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Re: Network performance

On 5/26/05, Stuart Henderson <stu_(_at_)_spacehopper_(_dot_)_org> wrote:
> --On 26 May 2005 12:11 +0200, Alexander Hall wrote:
> > Henning Brauer wrote:
> >> * Philip Olsson <philip_(_at_)_teleservice_(_dot_)_net> [2005-05-20 21:34]:
> >>> More Mhz. Not crappy nics, get xl,fxp,dc etc. Or maybe gigabit nics
> >>> like em(4).
> >>
> >>
> >> xl is crap.
> >>
> >> sk is probably the best you can get currently. and they are
> >> amazingly  cheap.
> >
> > Can anyone comment on the fxp cards and driver?
> Reliable and not too heavy on the CPU (some chips/revisions have
> microcode to do interrupt mitigation in /etc/firmware, grep -3 CPUSAV
> /sys/dev/ic/fxp.c for a list).
I was about to say "or in the fxp(4) man page", but then I realized
that particular xterm was an ssh session into my NetBSD box, so
nevermind, grep away.  (As an aside, I greatly appreciate the new ksh
in 3.7 supporting bash-style PS1 prompts, like "PS1=\u_(_at_)_\h:\w$ ", which
makes such confusion a thing of the past.)

At least with 3Com and Intel cards I know I'm getting an xl or fxp
card, and don't wonder whether they did like Linksys, DLink, etc., and
added a + to the end of the model and used a completely different
chipset.  Of course, it seems most cheap cards are based on rtl8139 or
something similar, and getting something better is hitting the
jackpot.  I've never encountered an sk card, but that's probably
because I haven't gone shopping for gigabit stuff.  If they really are
that cheap, though, I might just have to start!

While it wasn't under OBSD, I've had some bad experiences with early
fxp hardware (eeproo 100/B).  Don't know if it was the famous
"receiver lock-up bug", but I definitely had kernel lock-ups resulting
from them.  Newer stuff seems to work fine.

I've never had any problems with xl-based cards, but I trust Henning
knows of what he speaks.  I've found they perform decently (better
than rl, but that's not saying a lot), but I'm not pushing the limits.
 I get ~80Mbit throughput shooting files around my LAN (which is not
going through pf; my cable modem, which does, is a mere pittance in
comparison), and that is "good enough" for me right now.

Thanks for the history lesson, Nick.  :-)  I've never seen a 3C505 or
507-- didn't one of them actually use the same chip (82586) as an
Intel NIC?  Incidentally, the original 3c509 is a terrible performer
(the 3c509b was better).  Later NE2000 clones like the AT/LANTIC
(DP83905) and RealTek8019 blow the 3c509 out of the water, at least in
raw throughput.  However, the 3c509 didn't have confusing jumpers or
impossible-to-find DOS setup programs, which was a definite plus.  I
remember when 10Mbit ethernet was all the rage and having it on a PC
was a novel idea, the university would only support/troubleshoot dorm
connections if you had a 3c509 or SMC 8000 -- you were on your own
with your JoeBlow NE2000.  Lest that sound too heartless, remember
these were the days of Win 3.1, Trumpet Winsock, and DOS packet
drivers... (shudder)


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