A few weeks ago we looked at the cheap NICGIGA 10Gbase-T adapter. Within a few hours, Amazon sold out of the adapters (they are back at the time we are publishing this one.) In the meantime, we saw another option in the $70-$75 range which was the QFly 10Gbase-T adapter. This is a nearly identical Marvell AQC113 10GbE card to the one that we saw previously.
QFly 10Gbase-T NIC Overview
The card itself is a single-slot PCIe x4 card.
A modest heatsink is all that is needed to cool the Marvell AQC113C since that is generally a sub-4-5W part.
We also get both full-height and low-profile brackets.
Here is the back of the PCB. There is not much going on here.
We removed the three screws and the heatsink popped off with a small thermal pad where it makes contact with the chip.
Again, there is not a lot going on here either. This is a very simple design, and that is part of what makes the Aquantia line from Marvell popular with motherboard and system designers.
While the heatsinks are different, the boards themselves seem to be the same between the two. We put the low-profile bracket on both and looked at them side by side.
They are so similar, they clearly come from the same factory.
Cheap NICGIGA 10Gbase-T Adapter with Marvell AQC113C Performance
Overall, we got 10Gbase-T speeds as we would expect using iperf3:
Again, this is what we would expect from the adapter, as it is similar to the other one we looked at.
As a super low-power card, this is one where we could add it to the system with a minimal impact on thermals. If you want to see specific OS compatibility, it is easy enough to look up AQC113 which is what this card is using but most modern OSes will support the NIC as it started popping up 2-3 years ago in devices.
Again, nothing about this card feels very premium. At the same time, for $70-75, this might be an easy way to add 10GbE for folks who want faster networking without having to resort to some ancient data center NICs that can use 8-10W more per car and that do not support speeds like 2.5GbE.
Our best advice between the two that we have reviewed is simple: get whichever is cheapest and in-stock.
If you want to see a quick video of the other version that shares this platform (just with a slightly different heatsink, you can find that on the new STH Labs YouTube channel.
We did not want to make a duplicate for this one.
Where to Buy
We purchased our unit from Amazon. Here is an affiliate link.
Note we participate in a number of affiliate programs, so we may earn a small commission if you buy one through this link. That helps us purchase more cards to review.