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 From:  "Lee Sharp" <leesharp at hal dash pc dot org>
 To:  <m0n0wall at lists dot m0n0 dot ch>
 Subject:  Re: [m0n0wall] Cheap Hardware
 Date:  Sun, 4 Jun 2006 10:41:49 -0500
From: "Christian H Borrman" <chb at orange dot net>

>I like the idea of recycling these old devices, but they have a few 

> 1) ugly as sin
> 2) noisy as hell
> 3) guzzle power like the devil
> 4) are old and have too many points of failure for my liking

For the record, the only points of failure I have found are hard drives (we 
don't use them) cpu fans ($3) and powersupply fan. ($5)  If you replace the 
fans with quiet ones, they use less power.  And a 650 watt power supply 
still only uses what you draw, and with no hard drive it ain't much.

> Essentially you end up with the processing power of a wrap/soekris, with 
> better expandability, but using usually 100-200w of power against 5-10w 
> and making a lot of noise, taking up space looking like you are running an 
> internet cafe in Somalia rather than having an intelligent, secure home 
> network.

Ugly is true.  No argument.  So get a used machine that is not so ugly. 
Small form factor seems to look better and clean up well.

> A quick calculation, at UK electricity prices, a 100-200w device on 24/7 
> works out at more than the $200 for a complete wrap with at least the same 
> processing power on paper.

Actually measure how much draw at run.  Also watch the draw drop when you 
replace the fans.  (Old gummy fans drink in power)

> having said that, the soekris and wrap are clearly underpowered, with less 
> than 20mb throughput (soekris) on ethernet ports, UK DSL downspeed is now 
> faster than the soekris can deal with, and slower than the supposedly 
> "slow" wireless cards since 3-4 years ago, and can now only work properly 
> on a build of FreeBSD that is as old as the board design.

With heat problems, and crappy power supplies.  Power has been my nightmare 
lately.  Summer is hear, and I have lost about 6 power supplies.  This on a 
mix of systems from m0n0 to APs.

> We need to move onto 1ghz + machines, still passively, but intelligently 
> cooled (even top of range Soekris has no CPU heatsink and the box has not 
> even given the first thought to cooling/airflow). I suspect, looking at 
> the price/performance advance of the IT/telecoms space in general (for 
> example, the 128mb of memory on board these devices has fallen 10+ fold 
> since I have been buying these devices but the boards still cost the same, 
> of may have even gone up) I suspect that there are quite nice margins on 
> these small embedded devices, which have not dropped in price nor improved 
> performance in line with the market or even the software running on them.

This is why I don't buy them.  As of yesterday, my partner and I formally 
decided we will only use two platforms.  Used Dell small form factor GX110s 
and GX200s (which so far have not failed once while new hardware has) and 
the Via embedded system.  The Via system is around $200 for 2 ports, and can 
go up to 6 ports at around $350.  It is 600mhz plus, with active or passive 
cooling.  The case is a little bigger than a wrap or soekris, but still very 
small.  And it is very future proof.  And if we all start using it, I bet 
prices will shift.  It may even kill (or kick start) soekris...  My links 
for my purchase worksheet below.


All system prices without memory.  (Changes too fast)

Very small (appliance like) Case    $67.99

Single ethernet 800mhz board        $108.00
Duel ethernet 600mhz board  $173.99

Cheap D-Link NIC                        $4.99
Good Intel NIC                            $24.00
Very nice Intel Duel port NIC        $34.00
4 Port ethernet with Rhine Chip    $81-95
http://www.wisp-router.com/product_info.php?cPath=30_33&products_id=267 or

Psudo Hard drive   32mb                 $18.60
Psudo Hard drive   16mb                 $13.10