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Which network cards are best for Gigabit Ethernet?

Which network cards are best for Gigabit Ethernet?

We've started working with Gigabit Ethernet and found that none of the low-cost cards support full network throughput and they eat up CPU time. We've done some research, but can't find much info on the topic. Which cards offload the most TCP/IP processing and do the most work for the least cost?
Your experiments are very interesting and I'm also surprised to hear that there's such a lack of information on the subject.

I usually tend to stick to brand named cards that are 'proven' to work on the market and never had problems (unless the card was faulty). I guess a guideline you can use is the well know phrase "You get what you pay for", meaning that a $15 network card is sure to have a lower throughput than a $35 card.

From experience, the Intel server and workstation based network cards should provide acceptable performance.

In addition, I'd suggest you ensure you're making use of the vendor's latest drivers as they too make a big difference when it comes to performance.

This was last published in April 2006

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