Duobox vs APU2c4

Questions & Discussion about the right Hardware to run IPFire on
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Gussel2
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Joined: June 3rd, 2018, 12:18 pm

Duobox vs APU2c4

Post by Gussel2 » June 3rd, 2018, 12:26 pm

Hello,

i am thinking about installing an ipfire system for home use. I am living in a small flat, 3 Person, at the moment VDSL50 only. Thining about using VPN via homerouter from time to time.

I did read a lot and am finally thinking about the duobox or apu2c4 bundle (inkl WLAN) (https://www.ebay.de/itm/Router-Hardware ... fTEAN055Bw e.g.)

Which one would you recommend? I guess, at the nmoment both ist fine. I am open to invest in future as well, so if one is signfificant better, I woould go for that one. The duoBox is about 300€, the APU2c4 Bundle inkl WLAN and 16gb 240€)

I was wondering if the APU version is easier to upgrade in futere because i can probably just change the motherboard? Is it possible to use both as a minicomputer or server? (if i should not be happy with the ipfirebox)?

Thank your very much

cibgiu
Posts: 28
Joined: November 7th, 2012, 12:53 pm

Re: Duobox vs APU2c4

Post by cibgiu » June 6th, 2018, 2:49 pm

Hi Gussel2

there will be a new alternative

https://www.lightningwirelabs.com/2018/ ... pfire-nano

Seem interesting


G.

zargano
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Re: Duobox vs APU2c4

Post by zargano » June 6th, 2018, 6:43 pm

Gussel2 wrote:
June 3rd, 2018, 12:26 pm
I was wondering if the APU version is easier to upgrade in futere because i can probably just change the motherboard?
The APU consists of a "motherboard", plus a housing, plus a power supply, plus optional things like SSD or WLAN. "Upgrading the motherboard" may or may not require a new housing, depending on the proprietory motherboard layout. I would not take it for granted, that the housing can be reused. In essence, you may think of reusing SSD, WLAN and potentially the power supply.
Gussel2 wrote:
June 3rd, 2018, 12:26 pm
Is it possible to use both as a minicomputer or server?
Any distro that is capable to be booted from a serial console and having no graphic hardware should principally work.

Regards, zargano

Rainmaker
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Re: Duobox vs APU2c4

Post by Rainmaker » July 13th, 2018, 2:37 pm

Did you buy anything in the end OP? I can confirm that the APU2C4 can route symmetrical gigabit WAN > LAN at wire speed using IPFire (but not pfSense). Nice little boxes tbh, though slightly more of a pain due to needing the serial console cable. I moved on to an x86 box (G4560 3.5GHz 2c4t) but the APU never struggled and would be ample (plus future proofed) for a BT line.
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MichaelTremer
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Re: Duobox vs APU2c4

Post by MichaelTremer » July 14th, 2018, 1:52 pm

Rainmaker wrote:
July 13th, 2018, 2:37 pm
Did you buy anything in the end OP? I can confirm that the APU2C4 can route symmetrical gigabit WAN > LAN at wire speed using IPFire (but not pfSense)
Since when is that? Are you sure that you benchmarked that correctly?
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Rainmaker
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Re: Duobox vs APU2c4

Post by Rainmaker » July 14th, 2018, 1:57 pm

MichaelTremer wrote:
July 14th, 2018, 1:52 pm
Rainmaker wrote:
July 13th, 2018, 2:37 pm
Did you buy anything in the end OP? I can confirm that the APU2C4 can route symmetrical gigabit WAN > LAN at wire speed using IPFire (but not pfSense)
Since when is that? Are you sure that you benchmarked that correctly?
I didn't do the benchmarking, Michael. I was taking my info from here, which has been discussed (and agreed with) at length on various official pfSense and Netgate forums/subreddits etc. While the testing was done on pfSense 2.3 (and 2.4 is now out with an updated FreeBSD 11 base) the results are still pretty much right. My own WAN is 'only' 380Mbps down so I didn't bump into the pfSense limits anyway, but it certainly isn't as fast as IPFire or even Linux in general.

TL;DR: Linux uses SMP/multi-core balancing for routing and performing similar tasks, whereas FreeBSD/pfSense uses a single core out of the box. The APUs are 1GHz (AMD) Jaguar quad cores, and indeed I would regularly see my APU hit 25% CPU usage (i.e. one core at 100%), just about hitting my WAN speed; whereas IPFire barely registered any load at the same speeds WAN > LAN. That would seem to support the data provided.
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MichaelTremer
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Re: Duobox vs APU2c4

Post by MichaelTremer » July 14th, 2018, 2:01 pm

The APU has a few design issues. Bus throughput is really slow and each CPU core only has 1 GHz clock speed. I suppose that *if* it actually transfers that data at that speed from one NIC to another one it will have at least two CPU cores entirely saturated. Meaning that with a little bit of QoS or IDS or proxy this won't be achieved any more. To prove that, it would have been nice to see CPU and interrupt load.

So basically: If you need speed: Don't use the APU.
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Rainmaker
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Re: Duobox vs APU2c4

Post by Rainmaker » July 14th, 2018, 2:09 pm

MichaelTremer wrote:
July 14th, 2018, 2:01 pm
The APU has a few design issues. Bus throughput is really slow and each CPU core only has 1 GHz clock speed. I suppose that *if* it actually transfers that data at that speed from one NIC to another one it will have at least two CPU cores entirely saturated. Meaning that with a little bit of QoS or IDS or proxy this won't be achieved any more. To prove that, it would have been nice to see CPU and interrupt load.

So basically: If you need speed: Don't use the APU.
While that's certainly true to a degree (hence my switch to a much more powerful mini-PC x86 box), the fact IPFire will happily route symmetric gigabit on the same APU means they're certainly not useless... As long as you don't run a BSD base. I love BSD btw (I run FreeBSD 11.4 on my desktop), but for this particular hardware Linux certainly wins and is perfect for anyone with a Gigabit line and a limited budget.
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ricsip
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Re: Duobox vs APU2c4

Post by ricsip » August 31st, 2018, 11:02 am

MichaelTremer wrote:
July 14th, 2018, 2:01 pm
The APU has a few design issues. Bus throughput is really slow and each CPU core only has 1 GHz clock speed. I suppose that *if* it actually transfers that data at that speed from one NIC to another one it will have at least two CPU cores entirely saturated. Meaning that with a little bit of QoS or IDS or proxy this won't be achieved any more. To prove that, it would have been nice to see CPU and interrupt load.

So basically: If you need speed: Don't use the APU.
I actually have a brand new APU2C4, and hunting for the firewall distro that can do 1 Gbit NAT over PPPoE.
My testbed is somehow limited, so I currently measured only pure-IP traffic, no PPPoE yet. As I dont have the knowledge how to build a simple PPPoE server on a PC connected to the WAN interface of the APU and simulating my ISP, and the APU would be the PPPoE client, another PC connected behind the APU LAN interface would be the test LAN user.

Opnsense current (or possibly *.FreeBSD based OS) seems to be a massive dissapointment for such network speed on that HW:
single-flow IPERF traffic LAN-->WAN direction can do 600ish Mbit/sec, but the WAN-->LAN direction can do only max to 450ish Mbit/sec with single-flow IPERF

With IPFIRE the situation is slightly better:
single-flow IPERF traffic LAN-->WAN direction can do 850-900ish Mbit/sec, and the WAN-->LAN direction can max to 650ish Mbit/sec with single-flow IPERF. So not even near the theoretical limit of the 1 Gbit, but still much higher than the opnsense/BSD results.

If it helps you to see where the limits are, I can for sure run some tests and share results (during IPERF, the 70% idle CPU load in TOP suggests to me there may be still resource to bump that WAN-->LAN number closer to the acceptable 900+ Mbit).

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