Review of the best according to the editorial board. About selection criteria. This material is subjective and does not constitute advertising and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.
In most cases, when choosing a configuration for a future desktop PC, the parameters of a network card are far from being the first in importance. Most often, a potential buyer is more than enough of an integrated card, soldered directly on the motherboard. However, in some cases, a separate network card is still needed: for an additional wired connection to another network, in case of failure of a standard card, if the existing card cannot cope with the volume and data transfer rate, etc.
The editors present you with a special rating of the best network cards to date, compiled by our specialized experts. Experts have identified two nominations – inexpensive gigabit network cards and ultra-high-speed solutions, the cost of which is an order of magnitude and a half higher than basic-level network cards.
- Rating of the best network cards
- The best network cards up to 1 Gbps
- Intel I210-T1
- Intel EXPI9301CT
- ZYXEL GN680-T
- D-link DGE-560T / C1
- The best network cards up to 10 Gbps
- Intel X550-T2
- D-link DXE-810T
- Synology E10G18-T1
- ASUS XG-C100C
Rating of the best network cards
|Nomination||a place||Name of product||price|
|The best network cards up to 1 Gbps||1||Intel I210-T1||2 399 RUB|
|2||Intel EXPI9301CT||1 600 rub.|
|4||D-link DGE-560T / C1||770 RUB|
|The best network cards up to 10 Gbps||1||Intel X550-T2||RUB 21 702|
|2||D-link DXE-810T||RUB 15,298|
|3||Synology E10G18-T1||11 211 rub.|
|4||ASUS XG-C100C||RUB 7,090|
The best network cards up to 1 Gbps
In the first nomination, the specialists included four network cards, each of which has one or another characteristic feature that may be important when choosing. The experts did not consider the most expensive options, focusing on the needs of the most massive target audience.
The nomination opens with the most powerful, functional and expensive network card in this collection. Last but not least, the price was determined by the trade mark Intel, but there is no overpayment for the brand, but only an adequate assessment of quality, reliability and functionality.
The card is connected via the PCI-E interface. Contains one RJ-45 connector for wired Ethernet connection. Supports three speed modes – 100, 100 and 1000 Mbps. Gives a 'fair' top speed without stuttering. Suitable as an excellent replacement for a standard integrated network card to increase the real speed and unload the processor resource.
The device supports Jumbo Frame technology, which is very useful when exchanging data over long distances, further reducing the load on the processor, or when using PPPoE protocol. Interrupt Moderation, TCP Checksum Offload, and TCP Segmentation provide additional help in unloading the processor when working with a dense data stream at high speeds.
This network card has a built-in QoS (Quality of Service) function – to optimize the network operation of a number of applications and software systems that require guaranteed channel bandwidth and minimum latency and jitter values: streaming multimedia applications; video conferencing; VoIP and more.
For this card, the manufacturer has a whole package of drivers for a variety of systems, including Windows Server 2008/7, VMware ESX / ESXi, Linux versions / assemblies of RHEL 5.8 / 6.2 and SLES 10/11, and even for 'naked' DOS.
- honest top speed;
- built-in QoS;
- wide support for technologies that optimize the operation of the card and reduce the load on the processor;
- many drivers for different systems;
- suitable for servers.
- rare complaints about the high price.
The rating is continued by another notable production network card Intel. This is a low profile model with dimensions of 120x55x120mm and one RJ-45 network port. The characteristics and functionality make it possible to successfully use this card as part of servers.
This network card is connected in the same way as the previous one – via the PCI Express interface. Supports the same three main speed modes: 100, 100 and 1000Mbps. The central control chip is Intel 82574L.
A more detailed layout for compatibility with the current communication standards is as follows. Supports 802.1Q (Topological VLAN); 802.3 – 'standard' Ethernet; 802.3u – 100 Mbps Fast Ethernet; 802.3ab – 1000BASE-T and ultra-fast 802.3z fiber-oriented standard. This model also supports QoS technology (IEEE 802.1p standard); Jumbo Frame up to 9 kilobytes; optimization technologies TCP Checksum Offload and TCP Segmentation. The card also has a built-in Wake-on-LAN function.
The maximum allowable length of a twisted pair cable from a network card to the next device (router, another PC, repeater) is 100 meters. Working temperature – from 0 to 55 degrees.
Standard drivers from the manufacturer for all systems of the family Windows, starting from 2000; for nix systems like FreeBSD and Linux, also for Novell Netware 6.5 and DOS.
The dimensions of the branded packaging are 20.3x14x2.2cm, the weight of the entire set with packaging is 0.081kg.
- reliability and continuity;
- stable speed without delays;
- remote enable Wake-on-LAN;
- wide range of drivers;
- optimization technologies.
- not a drawback, but a warning – there are a lot of Chinese fakes of this particular model on sale.
Further in our rating, we will consider the network card of one of the most famous and reputable brands in the telecommunications equipment market – ZYXEL. This model offers one of the best value for money in its class. Our experts also included this card in the rating in order to satisfy the needs of users who are not suitable for devices with a PCI-E connection.
This network card runs on a fairly productive Realtek RTL8169SC chip with a 512Kb buffer. Connects to a computer via PCI interface version 2.2 (32bit, 66MHz). The output is one RJ-45 port.
The device supports high-speed data transfer modes 10, 100 and 1000 Mbps. There is also built-in compatibility and support for such standards and technologies: 802.1q VLAN, 802.3X Flow Control, IEEE 802.3u 100Base-FX, 802.3ab, IEEE 802.3 100 base-t TX, 802.1p. The card allows you to remotely turn on the computer, automatically detects MDI / MDIX.
The form factor of the card is low-profile, its dimensions are 22х121х135mm. On the outside are LED activity indicators.
Branded drivers have been released for systems of the Windows family, for Linux kernel 2.4.18 & 2.2.x and for Novell Netware Server 4x / 5x.
- guaranteed speed;
- remote enable Wake-on-LAN.
- affordable price.
- not marked.
D-link DGE-560T / C1
The nomination for the rating of the best network cards up to 1Gbit / s according to the version is completed by the most affordable, but at the same time more than efficient and well-proven model of the well-known D-link trademark. It is the optimal solution for enhancing the reliability and stability of the Gigabit Ethernet connection, expanding the guaranteed bandwidth, and increasing the functionality compared to typical integrated network cards.
The network card is based on the Realtek RTL8168B chip and is connected via the PCI-E interface. In full duplex mode, it can provide speeds up to 2Gb / s, eliminating the disadvantages of PCI 32/64-bit architectures.
The model has a built-in function for filtering tagged VLAN frames (802.1Q standard), providing the ability to create several subnets for each server, as well as isolate certain devices from the rest of the network in order to control traffic and improve security.
Among other features of this network card, one can single out support for the 802.1p standard, which makes it possible to prioritize traffic, the ability to calculate checksums within the TCP, UDP and IP protocols, increase system performance through TCP segmentation, and take over some of the computing tasks to unload the processor. The card can be installed in hot-swappable mode without powering off the PC or server, which is very important in cases where downtime is extremely undesirable.
Among the important additional functions of the DGE-560T, one can single out power management, which implies the implementation of the Wake-on-LAN function. Another remarkable detail of this model is compliance with the IEEE 802.3az standard, according to which the card automatically reduces power consumption to the possible minimum during idle times.
- hot swap support;
- Wake-on-LAN4 support
- Energy Efficient Ethernet compliance
- the most affordable price in the group.
- not marked.
The best network cards up to 10 Gbps
In the second nomination of the rating of the best network cards according to the version, we will consider four powerful devices capable of efficient and uninterrupted data exchange at speeds up to 10Gbps. Our experts did not include top models in the review due to their prohibitive cost. We present to your attention the best solutions in this segment of telecommunications equipment, which are designed for “industrial” use as part of networks of enterprises and organizations, but do not require a dimensionless budget.
The rating is opened by the most expensive network card in the review, but by no means the most expensive on the market. Nevertheless, its cost is comparable to the price of not the cheapest modern gadgets or good household appliances. Therefore, such a purchase is advisable almost exclusively for the device of an extensive local network of a medium or relatively large enterprise or as part of the equipment of specialized companies providing telecommunications services.
It is a low-profile card with 140mm height, 20mm width, and 200mm depth. Weight – 320g. Connects via PCI-E 3.0×8 interface. The main factor that determines the purpose of the device and its price is the availability of two RJ-45 ports and support for a number of technologies, due to which the model is one of the most successful solutions for building converged networks.
This model implements a number of classic and innovative improvement technologies. Implemented QoS and traffic control at the hardware level; VMDq virtualization technology to improve efficiency and reduce the load on the hypervisor and processor; support for flexible partitioning by ports; direct access to some capabilities of the host (or PC) hardware using SR-IOV technology; intelligent system for unloading hardware resources; proprietary data exchange process improvement technology Intel Data Direct I / O.
Package dimensions – 2x14x20cm, set weight – 160g. This model is backed by a 36 months manufacturing warranty Intel.
- a powerful solution for converged networks;
- two-port mechanism – minimum cables and lower operating costs;
- reliability and continuity;
- introduction of innovative technologies;
- three years official warranty Intel.
- the most expensive in the review (but not on the market).
The rating is continued by another effective and well-proven solution for use on a corporate scale – a 10-Gigabit network card of the well-known D-link trademark. Simple installation of this NIC on a key node allows you to dramatically increase the throughput of the node itself, and at the same time the entire network without the need to change its infrastructure.
The overall dimensions of the device are 108x120x19mm. The RJ-45 network port and two LED indicators – Link / Activity are brought out to the outside. Connects via PCI Express x4 / x8 / x16 interface.
The hardware base of the network card is two controllers: Tehuti Networks TN4010B0 and AMCC QT2025PRKDB. Can work in full duplex mode. Fully backward compatible with 100 / 1000Base-T networks.
The device supports a variety of modern standards and technologies. So, for example, compliance with IEEE 802.3az means high optimization of power consumption – in idle state, when there is no data exchange, the card automatically reduces power consumption to the lowest possible level. This and several other improvements allow you to minimize heating and not even use passive cooling radiators.
The network card supports frame flow control, link aggregation, traffic balancing, remote loading, multiple priority queues, VLAN traffic management. TCP / IP / UDP Checksum Offload technology improves performance and load balancing efficiency when working in systems with multi-core processors.
A relatively weak point of this network card is that the Tehuti Networks TN4010B0 controller implements part of its functions through software, thus increasing the load on the central processor.
The manufacturer released official drivers for this model for systems of the family Windows, Linux kernel versions 2.6.x-3.x.x and VMWare ESXi 4.x. The device is BSMI, FCC, CE, C-Tick certified. The official production warranty period is 12 months.
- efficiency and productivity;
- reliability and continuity;
- minimum heating;
- relatively affordable price compared to analogs from other manufacturers.
- can create additional load on the processor.
Further in the ranking of the best network cards according to the version, we present the development of the well-known company Synology (Taiwan). It is a powerful, flexible and reasonably inexpensive technology solution for migrating to a 10Gbps network environment without changing the network infrastructure.
The board is equipped with one standard RJ-45 connector, supports full backward compatibility and automatic negotiation with devices and networks of other standards with lower data transfer rates: IEEE 802.3bz (2.5 and 5Gbps), 802.3ab (1Gbps), 802.3 u (100Mbps Fast Ethernet) and 802.3x Flow Control. Can work in full duplex mode.
Dimensions of the device – 86×68.1×13.6mm. The set includes two brackets, by replacing which the card can be made low-profile or full-size. Connects to host via PCIe 3.0 x4 interface. Supports 9KB Jumbo Frame, TCP / UDP / IP checksum offload.
- guaranteed declared speed;
- reliability and continuity;
- ease of installation and error-free integration with operating systems;
- relatively affordable price;
- 5 years manufacturer's warranty.
- not marked.
And the rating is completed by the most inexpensive 10-gigabit network card in our review made by ASUS Corporation – one of the world leaders in the field of high-quality electronics.
The overall dimensions of the device are 120 × 84.6 × 20.5mm. The textolite base is painted in a corporate bright red color, to which the developers are clearly not indifferent. The passive cooling radiator is painted in exactly the same color. The shape of the heatsink and the colors even create a peculiar and rather attractive design, so the card will look spectacular in a gaming PC.
The card is equipped with one standard RJ-45 port. It can be integrated into an existing network without the slightest structural change. The control module of the device is the Aquantia AQC107 controller. Full backward compatibility with devices and networks of previous generations is supported, in exactly the same way as it is organized in all the above-described 10-Gigabit models.
Hardware-based QoS prioritizes gaming traffic by default. So, in addition to the gaming design, this model also has a completely meaningful gaming functional orientation.
Official drivers for this model are released for operating systems of the family Windows and Linux with kernel versions 3.2, 3.6, 4.2, 4.4.
- guaranteed speed;
- improvement technologies;
- Optimal for gamers looking for ultra-fast, high-priority network traffic;
- the most affordable price in the nomination;
- attractive appearance;
- not marked.
Attention! This rating is subjective and does not constitute advertising and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.