CASwell CAD-0263 Evaluated And Approved By Renowned German Magazine C’t

"X86 Router Barebone For Fast Networks" With Two 10-Gbit Ethernet Ports And Crypto-Accelerated Intel Atom CPU Recommended For Self-Built Firewalls

2020/07/21 – c’t is the leading computer magazine in Europe and for many years has been known for its critical, in-depth and extensive tests. Lately, the CASwell CAD-0263 has caught their attention because of its two 10-Gbit Ethernet ports and Intel QAT supporting Atom processor so they took a closer look and evaluate its possible utilization as a basis for own firewall solutions.

Some tech savvy administrators don’t want to rely on proprietary and sometimes restricted firewall systems and prefer x86 barebones to build their own firewall solution. For this purpose, the c’t was especially interested in the CASwell CAD-0263 because it’s based on an Intel Atom C3758 processor with eight cores and provides two 10-Gbit and six more 1-Gbit Ethernet ports plus easy upgradeability including LTE modules and different storage options. The Atom C3758 CPU supports Intel QuickAssist Technology (QAT) to increase performance and efficiency of tasks for security, authentication and compression.

After successful configuration c’t reported very high data transfer rates: “With standard Ethernet MTU of 1500 bytes and 80 parallel TCP streams, almost 8 Gbit/s was established in IP-to-IP mode (IPoE or DHCP). With jumbo frames (MTU 9000 bytes) standardized at 10GE, we were able to fully utilize the fast ports (9.9 Gbit/s with 26 percent CPU load). So the CAD-0263 has enough reserves for other services.”

Then c’t tested Intel QAT performance of the Atom C3758 and it “indeed delivered tremendous acceleration like around factor 30 when signing with RSA 4096 (1630 signs/s via QAT with 64 asynchronous jobs instead of 52 signs/s in software), somewhat less strong when verifying (factor 13, 45,200 instead of 3430 verifys/s). This is useful for servers that constantly have to deal with a large number of connections.”

c’t concluded their in-depth analysis with this verdict: “Thanks to its variety and flexibility of interfaces, the CAD-0263 should attract many firewall builders. If you add the QAT function of its Atom C3000 processor, which is difficult to set up but useful for some server applications, the device becomes even more attractive. The performance shown in the test justifies the price.”

Thanks to Ernst Ahlers and the team at c’t for this detailed review.

Zhe whole article can be found in German in issue 12/2020 of c’t or online:

More information about the CASwell CAD-0263 can be found here.