I had an experience some time ago where gigabit realtek chips worked like absolute crap in linux, sad to hear they haven't fixed it two years later, although part of the issue is realtek network chips are quite terrible as far as the hardware implementation goes, or so I hear. I don't remember what the chip number was, but it was a PCIe based NIC, and the linux driver for realtek PCIe devices was not very stable at all. I compiled a version of the driver that realtek supplied, which worked a bit better, but still had some issues, I can't remember exactly what. I bought a couple of cards with marvell ethernet chips on them and no issues.
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