Subject: Re: Intel gigabit card with wm driver
To: Tamas MEZEI <>
From: Greg A. Woods <>
List: tech-net
Date: 01/12/2005 03:03:35
(I'm re-directing this to the tech-net list)

[ On Tuesday, January 11, 2005 at 02:48:19 (+0100), Tamas MEZEI wrote: ]
> Subject: Intel gigabit card with wm driver
> anybody using Intel gigabit cards (the ones with the wm driver)? We'd 
> like to buy one, do they *really* worth the money, have a really cool 
> performance (even over 3com-broadcom ones) what Intel is always trying 
> to push?

I've been trying verious models of Intel PRO 1000 cards on an
AlphaServer ES40 running NetBSD.

I haven't had a whole lot of luck getting them to really perform
properly, but apparently that's due do deficiencies in the way the DMA
is handled for the alpha when there's a lot of physical memory present
(the system has a mere 16GB of RAM, half its maximum :-)

You can find my results to date posted to the port-alpha list.

Note that of all the different types of gigE cards I've tested so far,
the Intel has been the best.

However under Tru64 UNIX I was able to get nearly twice the performance
of the Intel card from the DEC/HP-branded Broadcom BCM5703 card.  It
still didn't go anywhere near wire speed though....  Apparently the
problem on NetBSD with bge(4) is again the DMA vs. so much physical
memory issue.

> Comparing to the em driver of FreeBSD, which has a lead in performance, 
> NetBSD's wm or FreeBSD's em?

I can't get FreeBSD 5.3 to boot on the alpha I'm working on (they
complain that it has too much memory to even boot, of all things, and
they want me to drop it down to 2GB to try!  No way I say! :-)

Intel did supply the em(4) driver to FreeBSD though, and on i386 systems
running FreeBSD-5 it seems to be one of the best performers (beating the
Broadcom cards, as well as SysKonnect, and others according to gigE
router benchmarks done for one of my clients).

						Greg A. Woods

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