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Kim Bennett
1 Copper

PowerEdge R410 addon NIC card issue (Intel and the onboard Broadcom) - 10/11/2011

I got the new server 2 weeks ago and after loading an OS I was getting a stutter in the CPU that seemed to be a hardware issue.  The mouse and keyboard would stop input for about a second every 2-5 seconds.  After getting a replacement server I still had the same problem.

After working with support they finally pointed me to the problem being firmware updates in the NIC cards, mainly the Broadcom NetExtreme 5109 that is on the motherboard.  I did firmware updates to the cards, but if I did a new OS load I still had the stutter (apparently they were doing driver updates instead).  I pulled out the Intel NIC that I had bought with it and the stutter is gone without any DRIVER updates needed.

I have continually had odd issues with these NetExtreme II adapters on these machines and I really wish they would move to better cards in these.  That is why I had purchased the Intel one, but apparently the NetExtreme will not play nice with it in there.

I hope this saves someone the headache in case they do get any addon network cards with their new server.  We never actually nailed down the true problem other than them not playing nice together.

Here is the one that I added on:  

1
430-0651
Intel Gigabit ET NIC,Dual Port, Copper, PCIe-4
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13 Replies
theflash1932
5 Iridium

Re: PowerEdge R410 addon NIC card issue (Intel and the onboard Broadcom) - 10/11/2011

I haven't experienced anything similar to this.  So, are you using the Intel instead of the Broadcom?  If so, have you disabled the Broadcom NIC's in the BIOS?

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Kim Bennett
1 Copper

Re: PowerEdge R410 addon NIC card issue (Intel and the onboard Broadcom) - 10/11/2011

I am using the onboard Broadcom now, sending the Intel back.

I had disabled the NIC and was able to get the stutter to be gone if I did a load of Server 2008 R2 again.  If I kept the OS install I had, and disabled the Broadcom, I still saw the problem.  I had not tried taking out the Intel one (as I was hoping to use it) until yesterday which solves me problem no matter what OS I load on it.

I am being a little odd here and loading Windows 7 on the machine.  It has 64 GB of RAM and I needed Windows 7 on it for some testing to be done.  With the Intel out I loaded up Windows 7 just fine, and am having no issues whatsoever.

I loaded up Server 2008 R2 just so Dell would troubleshoot the problem with me.  They refused to support me loading Windows 7 on it.

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theflash1932
5 Iridium

Re: PowerEdge R410 addon NIC card issue (Intel and the onboard Broadcom) - 10/11/2011

That is to be expected, as client OS's are not supported on Dell servers, it could easily have been a driver/firmware issue/mismatch or some incompatibility with Windows 7.  You know, I had a consultant not long ago say that as "standard" practice, they order all Dell servers with Intel add-in NIC's because of the quality of the Broadcom chips.  I haven't in all my comings and goings (years of up-close and personal experience with hundreds of systems) with Dell hardware experienced anything that would justify such a viewpoint.  Anyway ... hopefully you won't have any more issues and it was just a bad card (Did they also replace the Intel card?).  

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Kim Bennett
1 Copper

Re: PowerEdge R410 addon NIC card issue (Intel and the onboard Broadcom) - 10/11/2011

They gave me a replacement server, but it had the same issue.  It is the compatibility of this motherboard with the onboard NIC and the Intel card that seems to cause the problem.

I had a problem with some 2950's 3 years ago that we added Intel NICs to solve the issue and disabled the onboard NetExtreme II ones.  Since then, I always ordered Intel NICs along with the servers to save me the grief of weeks of troubleshooting on that issue back then.

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JOHNADCO
3 Argentium

Re: PowerEdge R410 addon NIC card issue (Intel and the onboard Broadcom) - 10/11/2011

Interesting...     We have done this config on R415's no issues so far.    We have lots of 2950III's with this config.

It would be neat to see if a different dual port card would work.  

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theflash1932
5 Iridium

Re: PowerEdge R410 addon NIC card issue (Intel and the onboard Broadcom) - 10/11/2011

I'm not saying that there is no chance of an incompatibility with the two chips, but if you ended up with a bad Intel card, replacing the entire server would not have helped.  Did they also replace the Intel card?  When doing a system exchange, they do not usually replace extras such as drives and expansion cards (unless you did a return and reorder).

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JOHNADCO
3 Argentium

Re: PowerEdge R410 addon NIC card issue (Intel and the onboard Broadcom) - 10/11/2011

Ooops,  not with Windows on it though.     The hosts run Vmware.

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Kim Bennett
1 Copper

Re: PowerEdge R410 addon NIC card issue (Intel and the onboard Broadcom) - 10/11/2011

They sent me a second server, with the Intel card.  All different hardware, and I ended up with the same results.  It might, it seems to be these specific cards.  Since you cannot alter the onboard one, choosing a different Intel one might work.  Dell did say it the onboard one needed this firmware update, even though it was listed as optional on their site.

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theflash1932
5 Iridium

Re: PowerEdge R410 addon NIC card issue (Intel and the onboard Broadcom) - 10/11/2011

I think Kim is suggesting a hardware incompatibility so your experience with a similar config is relevant.

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