Friday, September 28th 2018

ASRock Teases Phantom Gaming Motherboards with Integrated 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet LAN

When ASRock teased something new from their new Phantom Gaming brand on social media with a photo that said 2.5x fast, people were quick to speculate this was referring to an AMD Radeon GPU. After all, the Phantom Gaming brand came about very recently with ASRock's debut as an AMD AIB (add-in board) partners for Radeon GPUs, with TechPowerUp giving a review treatment to one that you can read here. Was Vega holding back with some sandbags? Or was it perhaps the rumored Polaris GPU?

As it turned out today, ASRock was instead teasing about motherboards joining the Phantom Gaming brand and the "2.5x fast" instead was referring to these board having an integrated 2.5 Gigabit onboard LAN port, as opposed to the 1 GigE ports on most enthusiast motherboards today. Suffice to say that led to disappointment for many owing to this misunderstanding, but this is still news in that ASRock has deemed the importance of having a higher-tier brand that can be marketed as a competitor to the ASUS ROG, Gigabyte Aorus and more. This motherboard may end up not being AMD-exclusive either, as we do not expect a prosumer socket from AMD until next year, and the timing suggests it may well be an Intel z390 socket board instead. The teaser video is embedded below, although there is not much else to glean from it at this point.

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27 Comments on ASRock Teases Phantom Gaming Motherboards with Integrated 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet LAN

#2
hat
Enthusiast
That's... weird. I thought the next step up from 1Gbe was 10 Gbe. How the hell does 2.5 even work? I'm guessing you must have a 10Gbe router/switch, and this will then work at 2.5...
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#3
TheLostSwede
hat, post: 3912982, member: 32804"
That's... weird. I thought the next step up from 1Gbe was 10 Gbe. How the hell does 2.5 even work? I'm guessing you must have a 10Gbe router/switch, and this will then work at 2.5...
2.5 and 5Gbps are "new" standards https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2.5GBASE-T_and_5GBASE-T
Both were ratified in 2016 and are only supported by multi-speed switches that supports the speeds.
As such, older 10Gbps switches won't work with 2.5 and 5Gbps.

I'm guessing we're looking at Realtek's new 2.5Gbps PHY here, which should be a lot cheaper than Aquantia, although Aquantia's "entry level" option is 5/2.5/1/100 so far, if you don't count their recently announced USB 3.0 solutions.
Why this would have any affect on latency, I don't know though, since going from 1Gbps to 10Gbps has no real affect on latency either.

There's already at least one commercially available 2.5Gbps switch, but it's too close in price to 10Gbps switches to be interesting. Hopefully we'll see a lot more affordable 2.5/5/10Gbps options coming out soon.
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#4
hat
Enthusiast
That's just... wat. 1Gbe is already rampant, and 10Gbe is/was supposed to be the next step. How do you just create half (or even quarter in the case of 2.5Gbe) step standards when 10Gbe already exists?
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#5
TheLostSwede
hat, post: 3912993, member: 32804"
That's just... wat. 1Gbe is already rampant, and 10Gbe is/was supposed to be the next step. How do you just create half (or even quarter in the case of 2.5Gbe) step standards when 10Gbe already exists?
For many reasons. Read the Wikipedia link I posted above.
It's still very expensive to make 10Gbps hardware (compared to 1Gbps) and you need Cat6A cabling if you want to be able to use it at any distance.
2.5Gbps runs on exactly the same infrastructure as 1Gbps and it shouldn't be any more costly to make, especially as Realtek now has joined the game.
The cheapest 10Gbps retail NIC you can get today is directly from Aquantia and it's just under $80 from Amazon, with their 5Gbps card being $10 less.
I'm also guessing 2.5Gbps switches will be a lot cheaper than 10Gbps, although some new-ish devices support 2.5/5/10Gbps on some ports, 2.5/5Gbps on some and 2.5Gbps on some and finally a few 1Gbps ports as well. I think this is what we can expect to see in a lot of consumer level switches coming out in the next year or so.
5Gbps makes less sense from a cost stand point at least, as the only real benefit is that it works with Cat5e up to 50m, but it might be possible to use it up to 100m depending on the cables, but Cat6 is recommended and then you have little to no benefit over 10Gbps, apart from a slightly lower cost per NIC.
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#6
cyneater
So say you have 2 computers on 10Gbit .. wont the slowest part be the hard disk / SSD?
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#7
TheLostSwede
cyneater, post: 3913003, member: 113386"
So say you have 2 computers on 10Gbit .. wont the slowest part be the hard disk / SSD?
This is my NAS connected over 10Gbps. It has 4x 4TB 7,200rpm drives in it. Not too much of a bottle neck and still way faster than a single local drive.

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#8
Caring1
It's called Phantom because it doesn't exist :nutkick: :D
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#9
Ferrum Master
Caring1, post: 3913048, member: 153156"
It's called Phantom because it doesn't exist :nutkick::D
LoL

For sure, it is a pretty rare need... people still spend on 20€ potato routers and don't even care to understand why they should need more. I have to say, in most cases they are right as long they are happy.
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#10
phill
I'm surprised they just didn't go straight for 10Gb but meh.. That will be my next house upgrade when I move.. 10Gb everywhere!!
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#11
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
hat, post: 3912993, member: 32804"
That's just... wat. 1Gbe is already rampant, and 10Gbe is/was supposed to be the next step. How do you just create half (or even quarter in the case of 2.5Gbe) step standards when 10Gbe already exists?
10 Gb is...difficult over 100m using copper. Cables have to be thick and well sheilded(read: expensive). Adding 2.5 and 5 makes sense in the context of a (relatively) cheap CAT6 cable: If the link is a 33m, it can probably handle 10 Gb. If it is 66m, it can probably handle 5 Gb. If it is 100m, it can probably handle 2.5 Gb. The new standards allow more bandwidth using old infrastructure (barring switches, routers, and interfaces).

I'm glad it's happening but this roll out should have started years ago. It's going to take a very long time to get off 1 Gb, except in cases where over 1 Gb is absolutely necessary.
Posted on Reply
#12
TheLostSwede
2.5Gbps works on the same cables as Gigabit, so there's no maybe about it.
5Gbps works on 100m Cat6, so again, there's no maybe about it.
Maybe you should've read the link to Wikipedia I posted instead of spreading FUD?
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#13
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
Link speed is determined by the signal quality.

I was just throwing numbers out there. Want specifics?
https://web.archive.org/web/20160525052443/http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/collateral/switches/catalyst-4900-series-switches/white_paper_c11-609513.html
Category 6 is defined only for frequencies of up to 250 MHz. Category 6 is currently popular for installations that predate 10GBASE-T technology. Category 6 cabling has been included in the IEEE 802.3an standard and can support 10GBASE-T according to the guidelines in TIA TSB-155. The IEEE standard lists 55 meters as the typical expected 10GBASE-T reach depending on the alien-crosstalk environment, although TIA TSB-155 states that under worst-case bundling conditions, the reach may be limited to 37 meters. The guidelines in TIA TSB-155 include methods to mitigate the effects of alien crosstalk to increase the performance over existing cabling.
Very important caveat:
Category 6 is specified only to 250 MHz. The cabling system must be certified to 500 MHz according to TSB-155 to help ensure 10GBASE-T compliance
The shielded CAT6 cable I ran is only tested up to 400 MHz. 10 Gb may not work at all.
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#14
E-curbi
hat, post: 3912993, member: 32804"
That's just... wat. 1Gbe is already rampant, and 10Gbe is/was supposed to be the next step. How do you just create half (or even quarter in the case of 2.5Gbe) step standards when 10Gbe already exists?
Agree. What the heck is 2.5G LAN? My ROG Apex 10 board has 5G. Only benefit I've found so far is the 5G chip needed a heatsink so Asus added a rear I/O cover/sink that hides the ugly bare rear ports, a step up from the Apex 9 board. lol

Out of the box, that heatsink was getting warm to the touch, even when not connected, so disabled 5G in bios. :)

Where is the Apex 11 Z390 by the way? What's going on? Hope they didn't cancel it.

They already cancelled the PCIe cover shroud on the Maximus 11 Extreme, silly ROG, the Formula looks better than the Extreme. :shadedshu:

Alright, I admit, I bummed and I CAN'T get over it. :cry::cry::cry:
Posted on Reply
#15
TheLostSwede
FordGT90Concept, post: 3913171, member: 60463"
Link speed is determined by the signal quality.

I was just throwing numbers out there. Want specifics?
https://web.archive.org/web/20160525052443/http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/collateral/switches/catalyst-4900-series-switches/white_paper_c11-609513.html

Very important caveat:


The shielded CAT6 cable I ran is only tested up to 400 MHz. 10 Gb may not work at all.
Uhm... So we're talking 2.5Gbps and 5Gbps here, not 10Gbps...
2.5Gbps has been tested to work on the same cabling at the same distances as 1Gbps.
5Gbps has been tested to work with Cat5e up to 50m on a good day, but it's not guaranteed. However, it's tested to up to 100m on Cat6. You pulled some random number of 66m here, for no good reason.

Sure, I agree that 10Gbps is difficult over long runs of copper, but this news post is about 2.5Gbps, so I'm not sure why you're showing 10Gbps numbers. This is also why we're getting 2.5 and 5Gbps, no?
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#16
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
2.5GBASE-T (100 MHz) and 5GBASE-T (200 MHz, 250 MHz cable) are literally 10GBASE-T (400 MHz, 500 MHz cable) with 1/4 and 1/2 signaling rate, respectively. The stated goal is (100m in each case):
CAT6 = 5 GbE
CAT5e = 2.5 GbE, 5 GbE conditional

10GBASE-T (and derivatives) are 6.25 bits per cycle where 1000BASE-T is 4 bits per cycle.
Posted on Reply
#17
dj-electric
How about teasing with something a little more meaningful to gamers \ OCers other than this useless feature?
Like a competent VRM design?
or useful ports?
or special OC features?

Anything else please.
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#18
sepheronx
I don't come close to any of those speeds in real life so...
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#19
Solaris17
Dainty Moderator
FordGT90Concept, post: 3913318, member: 60463"
2.5GBASE-T (100 MHz) and 5GBASE-T (200 MHz, 250 MHz cable) are literally 10GBASE-T (400 MHz, 500 MHz cable) with 1/4 and 1/2 signaling rate, respectively. The stated goal is (100m in each case):
CAT6 = 5 GbE
CAT5e = 2.5 GbE, 5 GbE conditional

10GBASE-T (and derivatives) are 6.25 bits per cycle where 1000BASE-T is 4 bits per cycle.
I'm not sure if you are arguing, because you yourself dont know. Or if you are taking them literally. I will assume the latter but you must remember not all people are familiar with the higher networking world. I think @TheLostSwede understands but just thinks your unaware. 10gb/s over ethernet is totally possible. I've deployed it several times. Just use cat6a. I dont know anyone that just buys plain cat6.

Though honestly I cant imagine a market for this that isnt for gamers that think they need it.

high throughput speeds on these levels are used for incredibly high throughput data connections that can seldom be used by some companies. More frequently however they are used for high datarate appliances like servers or SANs.

And more to the point most are using fiber for these runs. Businesses seldom use cat6a unless its a very short run, or you are stacking switches. Even then fiber is very cheap (its the hardware thats expensive) and they would just as quickly use a 1, 5, 15, 25m run of SMF before someone pulls out a spool of cat6a (this stuff is hard to work with).

Unfortunately, I think this will be a case of mobo adaptation before actual network gear for consumers adopts. I also think there is going to be alot of incorrect info. The market (gamers) this is geared for and even the majority of some tech communities dont have alot of network depth and experience in their user base. I feel bad for the people that see the higher number and bite without actually knowing what it is does or does for them. You already know they are going to plaster it with "low latency" "extreme gaming" "ping killer" type slogans.

Except it wont even matter on their internal or WAN networks.
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#20
Xajel
hat, post: 3912982, member: 32804"
That's... weird. I thought the next step up from 1Gbe was 10 Gbe. How the hell does 2.5 even work? I'm guessing you must have a 10Gbe router/switch, and this will then work at 2.5...
When the 10Gbps BASE-T was finalized, it was with finalized with 5Gbs BASE-T and 2.5Gbps BASE-T also, but the 10Gbps standard was the most famous one.

Aquantia released their first chipsets based on this new standard, the first -cheaper- chipset supported 1Gbps, 2.5Gbps & 5Gbps, while the more expensive one adds also 10Gbps to the mix.

While Aquantia had their chipsets for a long time, both were expensive, the stand-alone NIC's where priced at $80 & $100 respectively IIRC. thought they're now a little bit cheaper, but still expensive. There's no competition; yet.

Realtek at least is joining the team here promising a noticeably cheaper alternative to Aquantia, maybe they will start with 2.5GBASE-T which will be a good entry into 1G+ speeds, if true we might soon see cheaper switches also.
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#21
WarEagleAU
Bird of Prey
Just updated my system (specs to follow) to a Ryzen 2600X and an Asrock Killer X470 Promontory board.

Really digging the Asrock brand and this new is fantastic.

Of course I cannot take advantage of it and unless I bring it to work the LAN port won't ever get saturated.
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#22
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
Xajel, post: 3913787, member: 51625"
When the 10Gbps BASE-T was finalized, it was with finalized with 5Gbs BASE-T and 2.5Gbps BASE-T also, but the 10Gbps standard was the most famous one.
Negative. 10GBASE-T goes back to 2007. 5GBASE-T and 2.5GBASE-T were added in 2016; hence, the problem: 10GBASE-T has no native backwards compatibility with anything other than 1000/100/10. Roll out of 2.5GBASE-T and 5GBASE-T is going to be slow. If they were adopted back in 2007 with 10GBASE-T, 2.5GBASE-T would probably be as common today as gigabit was in 2005-2006.
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#23
Vayra86
Ferrum Master, post: 3913063, member: 90058"
LoL

For sure, it is a pretty rare need... people still spend on 20€ potato routers and don't even care to understand why they should need more. I have to say, in most cases they are right as long they are happy.
This. High speed ethernet on gaming rigs... completely worthless. Even if you're streaming you don't need this, you just need a fat upload with your ISP.
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#24
Octopuss
This is some weird stuff, heh.
I would love to have higher than 1Gbit speed available within the house though. Maybe in five+ years or never... What's tha adoption rate of such new technology?
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#25
TheLostSwede
Xajel, post: 3913787, member: 51625"
When the 10Gbps BASE-T was finalized, it was with finalized with 5Gbs BASE-T and 2.5Gbps BASE-T also, but the 10Gbps standard was the most famous one.

Aquantia released their first chipsets based on this new standard, the first -cheaper- chipset supported 1Gbps, 2.5Gbps & 5Gbps, while the more expensive one adds also 10Gbps to the mix.

While Aquantia had their chipsets for a long time, both were expensive, the stand-alone NIC's where priced at $80 & $100 respectively IIRC. thought they're now a little bit cheaper, but still expensive. There's no competition; yet.

Realtek at least is joining the team here promising a noticeably cheaper alternative to Aquantia, maybe they will start with 2.5GBASE-T which will be a good entry into 1G+ speeds, if true we might soon see cheaper switches also.
Exactly what is Aquantia expensive against? Intel? Intel has even more expensive options at every speed level.

Sure, Realtek is going to beat them at price, but they can't go faster than 2.5Gbps, so it's not exactly a competitive solution in that sense. Still a big improvement over 1Gbps though.
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