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Re: Best Ethernet NIC with a Gigabyte?

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      01-11-2009, 09:40 PM
Keith Lee wrote:
> All:
> I have an older Gigabyte motherboard with an AMD 1100 CPU. What would be the best NIC to work with it? I
> am hoping to get DSL soon. Thank you.
> Keith

At one time, Ethernet devices were categorized according
to their performance. A high performance device was one
that could handle back-to-back packets with ease. For example,
early in my career, I worked on a product which only
had two buffers, and that would be considered a low
performance product. (Of course, the product documentation
doesn't say that :-) )

That was a long time ago (just after Ethernet was introduced),
and most chips today are fully featured. A typical good design
uses ring buffers and DMA, for both transmit and receive. Some
even have various kinds of offloading features, but I haven't
been keeping track of that stuff.

This is an example of a chip you can get on a $10 NIC
card. The document here claims, the receive side has
a ring buffer, while the transmit side uses fixed buffers.
And I think that causes a slight bit of grief for the
software people.

So as long as you avoid certain of the $10 NIC cards,
you'll be getting whatever performance your OS can

Occasionally, you'll run into an old chipset, that has some
problems with its PCI bus, but for DSL download speeds, I
wouldn't expect even the most broken PCI implementation
to limit your fun. Some of these PCI bus problems become more
evident, when you try to transfer files between two

There is room on some OSes, for link tuning. For example,
as a joke, I installed Win98SE on my current Core2 system.
I did some download testing, and noted the usual crappy
performance. I found a package that claims to modify some
TCPIP settings in Win98, and after I used it, I was
able to download at 500KB/sec (full link rate), just
like in WinXP. So if your performance sucks, it isn't always
the hardware that has a problem - it can also be the
window size/delay product which is causing it. I'd
give you a link to the package, but it's on a disk
which is currently disconnected.

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