FastE NIC Recommendation

Steffen Persvold sp at scali.com
Mon Nov 18 03:46:55 EST 2002


On Sun, 17 Nov 2002, Michael Stein wrote:

> > I'm finally getting my home cluster together so I'm looking for some
> > inexpensive FastE NICS. I want inexpensive NICS that offer PXE and
> > decent performance for MPI codes (i.e. a good network load). Also,
> > in the next year or so, I'll be going with channel bonding so the NICs
> > should also handle bonding reasonalble well.  Or perhaps GigE for home
> > use will be cheap enough by then.
> 
> What's inexpensive?
> 
> Depending on your price range you might consider the Intel pro/1000MT
> desktop (not server) PWLA8390MT for around $50 each.  This is 10/100/1000
> and I think it has PXE (the spec page says PXE and I think I remember
> seeing a boot screen at one point).
> 
> I've hardly done any testing on these though, but I've seen one do >
> 700 Mb/second.  This was in a dual AMD server type machine (but 64 bit/33
> Mhz PCI slot, of course the Intel desktop NIC is only 32 bit).
> 
> This takes the E1000 driver from Intel.
> 
> Beware that FE might be lower latency than GB (and/or this
> driver/adaptor?).  I don't have latency numbers for this adaptor but
> I've been seeing poorer latency on GB than FE.  Anyone know why
> this is?

Hi all,

The Intel e1000 (which is in the Linux kernel tree btw.) has a ping-pong/2 
latency of about 25us on a decent Platform (Xeon, E7500 chipset). The 
Broadcom 5700 series (with the tg3 driver) has approx. 30us ping-pong/2 
latency on a ServerWorks GC-LE chipset (also Xeon processors). _But_ if 
you try e1000 on a AMD 760 MPX chipset for instance, the latency increases 
to 65 us ping-pong/2. YMMV.

Regards,
 -- 
  Steffen Persvold   |       Scali AS      
 mailto:sp at scali.com |  http://www.scali.com
Tel: (+47) 2262 8950 |   Olaf Helsets vei 6
Fax: (+47) 2262 8951 |   N0621 Oslo, NORWAY

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