smartBridges smartNIC - Page 5

Before I proceed on to the performance of the adapter, here is a brief smartNIC product feature list :

  • Lifetime Product Warranty.

  • Compatible with Computers with USB Port and Windows98/98SE Operating System.

  • Powered by USB port. No Additional Power Adapter Required.

  • Low Cost Alternative for PCMCIA Cards.

To test the performance of the smartNIC, a 444MB (actual : 465,985,536 bytes) MPEG movie file was transferred three times between my smartNIC-desktop combination and the TravelMate 330 in my 10Mbps only home network. No additional devices were attached to the USB root hub. The TravelMate used the Xircom Credit Card 10/100 Ethernet Adapter. The systems were rebooted after every file transfer to flush the cache. The results of the three transfers were averaged to obtain the mean transfer rate.

In addition, to see how the smartNIC performed while sharing its USB bandwidth with other devices, I hooked a Prolink 4-port USB hub to a USB port on the desktop configuration and connected the HP ScanJet 4200, the Creative WebCamII and the Creative Cobra gamepad to the hub. Take note that the average theoretical transfer rate for a port on the USB root hub is 8Mbps, though in reality, it is lower. The bandwidth available to devices daisy chained to the port would have to be divided among the devices. The same 444MB file was transferred while the WebCamII was left running. Occasional scans were also done. Again, the results were averaged to obtain the mean transfer rate.

For comparison purposes, the same 444MB file was transferred between the DFE-530TX-desktop combination and the Xircom Credit Card-TravelMate 330 combination in a 10Mbps network and a 100Mbps network to obtain their respective transfer rates.

Benchmark Results

From the numbers above, we can see that daisy chaining USB devices to the smartNIC does noticeably degrade performance. As expected, USB network performance as compared to 10Mbps and 100Mbps networks trails by quite a lot.

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