I'm exploring building a pfSense box from my old gaming PC. I'm shopping around for an affordable gigabit NIC but everything I find is shady. I need someone with experience to shine some light. Maybe someone like @DeusQain ??? :D
Here's what I've found so-far from reading comments.
Not suitable for router. Will fail after 3 months of router traffic.
Comments on all the NICs from this "Intel" seller suggest it's not an authorized dealer and sells Chinese made clones. Also, drivers super sketchy.
Direct supplier of the Chinese made clones? lol. These are less than half the price they should be.
Yeah the second hand Intel 1000 pt cards are great and should be pretty cheap. The newer cards are a little less power hungry and probably have additional features (virtualisation stuff, etc.) but the pro 1000 cards work great in pfsense and support the TCP offload stuff (I had to disable this with a newer Intel card on a previous version, it's pretty much broken on most other cards).
If this is for a home network the tp-link cards will work, I used to use them before I got Intel cards and the difference isn't huge, but that will depend on your network requirements. Really to see a difference the rest of your network has to be pretty decent too.
Maybe in an enterprise environment but for home use I don't imagine you having any problems with realtek NICs. But if you have the cash for intel then go for it, they're good NICs.
If you're using pfsense as a router your local traffic won't touch it so it doesn't really matter. What you want is a decent switch. You can bridge interfaces on pfsense but it's not the same thing as a switch. You won't get the same kind of perfomance in that sort of configuration, although with a phenom X6 you may not notice a difference.
You can enable it or disable it. You probably won't notice a difference either way (especially on a home network) but if the NIC supports it it would probably be better to run it on the NIC.
Depends on the context but I'd say they're using network controller interchangeably with NIC (network interface controller) which is the network card.
Yeah, I've got a really basic network (basically just for me, so very little load since most everything never even crosses the switch because it's on a virtual machine server) with pfSense and a TP-Link NIC works fine. I'll probably upgrade to an Intel NIC eventually when I get some cash, but for now I can't complain too much.
I'll just add the only reason I changed out the TP-link cards for intel was because I needed more network interfaces but didn't have enough PCI-e slots so I needed a quad port card. Not that I want to talk anyone out of getting intel, just that the difference isn't exactly night and day.