Oliver Hansen wrote:
I'm looking to eventually upgrade my home network to all gigabit so I'm going to start by purchasing a few NICs for some old servers I just received. I know there are quite a few supported by FreeBSD6 which I found ( http://www.freebsd.org/releases/6.0R/hardware-i386.html#ETHERNET ) but I'm wondering if there is any real benefit in buying a $40 or $50 NIC like the Netgear GA311 or just get a $20 NIC like the D-Link DFE-530TX+. The use will probably be a firewall, proxy, file server, and DVR. <http://www.EagleBit.com/Netgear_GA311_Gigabit_PCI_Card_p/eb-400-00357.htm>

I have had good results with Intel Pro/1000 (em driver) NICs. The desktop one isn't as expensive as you might think, and the driver is one of the better FreeBSD NIC drivers.

You might need to wind down your expectations a bit, especially on older servers with vanilla PCI slots - my 'old' Celeron D fileserver doesn't do much more than 25-30MB/sec. Still, doubling/tripling the speed of your network isn't such a bad thing :-)

With Intel server NICS on PCI-X, where I work we had up to around 60MB/sec throughput for a freebsd-based firewall on modest hardware (Dell 1425SC), and basic GigE switches - so the OS is good for a lot more.
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