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 From:  Chris Buechler <cbuechler at gmail dot com>
 Cc:  m0n0wall at lists dot m0n0 dot ch
 Subject:  Re: [m0n0wall] Good NIC?
 Date:  Fri, 19 Aug 2005 15:52:02 -0400
On 8/19/05, lola <lola at yais dot net> wrote:
> my experience is:
> intel and 3com are the best nics.
> intel nics are a bit slower than 3com but use less cpu time. so depending on
> what you want to build use one of these.
> speed / performance => 3com
> stability / cpu usage => intel

This isn't true.  The lower CPU usage on the Intel makes them faster. 
Its support of polling mode gives it an even bigger speed advantage
(even lower CPU load because no interrupt time).  On a firewall, your
bottleneck is typically CPU, and usually because of all the time it
spends on interrupts.

I, like several others, don't care a whole lot for 3com's either. 
When using PCI/PCI-X NIC's, they're Intel Pro/100 (fxp) or Pro/1000
(em) for me.

On 8/19/05, Daniel Heise <daniel dot heise at dhml dot de> wrote:
> Is there really such a big difference between NIC's? I've bought two
> network cards from MS Tech for 4 per card. They implement the Realtek
> 8139 chipset. One of them is connected to my adsl modem the other one to
> a 100MBit Switch. Would I notice any difference if I would use some more
> expensiv network cards? Or is this something you have to believe in?

This depends on many, many things.  Usually your max throughput is
limited by CPU.  Realtek NIC's love to spew interrupts like it's going
out of style, hence they bog down your CPU far more than good quality
NIC's.  If you're pushing 3 Mb through a 200 MHz box, it isn't going
to matter.  If you want to push, say, 80 Mb through a 300 MHz box, now
that's a different story.  For low traffic setups, it really doesn't