Different NICs, vastly different performances?...

At work, we have, in our small group of researchers, 6 networked computers with varying specs connected by a gigabit switch.

Lately, it has occurred to us that the transfer speeds are very, very different among those computers. It would seem that a few of them are always slower than others, and that by a very large margin! I tried measuring network transfer speeds by doing a simple linux "scp" copy and found that while some of the computers transfer @ 11MB/s sustained rates, many of them do not get over ~800-900KB/s when transferring a 100MB test file!

What is going on here? I know that they're all connected to the exact same switch... are NICs so terribly different??...

This might be why I've never seen sustained speeds of more than 10% of Gigabit ethernet's maximum theoretical bandwidth, 125MB/s. Maybe that would require a dedicated high-end NIC like this one?....
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  1. yeah, nics do that. maybe it's packet collisions. btw, how's your professor's rig goin'?
  2. Really? Wow, I didn't know nics could be so different. But it kind of makes sense. After all, onboard nics are typically not used for high-bandwidth tasks, I suppose...

    About that rig: that's... oh man, that's just a horror story. We got all parts here, except the Tyan i5400PW motherboard, which is stalled at customs because of a federal police strike here in Brazil. They're striking for almost a month now. We're taking legal action to ensure that the motherboard gets delivered, but so far it hasn't helped.

    Doesn't it sound like a bad joke? No, really: there's 16GB of FB-DIMM DDR2-800 and 2 Xeons X5472, plus two thermalright HR-01-X, JUST SITTING HERE DOING NOTHING for several weeks now. Isn't it revolting?

    An IT horror story, really.
  3. That's tragic. By the time you get it, it could be depreciated to a point where an entirely new system could cost the same as a motherboard.
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