Aquantia and Dell this week began to offer Aquantia’s AQtion AQN-108 5 GbE network controller as a build-to-order option for the OptiPlex 7050 workstations. Dell is the first major PC brand to offer an Aquantia AQtion card with its systems, and since Dell is one of the world’s largest suppliers of computers, the collaboration is a good news for Aquantia. This is also equally good news for the adoption of higher bandwidth Ethernet standards in PCs, marking one of the first times a faster NIC has been available in a commodity-grade workstation.

The Aquantia AQtion AQN-108 card is a 2.5/5 GbE network controller that uses a PCIe 3.0 x4 slot and supports 5 Gbps, 2.5 Gbps, 1 Gbps and 100 Mbps networking standards over RJ45 connectors using Cat5e/Cat6a cabling over distances up to 100 meters. The card is aimed at individuals and small businesses willing to invest in 2.5G/5G infrastructure. In fact, the Dell OptiPlex 7050 machines are meant for this kind of organizations: the workstations are based on Intel’s Core processors (the Core i3-7300 is the cheapest option) and start at $769 per box.

Dell charges $277.13 for the addition of a full height AQtion AQN-108 card into a tower OptiPlex 7050, which is quite a lot because Aquantia charges around $100 per card. Unfortunately, this is a usual practice for large PC makers to sell optional hardware with a huge markup. For example, even Intel’s 10 GbE X540 card can be bought for considerably less than $277 at Amazon.

Despite the price, it is important that Dell is offering an AQuantia-based NIC designed for 2.5G and 5 G infrastructure because it means that the large PC supplier sees promise in 2.5G/5G networks.

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Source: Aquantia

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  • Samus - Friday, August 18, 2017 - link

    "Despite the price, it is important that Dell is offering an AQuantia-based NIC designed for 2.5G and 5 G infrastructure because it means that the large PC supplier sees promise in 2.5G/5G networks."

    That is never going to happen if they are charging $277 for it.
    Reply
  • bill.rookard - Friday, August 18, 2017 - link

    It's good to see that some higher speed networks are starting to become available which are backwards compatible (assuming compatible wiring of course) at a reasonable price. At $100.00 per card (if you can get them at that price) that's actually quite affordable. Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Friday, August 18, 2017 - link

    They should be less than $40. This is basic networking that's standard stuff. Come on oems stop constantly ripping people off. Reply
  • hechacker1 - Saturday, August 19, 2017 - link

    I agree. I just bought a 2 pack of HP branded 10G Mellanox SFP+ nics ($45 for both). I don't want to bother with the switch yet, so I just directly connected them with a passive twinax cable. I only needed 6 feet, but up to 5 meters passive works fine. I now have a really cheap 10G directly connected NAS for my main workstation.

    It's a little ITX board, so I can only add one. But if it had dual SFP ports, or I had an ATX board with more slots, I can build myself a cheap little switch / router directly on the NAS.
    Reply
  • Vatharian - Saturday, August 19, 2017 - link

    SFP+ is fine and neat, but you dare to expand just a little, and you have to sell both yours and neighbours kidneys. I'd prefer to buy RJ45 SFP+ transcievers and use existing copper infrastructure, until affordable full 10G switches show up. For now I'm using myself 24+4 1G/10G switch that I grabbed on ebay for ~$170, and it's absolutely easy to expand. But 10G RJ45 cards did cost me an arm and a leg. I paid $300 for Intel X540T2 for NAS, dammit! Reply
  • timecop1818 - Saturday, August 19, 2017 - link

    Actually, no. SFP+ is not that expensive anymore. 16 port switch with SFP+: https://mikrotik.com/product/crs317_1g_16s_rm can be had for about $300 new from resellers. The patch cables and SFP+ modules are cheap as hell from either fiberstore or just random ebay sellers. Reply
  • Lolimaster - Friday, August 18, 2017 - link

    When copying to a USB 3.0-3.1 SSD USB and then copyong it again to the 2nd pc and it's still miles faster than direct ethernet to ethernet connection something fishy is going on.

    They really want to keep 2.5-5G ethernet as enterprise with the huge premium attached, like fiber internet 1:1 years ago.
    Reply
  • Ian Cutress - Saturday, August 19, 2017 - link

    When you don't have direct access to the storage server in your company to plug in an unknown USB stick... Reply
  • edzieba - Saturday, August 19, 2017 - link

    "When copying to a USB 3.0-3.1 SSD USB and then copyong it again to the 2nd pc and it's still miles faster than direct ethernet to ethernet connection something fishy is going on."

    You could have the fattest pipe around, and you bandwidth would be easily exceeded by a station-wagon full of tapes.
    Reply

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