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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    2,735

    how about Realtek NIC ?

    Hi,

    im looking dual NIC desktop board,

    i find many board use Realtek NIC,

    for server running,

    how about the performance and stability about Realtek NIC ?


    because i check intel's desktop board,

    it seems rhost do not support dual LAN port.


    thanx

  2. #2
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    They are fine as long as you have the latest driver from Realtek installed. Many in-kernel drivers for Realtek nics are very buggy.
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  3. #3
    Realtek as a whole is not terrible, but certain chipsets they have created over the years are quite a bit worse than others.

    Namely the 8168B chipset still has horrible driver support on almost every OS known to man. It is not uncommon for the Windows driver to show "Network cable unplugged" for no reason at all, and it is also not uncommon for the Linux driver to start dropping packets randomly to the tune of 10-50%. I have not seen any recent issues on Linux, so 2.6.29+ should probably be fairly safe with this chipset, but I would avoid it at all cost on Windows as I have seen issues with even the latest driver version at times.

    The 8169 and 8139 chipsets however have both been used extensively on many motherboards for years and I rarely see any issues with them. In fact, the 8139 10/100 chipset is probably one of the most widely supported network chipsets you can buy.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Driver support aside, Realtek NIC chipsets are just plain crappy. Here are some comments from the source code for the realtek 8129/8139 driver in FreeBSD:

    36 /*
    37 * RealTek 8129/8139 PCI NIC driver
    38 *
    39 * Supports several extremely cheap PCI 10/100 adapters based on
    40 * the RealTek chipset. Datasheets can be obtained from
    41 * www.realtek.com.tw.
    42 *
    43 * Written by Bill Paul <[email protected]>
    44 * Electrical Engineering Department
    45 * Columbia University, New York City
    46 */
    47 /*
    48 * The RealTek 8139 PCI NIC redefines the meaning of 'low end.' This is
    49 * probably the worst PCI ethernet controller ever made, with the possible
    50 * exception of the FEAST chip made by SMC. The 8139 supports bus-master
    51 * DMA, but it has a terrible interface that nullifies any performance
    52 * gains that bus-master DMA usually offers.
    53 *
    54 * For transmission, the chip offers a series of four TX descriptor
    55 * registers. Each transmit frame must be in a contiguous buffer, aligned
    56 * on a longword (32-bit) boundary. This means we almost always have to
    57 * do mbuf copies in order to transmit a frame, except in the unlikely
    58 * case where a) the packet fits into a single mbuf, and b) the packet
    59 * is 32-bit aligned within the mbuf's data area. The presence of only
    60 * four descriptor registers means that we can never have more than four
    61 * packets queued for transmission at any one time.
    62 *
    63 * Reception is not much better. The driver has to allocate a single large
    64 * buffer area (up to 64K in size) into which the chip will DMA received
    65 * frames. Because we don't know where within this region received packets
    66 * will begin or end, we have no choice but to copy data from the buffer
    67 * area into mbufs in order to pass the packets up to the higher protocol
    68 * levels.
    69 *
    70 * It's impossible given this rotten design to really achieve decent
    71 * performance at 100Mbps, unless you happen to have a 400Mhz PII or
    72 * some equally overmuscled CPU to drive it.
    73 *
    74 * On the bright side, the 8139 does have a built-in PHY, although
    75 * rather than using an MDIO serial interface like most other NICs, the
    76 * PHY registers are directly accessible through the 8139's register
    77 * space. The 8139 supports autonegotiation, as well as a 64-bit multicast
    78 * filter.
    79 *
    80 * The 8129 chip is an older version of the 8139 that uses an external PHY
    81 * chip. The 8129 has a serial MDIO interface for accessing the MII where
    82 * the 8139 lets you directly access the on-board PHY registers. We need
    83 * to select which interface to use depending on the chip type.
    84 */
    With that said, the design or lack thereof probably won't hinder performance significantly with modern day cpu's; especially if you're not pushing near full 100Mbps. The older 8139 chipset is very well supported in pretty much every OS and has been for years due to its prevalence in inexpensive NIC's.
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  5. #5
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    70 * It's impossible given this rotten design to really achieve decent
    71 * performance at 100Mbps, unless you happen to have a 400Mhz PII or
    72 * some equally overmuscled CPU to drive it.
    I LOL'd at that one. Obviously the BSD guys haven't updated their driver in 10 years or so, go back to my original point -- get the latest driver from Realtek.

    Agreed, these NIC's shouldn't be ran at more than 75% of linespeed but other than that they work fine with the right driver.
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  6. #6
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    Mar 2009
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    Austin, TX
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    I've used many 8169s before without any problems.

    One AoE/iSCSI project I managed we used 4 8169s connecting to a dedicated backend Gb switch and distributed SAN slices across networks. No problems at all.

    The 8139s are well supported as well.
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    79
    I had a Realtek RTL8168B/8111B Family PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet it was fine no issues. As long as the driver is updated.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    64

    Talking

    Quote Originally Posted by ttgt View Post
    Hi,

    im looking dual NIC desktop board,

    i find many board use Realtek NIC,

    for server running,

    how about the performance and stability about Realtek NIC ?


    because i check intel's desktop board,

    it seems rhost do not support dual LAN port.


    thanx

    We buy lots of Super Micro systems. We've used them for several years and overall are very happy with their products.

    We recently found a less expensive version of a motherboard and attempted to use it in our OpenSecure Firewall / VPN systems. They used Realtek NICs. It was unfortunate but Open and FreeBSD crashed all the time due to the version they used it that board. That gave us a really bad taste in our mouths and we've been buying only Intel since then. We're also fond of broadcom.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    2,735
    how about 8111C ?


    thanx

  10. #10
    What hhw said.

    Preferences in order:

    Intel
    Broadcom
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  11. #11
    In all likelihood, you will not have any noticeable problems using Realtek on a desktop system but if there is any way to get a board with a better, ie Intel network interface, do it. If this is for an enterprise or server, Intel only.
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  12. #12
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    Jun 2009
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    I like Intel too.

  13. #13
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    For smooth operation use intel lan cards. Rock solid
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  14. #14
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    Jun 2006
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    Boca Raton, FL
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    I've used tons in OBSD servers without a hitch fwiw
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