The decade-plus reign of Gigabit Ethernet as the fastest practical standard for wired networking might be finally (and slowly) coming to a close. Over the last few months, we reported on the ratification of a standard for 2.5 Gbps and 5 Gbps networking over older Cat 5e cables, the integration of new-generation NICs into high-end motherboards, and the announcement of a reference add-on NICs from chipmaker Aquantia. Now Asus is offering up its own take on 2.5GBASE-T and 5GBASE-T Ethernet with its XG-C100C network card, which also supports 10 Gbps over Cat 6 cables.
Asus isn't saying specifically that the XG-C100C is based on an Aquantia controller, but we're not aware of any other manufacturers making controller chips for the 2.5 Gbps and 5 Gbps standard. The chip isn't visible because Asus outfitted the card with a large red-anodized aluminum heatsink. Aquantia's own cards don't have any cooling hardware strapped to them, so it's possible that Asus uses the heatsink to appeal to gamers attracted to machined metal and bold colors. Styling decisions aside, the card looks like a fine way for PC owners to upgrade to a faster networking standard without springing for all-new Cat 6 cabling.
The Asus XG-C100C is available now. The NIC is meant to sell for $100, a price that undercuts the similarly-specced Aquantia card by $30. There's only a single third-party seller with the card in stock at Amazon or Newegg for $120, though.