Build a 10 Gbit home network for $1100

Summary:Create the ultimate gaming supercomputer? You've overclocked, water cooled, matched DIMMs, added 10k drives and the latest 1 GB video card.

Create the ultimate gaming supercomputer? You've overclocked, water cooled, matched DIMMs, added 10k drives and the latest 1 GB video card. But so have all your friends. What now? How about a 10 Gig home network for the ultimate gaming supercomputer?

In a pricing breakthrough you can now buy an 8-port 10 Gig switch, 2 PCI-Express 10 Gig adapters and cables for under $1100. It is the fastest network available for the dollar. Update: By comparison the cheapest 10 gigE NIC at Newegg is almost $900.

One word, my friend: Infiniband No, this isn't 10 Gig Ethernet. An average 10 GigE switch port costs over $2500 today and the overhead of TCP/IP will bog down even hefty systems unless you buy a costly TOE (TCP/IP Offload Engine) adapter. No, this is Infiniband, a high-speed, low-latency, low-overhead network widely used in supercomputers, high-end storage and clustered computing.

Originally spec'd in 1999 by Intel, Microsoft and Sun (ngio) and Compaq, IBM and HP (Future I/O) to replace PCI, Infiniband has evolved into a general-purpose high-performance interconnect. As volumes have grown, prices have dropped, but this latest price-cutting iteration took me by surprise.

Drivers are available for Linux, Windows XP and OS X - though serious gamers aren't likely to be using the latter. The kit is available from Colfax Direct, a new e-store subsidiary of 20 year-old Colfax International.

Some pricing from their web site:

  • PCI-Express 10 Gbit adapter: $125
  • 8-port unmanaged switch: $750
  • Cables: range from $35 to over $900 for plenum-rated 100 M length

The Storage Bits take Networks and storage can often substitute for each other. With a 10 Gig low-latency network you can configure diskless workstations that really scream. While today's Infiniband networks are practical only for serious gear heads, early adopters will help point the way to a not-to-distant future when we all have 10 Gig home networks.

Commments welcome, of course. Disclosure: I have no relationship, financial or otherwise, with Colfax. I worked with Colfax's chip provider, Mellanox, at a previous company and found them a pleasure to deal with.

Topics: Networking

About

Harris has been working with computers for over 35 years and selling and marketing data storage for over 30 in companies large and small. He introduced a couple of multi-billion dollar storage products (DLT, the first Fibre Channel array) to market, as well as a many smaller ones. Earlier he spent 10 years marketing servers and networks.... Full Bio

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.