ButtonPuncher

CPU maxed out when copying files.

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Do any gigbit NICs have hardware to offload the networking overhead from the system's CPU? I've got a couple of old PCs that I'm getting running again. When I was doing a file copy test, I got 100% usage when copying a file from one PC to another.

I was thinking about picking up a few Intel Pro1000GT NICs to upgrade my whole lan for jumbo frame support. Would they help, or do I need a server NIC to help with the CPU load problem?

Heck, even my new E6300@2.8GHz sees up to 23% utilization when copying files. (hitting about 340Mbs on my current gigabit setup)

BTW, the old PC is an Athlon 1400 that is being used for my HTPC with a MyHD MDP-130 HDTV tuner. The other is a dual P3-800 that I'd like to use for storage/backup.

Thanks,

Ben

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Look for a NIC with a TCP offload engine. I'm not sure which Intel models have this, but those that do aren't shockingly costly.

You could go the whole hog and get a Killer NIC, which actually runs a small Linux installation to offload absolutely everything, but they're expensive for the small benefit gained. You could probably upgrade to a newer (budget) CPU, RAM & motherboard for the same price.

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You don't specifically need a NIC with "TCP Offload," or also known as TOE cards. These TOE NIC's, are very pricey, starting at $300+.

What you probably need are the correct and latest chipset drivers, and a newer network card from a chipset like one from Broadcom, Intel, or 3Com.

Many of todays new motherboards have some fantastic built-in Gb NIC's, that work rather well. But then again, processors are also very powerful as well...

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You guys are right about the cost vs upgrade. Any NIC over $100 really doesn't make sense. I could get a new motherboard, CPU and RAM for $150.

The Intel Pro1000GT says that it has "Interrupt Moderation - Significantly reduces CPU utilization and increases throughput."

I think for $30 a piece, I'll buy a couple and give them a try.

BTW, that Killer NIC looks insane. It has it's own version of Linux running on it?!? WOW. I could only see spending $200+ on a NIC if my system was only used for hardcore gaming. I can wait a few extra minutes for file transfers for $170 less. ;)

I'll let you guys know what I find when the Pro1000GTs show up.

Thanks,

Ben

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I can attest to the Intel® PRO/1000 GT Desktop Adapter reducing CPU usage by a factor of 3 when compared to the D-Link DGE-530T (Marvel chipset) when transferring at the same rate.

So I think the money would be well spent.

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Cool. Thanks for the input Cezar. Right now I get 100% utilization on my old Athlon 1400 when transferring files over gigabit. If I can cut that in half, I will be very happy. Any more than that will be gravy on the icing.

The cards are due from Newegg on Thursday. I'll let everyone know my findings.

Thanks,

Ben

Edited by ButtonPuncher

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Side story:

I used DGE-530Ts on two local computers. Transferring files used like 50% cpu time. I eventually found out it was because the data was going through the VPN software, Hamachi, that I had installed. Removing Hamachi bumped the cpu time down to something more reasonable.

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Hamachi would definitely do it. Also, for future reference your antivirus or any network analyzing software/IDS/IPS could impact performance. For example, we use ISS Real Secure at work and recently released a patch to improve CPU usage for gigabit connections.

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