Rtl8139D; a good budget solution?

  • As a test, i have pfsense 1.2.2 running on an Intel P4 3.2 Ghz, mainboard Asus P4P800 SE, 2 Gb RAM and two network adapters with Realtek 8139D chipsets (Eminent EM1027). My network is small (only 3 desktops). As far as I can see, the latest Pfsense runs fine with these cheap network adapters. Of course I know that for a business network network adapters from Intel are far better than those with realtek chipset, but I think that for home/small business users the Realtek 8139D is a good alternative for the Intel 1000GT. Cheap Intel network adapters with 10/100 Mbps are not available in the Netherlands, and I think neather in the rest of Western Europe.

    Has anyone got some experiency with the Realtek 8139D chipset? Let me hear!

  • Your search-fu is weak ;)  Quoting once more from the source for the rl driver:

     * The RealTek 8139 PCI NIC redefines the meaning of 'low end.' This is
     * probably the worst PCI ethernet controller ever made, with the possible
     * exception of the FEAST chip made by SMC. The 8139 supports bus-master
     * DMA, but it has a terrible interface that nullifies any performance
     * gains that bus-master DMA usually offers.

    In short, run, don't walk, away from anything using that chipset.  Ok, the D revision may have improved things, but pretty much anything else has to be a better choice.

    Oh, yeah, my box came with those onboard too.  It's actually ok for up to about 50 Mb/s total bandwidth before it maxes out on interrupts.

  • Thanks for your reaction, Cry Havok. I've searched, found and read your earlier comment, but it doesn't speak about the 8139D. I've sold some systems that are suited for using pfsense, untill now only with Intel NIC's. Realtek isn't perfect for me either. But the most basic idea of network adapters is: do they work without errors? The Realtek 8139D NIC's I'm testing are working without errors. The price difference between Intel one 1000GT and a one Realtek NIC is approximately $24/€19 (In the Netherlands). For a lot of people that makes the difference between a pfsense-based firewall and, lets say, a cheap Linksys router with embedded firewall. But I agree that for maximum performance the only solution is an adapter with Intel chipset.

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