back to article Mmmm, TOE jam: Trev shoves Intel's NICs in his bonkers test lab

Tech offerings are rarely "good" to me, merely "less awful than others." In this case, however, I'll be looking at the complete package of Intel networking's efforts - the hardware, software and ongoing support - and might even attribute that word to its efforts. This isn't to say that everything in the Intel networking universe …

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Silver badge
Coat

most of this stuff is old

Really?

What does than make my PCI 10/100 Intel cards?

Or my 16Mbps Token, 2Mbps wifi 5V PCMCIA cards and 10Mbps ISA cards with 15 way connectors to vampire taps?

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Trollface

Re: most of this stuff is old

Useless?

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WTF?

Re: most of this stuff is old

It makes them ancient, simple as that. Is that the answer you were hoping for?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: most of this stuff is old

What does than make my PCI 10/100 Intel cards?

Wow, that's a while back. I bet the instructions came on parchment :)

I did away with all the old stuff. At some point, the need for space overrides the need for retaining history. Well, OK, I'll hang on to the Roland A3 plotter for a little while longer, though. And the Organiser IIs. And ..

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Silver badge
Coat

Re: most of this stuff is old

Mmm... Roland A3+ ...

Mine isn't working properly. No pen up/down and faulty Home position. Can't find the schematic though. Maybe time to dump it and get a laser etching systems.

I must have a dumping session to recycling centre, box loads of ISA x86 Mobos, MFM drives, boxes of ISA cards, boxes of stone age DRAM.

I might hold on to the genuine IBM AT stuffed full of AST memory cards. And the upgraded PCW8256 (3.5" 2nd drive and 512K RAM).

Maybe the DELL 486

Some old Mobile Radio programming SW needs a real DOS with a real serial port. Though no doubt someone clever can get it working on <insert HW & OS of choice>

Mines the one stuffed full of Writing MS-DOS device Drivers and Interfacing to the IBM PC in the pockets.

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Gold badge

Re: most of this stuff is old

Mine isn't working properly. No pen up/down and faulty Home position. Can't find the schematic though. Maybe time to dump it and get a laser etching systems.

I expect to be in London in a couple of weeks, I could bring mine along (it's stored somewhere else now). It's a top of the A3 range one (with LED position display) and I think it has done about 100 A3 sheets in its entire life.

(yes - I have decided I may flog it at some point - it's fully boxed so it takes a lot more space than the aforementioned PSION Organiser IIs :)

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Happy

Re: most of this stuff is old

... if you have any real, 720k 3,5 inch floppy drives, I could find a home! I have a load of old floppies for which a 1,440k drive just won't cut it.

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Bronze badge

Re: What does than make my PCI 10/100 Intel cards?

Let's try:

1) relics of a by-gone era

2) fossils

3) dinosaurs

4) eWaste

5) spare parts for Damagement desktops (old BOFH trick - put the shittiest parts in damagement's desktops, and get $$$ for new IT toys)

6) any other suggestions???

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Silver badge

Any chance you can get their networking software guys to have a quiet word with their graphics software guys about how to write a driver that actually vaguely works?

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Gold badge
Unhappy

I wish. I have nothing but sadness regarding Intel IGPU drivers and Linux. Nothing but sadness.

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"I have nothing but sadness regarding Intel IGPU drivers and Linux. Nothing but sadness."

Amen - that and the ability to crash many of their i8/9 series boards by writing a few bytes into the top kb of ram (memtest86+ will do it if you ask it to probe for memory)

Thankfully their networking people are a lot better than their chipset people.

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Boffin

Intel and Broadcom...

We use the Intel X520-2 10 GbE cards in our production VMware cluster- with a few minor issues they've performed excellently*.

The servers be buy have a bank of four Broadcom BCM5709 copper 1Gb ports- For the large part, they also just work without a lot of tinkering, except if you are in windows and using NIC teaming- then you get to play 'match the protocol' with the switch they plug into, but even them it's not much more then stepping through a wizard and building the teaming adapter.

* We've had a few quirks with NFS connections dropping at random on these nodes- we suspect it's a driver issue or possibly something else, but we've been unable to really pin it down yet.

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Bronze badge

Re: Intel and Broadcom...

We've had a few quirks with VMware dropping NFS connections at random. It's not restricted to Intel cards.

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Sufficiently vitriolic phrase

" I consider it a professional failing as a writer that I cannot create a sufficiently vitriolic phrase to encompass the depth of my discontent with that product. I simply lack the words."

Or you can go thg other route: understatement. As in:

" I find it difficult to express with appropriate moderation my disagreement with the proposition...."

Lord Hoffman L.J. at para 46 Tomlinson v Congleton Borough Council [2003] UKHL 47 or online at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200203/ldjudgmt/jd030731/tomlin-1.htm

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dos drivers

I worked in a lab that did hard real time experiments and used DOS - running on modern hardware with e1000 adapters and some highly specialized software for recording inputs. No graphics, nothing too fancy but deterministic low latency requirements.

I was always impressed that Intel making and updating the e1000 drivers for dos. Shows that they had their software engineering under control that they could keep that commitment.

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Anonymous Coward

So it's better supported than vPro in desktops then?

I got a refurb Deskpro 7700 a year or three back, with one of Intel's vPro secure remote management NICs.

Took ages to get the base NIC functionality working under Windows XP, still haven't got the flashier stuff done right.. Wondered if it was just me, but when I bought an official vPro-included laptop, the pre-installed OS (Win 7) also had a few issues with the security stuff. Plenty of questions on the subject around the Interwebs, very very few answers anywhere.

The core NIC stuff worked right out of the box under SuSe. Most stuff does.

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Gold badge

Re: So it's better supported than vPro in desktops then?

Yeah; the networking team's drivers are a cut above most. I don't have anything good to say about the old IGPs (though I admit to not having given the Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge gens a whirl) and the vPro stuff has always been a little on the flaky side.

I was at one point going to do a full review of the Intel vPro stuff. Alas, I could only get hold of the vPro stuff in my Ivy Bridge Eris 3 nodes; I couldn't get my hands on any of the mobile vPro stuff, even for a month of testing. So I can't really test the fullness of the offering and abandoned the project. :(

Ah well; I have a SAN to build this year. That should be an interesting thing...

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Thumb Down

Terrible review

First... YES FCoE DOES require special hardware to function properly. This is why we have converges Ethernet adapters.

So if we leave aside the fact that the author basically has less than the slightest clue about modern network environments, maybe it's a good article to sell $500 network cards to other people who lack a clue.

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Gold badge

Re: Terrible review

And you're wrong. Any network card for which you have good, low-level access can be reconfigured to send non-standard Ethernet frames. It takes a little bit of bit-bashing on the driver creator's part, but you can turn a regular old network card into something that will make FCoE frames.

What you cannot do is send those frames over a standard ethernet network unless you have similarly updated your switch. To be clear: you are not going to be getting firmware from D-link to this, but you can usually get your higher-end Cisco stuff upgraded to handle the non-standard frames. This means that you can do FCoE point-to-point only unless you invest in the right infrastructure (which should include CNAs, make no mistake) but that you can make a NIC speak FCoE frames if you tinker with it enough. (Nobody does it because what would be the point?)

The fact that you've never rewritten a firmware or driver (or done any real bit-banging) doesn't mean others haven't. Please bear that in mind the next time you wander around accusing people of things.

You'll also note that while I said that a regular network card could be made to speak either protocol, I only discussed iSCSI as being in in sort of practical use without a CNA. And now we've had this little conversation in the comments so there is even more information available. Internet!

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