Can someone recommend Gigabit network cards & switch? Which ones to buy or not to buy?

65 pts.
Gigabit ethernet switches
Gigabit network adapters
We are upgrading our network for 6 of our users to be able to utilize gigabit LAN access and our budget isn't big (about $250-$350 range for the switch). We have the Cat6 for the runs, replacing the 24-port switch, and adding NICs. I don't know what is good or bad in the small-scale gigabit world, but I have heard that certain network cards put more of a load on the cpu while others handle most of the work themselves. Can anyone shed some light on this? What are the best and worst gigabit cards? Best (& worst) gigabit switches? Many thanks in advance.

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I’ve not heard or experienced a gig network card putting load on the cpu. I did some quick searches but didn’t find anything about it. Although, a gig connection to an old computer is not going to give it “new life”.

gigabit NIC’s are all the same, costing around $20. You should look for other differentiators like tech support, ease of driver install, both half-hight and full-height brackets, etc…

In your gigabit switch pricing range, you will not see any difference in manufacturers. Again you should look for “soft” features like support, warranty, etc…

I have used a dell 24 port for a rack switch and have had good luck with it and for the price $269 for the base they are hard to beat. As for Nic’s I use alot of brodacom and some intel’s with out any major issues just make sure you download the latest drivers.

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  • Rayhorn13
    Thanks for the info on the switches. As far as the NIC goes: I have heard/read that Intel chips handle more on-board (checksums or error checking, maybe?) while Netgear uses chips from Realtek (or Real-something - not sure here) and they don't handle some of the extra stuff so the computer has to. I'm paraphrasing and going from memory on things I don't really know about, but that's why I'm here.
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  • Tbitner
    Yes on some cards you can do TCP Checksum offloading and other advanced features. I've used them for some advanced TCP/IP troubleshooting on D-Link gig cards but it's rare you would need to change these settings in a normal environment. I've also used all the cards that have been mentioned and not had a problem with any.
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  • Rayhorn13
    I wasn't sure if the checksum thing meant a lot or nothing at all. Thanks very much for the help.
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