A Japanese company has started sales of its 2.5 GbE network card that uses a Realtek controller. The adapter is a low-profile PCIe 2.0 x1 board that is compatible with the vast majority of desktop PCs that are used today. However, it isn't as cheap as one might expect.

The 'Area Mr. Jack' 2.5 GbE LAN (SD-PE25GLAN-1L) network adapter is a low-profile PCIe 2.0 x1 card based on Realtek’s RTL8125 controller launched over a year ago and currently used on some motherboards. Measuring 80 mm by 44 mm, the card is very small and simplistic, it has one RJ-45 connector and is equipped with two status LEDs. Besides 2.5 GbE (IEEE802.3bz 2.5G BASE-T) over conventional Cat5/Cat6 cables, it  supports previous-generation protocols too, including 1 GbE and below. For OS compatibility, the NIC comes with drivers for Windows 7/8/8.1/10, whereas the status of Linux support is unclear.

The Area Mr. Jack 2.5 GbE LAN card costs ¥3,980 including tax ($33.30 without VAT), which is not a particularly low price considering the fact that GbE ports are ‘free’ with most motherboards and Aquantia-based 5 GbE and 10 GbE cards can be bought for $70 and $90, respectively. Also, as there are no cheap 2.5 GbE and 5 GbE switches on the market yet, one will have to use a multi-mode 2.5/5/10 GbE switch, which is not cheap as well, so using 2.5 GbE cards instead of faster options may not be that economically viable.

But there is a catch about this card: it only uses a PCIe 2.0 x1 slot. It can be installed into every desktop with a spare PCIe 2.0 x1 slot, which essentially means any desktop launched in the last 10+ years as well as low cost systems that only come with PCIe 2.0 x1 slots. By contrast, 10 GbE cards come with a PCIe 3.0 x4 interface, whereas 5 GbE cards feature a PCIe 3.0 x1 interface, something that the cheapest PCs based on Intel’s H110 and similar chipsets does not support.

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Source: Area (via Akiba PC Hotline)

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  • Mr.Vegas - Sunday, October 27, 2019 - link

    This web site is 3 months late, I seen these on eBay 3-4 months ago
  • thomasg - Tuesday, October 29, 2019 - link

    Honestly, I think this is a quite fairly priced product.
    1 or 2 GbE ports might be free on boards, but an additional card certainly isn't. And plenty of people still buy such a card for a second port apart from their onboard GbE.

    Also, while it isn't 10 GbE, it still is 150% faster than GbE, for a very affordable price.
    Also, the 2.5 GbE are available over longer distances and poorer cables; it is specified for 100 meters over Cat 5e which is still _very_ common.
    10 GbE on the other hand requires Cat 6 and only specified up to 60 meters - and is much more heavily influenced by poor plugs, panels and workmanship.

    10 GbE also heavily taxes systems, while 2.5 GbE is reasonable on most hardware.
    This means that for many, it is a massive performance improvement for little overall cost and few problems.

    It also is quite sufficient to attach modern high-performance WiFi equipment which is hampered by GbE but far away from requiring 5 or even 10 GbE.

    This makes it a perfectly reasonable upgrade for a very reasonable price.
  • regsEx - Tuesday, October 29, 2019 - link

    They've been on Ali since few months already

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