Monday, July 6th 2015

Realtek Develops New Onboard LAN Chip to Win Back Gamer Crowd

In a bid to regain market share lost to Intel and Killer (Qualcomm) in the DIY motherboard market, particularly with motherboards targeted at online gaming PC builds; Realtek unveiled a new onboard LAN solution called the Realtek Dragon. Intel and Killer have replaced Realtek as a preferred onboard Ethernet chip provider for DIY PC motherboards over the past two generations, as perception of their lower driver overhead, lower latencies, and other advantages spread. Sensing that merely improving drivers for its existing RTL8111 family of PCIe gigabit Ethernet PHY chips won't fix the situation, Realtek sought to give its latest generation an off-beat brand name that it hopes could appeal to the DIY crowd.

At the heart of the Realtek Dragon is the new RTL8118AS, a PCIe gigabit Ethernet PHY, much like the 8111 family. Realtek says it made refinements to the chip over previous generations, which will offer better performance (lower driver overhead) for traffic with small UDP packets, which is how most online multiplayer games work, and lower power consumption than competing solutions, such as the Killer E2200. Realtek even set a new branding for its chip, and will allow motherboard makers to print it on their PCBs, just as they print branding for Killer or Intel onboard LAN solutions. Realtek Dragon will make its debut with certain socket LGA1151 motherboards by ECS.
Source: Anandtech
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43 Comments on Realtek Develops New Onboard LAN Chip to Win Back Gamer Crowd

#1
Haytch
I was sure that Realtek was gone for good. They failed to produce something decent for years now and I assumed they simply were not interested. This is one slap in the face I will enjoy, IF it really turns out to be decent. Looking forward to some benchmarks and comparisons.
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#2
natr0n
To me lan chips seem irrelevant to think about. It either works or it doesn't. I'm even using the default windows 7 lan driver. That's how little it matters to me.
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#3
Uplink10
So only Realtek Dragon should offer decent performance and other chips which are still in production and new chips which will go into production and are not Realtek Dragon will still suck?
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#4
Petey Plane
natr0n said:
To me lan chips seem irrelevant to think about. It either works or it doesn't. I'm even using the default windows 7 lan driver. That's how little it matters to me.
Pretty much agree. It's really more about branding and consumer perception (aka marketing) than actual performance. I think of it like the $5000 "audiophile grade" power cables. As if 6 feet of 8 gauge pure silver cable is going to somehow negate the hundreds of miles of buried copper wire the electrons had to pass through to get to the socket. Same goes for pings and your distance from the server. Or, think of a corked baseball bat, which has been shown to offer no advantage over a non-corked bat. It's more about the user thinking they have an edge, which instills confidence, which is far more important in being successful at a task (in this case gaming) than any miniscule latency reductions these chips may offer. Having a Killer or a Dragon on your mobo isn't going to make you better at Counter Strike.

All that being said, it's better to have lower latencies and less overhead than not, so hey, i'll read the benchmarks and consider them when getting a new mobo
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#5
ensabrenoir
.....so naming it dragon will win back the diy crowd?

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#6
buildzoid
The one realtek NIC I have keeps disconnecting at random. That is literally the only reason why I avoid realtek chips.
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#7
rtwjunkie
PC Gaming Enthusiast
natr0n said:
To me lan chips seem irrelevant to think about. It either works or it doesn't. I'm even using the default windows 7 lan driver. That's how little it matters to me.
I agree. If it's gigabit, then it's gigabit. I do have the latest realtek drivers for mine, but only because they were newer than Windows LAN drivers. It's a pity it's all marketing and smoke and mirrors. I'm mystified where sone people get the idea regular Realtek LAN sucks, which is a far cry from reality.
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#8
Patriot
rtwjunkie said:
I agree. If it's gigabit, then it's gigabit. I do have the latest realtek drivers for mine, but only because they were newer than Windows LAN drivers. It's a pity it's all marketing and smoke and mirrors. I'm mystified where sone people get the idea regular Realtek LAN sucks, which is a far cry from reality.
Mainly because they like to drop connection and don't perform at full Gbit... but I have no idea why some people don't like them... couldn't be the reliability or performance.

As far as killer nics being a godsend... smoke and mirrors... just get a board with a solid Intel nic and call it good.
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#9
rtwjunkie
PC Gaming Enthusiast
See, I've not had any reliability or performance problems, but then, I rarely play multiplayer games.
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#10
Assimilator
Intel ethernet is the only game in town. It's fast, it works, it doesn't come with a whole bunch of marketing hoodoo and software utilities of questionable effectiveness.
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#11
Ferrum Master
Assimilator said:
Intel ethernet is the only game in town. It's fast, it works, it doesn't come with a whole bunch of marketing hoodoo and software utilities of questionable effectiveness.
Intel also ain't saint, my 82579V is plagued with various issues...

But... this... is this a rebrand? They just smelled the late trend :D

The pics look horrid... the soldering flux isn't washed off, almost looks like done by hand...
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#12
dorsetknob
"YOUR RMA REQUEST IS CON-REFUSED"
Its not the Gamers they have to convince they will come later
ITS THE MOTHERBOARD MANUFACTURES
convince them and they will fit them to sell on to the gamer market
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#13
GhostRyder
natr0n said:
To me lan chips seem irrelevant to think about. It either works or it doesn't. I'm even using the default windows 7 lan driver. That's how little it matters to me.
I am kinda the same way, all these extra "Gamer LAN" and what not do not really enhance any experiences for me and even at times cause problems.
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#14
SonicZap
rtwjunkie said:
See, I've not had any reliability or performance problems, but then, I rarwly play multiplayer games.
I play online multiplayer games often and I've still had no issues with Realtek LAN chips. Been having them on my motherboards for 7 years now, no complaints. No problems with either performance or reliability.
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#15
Overclocker_2001
it's not that realtek pci-e nic sucks.. it's that they are quite slow!
damn my old ( and terrible driver support ) marvell 88e8056 on p5q dlx overlap by a lot the realtek 8111gr on q1900-itx.. and on the q1900 i have 8GB of ddr3 1333! ( vs 6GB ddr2 858MHz )
it's quite frustating to have a godd switch ( linksys sd2005 ) all cat6 cable-socket and a poor nic limiting spped transfer to 650-700Mb/s wheras pci-e addin card ( based on bcm5721 ) can sustain 970-980Mb/s [ limited by marvell nic on streaming ]
so... realtek nic are quite.. mediocre
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#16
Steevo
Didn't Killer (Qualcomm with bad "special" drivers that liked to cause BSOD) show little to no difference?


As long as it works and doesn't cause any appriciable performance hit I too could care less.
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#17
SimpleTECH
One thing I got to hand it to Realtek is that their drivers aren't bloated with utilities and crap I don't care about. It would be nice if they replaced their current RTL8111GR with this one.
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#18
R-T-B
rtwjunkie said:
I agree. If it's gigabit, then it's gigabit.
Unless it's strapped to a PCI bus (this was popular not so long ago, some X58 boards did this...)

And from what I've heard Killer NICs DID suck worse than even Realtek...
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#19
AsRock
TPU addict
I think they should all :fear: Broadcom HAHA, other wise i have never had a issue with any kind since XP unless it was some cheap shit card from China which normally required dos configuration or and manual installing ( ooh the fun days )..
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#20
ZeDestructor
natr0n said:
To me lan chips seem irrelevant to think about. It either works or it doesn't. I'm even using the default windows 7 lan driver. That's how little it matters to me.
Petey Plane said:
Pretty much agree. It's really more about branding and consumer perception (aka marketing) than actual performance. I think of it like the $5000 "audiophile grade" power cables. As if 6 feet of 8 gauge pure silver cable is going to somehow negate the hundreds of miles of buried copper wire the electrons had to pass through to get to the socket. Same goes for pings and your distance from the server. Or, think of a corked baseball bat, which has been shown to offer no advantage over a non-corked bat. It's more about the user thinking they have an edge, which instills confidence, which is far more important in being successful at a task (in this case gaming) than any miniscule latency reductions these chips may offer. Having a Killer or a Dragon on your mobo isn't going to make you better at Counter Strike.

All that being said, it's better to have lower latencies and less overhead than not, so hey, i'll read the benchmarks and consider them when getting a new mobo
rtwjunkie said:
I agree. If it's gigabit, then it's gigabit. I do have the latest realtek drivers for mine, but only because they were newer than Windows LAN drivers. It's a pity it's all marketing and smoke and mirrors. I'm mystified where sone people get the idea regular Realtek LAN sucks, which is a far cry from reality.
If you're doing only basic LAN stuff on Windows, sure, they work OK (if somewhat slower/higher CPU load). If you're doing anything more advanced (LAGs or running in ESXi for example), anything but Intel, high-end Broadcom and Mellanox sucks.

Linux support can also be spotty on the Realtek NICs, while Intel, Broadcom and Mellanox behave reliably and consistently.

Patriot said:
Mainly because they like to drop connection and don't perform at full Gbit... but I have no idea why some people don't like them... couldn't be the reliability or performance.

As far as killer nics being a godsend... smoke and mirrors... just get a board with a solid Intel nic and call it good.
Interesting.. I haven't seen Realtek NICs drop connections personalyl, but I have seen plenty of driver fails (especially on desktop/laptop Linux).

Assimilator said:
Intel ethernet is the only game in town. It's fast, it works, it doesn't come with a whole bunch of marketing hoodoo and software utilities of questionable effectiveness.
Yup.

Ferrum Master said:
Intel also ain't saint, my 82579V is plagued with various issues...

But... this... is this a rebrand? They just smelled the late trend :D

The pics look horrid... the soldering flux isn't washed off, almost looks like done by hand...
Interesting.. I have an 82579V in my desktop, no issues on my end...
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#21
Ferrum Master
ZeDestructor said:
Interesting.. I have an 82579V in my desktop, no issues on my end...
See the Intel document.

I had experienced all those errata situations... The worst one was using linux and steam download drop off...

The windows log list is hammered with that C10 error that causes the nic to fall off from the pcie. As stated it is a hardware issue.

Well as I said mate, no one is saint. Intel made a derp with x79 SAS also, they were drunk I guess during that time. :D Not that erratas were absent in any product, these one are on par with Realtek lol.
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#22
ZeDestructor
Ferrum Master said:
See the Intel document.

I had experienced all those errata situations... The worst one was using linux and steam download drop off...

The windows log list is hammered with that C10 error that causes the nic to fall off from the pcie. As stated it is a hardware issue.

Well as I said mate, no one is saint. Intel made a derp with x79 SAS also, they were drunk I guess during that time. :D Not that erratas were absent in any product, these one are on par with Realtek lol.
That's some real shit luck to hit all 3 erratas... I hit none of them, not even the C10 errors (I have 82579LMs in the laptops, and they do the sleep/resume dance all the time)...

Also 100Mbps/half-duplex? You travel back to 1998 by accident? :P
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#23
lZKoce
I have Realtek Chip on my old PC (now my parent's PC) and other PC's I've owned. I've never experienced instability or drop outs or any other problems what-so-ever. I actually think the realtek drivers are better than Windows one's. I've tried both- surely you can run pretty fine without installing them, but I think it's a good idea. It's not that much of an effort. I like they wanna offer a better NIC, but I'd be nice if it trickles down to mid-range boards as well, not just high-end one's.
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#24
Ferrum Master
ZeDestructor said:
Also 100Mbps/half-duplex? You travel back to 1998 by accident? :p
Office infrastructure... and a X79 based rendering workstation, you have to bring virgin blood to CEO and sell your soul to security chief... But there the thing was more complicated... the switch was accidentally built in behind a wall after renovation... lol

And yes I am unlucky... I get very capricious and misbehaving things... funny, the same is also with women.

But the second thing... Wi-Fi drivers on Linux for Intel were not the smoothest ride for me also. But again... not as horrid as Realtek one lol... albeit nothing beats Atheros driver mess in wifi department :D
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#25
silentbogo
Ferrum Master said:
But the second thing... Wi-Fi drivers on Linux for Intel were not the smoothest ride for me also. But again... not as horrid as Realtek one lol... albeit nothing beats Atheros driver mess in wifi department :D
Don't forget to throw a tomato at RaLink[MediaTek]. I'm still furious that my Asus PCE N53 "upgrade" only works in Windows and [barely] Ubuntu 12....
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