Recommendations for 10gbps NIC

Barney Cordoba barney_cordoba at
Fri Jul 26 22:14:19 UTC 2013

 From: Daniel Feenberg <feenberg at>
To: Alexander V. Chernikov <melifaro at> 
Cc: Barney Cordoba <barney_cordoba at>; "freebsd-net at" <freebsd-net at> 
Sent: Friday, July 26, 2013 4:59 PM
Subject: Re: Recommendations for 10gbps NIC

On Fri, 26 Jul 2013, Alexander V. Chernikov wrote:

> On 26.07.2013 19:30, Barney Cordoba wrote:
>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> *From:* Alexander V. Chernikov <melifaro at>
>> *To:* Boris Kochergin <spawk at>
>> *Cc:* freebsd-net at
>> *Sent:* Thursday, July 25, 2013 2:10 PM
>> *Subject:* Re: Recommendations for 10gbps NIC
>> On 25.07.2013 00:26, Boris Kochergin wrote:
>> > Hi.
>> Hello.
>> >
>> > I am looking for recommendations for a 10gbps NIC from someone who has
>> > successfully used it on FreeBSD. It will be used on FreeBSD 9.1-R/amd64
>> > to capture packets. Some desired features are:
>> >

We have experience with HP NC523SFP and Chelsio N320E. The key difference 
among 10GBE cards for us is how they treat foreign DACs. The HP would PXE 
boot with several brands and generic DACs, but the Chelsio required a 
Chelsio brand DAC to PXE boot.  There was firmware on the NIC to check the 
brand of cable. Both worked fine once booted. The Chelsio cables were hard 
to find, which became a problem. Also, when used with diskless Unix 
clients the Chelsio cards seemed to hang from time to time. Otherwise 
packet loss was one in a million for both cards, even with 7 meter cables.

We liked the fact that the Chelsio cards were single-port and cheaper. I 
don't really understand why nearly all 10GBE cards are dual-port. Surely 
there is a market for NICs between 1 gigabit and 20 gigabit.

The NIC heatsinks are too hot to touch during use unless specially cooled.

Daniel Feenberg

The same reason that they don't make single core cpus anymore. It costs about the
same to make a 1 port chip as a 2 port chip.

I find it interesting  how so many talk about "the cards", when most often the
differences are with "the drivers". Luigi made the most useful comment; if you ever
want to use netmap,  you need to buy a card compatible with netmap. Although
you don't  need netmap just to capture 10Gb/s. Forwarding, Maybe. 

I also find it interesting that nobody seems to have a handle on the performance
differences. Obviously they're all different. Maybe substantially different.

The x540 with RJ45 has the obvious advantage of being compatible with regular gigabit cards, 
and single port adapters are about $325 in the US. 

When cheap(er) 10g RJ45 switches become available, it will start to be used more and more.
Very soon.


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