Watchguard Firebox x550e/x750e/x1250e – pfSense


On to the next Firebox. This time it’s the x1250e model. This is supposed to be the Top Core model for this series but internally it’s identical as the previous model. The features are simply software controlled.

The hardware in this Firebox is virtually identical to the x750e. In fact the only difference seems to be the existence of the soldered on IDE header.

The process for installing pfSense is exactly the same as the previous box. This time I left the original RAM and CPU intact. Time to benchmark these and see how much of a difference the CPU upgrade made.

The test consists of copying a large (4GB) file across two interfaces. The copy was performed from SSD to SSD over high quality switches to eliminate hardware bottlenecks.
Each firewall was configured with 4 interfaces

  • WAN – On-Board, PCI, sk driver
  • LAN – On-Board, PCI, sk driver
  • DMZ – Expansion, PCIe, msk driver
  • PVT – Expansion, PCIe, msk driver

Original Configuration Intel Celeron M 1.3Ghz

Source Destination Transfer Speed (MBit/s) Transfer Speed (MB/s) CPU Usage Notes
WAN (sk) LAN (sk) 344 43 62% PCI->PCI
LAN (sk) WAN (sk) 304 38 75%
WAN (sk) DMZ (msk) 432 54 50% PCI->PCIe
DMZ (msk) WAN (sk) 536 67 100% *
PVT (msk) DMZ (msk) 528 66 100% PCIe->PCIe *
DMZ PVT 720 90 100% *

* All of pfSense functions stopped responding during transfer

The following table illustrates the performance with the 2.0Ghz Pentium-M

Source Destination Transfer Speed (MBit/s) Transfer Speed (MB/s) CPU Usage Notes
WAN (sk) LAN (sk) 360 45 42%
LAN (sk) WAN (sk) 336 42 47%
WAN (sk) DMZ (msk) 440 55 60%
DMZ (msk) WAN (sk) 600 75 80%
DMZ (msk) PVT (msk) 808 101 95% **
PVT (msk) DMZ (msk) 680 85 58%

** Even at 95% CPU usage, the pfSense interface was completely usable and quite responsive.

Also tested the power usage of the Celeron M and Pentium M. This is with “powered” disabled.

Processor Watts Idle Watts Load
Celeron M 1.3Ghz 35W 45W
Pentium M 2.0Ghz 37W 48W

3 thoughts on “Watchguard Firebox x550e/x750e/x1250e – pfSense

  1. Those extra 4 ports on the expansion board are quite a bit faster, too bad about the stability problem. Your test was with an early 2.0 release – do you know if they are stable under 2.1 now?

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