Help decide what NIC to buy



  • I'm putting together an old pc to play around with pfsense and it only has PCI slots. I need recommendations on what card to purchase as I'm getting confused. I'm looking at the following card:

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/INTEL-PRO-1000-MT-QUAD-PORT-GIGABIT-PCI-X-ETHERNET-SERVER-ADAPTER/273064047428?epid=1601476681&hash=item3f93e2b344:g:egEAAOSwRTVaf0Sj

    Will this work ?



  • @kendalja:

    I'm putting together an old pc to play around with pfsense and it only has PCI slots. I need recommendations on what card to purchase as I'm getting confused. I'm looking at the following card:

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/INTEL-PRO-1000-MT-QUAD-PORT-GIGABIT-PCI-X-ETHERNET-SERVER-ADAPTER/273064047428?epid=1601476681&hash=item3f93e2b344:g:egEAAOSwRTVaf0Sj

    Will this work ?

    No, because PCI can't handle quad gigabit ethernet, it's too slow:

    133 MB/s (32-bit at 33 MHz – the standard configuration)
    266 MB/s (32-bit at 66 MHz or 64-bit at 33 MHz)
    533 MB/s (64-bit at 66 MHz)

    And that is single-duplex only. So most people are using 32-bit slots, and at best at 66 Mhz, getting you dual gigabit ethernet at best.
    I'd suggest getting multiple single-port cards, as that is faster than multiport cards in PCI.



  • @johnkeates:

    I'd suggest getting multiple single-port cards, as that is faster than multiport cards in PCI.

    That's not even entirely true as the bandwidth is shared by an entire PCI bus. It's not uncommon to find two or three buses, but there are almost certainly fewer than there are PCI slots.

    For "just playing around" the quad port card will work, but it'll be really slow. You should be able to find a junk PC with PCIe slots which will be a much more useful platform.



  • @VAMike:

    @johnkeates:

    I'd suggest getting multiple single-port cards, as that is faster than multiport cards in PCI.

    That's not even entirely true as the bandwidth is shared by an entire PCI bus. It's not uncommon to find two or three buses, but there are almost certainly fewer than there are PCI slots.

    For "just playing around" the quad port card will work, but it'll be really slow. You should be able to find a junk PC with PCIe slots which will be a much more useful platform.

    Ah yes, it's even worse than I remembered. If you are going to buy something, you can probably get a ITX board, with CPU, and network cards for the same price as that quad PCI NIC.



  • @VAMike:

    @johnkeates:

    I'd suggest getting multiple single-port cards, as that is faster than multiport cards in PCI.

    That's not even entirely true as the bandwidth is shared by an entire PCI bus. It's not uncommon to find two or three buses, but there are almost certainly fewer than there are PCI slots.

    For "just playing around" the quad port card will work, but it'll be really slow. You should be able to find a junk PC with PCIe slots which will be a much more useful platform.

    Good point I think I will wait until I come across a pc with PCIe slots.



  • U got a >100 mbit plan? otherwise a zillion-speed NIC won't do didly.


  • Netgate Administrator

    That's a PCI-X card. Do you have a machine with PCI-X slots?

    Otherwise, yeah, just grab something with PCIe.

    Steve



  • If it is just for playing around you would be fine, but it is highly unlikely that you have a board with a 3.3v pci slot. PCI are keyed for 3.3v and 5v cards, and that card seems to be pci 3.3v only.

    The intel pro mt dual is a safer bet. Just make sure you have enough clearance to accommodate a longer card.

    What board are you using?

    Another option is to use a smart switch with vlans.


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