Dedicated NIC vs onboard?

allen200

Weaksauce
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Been considering getting an Intel gigabit card. Are there any differences in game latency, ping stability, or power draw versus an onboard Realtek?
 

acquacow

Limp Gawd
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Highly unlikely there will be any measurable difference.

Only upgrade I'd bother with is a 10gige aquantia card if you were building a storage server or something.
 

OFaceSIG

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Network either works or it doesn't. If we're talking about Windows, just test against a solid 1Gbps source like a NAS. If you can consistantly get 1gbps who cares what vendor it is.

Now, if we're talking Linux or BSD, the game changes. Especially pre-packaged distros like FreeNAS and Pfsense. They have MUCH better support for Intel nics than realtek.
 

gamerk2

[H]ard|Gawd
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Unless the drivers for the onboard NIC are horrible, getting a dedicated card isn't going to make a heap of difference. Performance over the last few feet isn't going to have a major (if any) impact when measured against the hundreds or thousands of miles outside of your PCs control.
 

spine

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I bought the classic Intel NIC that's been around for ages to see if it was better than my z87 onboard Intel NIC.

It made absolutely ZERO difference. It's now in an old skool PC I built randomly.
 

acquacow

Limp Gawd
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The only time I'd swap your nic out is if you had one of those killer wireless cards in your laptop. Those are complete rubbish and should always be swapped out for an intel wifi nic.
 

Shikami

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Yes, there is, but very dependent on many factors because networking is very particular in its nature. It's in the level of support of the NDIS version (Windows) and the configuration of supporting settings which matter the most. For example, with gaming you want less latency with the gaming world and its interaction to you. The starting factors of these are the interrupt that is being used, the buffering of the packets to trigger that interrupt, the amount of processing cores, and the scaling to the processor queues in which receive and transmit when assigned to the queues.

Most NIC's are now supporting MSI and MSIx. This is important due to granular control of the interrupt in networking (especially in Nix), but also that MSI is far less latent in its trigger and also a more capable modern interrupt. Many of the drivers control the interrupt with a buffer that is filled with packets. Typically, the buffer must fill before the interrupt triggers. Normally, each packet triggers an interrupt and with latter systems the switching of this action caused much processing and I/O overhead, and why moderation was created. With control from the driver it can pool to a certain amount of packets, or can be moderate through driver settings fitting to the operation of the host, or auto due to the packets. Most drivers do not allow the control of the interrupt moderation, and if they do it can be a setting of the amount of the pool of packets before the trigger. With gaming you actually want any interrupt moderation off completely, and queued to cores. To place emphasis on "moar! cores!," this is when muti-core systems and modern network controller logic really shine.

The only problem is Intel seems to be isolating the lower end logic to integral controllers which are losing support with modern Windows (https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/support/articles/000025890/network-and-io/ethernet-products.html). So the recommendation above is not something I would recommend. But if it is rubbish as in Realtek's or Killer, then that can be "better" even though the logics are in EOL and will not be supported with driver feature sets.

What I talk about above is very pro-gaming. But to many it will be an arguable non-perceptible difference that does't quantify; but it is what they configure to and myself for years. This is mainly due to the fact that after it leaves your gateway you have no control. Even when up to receiving it, but once it is received that small difference does matter (B4 anyone?). This is why you heard how mutli-core multipler is better even in early version of RSS (https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-hardware/drivers/network/introduction-to-receive-side-scaling).
 

allen200

Weaksauce
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I bought the classic Intel NIC that's been around for ages to see if it was better than my z87 onboard Intel NIC.

It made absolutely ZERO difference. It's now in an old skool PC I built randomly.
My onboard is a cheapo Realtek though

Unless the drivers for the onboard NIC are horrible, getting a dedicated card isn't going to make a heap of difference. Performance over the last few feet isn't going to have a major (if any) impact when measured against the hundreds or thousands of miles outside of your PCs control.
This is actually a good point, never thought of it like that. There are some cheap ones on ebay though, like for $10-20. May be worth a try. Although with my luck I'll prolly end up with a Chinese knockoff.
 

cyclone3d

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I have both Intel and Realtek on my motherboard (x79 system in sig). Makes no difference whatsoever.
 

bigdogchris

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I have an Intel CT adapter. The way I tested it is I watched the same YouTube video and watched my CPU utilization (6600k). My CPU was consistently around 10% lower utilization while using the CT while watching video.

Now, that doesn't necessary mean it's going to translate to real world experience, but in certain circumstances I can see why you would want the dedicated NIC if you have both CPU intensive and network intensive activity at the same time.
 

spine

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I have an Intel CT adapter. The way I tested it is I watched the same YouTube video and watched my CPU utilization (6600k). My CPU was consistently around 10% lower utilization while using the CT while watching video.

Now, that doesn't necessary mean it's going to translate to real world experience, but in certain circumstances I can see why you would want the dedicated NIC if you have both CPU intensive and network intensive activity at the same time.
What were you comparing it against though?

For me, my z87 Intel onbaord NIC chip was on a newer process than found on the Intel CT adapter (90nm versus 65nm) so technically older, so not surprised it made no difference.
 

bigdogchris

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What were you comparing it against though?

For me, my z87 Intel onbaord NIC chip was on a newer process than found on the Intel CT adapter (90nm versus 65nm) so technically older, so not surprised it made no difference.
Intel I219V onboard on a z170.
 
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