What Network Card is Right for Me? - American Technology Products DBA Server Disk Drives

It can certainly be a daunting task buying a network card, especially if you haven’t done it before. Hopefully this post will make it a little easier. We will break down the factors that should be considered before purchasing network cards. There are  many different types of NICs (network interface cards) on the market such as USB network adapters, PCIe cards, etc. We want to help you find the network card that works for you. 

Be aware of the type of NIC 

NIC cards can be broken into three different classes based on different bus interfaces

  • PCI
  • PCI-x
  • PCIe
  • USB network adapters

USB network adapter is typically plugged into the device using an external USB port.  PCI type network cards are typically used to fit a corresponding slot in the motherboard of servers and hosts. However the PCI has been replaced with PCI-X (Peripheral Component Interconnect eXtended) and more recently the  PCIe (Peripheral Component Interconnect express) being the latest interface standard. Please note that PCIe hardware is different from that of PCI and PCI-x. This means they are not interchangeable. This shouldn't be a problem for most systems as PCI-x is only used on older systems. The newer PCs and Servers come with PCIe.

Understand the speed you need 

Speed is a huge factor that needs to be considered when selecting a network card. Make sure that your new NIC card speed will fit your network speed. So if you plan on needing higher speeds to handle more traffic look for a faster card such as a 10,25, or even a 40gb card and stay away from the 1gb cards. 

Port Numbers of the Network Card

 A NIC network card with a single port is fine, and will satisfy most transmission demands. However NIC cards with multiple ports are great choices for servers or workstations to deal with different tasks.

Operating system 

Know the Operating System that the NIC Card Supports. PCs, network servers and other hosts from different vendors support different operating systems.