Gigabit Ethernet Adapters

Michael E Brown michael_e_brown at
Sat Mar 16 00:07:00 CST 2002

A nice, innocent-looking loaded question. Thanks. :-)

On Fri, 15 Mar 2002, Ed Griffin wrote:

> Can anyone recommend a top-of-the-line Gigabit (copper not fiber)
> adapter?  I looked on Dell's site and found 5-packs of 3Com adapters and
> 5-packs of Intel adapters and the Intel ones are 5X the cost.  Is the

We sell 3-Com gigabit cards? That is news to me. Maybe you meant
"Broadcom?" I see we have them listed on the website, but we don't
pre-install them on servers and it looks like they are out of stock.

Anyways, I see (for 1 each)
	Intel Pro/1000XT	135
	Broadcom BCM5701	149

You'll find the Broadcom gigabit under PCI NIC and the Intel gigabit under
Gigabit PCI NIC, go figure. Anyways, I think that the 5X price
differential that you saw was probably because you were looking at Fibre
Intel cards. All of the fibre cards we sell from Intel are the
older-generation cards and they cost more. (go figure) The new Intel
copper gigabit cards are very competitively priced.

> performance really 5X to justify the cost?  I need the fastest/best/highest
> performance/reliability and supported under Linux, I know Dell uses
> Broadcom cards embedded in their servers, are Broadcom the way to go?  This
> project needs an extremely high performance card for bench testing and code
> development that will be later ported to Infiniband when it becomes more
> broadly available.  Thanks in advance.

At the moment, the Linux guy inside me says to go with the Intel card, at
least until Broadcom gets a supported driver into the official
kernel. Intel has drivers in 2.5 now, and they seem to be playing well
with the linux community. There seems to be a row between Broadcom and the
core Linux networking folks right now, and that generally doesn't make me
too comfortable. Search recent linux-kernel archives for commentary on the
Broadcom situation.

Aside from that, the Intel card outperforms the Broadcom card right now if
you use Intel's and Broadcom's driver, respectively. If Broadcom sorts out
their driver troubles, the performance would probably be just about

Michael Brown
Linux Solutions
Dell Computer Corp

I hope this message gets through the "politically-correct" filters on the
mailing list. ;-)

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