The Bottom Line
Late last year, ASUS deployed the Z170 Maximus Extreme 8 Assembly with the ROG 10G Express add-on NIC. This signaled a change in the consumer networking space that it was now ready for the additional performance 10Gbe has to offer. ASUS has now followed up on this device with a consumer product, the XG-C100C.
The C100C is a single port NIC that supports 10Gbe along with 5, 2.5, and 1Gbe standards. This card is built on the Aquantia AQN107 Multi-Gig adapter from earlier in the year dressed in a red PCB with improvements including a red heat sink from ASUS.
The MSRP of the XG-C100C comes in at $99.99 with a one-year warranty.
As far as packaging goes, I have had my fair share of networking products come through from ASUS, and this card seems to stand alone with its blue box and little marketing material. Perhaps ASUS was going for a cleaner look with this solution?
The back gives a little info on the card and mentions all the compatibility it carries.
Looking at the card, we find a scheme similar to the PCE-AC88 we use for router testing. A red PCB lends itself to a red heat sink with ASUS branding.
The back side carries serial numbers and ASUS sticker with regulatory information.
On the end, we have the RJ45 connection.
Removing the heat sink, we have the Aquantia chipset and surrounding power circuitry.
I used the ASUS XG-C100C in conjunction with a XS708T switch from NETGEAR and Mellanox ConnectX 3 Pro NIC to push data from one card to the other. The peak throughput hit exactly at 10Gbps or 10,000 Mbps with low points around 9700 Mbps.
The ASUS XG-C100C is the first 10Gbe copper NIC to be priced within reach of the general consumer. While this certainly signifies the technology is ready for mass adoption, still only a small crowd will see it fit for their home networks. The trouble behind a 10Gbe adapter is it requires more infrastructure than just swapping in a new card. 10Gbe switches are still very expensive. For instance, the eight port I use for testing NAS was $800. How many consumers want to upgrade their networks that bad?
With that said, I must commend ASUS for deploying such an adapter that pushes consumer networking forward, and while I think multi-Gbe will be the future for consumer networks, the ASUS C100C supports all those standards, so it could very well be the only card you need for quite some time.
Build quality of the ASUS XG-C100C is top notch. We have at least an 8-layer PCB with an anodized aluminum heat sink to pull any heat away from the card. This also adds to the aesthetic and follows the design of their wireless products, namely the PCE-AC68 and PCE-AC88 I use in testing.
Performance for me is superb; you can look back at any 10Gbe NAS review I have done over the last few months and note the performance that has come from using this adapter. The chart in this review serves mainly as a note that the card does indeed reach full 10Gbe throughput without issue.
Tyler's Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS Maximus IX Hero (buy from Amazon)
- CPU: Intel Core i7 7700K (buy from Amazon) / (Read our Review)
- Memory: G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 (buy from Amazon)
- Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Hybrid (buy from Amazon)
- OS Storage: Intel 730 480GB SSD (buy from Amazon) / (Read our Review)
- Secondary Storage: MyDigitalSSD BP5 512GB SSD (buy from Amazon)
- Case: EVGA DG-86 (buy from Amazon)
- Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA 750 P2 (buy from Amazon)
- Networking: ASUS PCE-AC88 AC3100 (buy from Amazon)
- Networking: ASUS ROG 10G Express
- Networking: ASUS Thunderbolt EX3 (buy from Amazon)
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 (buy from Amazon)
The Bottom Line: I commend ASUS for the XG-C100C with its backwards compatibility and low entry cost. It's likely the only NIC you will ever need in a home network.
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