pfSense SG-4860 1U appliance – hardware overview

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pfSense SG-4860 1U front
pfSense SG-4860 1U front

Recently we looked at the Intel Atom C2558 based pfSense SG-4860 desktop appliance. Today we have the rackmount version: the pfsense SG-4860 1U. Our test unit came with some additional hardware, namely a SSD and a wireless card. We moved the wireless card to the desktop platform for our formal testing, however today we have the overview of the rackmount enclosure with the wireless added. It certainly shows an interesting use case.

pfSense SG-4860 1U appliance hardware

Opening the pfSense SG-4860 1U box we immediately notice a difference. Everything is well packed and the physical box is much larger than the desktop mount version.

pfsense SG-4860 1U Unboxing
pfSense SG-4860 1U Unboxing

The front of the 1U unit has a similar configuration to what we saw with the desktop SG-4860. There are six gigabit Ethernet ports (WAN, LAN, OPT1, OPT2, OPT3, OPT4), two USB ports, and a console port.

pfSense SG-4860 1U front
pfSense SG-4860 1U front

We immediately noticed our 1U test unit had an interesting feature: built-in WiFi! We contacted the Netgate and pfSense folks and apparently the WiFi card was supposed to be in the desktop test unit. We took pictures as-is just to show off this is possible but the formal review will have the card and antennae switched. For applications such as wall mounted telco racks in a coffee house, adding WiFi was an interesting proposition.

pfSense SG-4860 1U front antenna
pfSense SG-4860 1U front antenna

Moving to the side of the unit we can see large vents to aid in cooling. Frankly, the Intel Atom C2558 used is a very low power chip so one can consider this ample cooling. One can also see that the rackmount ears can be reversed.

pfSense SG-4860 1U side vents
pfSense SG-4860 1U side vents

Looking to the rear of the unit, one can see a fairly simple configuration: one fan, one power switch and one power cable. The chassis is fairly thick steel so the overall construction feels very sturdy. Probably even more so than the Dell PowerEdge R220 we recently reviewed.

pfSense SG-4860 1U rear
pfSense SG-4860 1U rear

Inside the case one can see a mITX motherboard similar to the one we saw in the desktop appliance. The power supply is much larger and has moved inside the chassis.

Two major differences are that while the desktop version is passively cooled, the 1U rackmount version has two fans: one chassis one on the Intel Atom C2558 package.

pfSense SG-4860 1U interior overview
pfSense SG-4860 1U interior overview

The 8GB of memory is provided by 8x 1GB chips and is not ECC.

pfSense SG-4860 1U Kingston RAM
pfSense SG-4860 1U Kingston RAM

We see the same three slots in this unit as we saw in the desktop version. There is an Atheros WiFi card with antenna wiring in one of the two mPCIe slots.

pfsense SG-4860 1U WiFi card
pfSense SG-4860 1U WiFi card

Moving to the front edge of the motherboard we can see an Intel SSD included. In our previous colocation pfSense builds we used SSDs over USB drives for better write endurance for logging so this makes a lot of sense. Under the SSD is the Marvell Alaska PHY for the Intel Atom C2558’s on-SoC Intel i354 quad port gigabit NIC. Next to the SSD we can see two Intel i211 single port gigabit NICs. One can also see that this motherboard has two additional SATA connectors and the ATX 24-pin header that the desktop version lacked.

pfsense SG-4860 1U Intel SSD
pfSense SG-4860 1U Intel SSD

A quick word on the power supply, on extremely interesting feature is that there are both 4-pin Molex as well as an internal SATA style power connector. One could concieveably add additional 2.5″ SATA storage in this chassis. Likely it would not be needed for pfSense but it is an interesting option.

pfsense SG-4860 1U power
pfSense SG-4860 1U power

Finally we can see the power switch wiring. One minor note here is that the power switch in a 36″ rack is a bit hard to get to. It would have been really nice to have this on the front panel but that is a fairly minor point.

pfsense SG-4860 1U fuse
pfSense SG-4860 1U switch wiring

 

Overall, this is a solid piece of hardware. At idle/ very light loads it is using about 16w (120V) which is about half that of our Mikrotik CCR1036 test unit.

Our full review is coming soon, but here are a few major selling points from a hardware perspective:

  • Console port for CLI management
  • USB for adding additional functionality
  • Three internal expansion slots
  • ~16w power consumption
  • 8GB of RAM (more than adequate)
  • Rackmount chassis
  • Dual fans for additional cooling

Here are the full specs from the company:

HARDWARE SPECIFICATION:

CPU Intel “Rangeley” Atom C2558 2.4 Ghz with Intel QuickAssist
CPU Cores Quad Core
Networking 6x Gigabit Ethernet Ports total:
4x Intel I350 ( SoC Intel I354 Quad GbE on-die MACs )
2x Intel I211
Storage 4GB eMMC Flash on board
Memory 8GB DDR3L
Expansion 1x mSATA, 2x miniPCIe
Console Port Mini USB
USB Ports 2x 2.0 ports
 LED Power/Status/SATA Activity
Enclosure 19″ rack mount
Form Factor 1U
Cooling Fansink, case fan
 Power Internal AC/DC 100-240V, 50-60 Hz, 12V
AC Inlet: IEC320-C14 (3 PIN)
Power Cord: NEMA 5-15P to IEC320-C13
Environmental 0C to 50C
Power Consumption 8W (idle)
Certifications FCC, CE, RoHS, UL

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