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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My bad if already posted, but Linksys has announced 1000Base-T at street prices of $20.00 USD /port! Check it out at http://www.tomshardware.com/technews...09.html#210515


For anyone who wants to build a central disk farm for DVD/HDTV capture and playback, what a great price :D
 

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Wow!! It's time to upgrade my net.


I couldn't locate any Linksys Gigabit interface cards. Does anyone have recommendations for Gigabit cards? Tom's hardware mentions these cards - "32bit PCI 10/100/1000Base-T NICs such as Intel's PRO1000 MT, Netgear's GA302T, and SMC's SMC9552TX".

http://www.tomshardware.com/network/20030304/index.html
 

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My question is why do you think you need Gb? If you have a 100Mb switched network then I cannot see any reason to move. I've worked on lots of networks over the years and I've yet to find a PC based server that can move 100Mb off a disk over any reasonable span of time. My advice is to save your $$ unless you have a shared media network. Even a 10Mb switched net is probably fine.

Jim
 

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I've seen a couple of Asus and MSI MoBos that have integrated 1000Mbs cards. I was really planning to go this route and wire one with a cross over cable from my HTPC to a file server with an Intel gigabit NIC, and utilize all of my major storage and redundancy that the server has for HD streams. The cross over cable would allow skipping the, at the time, somewhat expensive (this was about 6 months ago) 1000Mbs switch, saving me money and increasing the throughput a bit.


I finally had to admit to myself that the draw was just the cool factor of gigabit ethernet, as mathematically it just didn't seem to be necessary. HD streams seem to take a hair over 2.5 MB/s, and 100Mbs network will give almost 12.5MB/s (especially utilizing just a crossover cable to the file server and skipping a switch.)


Also, Gigabit ethernet can almost (95% or so) completely saturate a standard PCI bus, so there is no way to really utilize the bandwidth since the IDE controllers are on the PCI bus as well. IDE drives never sustain any thing close to the 125MB per sec theoretical transfer rates of gigabit ethernet, either.


So, unless you've got a file server with a 64 bit PCI bus along with SCSI drives in some sort of striped array to hit the high transfer rates, AND you need to transfer more than just HD streams all at once, its just not necessary.


Of course, I suppose you could just save streams on the HTPC, and then move them to file server for storage, in a very, very fast way. I doubt that it would be more than twice as fast as a 100Mbs network in most HT setups though. Current gigabit networks for PC's also are somewhat in their infancy, and I have yet to see any reviews of them they state they exceed %75 or so of their theoretical bandwidth.


Let me know if you go for it, though, I'd love to hear the results.
 

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I have to agree with Yurd, there is no way to stream data above about 150 Mb/s with the technology that we currently have(SATA drives being the fastest) so gigabit is pretty much vapor ware in the real world right now, heck, sometimes it is hard enough to get all of the 100Mb/s thru consistantly.


Jim
 

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You're aware that 100Mb networks are realistically limited to a data transfer speed of about 10MB/sec, right? Hard drives have been able to easily surpass that speed for quite a few years.


An upgrade to gigabit ethernet would likely yield transfer speeds at least three times as fast as those obtained with 100Mb. For anyone who regularly -- or even semi-regularly -- transfers gigabytes worth of HD data between systems, this would be a worthwhile upgrade.
 

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I've had a single gigabit line running between my media server and my htpc for a while now, and it is significantly faster. My previous throughput was about 6-7 MB/s with 100/T, but is now at 25-30 MB/s. This makes a very real difference in my setup since my htpc has no local drives.


I do have to agree with the general consensus that gigabit won't make a noticeable difference for the average reader here...it's use is pretty specialized at the moment.
 

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Gigabit Ethernet 125 Mb/s - ATA/133 Hard Drives 133 Mb/s vs. 100 Mb Ethernet 12.5 Mb/s - At $20 a port- I will take the Gigabit.
 

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FWIW, the Intel D845GERG2LK motherboard with 10/100/1000 gigabit ethernet is only $13 more than the D845GERG2L with only 10/100 on it. It was definitely worth the extra $13 just for the geeky happiness of having a gigabit card, real throughput aside :). I cannot really comment on perf since I don't yet have a second computer with a gigabit card in it to really measure throughput, and at any rate, gigabit switches are still too expensive.
 

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I was assuming the original scenario,"For anyone who wants to build a central disk farm for DVD/HDTV capture and playback..." for using Gigabit Ethernet was to use the array of drives on a file server as the destination drive for recording HD streams. I was trying to point out that this is not necessary. (although still very cool)


If the goal is just transferring large files back and forth, of course 1000MB/s is going to be faster. But no where near 10 times faster, just b/c the theoretical limits on Gigabit Ethernet for PCs are still very theoretical.


dcdell:

I agree that at $20 a port, especially if you have an integrated 10/100/1000 NIC, its hard to pass up. But also remember that ATA133 HDD's transfer no where near their 133MB/s limit. Check www.storagereview.com for individual drive transfer rates. Also, most drives in HTPC's are selected for their noise level, not their transfer rates, AND the IDE controllers share the PCI bus with the Gigabit Card, which means that neither component will be able to sustain anything over 67 MB/s, theoretically (less realistically). Also, the HDD speed is going to dictate the network speed, obviously, as there must be something to transfer over the network.


EricN:

are you using a crossover cable or going through a switch?
 

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I'm waiting for the new Intel 875 chipset to come out. This chipset places the gigabit ethernet interface at the North-bridge memory controller and has an effective bandwidth of 266MBytes/s over that bus. PowerMacs place both GE and Firewire at the memory controller, btw.
 

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This article from ExtremeTech talks about the actual speed achieved for different types of media networks:

http://www.extremetech.com/article2/...,661961,00.asp


100Base-T Ethernet - 93.7 Mbits /sec - near the theoretical maximum

Gigabit - 327 Mbits/sec - limited by PCI bus not hard drive


So when might you need Gigabit - only if you are streaming more than 3 Hi Definition streams simultnaeously. So practically you don't need it, but its cool to have it anyway if doesn't have too much of a price premium.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by PretzelB
Don't you need something beyond cat5e to utilize a gigabit connection?


I wish I could string a network drop by my HT.
Nope, that's the beauty of it. At one time you needed fibre to get gigabit. I wouldn't rip out 100Mb equipment for it, but for someone who needs a major upgrade, why not go for it with such a small premium. My path to the laptop I'm typing this on goes from a cable modem to a 100Mb router to a 10 Mb 3-Com combo hub (RJ-45-coax -don't ask) to an old 10Mb Cabletron hub surplused from work, back to RJ-45 to my laptop. Now everyone can see why I'm excited about new network hardware! :D


p.s. On the HT connection, I've read somewhere there's 55Mb wireless, if you don't mind possible wardrivers (drive-by hacking)
 

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It amazes me how every time topics like this come up, people can't seem to differentiate between megabits/second and megaBYTEs/second. Gigabit ethernet is not too fast for todays hard drives, current drives can outpace 100mbit ethernet easily, so Gigabit makes perfect sense.


And even though you may not need that much bandwidth, that doesn't mean it can't help improve performance, especially on a "busy" network with several machines. The real key to reliable HD playback over the network is a continuous, uninterrupted stream (from the applications viewpoint, at least), and since a gigabit connection can transfer the same amount of data in less time (and therefore with less CPU attention) it should be less prone to interruptions in the data flow, particularly in a multitasking environment.
 

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Jeff, all other things being equal, a GigE transfer will require the exact same amount of "CPU attention" as a 100mbit transfer. If you aren't running jumbo frames, GigE and 100mbit (and 10mbit for that matter) will all handle data in chunks of ~1500 bytes, or one standard ethernet frame. Each frame will require the same amount of cpu overhead to process through the network stack no matter the physical medium.
 
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