Recommendations for FreeBSD on VIA C3 - BSD

This is a discussion on Recommendations for FreeBSD on VIA C3 - BSD ; I'm spec'ing out a replacement for my firewall, currently an old Nokia IP330 running FreeBSD 6.1. I'm looking at 1U servers that use the VIA C3 microprocessor. Does anyone here have any experience (good or bad) with FreeBSD and this ...

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Thread: Recommendations for FreeBSD on VIA C3

  1. Recommendations for FreeBSD on VIA C3

    I'm spec'ing out a replacement for my firewall, currently an old Nokia
    IP330 running FreeBSD 6.1. I'm looking at 1U servers that use the VIA
    C3 microprocessor. Does anyone here have any experience (good or bad)
    with FreeBSD and this CPU?

    Best wishes,
    Matthew

    --
    Every time Bruce Schneier smiles, an amateur cryptographer dies.
    (http://geekz.co.uk/schneierfacts/fact/55)

  2. Re: Recommendations for FreeBSD on VIA C3

    Matthew X. Economou wrote:
    >I'm looking at 1U servers that use the VIA C3 microprocessor. Does anyone
    >here have any experience (good or bad) with FreeBSD and this CPU?


    Pro: It is not as slow as they let you believe, although they can't match
    the performance/price and performance/Watt of the Intel Pentium-M.
    Choose I586_CPU in the kernel config and mostly you can get away with
    pentiumpro optimization in make.conf

    Con: VIA C3 up to the Ezra-T model (933 MHz) _CAN NOT_ cache more than
    512 MiB RAM. This factoid is suppressed by VIA and you can't find it
    anywhere on their 'open' discussion platforms. Be forewarned and test
    this for yourself.

    scs


  3. Re: Recommendations for FreeBSD on VIA C3

    Matthew X. Economou wrote:

    > I'm spec'ing out a replacement for my firewall, currently an old Nokia
    > IP330 running FreeBSD 6.1. I'm looking at 1U servers that use the VIA
    > C3 microprocessor. Does anyone here have any experience (good or bad)
    > with FreeBSD and this CPU?


    I've got two small systems with C3 (type) processors. Both are based
    on Via EPIA ML boards (a 600 MHZ Eden and a 877 Mhz C3)

    Performance looks ok. Be warned, though, that the VIA chipsets
    around them are mostly crap, especially the vr0 type onboard
    nics. They produce one interrupt per packet, both incoming
    and outgoing, which severly limits thoughput on these
    machines. Plus it can not reliably handle half duplex
    operation - you keep running into timeouts, which,
    in my guess, occure beacuse chipset (interrupt ?)
    latency is so bad that the machines are not able
    to place outgoing packest on the wire without
    collisions.

    I ultimately resorted to adding an intel (fxp)
    ethernet card.

    I would generally recommend you looking into
    VIA's newer offerings, like the C7/Luke based
    systems. They offer better performance, better
    performance/power ratios and more recent
    (hopefully better) chip sets, albeit at a cost.

    Regards

    Christoph Weber-Fahr



  4. Re: Recommendations for FreeBSD on VIA C3

    Hi Matthew,
    I deliberately built my home server on a C3 processor. And I like it very
    much. I purchased a 1.2 GHz C3 Nehemia processor on eBay (actually, two of
    them), the stand-alone socket 370 edition which can be run in any mid-age
    socket 370 mainboard (many of those were/are well know to be reliable and
    worth to buy).
    I also found some very interesting mothern motherboards, which include the
    newer technologies like onboard firewire, USB 2.0, DDR memory sockets, but
    still designed around a socket 370 chip.
    This allowed me to build the system I trusted, including reliable
    ethernet, scsi, and other add-on cards. Also, buying 2x512MB DDR was
    cheaper and easier than getting the same amount of SDR memory for an older
    board.
    I personally own a MachSpeed 623DMP and a VIA C3M266 board. I believe the
    latter was designed to use the kind of C3 processors I went for.
    I am happy with both of my C3 systems (although the C3M266 is just a
    rarely used test machine, the other runs 24/7). They proved to be reliable
    , silent, low-consumption, and very suitable performance machines.

    I have no experience with the EPIA C3 systems, so those may be worse or
    better.

    Feel free to ask any related question, I am happy to return the help you
    gave me with postfix about a year ago. :-)

    Best regards,
    Keve


    --
    if you need to reply directly:
    keve(at)mail(dot)poliod(dot)hu

  5. Re: Recommendations for FreeBSD on VIA C3

    >>>>> "Christoph" == Christoph Weber-Fahr writes:

    Christoph> I've got two small systems with C3 (type)
    Christoph> processors. Both are based on Via EPIA ML boards (a 600
    Christoph> MHZ Eden and a 877 Mhz C3)

    I am considering Iron Systems' A113 iServer, which uses the VIA Eden
    EBGA chipset and the Nehemiah processor:
    http://www.ironsystems.com/Customkit...2D01&Cc=ACLASS
    I was encouraged by the fact that the vendor will preload FreeBSD 6.1
    for me.

    Christoph> Performance looks ok. Be warned, though, that the VIA
    Christoph> chipsets around them are mostly crap, especially the
    Christoph> vr0 type onboard nics... Plus it can not reliably
    Christoph> handle half duplex operation - you keep running into
    Christoph> timeouts...

    That would be a serious problem for me, as my Internet uplink is a
    10Mbps/half-duplex Ethernet connection.

    Christoph> I ultimately resorted to adding an intel (fxp) ethernet
    Christoph> card.

    Thanks for the warning. I planned to buy Iron Systems' 4-port NIC
    along with this server, but it's also a VIA chip, a VT6105M, which is
    supported under FreeBSD's vr driver as a Rhine III device. Is this
    worth the extra $132 or should I go looking for a different 4-port
    NIC?

    And thanks for the recommendations. I'll take them under advisement.

    Best wishes,
    Matthew

    --
    Every time Bruce Schneier smiles, an amateur cryptographer dies.
    (http://geekz.co.uk/schneierfacts/fact/55)

  6. Re: Recommendations for FreeBSD on VIA C3

    >>>>> "Keve" == Keve Nagy writes:

    Keve> I have no experience with the EPIA C3 systems, so those may
    Keve> be worse or better.

    As I mentioned in the other reply, I'm looking at a 1-GHz Nehemiah
    system using the Eden EBGA chipset. Is that the chipset you are using
    at home?

    Keve> Feel free to ask any related question, I am happy to return
    Keve> the help you gave me with postfix about a year ago. :-)

    Oh, glad to help. How's that working out for you?

    Best wishes,
    Matthew

    --
    Every time Bruce Schneier smiles, an amateur cryptographer dies.
    (http://geekz.co.uk/schneierfacts/fact/55)

  7. Re: Recommendations for FreeBSD on VIA C3

    Matthew X. Economou wrote:
    > I'm spec'ing out a replacement for my firewall, currently an old Nokia
    > IP330 running FreeBSD 6.1. I'm looking at 1U servers that use the VIA
    > C3 microprocessor. Does anyone here have any experience (good or bad)
    > with FreeBSD and this CPU?


    I have three VIA C3 hosts on the little EPIA mini-itx mainboards sold
    by www.idotpc.com, they seem to work perfectly. Been up about a year now.

    However, they're on the end of a very slow DSL connection and support
    perhaps the most obscure domains on the Internet, so the earlier poster's
    observations about the NIC being inefficient of CPU cycles under high load
    is entirely possible. Probably the toughest workout mine get is
    an occasion make buildworld.

    No complaints, they serve my purposes well.

    hth,

    bob prohaska


  8. Re: Recommendations for FreeBSD on VIA C3

    Matthew X. Economou wrote:

    > As I mentioned in the other reply, I'm looking at a 1-GHz Nehemiah
    > system using the Eden EBGA chipset. Is that the chipset you are using
    > at home?


    No. The EBGA chipset comes only on motherboards with the C3 processor
    embedded (factory soldered in the PCB). This is a very popular and
    frequently available thing today.
    What I have is a stand-alone socket 370 processor, which happens to be a
    VIA C3 Nehemiah (very difficult to find today). So you can put this
    processor into any socket 370 mother-board, replacing any FC-PGA Celeron
    or PIII processor.
    The motherboard I bought is a MachSpeed 623DMP which by accident also uses
    a VIA chipset, the PT880, which is not the EBGA solution but probably
    similar to that one in many sense.
    You can read more details about this mobo here:
    http://www.machspeed.com/specs/discontinued.htm (scroll down to 623DMP)

    The other C3 system I only keep as a spare. At the time I decided to build
    my home server around the C3 I didn't know what to expect, so I purchase
    things in two, in case something blows I can get the system up n running
    in minutes.
    The spare mother-board is a VIA product, NOT accidentally it has a VIA
    chipset. Another one.
    http://www.via.com.tw/en/products/ma...ers/c3m266.jsp
    http://www.via-tech.de/vepd/produkte...m266_specs.htm
    http://www.digit-life.com/articles2/...-l-cle266.html

    If you are interested in my dmesg output on the MachSpeed system running
    6.2-PRERELEASE, let me know!
    Oh, by the way, ACPI never worked for me (including but not limited to the
    C3 systems) so I use APM instead which does everything I need.

    FYI: Hacom also sells 1U rackmount units using the C3 Nehemiah processors.
    You may want to have a look at those too.
    http://shopping.hacom.net/catalog/index.php?cPath=39

    > Oh, glad to help. How's that working out for you?


    I had to fiddle with it in the beginning, as usual, but it was working
    perfectly fine after the initial tunings.
    I will have to repeat the task soon as I recently upgraded (complete wipe
    and fresh install) from 5.x to 6.2-PRERELEASE. This time I plan to use
    some jails too, so here comes trouble again! :-)

    Regards,
    Keve

    --
    if you need to reply directly:
    keve(at)mail(dot)poliod(dot)hu

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