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4 Best PCI Ethernet Cards for Linux Desktop Users (2021 Edition)

Are you a Linux user on the lookout for a new PCI ethernet card? Can’t figure out what card to get, or if it’ll even work on Linux? We can help! Here’s our list of the 4 best PCI ethernet cards for Linux desktops!

Ethernet Cards for Desktop Users

In this list, we discuss ethernet cards a lot. However, please keep in mind that these cards are intended for consumer desktop use with Linux. All of these cards will work well in a server environment, but understand that the main point of this list is to find what the best ethernet cards are for the Linux desktop.

Each one of the cards on our list should support the Linux desktop out of the box via drivers in the Linux kernel.

If you have trouble using these devices, remember to update the Linux kernel. With each new version, new drivers are included and may very well fix issues you run into.

Best PCI Ethernet Cards for Linux (Desktop Users)

Here’s what our research revealed when we reviewed the best PCI Ethernet cards that Linux desktop users could use.

1. StarTech.com 1 Port PCIe 10/100/1000 32 Bit Gigabit Ethernet Network Adapter Card (ST1000BT32)

The StarTech.com 1 Port PCIe ethernet adapter is an ethernet adapter that can deliver LAN speeds to your computer at 10, 100, and 1,000 Mbps. Its design is “low profile,” so it’ll be out of the way of your other components. It is compliant with IEEE 802.3/u/ab standards and supports everything from VLAN tagging to Wake on LAN.

Best of all, it should work just fine on a myriad of Linux operating systems with little issue.

This network card utilizes the Realtek RTL8110SC chipset and comes with two indicators LED lights on the back next to the ethernet port. Suffice it to say, if you’re in the market for an affordable, no-nonsense ethernet card for your Linux PC, do look into this one.

Pros

  • It has two indicator lights near the ethernet port to provide important networking information.
  • Support for Wake on LAN, as well as other essential features.
  • Sleek, low profile design.
  • Utilizes the Realtek RTL8810SC chipset, which is known to work quite well with Linux systems.

Cons

  • The LED lights might be annoying to some, and in some cases, the LED lights may not light up correctly.

2. TP-Link 10/100/1000Mbps Gigabit Ethernet PCI Express, PCIE Network Adapter

TP-Link is famous in the Linux community for making excellent networking hardware. Their ethernet cards are pretty highly rated, and the TP-Link PCIe ethernet card is no exception.

This card is incredibly affordable, perfect for users on a budget, and it’s supported by many Linux distributions due to the chipset it has onboard. Best of all, even though it’s priced generously, it still has some impressive features Linux users will love, such as IEEE802.3x flow control for full-duplex mode, support for Wake on LAN, and much more.

These days, networking cards can be expensive, because they include fancy things like Bluetooth connectivity and the link. Thankfully, TP-Link continues to provide quality networking equipment that allows Linux users to get online without breaking the bank!

Pros

  • Very, very affordable price tag.
  • Low profile design.
  • Support for Wake on LAN, as well as other essential features.
  • Low profile design.

Cons

  • The LED indicator light may not light up in some cases.

3. Intel Gigabit CT PCI-E Network Adapter EXPI9301CTBLK

When it comes to networking gear, Intel is a great option. The reason? They’re dedicated to Linux in one way or another, and they work hard to provide drivers and support for each device they create. And, those drivers they create are usually submitted upstream, so Linux users of all stripes reap the benefits, without having to deal with drivers.

Compared to other adapters out there, the Intel Gigabit CT is a bit old. However, despite its age, it packs in some useful features for the price. For starters, it can deliver network speeds of 10, 100, and 1,000 MBPS. It supports Wake On Lan, Preboot Execution Environments (PXE Boot), Remote Management Support, and many other features.

If you love how Intel does things on Linux and need a good ethernet PCIe card, the Intel Gigabit CT is worth checking out!

Pros

  • Is Intel, so Linux support is all-but-guaranteed.
  • Works out of the box on most Linux OSes as the chipset it uses is matured.
  • Support for Wake on LAN, as well as other essential features.

Cons

  • The card is a bit on the old side.
  • A bit on the large size compared to other PCIe networking cards. As a result, some users may not have room for it in their PC case.

4. Broadcom Chipset Gigabit PCI Express Ethernet Network Interface Card

The Broadcom Gigabit PCIe ethernet card is a networking card powered by the Broadcom BCM57XX series.

Like many gigabit ethernet cards on the market, the Broadcom Gigabit provides speeds of 10, 1000, and 1,000 Mpbs. Additionally, the card supports things like Wake on LAN, flow control, full-duplex mode, half-duplex mode, and others. It also has 4 LED indicator lights on the back to indicate how fast the card is, which could be useful for Linux users who need to know how fast their network is performing.

A good chunk of ethernet cards on the market today promise that their device will “work out of the box,” and this one does as well.

So, if you’re on Linux and you need a networking card that is a “sure thing,” consider this one. To get it working on Linux, no drivers are required. Instead, just insert it into the PCIe slot and go!

Pros

  • Broadcom makes networking equipment that enjoys decent Linux support.
  • Support for Wake on LAN, as well as other essential features.
  • Has 4 LED indicators next to the ethernet port, which is excellent for detailed network monitoring.

Cons

  • The 4 LED lights might be a little much for some users, as most ethernet cards only have 1 or 2 lights.

Conclusion

In this list, we talked about 4 of the best PCI ethernet cards to use on the Linux desktop. That said, there are more than 4 PCI ethernet cards in the world.

So tell us in the comments, what is your favorite PCI ethernet card to use?

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