[nSLUG] Re NICs

Jim Haliburton jim at on-site.ns.ca
Wed May 29 18:13:44 ADT 2002


Re Nics

The TULIP chip referred to in a recent thread was a DEC part.  Intel was a 
second source when DEC was in the foundry business.  With Compaq taking 
over DEC, Compaq did not want a foundry.  DEC's foundry is now called Intel 
Mass. or similar.  Intel now makes (made) the Alpha processor and still 
makes the tulip chip.  

Locally the chip is available on a very fine Aopen card called the AON-315.  
This has the Intel brand (nee DEC) 21143 10/100 chip.  It works very well.  It 
is all I use.

The Realtek chip sets are an NE2000 clone.  The first chip was the 16 bit 
ISA chip..  Slow but sturdy.  They then kludged on PCI plug and Play and 
made a PCI chip set.  Slow and with lots of CPU overhead.  Then they further 
kludged it to go to 100mb and in that guise is an 8139 chip.

The RealTek chipsets in general do NOT work well with multiple protocols 
running.  With a single protocol they will run.  However several software 
vendors, Business Vision, PCLaw among them have said they cannot 
support their software if the nics have RealTek chip sets.  Summary "Don't 
use em"

Intel server cards are usually available on their web site as a promo.  The 
landed price is about 25% less than the current dealer cost locally.
Very good cards.  The AON315 is a low cost almost equal card but using the 
Tulip chipset.

Many 3com cards have documented timing errors.  They get early/late 
transmissions and inconsistant interframe spacing.  The windows drivers tend 
to be the flavour or version of the week.  Unbelievable variety in similarly 
numbered cards.  eg 3c905b and c x all may or may not have different 
drivers.  My feeling is that any 3com is a card that should be on the 'not 
recommended' list.  Many of my clients network issues have been cured by 
putting in the AON315 to replace 3COM.  The Netware lists I subscribe to 
have never found a good thing to say about them.

I do use the on-board Intel nics on some motherboards.  I have 2 redhat 6.2 
server running and one W2k running with the on-board intel nics.  Stable.  
Reliable.  Not very cheap when they come on Intel motherboards.  Good 3 
year warranty from Intel on the boards though.

For eval of Intel go to

http://www.intel.com/network/connectivity/products/pro100s_srvr_adapter.htm

and on the right see the evaluation program link.

Lots of luck

Jim Haliburton





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