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Re: 100mbit nic: intel or 3com?

On Fri, 1 Feb 2002, Victor Julien wrote:

>I want to build a debian based router/gateway/fileserver/mailserver for a
>home network with 12 clients. It will be quite low budget as the server is a
>Pentium 166Mhz. I want the network to be 100mbit fullduplex, so I want to buy
>a Nic for the server. Which one is best for maximum performance and
>stability? Intel, 3com, SMC or just a cheap Realtek? I think the nic should
>be using the cpu as little as possible...

Are you going to sending lots of little messages, or are you going to
be doing a lot of bulk transfer.

For lots of little messages, a PIO based card (such as a 3Com 905) will
serve you well.

For bulk transfer, you really want to be dealing with DMA, so an Intel
EtherExpress Pro100 (or anything based on the Tulip chipset) will do you
well here.

Setting up DMA transfers takes significant CPU time, which is why I ask,
as doing a PIO transfer in CPU for a short message can take less time than
setting up the DMA just for a short message.

But either way, either of these cards should see you well, you might not
get to tax either card a great deal with you 166MHz system, so a cheap
rtl8139c based card (using the 8139too kernel module) might do you well
anyway, and save you an extra $60 (NZD), ~$25 dollars US. You can use this
saved money to bump up your RAM.

Cameron Kerr

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