VOGONS


First post, by stalk3r

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

Could someone recommend a type or model (must be ISA) that is the most "hassle free" in terms of compatibility, and ease of installation in DOS / WfW311? Thanks!

Reply 1 of 18, by HandOfFate

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

I've had good experiences with both the 3com Etherlink III and Realtek RTL8019AS in MS-DOS, Windows 3.1 and Windows 3.11 WfW. Realtek still hosts all the drivers for their old cards themselves.

Am486 DX4 120MHz, no L2, 16MB, Tseng ET4000/W32 1MB VLB, ESS ES1869 /// 5x86 133MHz, 256kb L2, 64MB, S3 Virge/DX 4MB PCI, SB16 + Yucatan FX /// Pentium III 1GHz, 512MB, Asus V7700 64MB AGP, SB Live!

Reply 2 of 18, by stalk3r

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member
HandOfFate wrote on 2020-08-21, 12:46:

I've had good experiences with both the 3com Etherlink III and Realtek RTL8019AS in MS-DOS, Windows 3.1 and Windows 3.11 WfW. Realtek still hosts all the drivers for their old cards themselves.

Cool, thanks!

Reply 3 of 18, by GigAHerZ

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

Completely hassle-free: 3C509B cards.

Absolutely no excitement, no learning of anything and rock solid stability. The most boring cards ever. 😜

"640K ought to be enough for anybody." - And i intend to get every last bit out of it even after loading every damn driver!

Reply 5 of 18, by creepingnet

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

Linksys Etherfast pnp isa cards. I pretty much slap the drivers on and they just work. It also helps I have the original diskettes as I bought 3 shrink-wrapped 7 years ago and have used 2 so far.

I just put a SMC Ether EZ (8416 chip) in my NEC Versa dock last weekend....similar story. Its only issue is special to me using WiFi and Ethernet on a pair of 1994 era 486 laptops

~The Creeping Network~
My Youtube Channel - https://www.youtube.com/creepingnet
Creepingnet's World - https://creepingnet.neocities.org/

Reply 7 of 18, by keropi

User metadata
Rank l33t++
Rank
l33t++

I use RTL8019 cards: maybe not the fastest but:
- easily located DOS packet driver
- NDIS/3 wfw3.11 driver meaning there is no need to preload anything in DOS to get networking going
- works in either 8bit or 16bit slots

I am sure there are also other cards with the same advantages but RTL8019 cards are so easily available I got a bunch and have to worry about only 1 driver for all my builds

🎵 🎧 PCMIDI MPU , Orpheus , Action Rewind , Megacard and MK8330 soundcard website

Reply 8 of 18, by computerguy08

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

The Etherlink III is the most hassle free NIC for Wfw 3.11. It comes with built-in drivers for Windows.

The RTL8019AS is also a good choice, the drivers are easy to find and install.

These are the ones that I use mostly in ISA-only systems.

Looking for a motherboard? You can find it in Ultimate Retro: https://www.ultimateretro.net/motherboards/search
Join our Discord server here: https://discord.gg/HWWH7hsk2p

Reply 9 of 18, by mpe

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

Look for "NE2000 compatible" card which most cheap ISA cards were back in early 90s.

NE2000 was a "Sound Blaster like" standard in networking in those days and such a card typically needs no special drivers (unlike many premium cards).

Blog|NexGen 586|S4

Reply 11 of 18, by matze79

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t
mpe wrote on 2020-08-22, 14:22:

Look for "NE2000 compatible" card which most cheap ISA cards were back in early 90s.

NE2000 was a "Sound Blaster like" standard in networking in those days and such a card typically needs no special drivers (unlike many premium cards).

but often is a tool needed to configure the cards io resources, be sure to take one that can be fully jumpered.

Best is get a 3Com or a Intel EtherPro ISA Card.

https://dosreloaded.de - The German Retro DOS PC Community
https://www.retroianer.de - under constructing since ever

Co2 - for a endless Summer

Reply 12 of 18, by jakethompson1

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
stalk3r wrote on 2020-08-22, 20:44:

Thank you guys for all your inputs. I have just ordered a 3Com Etherlink III.

Nice, that's one of the highest end ISA ethernet cards, I think.
If you're using WfW 3.11, be aware there that MS released a patched EtherLink III driver at some point that you can find on a mirror site. I'm not exactly sure what it fixes.

Someone mentioned NE2000, and this may apply to the EtherLink III too, but I noticed with my NE2000, when WfW 3.11 prompts for the card's IRQ it's preset to 3, deceptively looking like it autodetected it. It does not (mine is set to 10), and even if it did, that's a bad choice since it conflicts with COM2:. So be super sure of your settings before you let WfW do anything with it.

Reply 13 of 18, by stalk3r

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member
jakethompson1 wrote on 2020-08-23, 01:17:
Nice, that's one of the highest end ISA ethernet cards, I think. If you're using WfW 3.11, be aware there that MS released a pat […]
Show full quote
stalk3r wrote on 2020-08-22, 20:44:

Thank you guys for all your inputs. I have just ordered a 3Com Etherlink III.

Nice, that's one of the highest end ISA ethernet cards, I think.
If you're using WfW 3.11, be aware there that MS released a patched EtherLink III driver at some point that you can find on a mirror site. I'm not exactly sure what it fixes.

Someone mentioned NE2000, and this may apply to the EtherLink III too, but I noticed with my NE2000, when WfW 3.11 prompts for the card's IRQ it's preset to 3, deceptively looking like it autodetected it. It does not (mine is set to 10), and even if it did, that's a bad choice since it conflicts with COM2:. So be super sure of your settings before you let WfW do anything with it.

The one I ordered does not seem to have a single jumper on it; so the configuration is done via software I guess?

q3oyeIM.jpg

Reply 14 of 18, by HandOfFate

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

Yes, that's right. I think I used these driver disks (this site, Metropoli, is a nice resources of drivers in general)

Am486 DX4 120MHz, no L2, 16MB, Tseng ET4000/W32 1MB VLB, ESS ES1869 /// 5x86 133MHz, 256kb L2, 64MB, S3 Virge/DX 4MB PCI, SB16 + Yucatan FX /// Pentium III 1GHz, 512MB, Asus V7700 64MB AGP, SB Live!

Reply 15 of 18, by GigAHerZ

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

@stalk3r, good choice! You have all the connections, you could wish for, also present.

Yes, configuration is done through utility in EtherLink III diskettes. (Full set was 2 floppies, i think) Those things are widely available around the net. 😀

"640K ought to be enough for anybody." - And i intend to get every last bit out of it even after loading every damn driver!

Reply 16 of 18, by stalk3r

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member
GigAHerZ wrote on 2020-08-25, 06:49:

@stalk3r, good choice! You have all the connections, you could wish for, also present.

Yes, configuration is done through utility in EtherLink III diskettes. (Full set was 2 floppies, i think) Those things are widely available around the net. 😀

Thanks. I am planning to put it into my Compaq Portable 386 and do some retro web browsing 😀 (though not sure how the plasma CGA display will cope with it).

T0c0CO4.jpg

Reply 17 of 18, by InbetweenDays

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

I'll second that.
3Com Etherlink III has been my "go-to" card since I first started using them 25 years ago.
For non PnP cards, some of the SMC cards can be good, but some can be a pain (can't remember which right now!)
But to add to what others have said re the 3Com -- they are also the easiest I've found for using the XTIDE universal BIOS as the boot ROM (I use the AT28C64B)

Also a note re WFW... it can appear to hang at the splash screen if there's trouble with DHCP... so wait a while for the blue screen before you reach for the reset button. 😂

It don't mean a thing if it ain't got 5-pin DIN.
Roland addict and founding member of the Association Of Molex Haters

Reply 18 of 18, by Intel486dx33

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t
stalk3r wrote on 2020-08-24, 12:22:
The one I ordered does not seem to have a single jumper on it; so the configuration is done via software I guess? […]
Show full quote
jakethompson1 wrote on 2020-08-23, 01:17:
Nice, that's one of the highest end ISA ethernet cards, I think. If you're using WfW 3.11, be aware there that MS released a pat […]
Show full quote
stalk3r wrote on 2020-08-22, 20:44:

Thank you guys for all your inputs. I have just ordered a 3Com Etherlink III.

Nice, that's one of the highest end ISA ethernet cards, I think.
If you're using WfW 3.11, be aware there that MS released a patched EtherLink III driver at some point that you can find on a mirror site. I'm not exactly sure what it fixes.

Someone mentioned NE2000, and this may apply to the EtherLink III too, but I noticed with my NE2000, when WfW 3.11 prompts for the card's IRQ it's preset to 3, deceptively looking like it autodetected it. It does not (mine is set to 10), and even if it did, that's a bad choice since it conflicts with COM2:. So be super sure of your settings before you let WfW do anything with it.

The one I ordered does not seem to have a single jumper on it; so the configuration is done via software I guess?

q3oyeIM.jpg

Yes, you need to configure the card first before you load the drivers.
There is a configuration utility on the install disks.
I forgot what it is called. But it is easy. It has an auto detect and configure feature so it selects all the settings for you and then you can run the tests
to ensure your card is configured correctly.
For DOS all you need is the Packet driver.
In Win 3x , NT and 95 it automatically detects the card.

Here is a video about setting up the Intel card but the 3com card setup is similar.
https://youtu.be/Yw8moAQ1wTA?t=2605

Some settings:

The 3c5x9CFG.exe setup program detects my 3c509b-tx fine and passes all tests.

I just want to use the packet driver "3C5X9PD.com"
I am using this autoexec.bat config
C:\3C5X9PD -w 0x60 IOBASE=0x300

See posts:
Re: Performance difference between ISA NICs?

Driver:
https://oldsoftware.club/download/3c5x9x-zip