[tulip] Future of tulip, good quad-cards?

gemorga2 gemorga2@vt.edu
Wed Jun 5 12:11:01 2002

Back in 1998, when I worked for a major (top 5) networking company, Intel reps 
indicated that they planned to End of Life the 2114x "Tulip" chip.  Either 
DLink and friends did a huge end of life buy or Intel gave the chip a few 
years before they really ended its life.

The way this *should* be done is a company needs to make a Quad MAC (media 
access controller) chip with RMII interfaces to a Quad PHY chip and add 
magnetics and PCI electronics.  Quad PHYs used to exist (not sure if they do 
now -- check level one's/broadcom's websites?)  I know someone was making a 
Quad MAC chip back in the day but since most companies integrate the PHY with 
the MAC (like the 82559 intel chip) they may have reduced the MAC chip 
density.  High end networking equipment may use these chips to reduce board 
space, power consumption, increase port density...  but I doubt those style 
MAC chips will have a PCI interface built into them.

Incidently; SMC, Intel, etc make dual port network adapters.  I guess there 
just isn't much demand for quad port adapters.  Especially with gigabit over 
copper available.

Time to hit EBay?

>We took quite some time and wrote a very good (but function-specific) driver 
for the DFE-570TX card from DLink. It has four tulip chips and a PCI-bridge.. 
I'm sure you know the type.
>DLink however has discontinued the DFE-570TX card, and instead introduced a 
DFE-580TX card with 4 sundance chips. Needless to say, it sucks :) Even if 
someone writes a perfect driver, it's still not as good as the tulip-based 
cards. It has no interrupt mitigation, and seems generally flaky.
>Adaptec used to have quad tulip-based cards, but they have also discontinued 
(I think) that series and started a new range of quad cards based on their 
starfire chipset. The starfire chipset seems solid enough though and might be 
the way to go. Has anyone tried these Adaptec starfire cards with heavy 
>The tulip chipset is owned by intel these days.. and I think the reason that 
DLink and Adaptec is not selling tulip-based cards anymore is that either 
Intel is charging too much for the tulip cards, or that they are no longer 
selling the at all. Anyone know more about this?
>Then there's the Sun QFE card, which I haven't tried either but supposedly it 
works on x86.. but it's $1500 so I really don't want to go that way :)
>Any takes?
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