Intel Pro/1000 GT PCI Desktop Gigabit Adapter Quick-Review

2
Posted June 14, 2011 by Patrick Kennedy in Servers

Although Intel has been trying to obsolete the PCI bus in recent times with the Sandy Bridge desktop platforms not supporting the PCI bus natively, there are still an absolute ton of PCI slots available in the installed base and adding a PCI Gigabit Ethernet adapter is a very common use these days.

Two important notes about the Intel Pro/1000 GT card that are very important. First, the controller used is the Intel 82541PI. What this means is that ESXi 4.0 and later support is limited with it not being on the ESXi 4.0/ 4.1 HCL (although it does work for some users using the e1000 drivers). For those running legacy ESXi 3.5 installations, the card is supported, but I would not recommend picking one of these cards up if one is planning to build a VMware ESXi server at this point. On the other hand, the card does play nicely with Linux, FreeBSD (read FreeNAS) and Microsoft Windows operating systems so that is a major plus.

Intel Pro 1000 GT Desktop Adapter PCI

Intel Pro/1000 GT Desktop Adapter PCI

Personally, these cards work great for things like Untangle boxes. For example, I have a dual-core Intel Atom mITX box that had a free PCI slot. While it was being used as a music streaming endpoint, the PCI slot was rarely if ever used. Adding the Intel Pro/1000 GT along with the onboard gigabit LAN allowed me to build a very small Untangle box which works well.

Conclusion

The Intel Pro/1000 GT adapter works well, but one needs to be careful. As an aging piece of hardware (PCI based and the series that replaced the Intel Pro/1000 MT adapters) support is still there in most cases, but platforms such as ESXi 4.x which are known to be very picky about hardware are dropping support for the cards. On the other hand, the Intel Pro/1000 GT adapter costs approximately $30 new from Amazon.com‘s many sellers and around $20 on ebay. Personally, if one has a PCIe x1 slot, the Intel Desktop CT adapter is a much better option, but I do get asked about which PCI Gigabit Ethernet adapters I use regularly and I have a stack of these adapters that I use for projects like the Untangle server.

Feel free to discuss on the ServeTheHome.com Forums!


About the Author

Patrick Kennedy

Patrick has been running ServeTheHome since 2009 and covers a wide variety of home and small business IT topics. For his day job, Patrick is a management consultant focused in the technology industry and has worked with numerous large hardware and storage vendors in the Silicon Valley. The goal of STH is simply to help users find some information about basic server building blocks. If you have any helpful information please feel free to post on the forums.

2 Comments


  1.  
    Will

    Sorry to ask and sound clueless, but could you explain your meaning of “support” in this article? Do you mean officially, if you have a problem we don’t “support” it or is it that there are no drivers so the card will not work without additional oem.tgz fixing “support”? The reason I ask, is that I have two of these cards loaded in a test machine running “ESXi 4.1.0, 260247″ and I did nothing extra. They show in “Configuration > Network Adapters” listed as “Intel Corporation Pro/1000 GT Desktop Adapters” along with the onboard Broadcom adapter. Again, sorry for the confusion on my part but i do have a collection of these cards I have built up over the while and was planning on using them across a few more ESXi machines.




  2.  

    Hi Will,

    Here is the VMware ESXi HCL for the Intel Pro/1000 GT. It does not include ESXi 4.0, at least out of the box. One can use additional drivers found here to get them to work with ESXi 4.0 if the card is not recognized out of the box (some people do not need this step and it installs with the e1000 driver.) Many people are having issues with the cards dropping and I will say my experience has been hit-or-miss with the cards and a quick Google search finds similar experiences. I tend to be fairly conservative with talking about hardware support so if something is not on the HCL and I have personally not had perfect experiences with it, I tend not to recommend it.

    I added the HCL link to the main post for others to easily reference.

    Regards,
    Patrick





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