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SMC Gigabit Networking Review

Date: 2005-1-11

   TestingWhile cat 5e is capable of gigabit transmission I picked up some cat 6 cables from Newegg. I did this because the cost of cat 6 was only 50 cents more than Cat 5e and figured why not. If...

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While cat 5e is capable of gigabit transmission I picked up some cat 6 cables from Newegg. I did this because the cost of cat 6 was only 50 cents more than Cat 5e and figured why not. If you currently have some good cat 5e patch cables then you won't need to buy new ones, unless you want to. I tested this SMC gigabit switch against a Netgear 5-port fast Ethernet witch (model FS605). For the testing I disconnected both computers from the router and put both on the switches without anything else. I created 100MB, 500MB and 1000MB files with a small program called Dummyfile to use for the testing. I then created a share on one computer and transferred the files from one to the other. All of the speed and time calculations were acquired with DU Meter which was running during the testing. All of the numbers below for the transfer times are in mB/sec.

Just as a side note my systems are typical desktops and not servers therefore the PCI bus and hard disks will likely be a bottle neck. With high end servers 64-bit PCI, PCI-X, and PCI Express will provide a much faster bus that alleviates the bottleneck. Also NICs that have direct connections to the northbridge these bottlenecks are greatly reduced.

Testbed 1

Testbed 2

MotherboardGigabyte K8NS ProAlbatron KM18G Pro
ProcessorAMD Athlon 64 3200+AMD Athlon XP 1800+
MemoryCorsair 1024MB PC3200PMI 512MB PC3200
Video CardATi X800 Pro video cardOnboard video
Power SupplyVantec Stealth 470w PSUAGI 300w PSU
Optical DrivePlextor PX-708APlextor PX-504A
Har Drive 60GB Seagate Barracuda IV  30GB Seagate Barracuda IV
Network CardOnboard gigabit NICSMC EZ Card 1000 (SMC9452TX)

With the 100MB file the gigabit switch doubled the transfer rate for both the average and maximum speeds.

SMC Gigabit Networking Review

During the testing of the 500MB file the average transfer time was a little less than doubled like the 100MB file. However the maximum transfer speeds was more than doubled when compared to the 10/100 switch.

SMC Gigabit Networking Review

Moving on to the 1000MB (1GB) file the average transfer rate is very close with both the Netgear and SMC switch. However with the maximum transfer rate the SMC is just about 3 times faster than the Netgear.

SMC Gigabit Networking Review

Transfer rates are important and will obviously determine the amount of time the transfer will take. So of course we are all going to want to know how much faster is this going to make things and how long will I have to wait. So for each of the three files tested above I also timed them for comparison. All of the times were recorded in seconds and should be accurate within a few seconds. With the 100MB file the time is cut in half from 10 seconds to 5 seconds, both very small amounts of time that you probably won't notice too much. With the 500MB file you will be able to transfer the file 24 seconds faster than 100Mbps and take you a total of 28 seconds rather than 52 seconds. With the 1000MB (1GB) file you won't see as much of a difference. The gigabit switch was 24 seconds faster just like the 500MB file was. So with a large file transfer like this you wont notice much.

SMC Gigabit Networking Review

Lower is better
In this fast paced world these days everyone wants everything right away. People are less patient and hate the thought of delayed gratification. I don't mean to offend anyone but its true, and I am guilty of it as well. I know I have sat at work and home watching a file transfer going thinking to myself, "Will you hurry up I want to go home." If you have a server environment where you would like to reduce a network bottle neck or simply want the newest fastest technology this should do the job. However if you are running a small home LAN or could care less about saving time then you probably should wait for 10 gigabit networking equipment. However both of these are just personal preferences so from a product perspective I don't see anything negative about these products. Of course your are going to pay more than you would for 10/100 hardware however that's the way its going to be with any new technology. Overall I am impressed with these SMC products and gigabit over copper in general. Because of that I am going to give all these products a 10/10 and the We Seal of Approval. I would like to thank SMC for making this article possible.

  • Switch is rackmountable
  • Backwards compatible with 10/100
  • You can use your cat 5e cables
  • NIC drivers for Windows, Linux, and Netware
  • Gigabit over copper
  • Faster than 10/100 LAN

  • Costs more than 10/100
  • SMC Gigabit Networking Review

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