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What specs are important on a new PCI-e network card?

I need to get a new card for faster speeds I'm going to be getting and for future proofing. For the time being I'll be getting 2gbps but I'd like to not have to buy another card for as long as I can avoid it.

What do I need to look at? I don't have much experience with buying network cards. I definitely don't need it to have WiFi, Bluetooth would be cool if that's possible.

But there are surely specs that matter to ensure the card is good for my purposes. It's basic internet use with Cat7 cables that we have, but if it makes a difference, we do a lot of sending and receiving of uncompressed video and audio to a private server.

Any help would be great. Thanks!

 

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What network standard? What device are you connecting your PC to?

 

 

Cat 7e doesn't exist, don't buy cables with that rating.

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There's really not a whole lot to look out for.

Generally speaking all NICs will do the job just fine.


A nice thing to have for the future might be to get one that comes with a low profile PCI-e bracket. Just in case you'll ever want to install it in something that doesn't offer the space for a full size bracket.

 

Never heard of a RJ-45 NIC that also features support for bluetooth. Usually WiFi cards offer bluetooth.

05Gb/s - USB 3.2 Gen 1 (USB 3.0, 3.1 Gen1)

10Gb/s - USB 3.2 Gen 2 (USB 3.1 Gen2)

20Gb/s - USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 

40Gb/s - USB 4.0, Thunderbolt 3, Thunderbolt 4

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1 hour ago, Electronics Wizardy said:

Cat 7e doesn't exist

Typo.

I'm going to go from the ISP at 1.5gbps actually to my computer. Ï have another problem which is that I currently use a switch to share the signal from the modem to my desktop and to a few other devices for occasional use. But it's a 10/100/1000 switch. So I guess I now need something that can switch at least one port to 1.5gbps right? So that I can get the proper speed to the computer without bottlenecking it to 1.0

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1 hour ago, Senzelian said:

A nice thing to have for the future might be to get one that comes with a low profile PCI-e bracket.

Good tip.

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Just now, tinpanalley said:

Typo.

I'm going to go from the ISP at 1.5gbps actually to my computer. Ï have another problem which is that I currently use a switch to share the signal from the modem to my desktop and to a few other devices for occasional use. But it's a 10/100/1000 switch. So I guess I now need something that can switch at least one port to 1.5gbps right? So that I can get the proper speed to the computer without bottlenecking it to 1.0

What modem and router are you using? 

 

For speeds, there is 2.5gbe, 5gbe and 10gbe for cheapish options. There all much more expensive than 1gbe, and you need support from the modem to use them.

 

Also Id probably just use 1gbe here, basically nothing uses >1gbe on the desktop

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1 hour ago, tinpanalley said:

Typo.

I'm going to go from the ISP at 1.5gbps actually to my computer. Ï have another problem which is that I currently use a switch to share the signal from the modem to my desktop and to a few other devices for occasional use. But it's a 10/100/1000 switch. So I guess I now need something that can switch at least one port to 1.5gbps right? So that I can get the proper speed to the computer without bottlenecking it to 1.0

Yes that is true, but the main reason to have Gigabit or faster is so that multiple clients can go fast at the same time, rather than pulling 1.5Gbit from a single client.  So if your router has multiple Gigabit ports, its generally better to just put the devices you want to have the fastest speed on there and let everything else share the Gigabit off your switch.

 

I currently have 500Mbit off 5G and short of actual speed tests, I rarely get over 200Mbit.  Steam and games consoles might manage to max it out, but even then its useful to still have some spare capacity for other clients that might need to use the Internet at the same time.

 

Of course if you do only have a modem/ONT with a single port, then that changes things (you should have a router plugged into it, not a switch) but even then often the ISP will only provide a device with a Gigabit port.  Advertising faster than Gigabit broadband can often just be a PR stunt, as technically sure you have that, but you can't actually use it with the hardware they provided.

Router: i5-7200U appliance running pfSense WiFi: Honor Router 3 (~850Mbit peak throughput)
ISPs: Zen VDSL (66Mbit) + Plusnet VDSL (66Mbit) + Three 5G (~600Mbit)

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53 minutes ago, Alex Atkin UK said:

Advertising faster than Gigabit broadband can often just be a PR stunt, as technically sure you have that, but you can't actually use it with the hardware they provided.

This is my problem. The modem/router they provide doesn't actually have 1.5gbps ports. Only 1.0. So I can't draw the 1.5 for my downloading needs. So now I'm thinking of getting my own router which is what I used to do years ago anyway. Is it possible to get a router/modem that will give me an output port of more than 1.0?

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2 hours ago, Electronics Wizardy said:

What modem and router are you using? 

It's onw by my ISP. It's called the Home Hub 3000 for Bell in Canada, No idea who makes it.

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34 minutes ago, tinpanalley said:

It's onw by my ISP. It's called the Home Hub 3000 for Bell in Canada, No idea who makes it.

Well you can't get >1gbit on your PC unforantly, asn that modem only have 1gbe ports. There is no point in changing the nic on your PC. 

 

If you want the 1.5gbe speeds, you need to have >1 device using the network. Look at the footnote here. 

 

https://www.bell.ca/Bell_Internet/Products/Fibe-Internet-Gigabit15-FTTH, footnote 1 at the bottom. "

  1. A wired connection and at least one additional wired or wireless connection are required to obtain total download speed."

Id save your money and just get the 1gbe plan as it won't make a difference.

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10 minutes ago, Electronics Wizardy said:

Id save your money and just get the 1gbe plan as it won't make a difference.

Well, the increase in upload speed is a bit of a difference. There is a possibility I get their newer 10G modem soon.

So there's no way to sort of, extract, the 1.5 from the signal through their modem and feed it into my own router?

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12 minutes ago, Electronics Wizardy said:

Well you can't get >1gbit on your PC unforantly, asn that modem only have 1gbe ports. There is no point in changing the nic on your PC. 

 

If you want the 1.5gbe speeds, you need to have >1 device using the network. Look at the footnote here. 

 

https://www.bell.ca/Bell_Internet/Products/Fibe-Internet-Gigabit15-FTTH, footnote 1 at the bottom. "

  1. A wired connection and at least one additional wired or wireless connection are required to obtain total download speed."

Id save your money and just get the 1gbe plan as it won't make a difference.

Kinda makes sense in that respect, Gigabit over wire and 500Mbit over WiFi covers pretty much all the capacity you're likely to have, if you consider most people wont be using WiFi in the same room as the router so 500Mbit over WiFi is somewhat optimistic in most cases.

Router: i5-7200U appliance running pfSense WiFi: Honor Router 3 (~850Mbit peak throughput)
ISPs: Zen VDSL (66Mbit) + Plusnet VDSL (66Mbit) + Three 5G (~600Mbit)

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Just now, tinpanalley said:

Well, the increase in upload speed is a bit of a difference.

There is a possibility I get their newer 10G modem soon.

It won't increase upload speeds at all, your already able to maximixe the connection on your PC with a gigabit connection. The upload speeds are also limited to 1gbit on the plan, and really almost nothing can even use those speeds.

 

If you get their 10gbit modem, id buy the faster nic later, and nic prices are going down pretty fast.

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2 hours ago, tinpanalley said:

This is my problem. The modem/router they provide doesn't actually have 1.5gbps ports. Only 1.0. So I can't draw the 1.5 for my downloading needs. So now I'm thinking of getting my own router which is what I used to do years ago anyway. Is it possible to get a router/modem that will give me an output port of more than 1.0?

This smells like Bell Fibe through the Home Hub 3000 or 4000.

There are ways to bypass all of their hardware, I do it, but it's only 'easy' at 1gbps.  Do do the same at 1.5gbps, you get into a real mess of hacky driver mods for pfsense and specific NICs.

 

This is my setup for Bell.  Their fiber goes right into a media converter and then pfSense.  The Home Hub is in it's box in the corner.

 

PXL_20210508_222549532-1.thumb.jpg.7b7e18a2fa5d477b7b0b2f0d82b121ca.jpg

Desktop: Ryzen 9 3950X, Asus TUF Gaming X570-Plus, 64GB DDR4, MSI RTX 3080 Gaming X Trio, Creative Sound Blaster AE-7

Gaming PC #2: Ryzen 9 3900X, Asus TUF Gaming B450M-Plus, 32GB DDR4, Gigabyte Windforce GTX 1080

Gaming PC #3: Intel i7 4790, Asus B85M-G, 16B DDR3, XFX Radeon R9 390X DD XXX OC

UnRAID #1: Intel E5-2697v2, Asus P9X79 LE, 48GB DDR3, Radeon HD 5450

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MiniPC: Lenovo M93P Tiny: i7 4950HQ, 16GB DDR3 
Windows XP Retro PC: Intel i3 3250, Asus P8B75-M LX, 8GB DDR3, Sapphire Radeon HD 6850, Creative Sound Blaster Audigy

Windows 9X Retro PC: Intel E5800, ASRock 775i65G r2.0, 1GB DDR1, AGP Sapphire Radeon X800 Pro, Creative Sound Blaster Live!

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24 minutes ago, CerealExperimentsLain said:

This smells like Bell Fibe through the Home Hub 3000 or 4000.

100%. It's Fibe 3000. I just made the bonehead move of upgrading to 1.5gbps without realising the ports on the 3000 are all 1.0. The technician who came to check on the upgrade because it wasn't activating told me he can suggest that a customer get the 4000 when he was done with my tech visit. He says he'll be getting back to me on that. I'm not holding my breath. If nothing else, I can always wait until they hand out the 4000 to everyone. Even now I'm definitely receiving the 1.5-up, 1-down but the modem just doesn't take full advantage of it. I should still get 1.0 up at least.

So on the 3000, no way to entirely circumvent the 3000 just buying an ASUS modem with 10Gbit ports and the media converter?

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3 minutes ago, tinpanalley said:

100%. It's Fibe 3000. I just made the bonehead move of upgrading to 1.5gbps without realising the ports on the 3000 are all 1.0. The technician who came to check on the upgrade because it wasn't activating told me he can suggest that a customer get the 4000 when he was done with my tech visit. He says he'll be getting back to me on that. I'm not holding my breath. If nothing else, I can always wait until they hand out the 4000 to everyone. Even now I'm definitely receiving the 1.5-up, 1-down but the modem just doesn't take full advantage of it. I should still get 1.0 up at least.

So on the 3000, no way to entirely circumvent the 3000 just buying an ASUS modem with 10Gbit ports and the media converter?

With Bell you can ENTIRELY bypas all their hardware for 1gbps easily.  You CAN use some Routers, but not all.  I'm using the pfSense box because it has raw power (And I can upgrade it to 1.5gbps or more as easier options come available

For Bell you just need a media converter, plug their SFP+ GPON into the media converter, you get 1gbps copper out.  pfSense then needs to do VLAN tagging for VLAN35 on the incoming WAN port, and also PPPoE login info.  Boom, it has full fiber, no Bell crap involved other than their GPON.  Some routers can do this too, my AC66U cuold do it but it's CPU couldn't do 1gbps NAT, it maxxed out around 500mbps and often crashed as it was maxed on resources.  So I built the pfSense box. Nothing to crush packets like an x86 Intel CPU. 🙂   But a newer, better Asus or other router that can do the necessary VLAN tagging can do it.  The AC68U for example has a way faster CPU and would do it.

 

But I'm sticking with pfSense since it has a PCIE slot so I can modify it as needed.

Desktop: Ryzen 9 3950X, Asus TUF Gaming X570-Plus, 64GB DDR4, MSI RTX 3080 Gaming X Trio, Creative Sound Blaster AE-7

Gaming PC #2: Ryzen 9 3900X, Asus TUF Gaming B450M-Plus, 32GB DDR4, Gigabyte Windforce GTX 1080

Gaming PC #3: Intel i7 4790, Asus B85M-G, 16B DDR3, XFX Radeon R9 390X DD XXX OC

UnRAID #1: Intel E5-2697v2, Asus P9X79 LE, 48GB DDR3, Radeon HD 5450

UnRAID #2: Intel E5-2603v2, Asus P9X79 LE, 24GB DDR3, Radeon HD 5450

MiniPC: Lenovo M93P Tiny: i7 4950HQ, 16GB DDR3 
Windows XP Retro PC: Intel i3 3250, Asus P8B75-M LX, 8GB DDR3, Sapphire Radeon HD 6850, Creative Sound Blaster Audigy

Windows 9X Retro PC: Intel E5800, ASRock 775i65G r2.0, 1GB DDR1, AGP Sapphire Radeon X800 Pro, Creative Sound Blaster Live!

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30 minutes ago, CerealExperimentsLain said:

With Bell you can ENTIRELY bypas all their hardware for 1gbps easily.

Ok, but so there's nothing I can do to get the 1.5gbps then. So what benefit is there with 1.0 to not using Bell gear? (other than the bragging rights, fun as they are, of saying you circumvented Bell gear)

And when you say pfsense, what device are you referring to? What does it cost?

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1 minute ago, tinpanalley said:

Ok, but so there's nothing I can do to get the 1.5gbps then. So what benefit is there with 1.0 to not using Bell gear? (other than the bragging rights, fun as they are, of saying you circumvented Bell gear)

And when you say pfsense, what device are you referring to? What does it cost?

The Bell box is kinda a mystery box.  It runs 'secret' wifi networks for those HDTV pucks they give you to pug into your TV and such.  I prefer to have total control over the hardware.  It's not just 'Bragging Rights' but to ensure my network is, well, mine.

There are 'ways' to do 1.5gbps but it's a pain in the ass.  You'll find topics on how to do it on DSLReports Sympatic (Bell) forum.  They have some extensive threads for it all.  The problem lies in a lot of enterprise SFP+ hardware not supporting 2.5 or 5gbps link speed, so it seems the SFP+ at 2.5gbps and refuses a link.  So you get into a mess of driver patches and stuff cause while the 'hardware supports' it the drivers don't and a bunch of nonsense. I hope it gets easier with time.

Desktop: Ryzen 9 3950X, Asus TUF Gaming X570-Plus, 64GB DDR4, MSI RTX 3080 Gaming X Trio, Creative Sound Blaster AE-7

Gaming PC #2: Ryzen 9 3900X, Asus TUF Gaming B450M-Plus, 32GB DDR4, Gigabyte Windforce GTX 1080

Gaming PC #3: Intel i7 4790, Asus B85M-G, 16B DDR3, XFX Radeon R9 390X DD XXX OC

UnRAID #1: Intel E5-2697v2, Asus P9X79 LE, 48GB DDR3, Radeon HD 5450

UnRAID #2: Intel E5-2603v2, Asus P9X79 LE, 24GB DDR3, Radeon HD 5450

MiniPC: Lenovo M93P Tiny: i7 4950HQ, 16GB DDR3 
Windows XP Retro PC: Intel i3 3250, Asus P8B75-M LX, 8GB DDR3, Sapphire Radeon HD 6850, Creative Sound Blaster Audigy

Windows 9X Retro PC: Intel E5800, ASRock 775i65G r2.0, 1GB DDR1, AGP Sapphire Radeon X800 Pro, Creative Sound Blaster Live!

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10 minutes ago, CerealExperimentsLain said:

I prefer to have total control over the hardware.  It's not just 'Bragging Rights' but to ensure my network is, well, mine.

Ok, and the pfsense thing then? That's some device I'd have to buy?

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5 minutes ago, tinpanalley said:

Ok, and the pfsense thing then? That's some device I'd have to buy?

Oh, pfSense is my router.  pfSense is an open source firewall/router software.  You can build one out of, well, any computer with two NICs. 🙂  Mine is an iStarUSA box with a J4005 board in it.  In my case my 'Wifi Router' is only 'A Wifi Access Point'.  All routing, DHCP, PPPoE, ect, is all being done by the pfSense box.  That's more a hobbiest thing I'm doing after my AC66U was not powerful enough to do 1gbps.  Meanwhile the AC66U died and I replaced it with an AC68U earlier this month, which would totally do 1gbps as the router doing NAT.  ...But I already have an OP pfSense box. 🙂

 

 

 

Desktop: Ryzen 9 3950X, Asus TUF Gaming X570-Plus, 64GB DDR4, MSI RTX 3080 Gaming X Trio, Creative Sound Blaster AE-7

Gaming PC #2: Ryzen 9 3900X, Asus TUF Gaming B450M-Plus, 32GB DDR4, Gigabyte Windforce GTX 1080

Gaming PC #3: Intel i7 4790, Asus B85M-G, 16B DDR3, XFX Radeon R9 390X DD XXX OC

UnRAID #1: Intel E5-2697v2, Asus P9X79 LE, 48GB DDR3, Radeon HD 5450

UnRAID #2: Intel E5-2603v2, Asus P9X79 LE, 24GB DDR3, Radeon HD 5450

MiniPC: Lenovo M93P Tiny: i7 4950HQ, 16GB DDR3 
Windows XP Retro PC: Intel i3 3250, Asus P8B75-M LX, 8GB DDR3, Sapphire Radeon HD 6850, Creative Sound Blaster Audigy

Windows 9X Retro PC: Intel E5800, ASRock 775i65G r2.0, 1GB DDR1, AGP Sapphire Radeon X800 Pro, Creative Sound Blaster Live!

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