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The following is an archive of a post made to our 'vox-tech mailing list' by one of its subscribers.

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Re: [vox-tech] What's the real deal with network cards
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Re: [vox-tech] What's the real deal with network cards



On Wed, 28 Feb 2001, Jay Strauss wrote:

> I was just at Microcenter picking up network cards.  Cards with the rtl8139
> chip ranged from
> $9.75 (the ones I bought) to about $35.  Is there any difference?  Then
> there where cards (linksys)
> that used the tulip driver that ran from 25 - 45.  Then there are other
> cards 3com, Intel, etc.. I don't know what chip and/or driver they use.

I don't know details such as which name brands have the fewest returns, or
why cards with similar chipsets go for such widely varying prices.

> 
> Is there noticeable difference between the chips/drivers, in speed,
> compatibility, dependability?

Linksys is a PITA because they change the chipset at the drop of a model
revision, requiring you to be extremely careful which version you
buy.  Once you get them working, they seem to be as good as any.

Tulip chipsets are a bit too flexible for their own good... you may have
to go to extra effort to get recent versions of the driver(s) to make a
tulip card work.  Not such a problem for workstations, but if you are
setting up an LRP box it can take some legwork to get all the pieces in
place.  From a hardware standpoint they are supposed to be better
(simpler, less cpu overhead) than rtl8139 or ne2k-pci.

3com cards are reputed to be very good, but I haven't found any reason to
pay the premium for them. I don't manage a large network, though, and
those are the people who swear by them.

I have been satisfied with the rtl8139 and NE2000 cards I have used, even
though they aren't great performers.  Unless you intend to push the
limits or performance or use older computers, I have never had trouble 
with network cards the way I have with some sound cards.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jeff Newmiller                        The     .....       .....  Go Live...
DCN:<jdnewmil@dcn.davis.ca.us>        Basics: ##.#.       ##.#.  Live Go...
Work:<JeffN@endecon.com>              Live:   OO#.. Dead: OO#..  Playing
Research Engineer (Solar/Batteries            O.O#.       #.O#.  with
/Software/Embedded Controllers)               .OO#.       .OO#.  rocks...2k
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