Cheap, good ethernet cards?

Robert G. Brown rgb at
Wed Apr 25 14:15:30 PDT 2001

I'm working at squeezing a 16 node beowulf into a $15K budget (including
disk, some server glitz, and 1.3 GHz Tbirds) and am working with a
vendor that currently carries a $19 no-name RealTek-chip based card that
I've used in the past but that has remarkably poor performance, a $20
NetGear FA311 (note, NOT the FA310 that I've used with decent results so
many times in the past -- the FA311 has had the reputation of not
working with linux as of only a few months ago) and a $50 3C905 that is
a great card I'm sure, but great at a pretty hefty price premium. $30 x
15 is $450, which is actually "a lot" -- a bigger/better switch, for

Does anyone have a recommendation for a "good" (measured/benchmarked
good, as in maybe 90+ mbps netperf or tcp pipe performance for large
packets, not totally horrible latency in small packet streams) ethernet
card in the $20 price range?  Is there now a reliable driver for the
FA311?  There are so many cards out there I cannot believe there aren't
good ones available for cheap, but since the demise of the true tulip
I've had a hard time sorting out the wheat from the chaff...


Robert G. Brown	             
Duke University Dept. of Physics, Box 90305
Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
Phone: 1-919-660-2567  Fax: 919-660-2525     email:rgb at

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