Diskless boot with onboard NIC

Robert G. Brown rgb at phy.duke.edu
Mon Mar 4 07:21:21 PST 2002

On Mon, 4 Mar 2002, Jim fraser wrote:

> I am considering using some inexpensive mother boards as part of a cluster
> project.  These boards (ECS K7AMA) use the
> RealTek 8139C LAN chip on board the motherboard.  They claim it supports

A point to remember -- you get what you pay for.  My experiences with
RTL 8139 NICs have not been happy ones.  Although a system with a single
RTL 8139 NIC will generally "work", my own personal performance
measurements have shown this card to be a truly abysmal performer,
especially under (simulated) heavy load.  Whenever I've tried a system
with two RTL 8139's in it in the past that system has just crashed.  At
this point even though no-name RTL 8139 NICs can easily be bought for
$10 at many computer stores, I would never use one.

I'd find some OTHER inexpensive motherboard that has a decent NIC
onboard, even if you have to pay more for it.  Or just add a NIC to your

If remote PXE boot/install is your goal, intel and 3com have cards that
support pxe booting.  A number of vendors have motherboards with e.g.
onboard eepro100 NICs with PXE support.


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

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