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Fonbu
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Realtek Network Adapter Buffer settings

Thu Jun 01, 2017 6:29 pm

I am just writing about Realtek Ethernet Controllers. It seems that a few of the adapters I have seen and checked the advanced settings, the transmit and receive buffers are set really low. As a example It is set at 128 on a Realtek PCIe Gigabit Onboard Controller, and an Intel onboard controller default is 512. And cannot go above 128 in the Realtek settings, unless someone knows a way around this?
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Re: Realtek Network Adapter Buffer settings

Thu Jun 01, 2017 6:32 pm

Test the two for comparative throughput before going off on the driver designers or looking to play with things best left alone.
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Fonbu
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Re: Realtek Network Adapter Buffer settings

Thu Jun 01, 2017 6:47 pm

I can test, like you said.
The adapters for reference are:
Realtek RTL8111G
Intel I211-AT
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Re: Realtek Network Adapter Buffer settings

Thu Jun 01, 2017 7:07 pm

Fonbu wrote:
I can test, like you said.
The adapters for reference are:
Realtek RTL8111G
Intel I211-AT

What's your goal here? The Intel is probably going to be worlds above the Realtek either way. The last wired Intel NIC I had was not that impressive, but the I211-AT should be solid.

And too much buffering can be more problem than solution, so there may be a good reason to leave it lower.
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Fonbu
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Re: Realtek Network Adapter Buffer settings

Thu Jun 01, 2017 7:30 pm

LostCat wrote:
Fonbu wrote:
I can test, like you said.
The adapters for reference are:
Realtek RTL8111G
Intel I211-AT

What's your goal here? The Intel is probably going to be worlds above the Realtek either way. The last wired Intel NIC I had was not that impressive, but the I211-AT should be solid.

And too much buffering can be more problem than solution, so there may be a good reason to leave it lower.


I have an older-ish machine namely a Gigabyte GB-BXi3-5010 w 16GB of ram and Samsung 850 EVO mSATA 120GB, with that Realtek Nic. I was thinking a light duty game server, maybe 4-8 players.

You also mention about not being impressed with Intel NICs. I have had some Intel PCIe addins fail actually. And my general perception of of their performance was not really that noticeably different from a Realtek.
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Re: Realtek Network Adapter Buffer settings

Thu Jun 01, 2017 8:38 pm

Set it to the max and ignore it. You'll never see the difference in normal usage unless you benchmark it, where tuning anything in that page is worth a handful of percent of CPU usage / bandwidth.
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Re: Realtek Network Adapter Buffer settings

Thu Jun 01, 2017 9:00 pm

I'd start with the Realtek. The Intel may help but with that few users connected it shouldn't be a problem unless the server is getting overloaded.
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Re: Realtek Network Adapter Buffer settings

Fri Jun 02, 2017 6:33 am

Just make sure you use recent drivers (not the ones that came on the motherboard support CD, if any). Realtek seems to have a habit of releasing half-baked drivers, then fixing them later.
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Re: Realtek Network Adapter Buffer settings

Fri Jun 02, 2017 7:56 am

I disagree about setting it to the max, leave it set at the manufacturers defaults unless you are tuning for a specific workload. Turning everything up to stupidly huge has lead to all the bufferbloat problems we have these days. Does it really matter if your upload increases from 99.1Mb/s to 99.5Mb/s if at the same time all your VoIP including Skype, TeamSpeak etc are now rendered unintelligible?
 
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Re: Realtek Network Adapter Buffer settings

Fri Jun 02, 2017 7:58 am

just brew it! wrote:
Just make sure you use recent drivers (not the ones that came on the motherboard support CD, if any). Realtek seems to have a habit of releasing half-baked drivers, then fixing them later.

They also have a habit of just doing the first part and forgetting to do the second.
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Re: Realtek Network Adapter Buffer settings

Fri Jun 02, 2017 8:06 am

SuperSpy wrote:
just brew it! wrote:
Just make sure you use recent drivers (not the ones that came on the motherboard support CD, if any). Realtek seems to have a habit of releasing half-baked drivers, then fixing them later.

They also have a habit of just doing the first part and forgetting to do the second.

IME they tend to get it mostly right... eventually. Of course, the fact that I tend to run Linux adds another wrinkle, especially for their WiFi stuff.

At least I don't need to build drivers from source for their wired NICs any more; back around 2010-2012 timeframe, the in-tree drivers they had contributed to the Linux kernel were completely worthless, and you had to play the "driver of the month club" game (download source tarball from their web site and build your own driver) to have any chance of getting a fast and reliable network connection.
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Re: Realtek Network Adapter Buffer settings

Fri Jun 02, 2017 11:24 am

Friends don't let friends buy realtek.

For gigabit copper just get intel and be done with it. For 10/40+ choices are going to vary a lot based on interface, advanced features (vm stuff mostly) and OS support.

Even cheap as dirt barebones asrock boards can come with intel so for DIY there is no excuse to be saddled with realtek nics. Most 'business' laptops, basic servers etc have intel as well, realtek mostly rears its ugly head in the cutthroat shoveling of consumer crap.
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Re: Realtek Network Adapter Buffer settings

Fri Jun 02, 2017 11:55 am

Fonbu wrote:
I am just writing about Realtek Ethernet Controllers. It seems that a few of the adapters I have seen and checked the advanced settings, the transmit and receive buffers are set really low. As a example It is set at 128 on a Realtek PCIe Gigabit Onboard Controller, and an Intel onboard controller default is 512. And cannot go above 128 in the Realtek settings, unless someone knows a way around this?


It's probably a physical limit, not on the part of the computer, but in the RealTek controller itself. That said, a home desktop isn't going to need or want too big a buffer because that can add delay to network protocols as the network card holds onto outgoing and incoming packets until the buffer is full.\

Side note RE: RealTek performance optimization - in some scenarios, it's 'faster' to turn all advanced features off because any reasonable desktop CPU is orders of magnitude faster. That said, doing this also adds a few orders of magnitude to open IRQ requests, so test carefully before you commit to doing anything. Preferably one feature at a time, and only if network performance is a big bottleneck for your use case.
 
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Re: Realtek Network Adapter Buffer settings

Fri Jun 02, 2017 11:59 am

Bauxite wrote:
Friends don't let friends buy realtek.


I'd love to see a motherboard without one that's less than $120. (In other words, if you want a motherboard you're getting RealTek whether you end up using it or not)
 
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Re: Realtek Network Adapter Buffer settings

Fri Jun 02, 2017 12:12 pm

What are we hoping to gain with this tweaking? It's a desktop use case right? For the desktop I've never had any complaints about any Realtek gigabit chips. Both Intel and Realtek will happily max out your gigabit throughput without any tweaks.

I've seen some people doing validation testing of motherboards with use cases like continuous full utilization, full duplex gigabit server loads where Realtek can drop out occasionally. On the other hand Intel has shown problems too because of inappropriate firmware configuration by some motherboard vendors. Large send offload and green ethernet / energy efficient ethernet have also been problematic features over the years but I've never seen anything myself.
 
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Re: Realtek Network Adapter Buffer settings

Fri Jun 02, 2017 12:45 pm

Vhalidictes wrote:
I'd love to see a motherboard without one that's less than $120. (In other words, if you want a motherboard you're getting RealTek whether you end up using it or not)


https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product. ... -_-Product

That definitely used to be the case, but recently Intel is making significant inroads. It appears that a preference for Intel networking has penetrated into regular enthusiast circles now, because it's clearly being marketed as a feature (just look at the subtitle to the listing ["Intel LAN,2 M.2,Type-C,8 Phase,Intel® Optane Memory Ready"], which was the *first* [well first mobo after a HSF anyway] result when I typed "1151" into newegg.com's search).
 
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Re: Realtek Network Adapter Buffer settings

Fri Jun 02, 2017 1:00 pm

I just built a i5 7600K machine with a ~ $110 Asrock Z270M Pro4 that has Intel i219-V.
 
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Re: Realtek Network Adapter Buffer settings

Fri Jun 02, 2017 2:21 pm

Vhalidictes wrote:
It's probably a physical limit, not on the part of the computer, but in the RealTek controller itself. That said, a home desktop isn't going to need or want too big a buffer because that can add delay to network protocols as the network card holds onto outgoing and incoming packets until the buffer is full.

Disabling interrupt moderation in the driver bypasses this issue at the cost of a bit of CPU.

Really, for desktop use, they're all fine out of the box.
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Re: Realtek Network Adapter Buffer settings

Fri Jun 02, 2017 2:57 pm

I haven't touched a wired NIC's driver settings in Windows since the days of PCI 3Com 905Bs. Additionally I don't hate Realtek NICs, plenty of stuff still comes with them

Wireless NICs, on the other hand... they are *still* giving you reasons to go in there.
 
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Re: Realtek Network Adapter Buffer settings

Sat Jun 03, 2017 9:16 am

This is an informative topic about these wired network adapters. I usually never touch those advanced settings either. I do believe some tweaking with anything can squash some more performance out of it. I have now installed the latest driver off of Realteks website. I am hoping for the best. Keeping the default buffer size settings sounds like the best option except for some of the other features I can test with regards to latency, such as Green Ethernet, Energy efficient Ethernet, large send offload and maybe even try interrupt moderation toggles.

Thank you for all your suggestions and ideas.

http://www.realtek.com/downloads/downlo ... Down=false
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Re: Realtek Network Adapter Buffer settings

Sat Jun 03, 2017 1:03 pm

TwistedKestrel wrote:
Wireless NICs, on the other hand... they are *still* giving you reasons to go in there.

Yep. You never know what to expect from any WLAN chip. In either a NIC or AP.
 
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Re: Realtek Network Adapter Buffer settings

Sun Jun 04, 2017 1:23 am

Wireless is going to be messed up until something like Airtime fair FQ can be inserted into both adapter and AP drivers. The Wifi Alliance only cares for bandwidth because sexy numbers are marketable, but sacrificing everything for throughput on a bursty packetized medium plays havoc with latency.

Buffer settings aren't going to do anything on a home network that, let's face it. is so uncongested that they will never be used. Buffer use and bufferbloat on congested, high latency connections across the internet can be minimized with FQ CoDel on ideally the modem ("Active Queue Management" is included in DOCSIS 3.1, yay!) but workable on the router after the modem. It works to mask the problem by keeping the buffers from filling up but the real problem is too many large buffers on every node--across the internet, smaller buffers are always better for latency sensitive applications like VOIP. Think about what happens if the buffers are each large enough to hold entire seconds of data and your "last mile" to the premises is the bottleneck.

Realtek gigabit adapters are OK, not at all like their Fast Ethernet RTL8139 which had most of the market but was considered one of the worst ethernet chips ever designed (that description, from the FreeBSD driver source was actually on Realtek's Wikipedia page until recently). Most of the tests I've seen even show the same performance as Intel but about double the CPU utilization (which is fine if it's 4% vs. 2% on a modern CPU).
 
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Re: Realtek Network Adapter Buffer settings

Mon Jun 05, 2017 7:54 am

Green / Energy Efficient Ethernet actually shuts down the link if nothing is using it and then brings it back up when you have something to transmit. The added latency for the link to wakeup is very small and will only be noticed if you are doing something like Precision Time Protocol on a quiet network. If you are always busy with Tx traffic then you will not get in to the link shutdown state. The power savings are going to be marginal in a home network scenario, it's more about offices with switches with lots of ports.

Offloads are always worth enabling, as long as they work (common area for driver/hardware bugs). There's a certain fixed amount of work to do per packet in terms of calculating headers and checksums, plus a typically much smaller amount of work that varies with the packet length. By enabling segmentation offloads the software sees huge packets so it does less packets for the same amount of data. The hardware then slices the packets up in to the correct sized frames for the Ethernet.

Interrupt moderation can help but it can also hinder and you have to be very cautious that you do not tune for your specific benchmark so much that the general performance becomes terrible (very common in network benchmarking and tuning). I would tend to leave this at the manufacturers suggested settings unless you really know exactly what you are doing.
 
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Re: Realtek Network Adapter Buffer settings

Fri Jun 09, 2017 10:12 pm

just brew it! wrote:
Just make sure you use recent drivers (not the ones that came on the motherboard support CD, if any). Realtek seems to have a habit of releasing half-baked drivers, then fixing them later.


Sometimes not fully fixing them at all.

I'd say do as JBI says --and then, if you have odd problems doing the game serving, stick in an x1 PCIe Intel Gigabit adapter (the OEM whitebox ones are cheap) and use that instead. I wouldn't mess with the default settings unless you find conclusive data online that it helped others resolve issues. Just because an Intel card is designed for one value doesn't mean that that value works in the same way, or is a good setting for a completely different IC or PHY found in a Realtek setup.
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Re: Realtek Network Adapter Buffer settings

Mon Jun 12, 2017 10:08 am

just brew it! wrote:
SuperSpy wrote:
just brew it! wrote:
Just make sure you use recent drivers (not the ones that came on the motherboard support CD, if any). Realtek seems to have a habit of releasing half-baked drivers, then fixing them later.

They also have a habit of just doing the first part and forgetting to do the second.

IME they tend to get it mostly right... eventually. Of course, the fact that I tend to run Linux adds another wrinkle, especially for their WiFi stuff.

At least I don't need to build drivers from source for their wired NICs any more; back around 2010-2012 timeframe, the in-tree drivers they had contributed to the Linux kernel were completely worthless, and you had to play the "driver of the month club" game (download source tarball from their web site and build your own driver) to have any chance of getting a fast and reliable network connection.


I used to play that game with them but then I realized it's a better use of my time to just cough up $25 for a PCIe Intel pro series card and never have to worry about it again.
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