Diskless boot with onboard NIC

Velocet math at velocet.ca
Mon Mar 4 08:59:02 PST 2002

On Mon, Mar 04, 2002 at 10:21:21AM -0500, Robert G. Brown's all...
> 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
> configuration.
> 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.

eepro 100s are really among the best performing cards. Part of our
infrastructure involves some routing on FreeBSD and we swear by these in such

The Tyan Tiger 2466 MPX board has an onboard 3com 3c905 ('vortex') card
with PXE and RPL on it. (The ECS K7S5A which may be similar to the K7AMA
has only RPL. There are RPL daemons for linux but support is experiemental
at this point. Also note there's support for the IBM (I think?) version
of RPL for linux and not the Novell version. Someone out there may be
more clear on this, but RPL is a bit of a mess.) The tiger boards are
really sweet in that they have on board serial console and 2x 64/66 PCI
slots. And its only a bit more than twice the price of a single athlon
board, but you get to save space and power. Im extermely happy with mine
so far.


>    rgb
> -- 
> 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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Ken Chase, math at velocet.ca  *  Velocet Communications Inc.  *  Toronto, CANADA 

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