4-port 2.5Gbe PCI-E card?

iZohanX

New Member
May 21, 2021
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Hey there good folks!

I was looking around but I couldn't seem to find a proper solution that fits my needs...
I'm looking to get a 4 port 2.5GbE card, preferably with an i225v3 chipset.

I'm aware of the pre-built cool little 4 port box from Aliexpress/Amazon that Patrick had reviewed (even had one of these deployed at a friends place).
But this solution doesn't fit my needs. I need that as an add-in card rather than "the whole box" since I need to integrate a few more cards on the same box.

And so stands the question, does such a card even exists? I've seen some 2-port Realtek 2.5GbE cards around but not a 4-port one, let alone one that is based on the updated Intel chipset. That made me wonder as to why not? If that's available on a pre-built box, why not as an add-in card?
So I come to the only place I know that is likely to know the answer for that for sure =)

Your input would be greatly appreciated.
 

jdnz

Member
Apr 29, 2021
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Other option would be a intel x710-t4l

upside - it can also do 10gbe and 5gbe
Downside - the price
 

iZohanX

New Member
May 21, 2021
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That is actually... exactly what I'm looking for but... didn't that come out before the v3 chipset?
Can anyone confirm whether or not it's the newer chipset?

Other option would be a intel x710-t4l

upside - it can also do 10gbe and 5gbe
Downside - the price
I was actually not aware of that revision.
This could technically work but... for that price I could buy an entire extra server and fit it with like 4x1port 2.5GbE cards :oops:

Would your use-case perhaps be met with a 2-port NIC plus a 2.5GbaseT switch?
Technically I can get by with just a 4 port 2.5Gbe managed switch that has a 10GbE uplink.
But those are... right about as expensive as getting that outrageous X710-T4L.

__________________________________________________________________

You've really helped me out a fair bit.

So far, that QNAP card looks like what I want/need.
But I do fear it isn't the newer chipset.
And whilst the Realtek card will get the job done (since this is what I currently use), I would hate going that route since I re-build the the machine that runs the system as well as wipe the drives. So setting up the Kernel mods, whilst it isn't too complicated, it's still is a pain to do every time.

Really hoping someone can chime in on more detail regarding the chipset revision of the QNAP card.
 

bob_dvb

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Sep 7, 2018
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A kinda nasty option?

There are PCIe risers from the GPU wars which support at least 4 outputs on one slot, you could use one of those with 2 or 4 network cards. There are also PCIe to 4x M.2 sockets and then find a 2.5G card in M.2 form factor (subject to your Motherboard allowing bifurcation).


https://www.amazon.co.uk/4-Port-Con...63f005a085a8c&language=en_GB&ref_=as_li_ss_tl


I never said it was pretty, but it's an answer.
 

jdnz

Member
Apr 29, 2021
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Technically I can get by with just a 4 port 2.5Gbe managed switch that has a 10GbE uplink.
But those are... right about as expensive as getting that outrageous X710
do you absolutely need a managed switch (as in you need to do tagging/untagging on the switch for vlans )?

qnap do a 2 x 10gbe 4 x 2.5gbe unmanaged switch that’s quite cheap ( costs less than their 4 x 2.5gbe card ) - it’ll pass vlan tagged traffic just fine ( I’ve got one in use here )

if you absolutely do need managed they also do a 2 x 10gbe 8 x 2.5gbe managed switch - but it’s double the cost ( but still 1/2 the price of the x710-t4 )
 

rm_

New Member
May 16, 2022
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I'm looking to get a 4 port 2.5GbE card, preferably with an i225v3 chipset.
Could you explain why do you want the v3 specifically? What is the difference is to v1 or v2?

I was looking on Aliexpress for single-port cards, some list "just" i225v and specify PCIe 2.1 with 2.5GT/s, while others list 5 GT/s, and some of the latter also specifically mention it's an i225v3. So is it that?

Aside from that, seems to be quite a lot of issues with this controller, apparently fixable with a firmware update - and seemingly regardless of the chip revision.
 

jdnz

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Apr 29, 2021
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Aside from that, seems to be quite a lot of issues with this controller, apparently fixable with a firmware update - and seemingly regardless of the chip revision.
b1 revision is basically broken, b2 is broken but can largely ( but not totally ) fixed via firmware, b3 is the current and only 'fully functional' option
 
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iZohanX

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May 21, 2021
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do you absolutely need a managed switch (as in you need to do tagging/untagging on the switch for vlans )?

qnap do a 2 x 10gbe 4 x 2.5gbe unmanaged switch that’s quite cheap ( costs less than their 4 x 2.5gbe card ) - it’ll pass vlan tagged traffic just fine ( I’ve got one in use here )

if you absolutely do need managed they also do a 2 x 10gbe 8 x 2.5gbe managed switch - but it’s double the cost ( but still 1/2 the price of the x710-t4 )
The goal is to ingress 3 different WAN connections. If I am to achieve this via a switch, I would need to add untagged VLANs to the ingress ports and hand them over to pfSense via a trunk.
I've had a similar setup but with a few 1Gb/3Gb SFP/SFP+ connections.

Now that you've mentioned that switch, I was able to find it.
That may be a possible solution. I may need to do further read-up on it.

If it has a CLI, I may even use it for some work-related projects.

Could you explain why do you want the v3 specifically? What is the difference is to v1 or v2?

I was looking on Aliexpress for single-port cards, some list "just" i225v and specify PCIe 2.1 with 2.5GT/s, while others list 5 GT/s, and some of the latter also specifically mention it's an i225v3. So is it that?

Aside from that, seems to be quite a lot of issues with this controller, apparently fixable with a firmware update - and seemingly regardless of the chip revision.
As jdnz has answered previously, the previous revisions just aren't 100% stable.
So I'm looking to eliminate possible problems in deployment/redeployment.

A kinda nasty option?

There are PCIe risers from the GPU wars which support at least 4 outputs on one slot, you could use one of those with 2 or 4 network cards. There are also PCIe to 4x M.2 sockets and then find a 2.5G card in M.2 form factor (subject to your Motherboard allowing bifurcation).


https://www.amazon.co.uk/4-Port-Con...63f005a085a8c&language=en_GB&ref_=as_li_ss_tl


I never said it was pretty, but it's an answer.
Whilst that doesn't fit my particular setup, that is a very interesting, potential project for someone who wouldn't mind a pfSense machine that looks like a mining rig.
I don't think the mobos I have (maybe aside from my main gaming pc) have bifurcation options. Maybe in the future as this hardware become more readily available in the second-hand market.
 
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tozmo

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Feb 1, 2017
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2.5gbe pci x1's exist... if you have a consumer board you probably have a bunch of (useless) x1's on an tax board.
 

jdnz

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Apr 29, 2021
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The goal is to ingress 3 different WAN connections. If I am to achieve this via a switch, I would need to add untagged VLANs to the ingress ports and hand them over to pfSense via a trunk.
I've had a similar setup but with a few 1Gb/3Gb SFP/SFP+ connections.
the QNAP management is pretty basic and no CLI - similar to the cheap/basic netgear 'smart' managed switches, but it's enough to do what you want though ( I've got a 'dumb' qsw-2104-2t taking the already tagged feed out of my ONT to trunk it to the far end of the house over 5gbe to a qsw-m408-4c which then does the untagging before feeding it to my opnsense vm)

You could also look at the Netgear MS510TXM ( 10 ports - 4 * 2.5gbe / 4 * 10/5/2.5 ports + 2 * sfp+ ) similar price to the qnap ( but for your use possibly a better mix of features and ports )
 

ReturnedSword

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Jun 15, 2018
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@iZohanX You may have to wait for a “creative” Chinese PCIe NIC that uses a PCIe bridge/switch such as an Asmedia ASM1806 x4 bridge. I reckon such a card will pop up “eventually.” The dual cards available now, e.g. Syba dual RTL8125 uses a ASM1182e bridge.

This probably isn’t very helpful, but I can’t think of any easy/clean setup otherwise as of now.

Perhaps you can inquire with QNAP as to what bridge chip they are using in their quad card, and the revision of the i225v NICs? From past experience, QNAP/Synology are a bit cagey about giving details; it’s hit or miss depending on the agent replying. The bridge used, and i225V revision should be easily verified, though if you physically have the QNAP NIC and look under the heatsink.
 

jdnz

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Apr 29, 2021
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Perhaps you can inquire with QNAP as to what bridge chip they are using in their quad card, and the revision of the i225v NICs?
found this over on the unraid forum from someone using the quad-i225 qnap card - so at least we know what the switch chip is, sadly no mention of the i225 stepping


‘I've been having issues trying to get a new QNAP QXG-2G4T-I225 card passed through into a pfSense/freeBSD VM.
Using the Intel I225-LM, it's a PCIEx4 card with 4 x 2.5Gbe ports, each with it's own adaptor paired with a ASMedia Technology Inc. Device 1812 PCI bridge (although there seem to be 7 bridges across 7 IOMMU groups?).”
 

rm_

New Member
May 16, 2022
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You may have to wait for a “creative” Chinese PCIe NIC that uses a PCIe bridge/switch such as an Asmedia ASM1806 x4 bridge. I reckon such a card will pop up “eventually.” The dual cards available now, e.g. Syba dual RTL8125 uses a ASM1182e bridge.
Realtek-wise 4-port ones are available already as well (actually linked in the 1st reply).

But just yesterday I ran into the weird (and also infamous) "WHEA Logger / Cache Hierarchy Error" on my Ryzen, only in combination with the RTL8125. And saw that mentioned online once or twice as well, specifically mentioning the NIC causing it. So would not recommend that at the moment (and hence went checking out Intel as another option to try in that machine).
 

iZohanX

New Member
May 21, 2021
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Realtek-wise 4-port ones are available already as well (actually linked in the 1st reply).

But just yesterday I ran into the weird (and also infamous) "WHEA Logger / Cache Hierarchy Error" on my Ryzen, only in combination with the RTL8125. And saw that mentioned online once or twice as well, specifically mentioning the NIC causing it. So would not recommend that at the moment (and hence went checking out Intel as another option to try in that machine).
I do already have a Realtek RTL8125 based card in my system - single port though.
It's running flawlessly for about 5 months now.
My only gripe with it is the setup process with pfSense, since the kernel module that comes with pfSense (even the "updated" 2.6 version of pfSense) doesn't support the 8125 natively.

found this over on the unraid forum from someone using the quad-i225 qnap card - so at least we know what the switch chip is, sadly no mention of the i225 stepping


‘I've been having issues trying to get a new QNAP QXG-2G4T-I225 card passed through into a pfSense/freeBSD VM.
Using the Intel I225-LM, it's a PCIEx4 card with 4 x 2.5Gbe ports, each with it's own adaptor paired with a ASMedia Technology Inc. Device 1812 PCI bridge (although there seem to be 7 bridges across 7 IOMMU groups?).”
Well, I guess that's a no-go for the QNAP card.
A shame though, I would figure the "LM" version would be a tad better, since it's supposed to support Intel vPro and all that (one would assume that would put it through a bit more rigorous QA/QC processes).