03 August 2006

Yes, Steve, people do make fake crappy network cards

In fact, the 8139C-for-Charlie is the first version of the 8139 that I’ve had work reasonably reliably out of the 8139 series — genuine or not — earlier models would do stuff like go off-air after some random number of hours (or minutes, in some cases), and the cards made out of 8129s (note the 2 not 3) sucked big-time, often needed special DOS drivers to configure them, and they were better than many of the previous Intel-clones and others (some of which seemed to need a chisel and some patience for configuration).

RealTek went on to releae an 8139D-for-Delta, which was an almost-reliable chipset, then moved to the 8140 etc. Let’s just say that I don't regard the chipset as exactly a kiss-of-life for a card.

The 8139D had odd limitations which made the writing of drives into a PITA [read the Linux driver source for details], like odd DMA boundaries which implied CPU-copying of network packets to make it all work.

Why someone would deliberately use those chips as the basis for a new card is seriously beyond me. It can’t be cost, because there are plenty of better network chipsets kicking around at low cost.

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