Multiple ethernet cards

Robert G. Brown
Mon Oct 19 07:50:29 1998

On Mon, 19 Oct 1998 wrote:

> Tulip card is cheap enough to be comparable with any ISA Ethernet card.
> However, PCI slot is precious.  I've one system with 1 VGA PCI card,
> 2 SCSI PCI cards, and 1 tulip PCI card, ie. all PCI slots occupied.  
> When I have to insert one more network to build up another ethernet 
> segment, I've to search for more than a week for cheap cheap ISA VGA 
> card from 2nd hand stores.  Actually, I got a few more ISA VGA cards 
> under my drawer, in case I need yet another PCI slot!

Point taken, although my own solution to the same problem is to buy
motherboards that have SCSI, SVGA and maybe even ethernet all onboard.
Intel and SuperMicro (and others) all have motherboards with onboard
SCSI including onboard 7895 dual UW SCSI; Intel has boards with UW SCSI
and eepro100 (and maybe an SVGA controller -- can't remember)
integrated. The Dell Poweredge 2300 series come with onboard 7860 U and
7890 U2W SCSI and an onboard Mach SVGA controller and Dell now supports
linux. One could put 4-5 ethernet adapters in such a beast since you
need NO slots to run disk that is very fast indeed and a monitor.
Getting motherboards with AGP video is another "solution" -- the AGP
slot (although evil in the minds of many on the lists I lurk on) isn't
good for anything BUT video and leaves you with 5 PCI slots.

Then there are cards that combine SCSI and ethernet controller(s) on a
single card -- get both in a single slot.  Finally, there are multiport
ethernet cards -- I think that one can get up to four ports in a single
PCI slot from Cogent and maybe Matrox.

If performance is not an issue, I've certainly managed to get get 100
Mbps PCI ethernet and 10 Mbps ISA ethernet cards to work in the same
system -- it isn't difficult and is adequate for many applications.  If
one is building a real high performance multiported system for e.g. an
ISP host or beowulf node, one should invest the small additional money
required to engineer the system "right" -- and ISA free.


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