VOGONS


First post, by teh_Foxx0rz

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

I got this network card for cheap because I like big chunky "full-size" PCI cards, but I've since found it seems to be impossible to identify what the actual model of card is. I've searched all sorts of the codes on the card, but none of them have led me to working drivers (in Windows 98SE) at least. It's possible there just aren't any, but as you can see the dates on the card all say the mid-'90s, so it seems like there'd be at least Windows 95 drivers. Unless it was aimed at professional uses and purely for Windows NT. Although I can't find any drivers for that either. The only thing I've run into while trying to find info or drivers about this card is a page from Intel which seems to only offer generic Windows 7/8 drivers for later cards or something, or a download from Lenovo which doesn't seem to work either.

Any help or info is greatly appreciated!

Attachments

Reply 1 of 9, by Cuttoon

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

That bugger sure looks like an NIC to me as well, but people tend to forget that an RJ45 is not a network or ethernet connector, it's an RJ45.

That Intel i960 chip is a fancy RISC microcontroller and that thing was definitely some high end thing. So, very plausible no one bothered to make any drivers for toys like Win9x for it.
Hook it up to a modern linux distro with internet access, maybe with a live CD, boot that up, see what happens. 😉

Sure interesting, but of course, if you just want to transfer some game download from your main rig, do yourself a favor, get a 3COM ether express.

I like jumpers.

Reply 3 of 9, by davidrg

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

Thats certainly an... unconventional NIC. I don't think I've ever seen a NIC with an i960 on it.

The chips are:

  • Intel S82557: Fast Ethernet PCI Bus Controller
  • EtronTech Em614163A-40: EDO RAM, 256K x 16, 40ns
  • Intel chip with a sticker covering the details: flash memory. Probably storing whatever program runs on the i960.
  • Intel i960: RISC Microprocessor: a remnant of the BiiN high performance fault tolerant computer project from the 80s, repurposed for embedded use. Often see these on high-end 90s RAID cards
  • Altera Flex EPF6016TC144-3: An FPGA - bit expensive for mass market widgets. I've seen them on higher end stuff where the likely sales volume doesn't justify designing a custom ASIC.
  • Intel S82555: 10/100 Mbps LAN Physical Layer Interface

I think this is an Intel PRO/100 Intelligent Server Adapter. The i960 is so the server can offload a bunch of work to the NIC rather than wasting the main CPUs time. The weird non-RJ45 port is MII - the 100Mbps equivalent to AUI (you'd use this if you wanted to use fibre instead of copper). Drivers should be available for at least Windows NT and NetWare. I wouldn't bet on DOS or Windows 9x drivers - too expensive a card for workstations.

Reply 4 of 9, by weedeewee

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

687231-005 Intel® PRO/100 Intelligent Server Adapter

also, good luck in finding the drivers on the internet
Intel to remove all BIOS updates on November 22nd, 2019 from their website
though that referes only to BIOS, I think they also removed a lot of other EOL drivers etc... from their website.

Right to repair is fundamental. You own it, you're allowed to fix it.
How To Ask Questions The Smart Way
Do not ask Why !

Reply 6 of 9, by Tiido

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

If either of those doesn't work, nothing will pretty much :
http://www.tmeeco.eu/9X4EVER/GOODIES/PRO98.EXE
http://www.tmeeco.eu/9X4EVER/GOODIES/PRO98M.EXE

T-04YBSC, a new YMF71x based sound card & Official VOGONS thread about it
Newly made 4MB 60ns 30pin SIMMs ~
mida sa loed ? nagunii aru ei saa 😜

Reply 7 of 9, by LightStruk

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

I would be fascinated to see the benchmark performance of this card vs. a contemporary mass-market 100BaseT card like an Intel 82559 EtherExpress PRO/100 or 3com 3c905. Latency, throughput, and CPU utilization.

Reply 8 of 9, by davidrg

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

Digging around on Intels website, this page seems to suggest only Windows 2000, NT 3.51/4.0, NetWare 3.x+, Solaris and UnixWare are supported by this card. Windows 9x and DOS are specifically not supported by the core driver so I'm guessing this card needs special treatment.

And this page gives the proper filenames for the various drivers for this special card. A lot of these files seem to exist only in one other place right now (helpdrivers.com) so I've archived them all here too: https://ftp.zx.net.nz/pub/drivers/Intel/LAN/Pro100i/

There is a DOS NDIS2 driver there but its specifically for performing network installs of Windows NT 4 so probably only the bare minimum to get the card working - no fancy performance features. It may also be possible to use the NetWare 4.x driver with DOS and Windows 9x using some bits from Novell though this only works if the driver sticks to the 32bit ODI spec and doesn't go calling other NetWare Server APIs which I wouldn't bet on for this card.

And lastly, Product Information for this card

So if you're running NetWare, Windows NT or maybe Windows 2000 this card is probably great. Though there are of course accelerated gigabit server cards out there that will probably work at least with Windows 2000 and probably NetWare too.

For DOS, Windows 9x and OS/2 this card is probably pretty useless. You might get it going but its probably not going to work as well as a regular non-accelerated 10/100 card that has proper well tested driver support.

Reply 9 of 9, by auron

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

nice find, i've been wondering about these cards before. no specific win9x support makes a lot of sense given that 9x apparently doesn't support any kind of hardware offloading for networking.

this card was made no earlier than late 1999 and is really not even close to full-size PCI; in fact i suspect this card is really a much more integrated version of the "Intel PILA8485 EtherExpress PRO/100 Smart Adapter", which could well be the original PCI intel NIC.

edit: i was able to find a mention of PILA8485: https://old.parallel.ru/ftp/interconnects/ser … er_adapters.pdf

looks like PILA8480 (OP's card) is indeed newer and better, adding features such as autonegotiation and full-duplex, with the only downgrade being 1 mb of memory instead of 2. somewhat curiously though they list 15W of power for the newer card vs. 5W for the older one, despite the huge number of chips on it. perhaps the i960 variant on the PILA8480 uses more power...