Is there a pci-e x1 Intel NIC card for gigabit ISP?

  • Looking to finally dip my toe into the pfsense world and run my home system off this.  We have ATT Uverse Gigabit fiber (gigabit up and down speeds).  Currently running this off my Asus AC68P router, which we get about 950down and 950up running through it on speed tests.  I want to be in that same area, looked at some appliances and people are saying you wont get anywhere close to that without going north of $400+ in hardware.

    So that comes to my next option, recently built this server for my house.  Its a windows10 box, running on a Gigabyte GA-Z170x Gaming 7 board with 32gb RAM and an i7 6700k CPU.  More than enough horsepower there Im assuming.  It has dual NICs but one of them is a Killer based and the other is Intel.  I installed VMware Workstation Pro 12.5 and installed pfsense on a virtual machine as a test and got it installed and played with the config partially.

    Now comes the NIC part.  I was thinking of buying another either single NIC or dual NIC (doesn't really matter, single would be fine) and was hoping for a PCIe X1 based cause the board has three of these slots that don't conflict with say the Msata.  So if I was able to find a decent PCIe X1 nic (lets say single), the WAN could go on that card.  The onboard Intel port could then go back out to my LAN (basically then to a 16 or 24port switch), then I could use the onboard Killer NIC technically coming back in off the LAN (a port off say the 16 or 24port switch) as the LAN for the machine itself (Win10 side).  I know you can allocate a NIC to VMware by removing all the IP component and settings off the NIC settings in windows and just leave the VMware bridge option selected.

    Any suggestions?  Or does it even have be Intel based since its going to VMware?


  • Quick search brings up the Intel EXPI9301CTBLK.

  • Thanks.  After doing a lot of research on this while I was on here seems like the setup I have of say Windows 10 as my base OS and then running VMware Workstation on it which then pfSense is running on and it would be setup using say the VMnet 0, 2, 3, etc to be allocated to a particular NIC isn't going to yield me gigabit speed.  I saw a few threads on VMware ESX and I saw 750Mbps download, some are even lower than that.

    Unless someone proves me wrong, it seems like im not going to be able to saturate my Gigabit ISP if I run pfsense off VMware.

    I may have to look into a dedicated unit then.


  • EXPI9301CTBLK is a Intel Gigabit CT desktop adapter. Good and cost effective for home network. Could be used as a passthru to ESXi with the proper hardware.

  • Ok but correct me if I'm wrong. The host OS would then have to be VMware. Not Windows 10.
    I need my base OS to remain as Windows 10 because of the multiple drives I have on it being setup as a software raid 10 using Windows and bitlocker. Not sure how all that is going to work with VMWare.


  • My windows 10 desktop is a ESXi guest with gpu and hba passthru.