Get an Ethernet Card
grail at goldweb.com.au
Sat Sep 7 10:00:24 EST 2002
On Saturday, September 7, 2002, at 12:37 , Damien Elmes wrote:
> How much do they go for? Could you justify recommending one of these to
> people for their home network, over some el-cheapo card based on
> popular chipset?
I've used NE2000-PCI clones and I've used Tulip based chipsets. My
perception has been that games like Quake III and FreeSpace run a little
more responsively when using the "smarter" cards. Perhaps on a much
faster machine I wouldn't notice any decrease in performance.
At least the Tulip chipset is busmastering/DMA, so the processor doesn't
have to actually load the data into the card. The greatest claim to
fame of the 8029 chipset is that it supports 32-bit transfers over the
PCI bus (but so does every other PCI card) - they're still old fashioned
"let the processor do all the work" style cards, but the PCI version
requires as little as 1/4 the effort of the 8-bit NE2000 from way back
But don't just take my word for it - see what Donald Becker has to say -
he's the guy responsible for evaluating many of the 100Mbps network
hardware that Linux drivers exist for:
When it comes down to "the bottom line", you're looking at about $20 for
a Realtek 8029 based board, and about $20 for a Tulip or consumer
EtherExpress Pro - perhaps as much as $40 if you let them sell you the
retail boxed version (which is what you'll get from Cougar or Page
Data). People who manufacture NE2000 clones are interested in
*profit* not *service*.
I would suggest that Cougar are not the place to buy NICs from - their
"consumer" NICs are NE2000 clones, and for the same money you could buy
a Tulip (DFE-530TX) or VIA Rhine 2 (DFE-530TX+) from Page Data in
Fyshwick. The lowest model Intel Pro/100 Cougar sells is the IPSec
coprocessor (which you don't need unless your business runs on IPSec).
If anyone finds a shop in Canberra that sells good PCI NICs OEM (ie:
just the card without manual/box/lots of wrapping), please let this list
 I have bought lots of stuff from Cougar and Page Data, amongst other
places. AB&T Systems in Belconnen, Civic and Phillip still provide
great products for decent prices, but the only NICs they sell are NE2000
clones or Intel server-end cards - a slightly smaller range than
Cougar's. Page Data sell D-Link hardware, but only boxed retail. I
recommend Page Data because I've actually used the stuff they sell, and
I've never had problems with D-Link products.
 By good, I mean something like:
- 3Com 3C905 ("Boomerang", *not* "Vortex")
- SMC EtherPower II (*not* the SMC EZ series)
- Anything with a Tulip chipset (2114x)
- Anything with an Intel i82558
PS: When it comes to connecting an ADSL modem, you only *need* a 10Mbps
ethernet card. However, since most retail stuff is 100Mbps, it's
probably easier/cheaper to buy a 100/10Mbps card that can automatically
talk 10Mbps to the ADSL modem, than to hunt for a 10Mbps card, which is
most likely going to be ISA anyway.
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