is free, but is needed. Once signed in it may give you the option of XG or SG/UTM.

As far as the limited RAM usage, iirc it's 4gb. Mine has 4 but barely used 2. And I think that RAM limit is for XG only. SG/UTM is limited to having 50 IP addy's behind it.
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