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home web server NIC recommendation

Last Modified: 2013-11-09
I'm planning on hosting some personal sites from my home. Here are NIC optons available to me as I consider purchasing a Dell PowerEdge SC440 package:

1) On-Board Single Gigabit Network Adapter [0$]
2) Intel® Pro 1000PF Single Port Copper Gigabit PCI Express NIC [$139]
3) Broadcom® NetXtreme 5721 Single Port Gigabit Ethernet NIC, Cu, PCIe [$59]

Can someone help me make an informed decision about what to pick? As I said, the box will be primarily a web server connected to my 2Wire gateway/router. Apart from http, the box shouldn't see much action other than me uploading to it from time to time.

Please advise and let me know why one would be much preferred over the others (if that's the case).

Note: I've read that I should try to get a NIC that impacts CPU performance as little as possible.


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Les MooreSystems Architect
Top Expert 2008

I can't see any value in using anything other than the on-board NIC.


lrmoore: Thanks for your response. Why do you write that? That is, under what different conditions might you recommend a different NIC?
I would recommend go with 2 NIC's and just leave one unconfigured. This can be useful when something happens to your main NIC! In that case, you just configure the other NIC and change the cable, you're up and running.



rslvanandan: Hmmm...I'll think on that. Might make sense in the long run.
Most cable modems have capped speeds. Most of them communicate @ 10Mbs. The affect an onboard card would have on the CPU would be so small, that getting a PCIe version (Probably with an NPU on it) would be a waste in this case.


1r2d2c3po: Right, my verizon dsl igives a somewhat pathetic (but highly economical):

Connection Speed:
•  Incoming: 3360 kbps
•  Outgoing: 864 kbps

Varying, of course, depending on traffic/time of day.


Although my current wireless connection (between my laptop and hub) reports 54mbs.
Les MooreSystems Architect
Top Expert 2008

The on-board NIC is just as good/efficient as any of the others for your use. If this was a high-availbility, mission-critical system, then I would say go with a pair of PCIe NIC's that can usually be teamed together for high availability/load balancing. Given that your ISP connection is cable, and you stated that it was only for personal web sites and casual use, I assume that neither of those conditions fit. It doesn't do you any good to have ultra high performance Gigabit NIC's when you're stepping down to cable connection. Does your LAN switch even support Gigabit? The on-board supports 10/100/1000 auto speeds, the others could be Gigabit only (I'm not 100% sure on this, so don't shoot me if I'm wrong) and would force you to have a switch capable of 10/100/1000 to connect to your router.


lrmoore: Here are the specs on my gateway:

Hardware Features
• WAN: ADSL, RJ-11 (on line 1 & 2*)
• LAN: HyperG 802.11g wireless‡, 4-port
10/100BaseT Ethernet Switch‡, Phoneline
HomePNA 2.0‡, USB 1.1/1.0
Broadband Protocols
• PPPoE, PPPoA, RFC2684, DHCP client, Multi-IP
support, Transparent Bridging
• ATM Adaptation Layer 2 & 5 supporting up to 10
Permanent Virtual Circuits (PVCs)
Routing Functions
• Network Address Translation, Network Port
Translation (NAT/PAT)
• DHCP server, DNS Proxy, VPN pass-thru, Static
• Configurable Stateful Packet Inspection firewall
with application list and ALG support
• Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA-PSK)
• 64-bit / 128-bit WEP
• Receive Sensitivity: 802.11b CCK = -90 dBm,
802.11g OFDM = -77dBm
• Transmit Power (max): 802.11b CCK = 26dBm,
802.11g OFDM = 26dBm
• Web User Interface
• Software upgradeable via local and remote
• OGMP/XML management support via 2Wire
Component Management System (CMS)
• Service Provider enhanced services activation via
2Wire CMS
Systems Architect
Top Expert 2008
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