How Can You Tell if a Board Has On-Chip Gigabit LAN?

According to nVidia, the easiest way to determine if a motherboard has on-chip Gigabit LAN is to "look for nForce3 250Gb/Ultra badges or the NVIDIA Firewall as a feature, since they have to use nForce's GigE controller. Some boards brand NVIDIA GigE separately; others do not...those boards with a regular nForce3 250 badge do not have the GigE controller."

To give you a clear idea of what nVidia is talking about - if the board has any one of the 3 logos above, then you can assume that the board has on-chip LAN.

To provide a better idea of how manufacturers are using the logos, take a look at the Gigabyte 939 board above.

The Asus K8N-E shows the 250Gb label that you will see on some Socket 754 boards.

Index Socket 754/939 Boards That Have On-Chip LAN


View All Comments

  • sprockkets - Friday, August 06, 2004 - link

    The PHY is the physical layer of the networking; it generates the signal, while the chipset is the controller or brains of the outfit. The PHY part has the MAC address on it, so figure layer 2.

    The Gigabyte K8NSNXP or the 939 version uses both a Marvell controller on the PCI bus but also 10/100 ethernet from the NF3250 controller, not on the pci bus. So yes, while it does use the nvidia Lan via a PHY, it's not Gb.
  • mechBgon - Friday, August 06, 2004 - link

    Here is a diagram from Gigabyte's manual for their nF3 Ultra board:

    As you can see, the gigabit chip is crammed onto the PCI bus with a bunch of other high-bandwidth stuff. The same holds true for their 754 board. Either nVidia or Gigabyte needs to get their facts straight here.
  • thebluesgnr - Friday, August 06, 2004 - link

    nVidia's response is pretty standard. What I mean is, why would a company use the version of the chipset that adds Gigabit LAN (and the firewall it offers) only to NOT use it? It beats me why Gigabyte did it.

    I wonder, is VIA's Gigabit lan on the PCI bus? They call it "VIA Velocity™ Gigabit Ethernet
    (PCI companion controller)".

    there's also the MSI K7N2 Delta2 Platinum. That one is already available on newegg.

  • Wesley Fink - Friday, August 06, 2004 - link

    gtech41 - Do you disagree about any others that nVidia listed, or are the Gigabyte boards your only concern? I have forwarded your comments to nVidia and asked for clarification, since the 'Ultra" logo is definitely used in Gigabyte packaging.

    We published the list and information nVidia sent us in response to our questions about which boards had on-chip LAN and how our readers could tell for themselves.
  • gtech41 - Friday, August 06, 2004 - link

    #4-You can't use an external LAN conrroller, just an external physical layer. Go to Marvell's website and look at the difference beteween the chip used on the Gigabyte boards and the one used on the Asus. Reply
  • Potem - Friday, August 06, 2004 - link

    The nVidia list of models is confusing given that we generally use the names and not the model numbers everywhere else. says the K8N Neo2 Platinum is MSI Part No: MS-7025-010 (also says this board has the nVidia nForce 3 Ultra chip)

    Also teased by the August 2 listing for the DFI NF3-250Gb Infinity. It even farther from releasing than the MSI K8N_Neo2_Platinum. (Wish my second machine had waited a few more weeks to blow up)
  • xxxfubar187xxx - Friday, August 06, 2004 - link

    I don't know why I'm hearing so much about this nForce 3 onboard Gigabit LAN. I bought the MSI K8N Neo Platinum board and had nothing but problems with the on board LAN. I disabled the firewall through the BIOS and still wasn't able to use it with Bittorrent Clients, Gamespy and Xbconnect. I ended up installing my old 3Com card and everything works perfectly. I hope NVIDIA has some new drivers soon. Reply
  • HermosaBeach - Friday, August 06, 2004 - link

    Thanks for the article. It makes it easier for me to separate high performance GB LAN from either non GB or PCI GB based MBs :)

  • jesusmailhellion - Friday, August 06, 2004 - link

    My Chaintech Zenith MB uses Broadcom's GbE Gigabit controller. I think it's good MB manufacturers have a choice to use other chipsets. Reply
  • ViRGE - Friday, August 06, 2004 - link

    Wesley, would you mind explaining what a PHY is? I mean, how can the NIC be on-chip if it still requires a seperate chip? Reply

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