Questions regarding Gigabit Ethernet

I am deciding whether to get a gigabit switch (and other devices) before the end of the year. Here is something I would like to know:

1) what are the typical sustained transfer rates with and without jumbo frames, assuming the computers at both end are "sufficiently fast" and support jumbo frames? (have to compare this to the current 10/100 switch)
2) Is there any latency issues that I should expect? (I do have to play games with this as well)
3) PCI-Expressx1 gigabit cards, are they good compared to legacy PCI gigabit cards? (I need 2 ports on one of the comp) they do seem to be a bit pricey (well... at least a PCI-E x1 will let me to take a 2-slot Video card if I have a TV tuner on a K8N-DL)
4) most of the cables I have them for a very long time (~Y2k). is there any way to tell if my cables are gigabit-ready other than plugging them in? (I have to know before I buy the switch... it affects the choice of brand when cost of additional cables are involved)
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  1. I can answer some of them...

    1) Not sure - I vaguely remember seeing 400-500mbit rates in a review a year or so ago. The low end was IIRC, around 300mbit.

    2) None - it's the same as regular ethernet, just 100x faster.

    3) Never seen a review on them, but assuming the ethernet hardware on each is identical the PCI-Ex1 cards have 2x the bandwidth of PCI cards (and unless my memory is faulty, gigabit is faster than PCI bandwidth, but not PCI-Ex1).

    4) You can probably buy cable testers but otherwise I don't know.

  2. 1. I have about five PC's running at gigabit speeds with Netgear gigabit switches and mostly CAT5e cabling. I normally see 150mbps to 200mbps between any of my systems with JumboFrames disabled. I haven't tried JumboFrames to see the transfer rate with that.
    2. I play online a lot myself (mostly Quake 2, 3, and 4, Doom 3, and UT2004) and don't notice and latency problems at all. Now, I'm not sure how JumboFrames would work with that. I'd like to try now that I think of it.
    3. Haven't tried this one man. Sorry
    4. I've used a variety of cables. CAT5, CAT5e and CAT6. I haven't noticed much difference in speeds with any of them. I'd just keep an eye out for sharp bends in the cables of course.

    Just so you know, I am satisfied with gigabit ethernet personally. I just wish it would transfer a little faster than 200mbps. Yet I still need to try the jumbo frames...
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