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StarTech ST1000SPEX42 Quad Port Gigabit NIC Review

StarTech ST1000SPEX42 Quad Port Gigabit NIC Review
Running a heavily virtualized environment? Read on as we take a look at the quad port gigabit NIC from StarTech, and see how it performs.
| Network Adapters in Networking | Posted: Dec 30, 2013 2:00 pm
TweakTown Rating: 90%Manufacturer: StarTech

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For those that manage a large number of virtual environments, having the ability to maximize your virtual networks efficiency is of utmost importance. Whether you're looking for a dedicated solution or network redundancy, the ability to deploy a single multiport solution increases server efficiency with a minimum impact on power consumption.

 

StarTech has built their business from the ground up focusing on enabling IT professionals to find and deploy connectivity parts to enable their solutions. Today, we have the StarTech ST1000SPEX42 network adapter in house. This quad-port gigabit adapter is fully compatible with IEEE 802.3/u/ab standards, while featuring a PCI Express x4 interface offering full duplex gigabit connectivity.

 

Operating system compatibility extends to a broad range of operating systems, including Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7, Windows Server and many Linux flavours including Red Hat Enterprise. StarTech.com includes a two-year hardware warranty and free lifetime technical support with the ST1000SPEX42.

 

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The packaging for the ST1000SPEX42 features branding and product identification on the front of a white box. The bottom left features a QR code you can scan to retrieve the card specifications.

 

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Inside the box, we found the scope of delivery to include a driver disc, along with reading materials.

 

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Looking over the card, we find each port equipped with its own Realtek 8111E controller and clock crystal. The PCI Express interface at the bottom.

 

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Here we find each port readied with its own set of LEDs to indicate connectivity and activity.

 

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Under the black heat sink, we find the PLX 8608, eight lane PCI Express Gen 2.0 switch.

 

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To accurately test the capabilities of network adapters, we utilize a file size of 1GB from 1 stream to 24 concurrent streams. For network latency, we transfer a 10GB file with response time measured each second.

 

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Above, we have setup four additional adapters for comparison. Looking at our upstream throughput, we find the StarTech to reach its potential rather quick and continue the trend all the way to the end at 24 streams. Peak throughput was measured at 920Mbps.

 

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Downstream throughput had the Realtek 8168 topping the chart, with the StarTech in the mix with the Intel and Broadcom adapters. Peak throughput for the StarTech was just shy of 750Mbps.

 

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Average latency for the StarTech was quite impressive, as the card managed just under 1ms of latency throughout the entire test frame.

 

The StarTech ST1000SPEX42 features four ports of full duplex gigabit connectivity, a compliment to anyone with a highly virtualized environment. In fact, we chose to utilize two of these cards next to our HotLava Shasta six port units for future network product reviews, as we run a highly intense virtual environment with 24 VMs, each with a physical connection to the network.

 

The build quality of the StarTech ST1000SPEX42 was quite good, herein we found a six layer PCB at 1.65mm with top notch components and clean solder joints.

 

Performance of the StarTech was also quite good. Upstream throughput had the NIC at the top of our charts touching 950Mbps, while downstream the card managed 750Mbps. Response time came in just under 1ms throughout the entire workload.

 

Pricing at the time of writing is set at $252.99 direct from StarTech.com. Though looking around on the internet, we were able to find the NIC for a much better $176.99 at Newegg.

 

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