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Why are 3Com NICs in such high regard?

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Reply 62 of 81, by feipoa

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I've run a few on various 3Com chipsets, but not in DOS. Some revisions performed better than others. Re: Differences between 3Com 3c905-tx, 3c905b-tx, 3c905c-tx

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Reply 63 of 81, by Am386DX-40

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feipoa wrote on 2020-12-17, 17:52:

I've run a few on various 3Com chipsets, but not in DOS. Some revisions performed better than others. Re: Differences between 3Com 3c905-tx, 3c905b-tx, 3c905c-tx

Yeah, I saw your thread, but those were PCI cards right? I'm looking for ISA. Your benchmark was cool and useful though, for my Socket 7+ platforms.

Reply 64 of 81, by feipoa

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I've done some Windows benches with a few different ISA cards, but nothing in DOS. I don't think I published the results on Vogons and they are most likely scattered in pencil in a mess of notes.

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Reply 66 of 81, by 1541

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I've recenty done some tests with a 3C509B (ISA) versus a RLT8019AS (ISA) comparing the troughput on a 486.
The 3C outperformed the Realtek easily.
Tested it with mTCP's FTPSERV tool.

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Reply 68 of 81, by rmay635703

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Warlord wrote on 2020-12-17, 20:27:

wouldn't mind a test vs intels Pro 10+ in full duplex.

Even back “in the day”
3com were considered high end but loathed due to major configuration/ setup issues on certain systems.

I always preferred Intel and as strange as it might seem, many organizations like colleges would only allow very specific brands or models on their networks driving home that 3com was needed because it was the only one you could bring.

I was delighted when my college started allowing Intel pro/100b’s on the network.
(Instead of only 3com)

Back then even a shitty 8 bit 3com still cost some cash but oddly was allowed by brand only, so guess what my brand new k6-2 had an 80’s 3com in it because I could afford the card

Reply 69 of 81, by douglar

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Etherlink (3c501) & Etherlink II ( 3c503) were poor performers and tough to work with at the best of times. I have a box of them. When it comes to finding something to hold an XTIDE rom, I've considered pulling them out of the box of misfit cards, but it hasn't happened.
Etherlink Plus ( 3c505) might be sort of interesting if you like huge, oddly colored PCBs, but unless you are trying to run Netware 2 or Lan manager on an early 386, why bother.
Etherlink 16 ( 3c507) was usable for DOS, but was a pain to make it work with Win95. Took lots of practice & tweaking in the device properties to get them to work. Seemed more like art than science at the time.
Etherlink III (3c509) ISA was jumperless, and thanks to being sort of plug and play, windows 95 kind of liked it. They performed above the rest because they had a buffer to increase through put and "predictive interrupts" or something like that to reduce the amount of time between packet arrival and packet processing. Maybe a little more finicky than an NE2000 or the SMC at times, but back in the day, it's what I had to work with and it was hard to argue with the ISA performance. I've kept one around for emergencies, but have not used it in years.
Didn't like the PCMCIA Etherlink III adapters. Plug & Play? More like plug and fail!!! And so many lost or busted dongles.
Etherlink 10/100 (3c905) are rock solid with Windows 95/98. It's my goto card for PCI computers that don't have a network card. I have those "wake on lan" cables too. I have plugged in several times, but successfully used them absolutely 0 times because .. It's a neat idea, but when the PC's on the other side of the room .... yeah.
I've never used anything newer than the 3c905.
And these days, CF's make "sneakernet" so easy that I have not bothered to hook up an ISA capable computer to the network in a long time. It's not like you can surf the web any more and my rom burning machine is off line just because the Minipro rom burning software scared the daylights out of me.

Reply 70 of 81, by Caluser2000

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Anthing based on realtech chipsets for me on pci systems including wireless networking. On ISA systems I'll use anything as long as there are windows or packet drivers for it. My main go to nics though for isa systems are GeniusLan DE220 series cards. Never failed me.

There's a glitch in the matrix.

Apparently 32-bit is dead and nobody likes P4s.

Reply 71 of 81, by OzzFan

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I like 3COM's 3C509, 3C905, and 3C515 range of adapters for my older systems. I've networked everything I can so that I can perform hdd backups of my older systems and access software directly from my NT server. Otherwise, if the system is fast enough I'll use whatever I have on hand and for which I have drivers for the OS I'm using. I do prefer Intel's cards if I have a choice, especially for my servers. I have an Intel 1Gbit SFP fiber PCI-X card that works great in my dual Pentium III-S! 😁

A (mostly accurate) listing of my computer systems: http://www.shelteringoak.com/OzzNet/

Reply 72 of 81, by feipoa

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maxtherabbit wrote on 2020-12-17, 19:32:

feipoa, what PCI chipset was that 3c905 comparison done on?

I think it was on an i430FX.

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Reply 73 of 81, by Disruptor

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I've finished my tests with an EISA 3Com 3C597 (100 MBit/s).

Win95C --> Windows 10: 14.5 MBit/s (from cache)
WinNT 4.0 --> Windows 10: 25 MBit/s (from cache), 22 MBit/s (from disk)

CPU: 486 DX 50
RAM: 32 MB
Controller: Adaptec 2740W EISA Fast-Wide SCSI (18 MByte/s max)
The 486 motherboard just has ISA and EISA slots.

Reply 74 of 81, by feipoa

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Are you able to test it in Linux using iperf? Seems that when I test stuff in Linux it approaches the transfer spec, e.g. my gigabit ethernet benches around 950 mbit.

Did 3Com ever make a gigabit product?

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Reply 76 of 81, by megatron-uk

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feipoa wrote on 2021-02-14, 16:55:

Did 3Com ever make a gigabit product?

Yes, there are a few types: lots of SFP cards, including PCI-X versions, but there are a few plain PCI models too; the 3C2000 is a boring 32bit PCI with RJ45 10/100/1000 copper connection.

I think the inclusion of on-board ports kinda faded them out. Especially Intel parts, which, for the most part are pretty damn good for on-board chips.

I remember when gigabit started to become mainstream and we got a few PCI-X versions in where I was working at the time to test them... now no-one blinks at the mention of gig-e. It's nice that it has become ubiquitous 😀

Reply 77 of 81, by feipoa

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Disruptor wrote on 2021-02-14, 17:31:

Which Linux distro do you use on 486 PCs (this one has no CPUID instruction)?

I was referring to a little more recent benchmarking I had been doing with Ubuntu 16.04 LTS on an Opteron 185. I haven't had Linux on a 486 in some time now. For the full package, Debian 3.0 (Woody) ran OK, but for something a bit faster, Damn Small Linux (DSL) run quite a bit faster for GUI in my experience. At some point, I may add a DSL partition to all my vintage machines.

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Reply 78 of 81, by darry

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megatron-uk wrote on 2021-02-14, 17:41:
Yes, there are a few types: lots of SFP cards, including PCI-X versions, but there are a few plain PCI models too; the 3C2000 is […]
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feipoa wrote on 2021-02-14, 16:55:

Did 3Com ever make a gigabit product?

Yes, there are a few types: lots of SFP cards, including PCI-X versions, but there are a few plain PCI models too; the 3C2000 is a boring 32bit PCI with RJ45 10/100/1000 copper connection.

I think the inclusion of on-board ports kinda faded them out. Especially Intel parts, which, for the most part are pretty damn good for on-board chips.

I remember when gigabit started to become mainstream and we got a few PCI-X versions in where I was working at the time to test them... now no-one blinks at the mention of gig-e. It's nice that it has become ubiquitous 😀

Intel wired and WIFI NICs are nice hardware , but I have had several bad experiences with their Windows drivers in last few years . The latest reference driver for the wired NIC in my Dell M4800 slows my machine to a crawl when the interface is saturated at 1Gbps. The latest Dell recommended one (older release) works fine in the same conditions .

Reply 79 of 81, by dionb

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Just spent a frustrating couple of days trying to get a 3Com PCI NIC (*any* 3Com PCI NIC - tried various versions of the 3C905 and 3C980) working under DOS. In their defense, motherboard was old and obscure and probably messing up PnP resources. Even so, after half hanging the config util and the other half passing config with flying colours only to hang the system on the first packet sent over them, I gave up and went back to 3C509 ISA, that just worked first time (TM).

Will try again once my blood has cooled on a known-reliable board with ditto well-behaved PnP support (i.e. not a 1994 vintage Pentium VLB + PCI thing), but for now for DOS at least: stick to the ISA cards...