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Ethernet on the motherboard?

To: riscy@pyramid.com
Subject: Ethernet on the motherboard?
From: caret@pyramid.com (Neil Russell)
Date: Sat, 3 Jul 93 21:27:52 PDT
Reply-to: riscy@pyramid.com
Sender: riscy-request@pyramid.com
Opinion as to whether Ethernet is needed at all seems to be split
roughly 50-50.  For a good deal of us, this will be a super-fast
workstation in some small desk in the corner of our bedroom.
The only connection to the outside world would probably be a modem.
These people couldn't care less about Ethernet.  Others will connect
this to a small, or large network of workstations, and for them,
Ethernet is absolutely essential.  Others may use this as a diskless
workstation (read X-terminal), and then Ethernet is central.

The real question though is that if an ISA bus is provided, will
a motherboard solution provide so much extra gain in performance to
justify not using an ISA card?

Also, there are many problems getting a reliable Ethernet sub-system
(as some here have suggested).  Do we really want to get involved
with debugging Ethernet hardware?

I have two machines at home: a 386/33 and 486/33, connected by Ethernet.
I can get roughly 300 KB/sec transfer rate between them under the
right conditions.  I am using a WD8003E (Western Digital 8-bit card).
Does this mean that if I put a 16-bit card in I'll get 600KB/sec?
If so, this is getting close to the maximum data rate of Ethernet.
Is the ISA bus the bottleneck for Ethernet?

Assuming that a user's 'riscy' workstation is using motherboard video
and SCSI, then the only heavy user of the ISA bus left is the Ethernet

There is enough bias in the above ramblings to anger anyone who doesn't
agree with me, which is exactly what I want.  Tell me why I'm wrong?
Neil Russell            (The wizard from OZ)
Pyramid Technology                      Email:  caret@pyramid.com
3860 N. First Street                    Voice:  (408) 428-7302
San Jose, CA 95134-1702                   FAX:  (408) 428-8845


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