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  1. #1
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    Ethernet Card in Non Bus Mastering Slot

    This may be a dumb question but I'm finding it hard to get a straight answer on this. I recently inherited an HP 3000 computer and wanted to network it with my P3 850 Win 98SE VAR computer. The HP is several years old and has USB ports. The one free PCI slot is specifically mentioned in the manual as a "non bus-mastering slot." Most of the PCI Ethernet cards I've seen seem to require bus mastering slots, so is it correct to assume your average ethernet card will not work in the HP 3000 PCI slot which is non bus mastering?

    Sorry if this is a DUH question but straight answers, as I said, seem to be a little hard to get. If I cannot hook up the ethernet card, I could link up the computers using a USB/phone link but before I do that, I wanted to fully understand the ethernet situation. Thanks for any help.

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    Re: Ethernet Card in Non Bus Mastering Slot

    Connection through NIC card will significantly speed communication between your computers. Bus Mastering means communication between devices (for example, NIC card and a hard drive) without using CPU. You can put another device (as your modem) into non-Bus Mastering slot, and your NIC card into the other slot. You can also use some old models of NIC, as Intel EtherExpress PRO/100B or 3COM EtherLink 3C905-TX, but communication through CPU will decrease you computer

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    Re: Ethernet Card in Non Bus Mastering Slot

    It sounds like you're saying that it would work but at a reduced level. How much of a decrease in performance through the CPU (probably a Pentium MMX 166) would this cause, in your opinion, and would the network link be better made through the computer's USB port? The only slot free is a non-bus mastering slot. The fax/modem would be moved to one of two ISA slots.

    Thanks for answering and I look forward to your reply.

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    Re: Ethernet Card in Non Bus Mastering Slot

    In the matter of fact, if you will use your network connection for file or/and printer sharing, you will not notice any difference with or without Bus Mastering. You can feel the difference if you perform network-intensive tasks as running applications from remote computer and CPU-consuming ones as image editing simultaneously.
    Connection through NIC cards will run at the speed 100 MBps (megabytes per second), and through USB ports at around 10 MBps (I believe).
    Also I would recommend to use NetBEUI protocol for this connection (make sure it will be installed during NIC installation.)

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    Re: Ethernet Card in Non Bus Mastering Slot

    Do you have a free ISA slot? I can't quite determine if you do or not from your previous posts...

    If you do, pickup an ISA Ethernet Card. They're a bit less expensive, but are also slower than their PCI cousins.

    You can also pickup USB connections that will convert the data from a NIC. This may be the easiest solution.
    Christopher Baldrey

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    Re: Ethernet Card in Non Bus Mastering Slot

    Fast Ethernet is 100Mbps (mega bits per second), original ethernet is 10Mbps, USB 1.1 is 12Mbps and USB 2 is 480 Mbps. USB 2 is just becoming widely supported, XP for example, supports it as USB 1.1 (XP SP1 is supposed to support USB 2).

    This means that USB ethernet is currently limited to the original 10MHz/10Mbps.
    <big><big><font color=blue>Ian</font color=blue></big></big>
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    Re: Ethernet Card in Non Bus Mastering Slot

    First off, thanks to everyone for replying to my questions. The answer to the free ISA slot is yes, there are two ISA slots on the riser card and one PCI slot. A 33.6 faxmodem card is in one of the ISA slots and the other two are blank. My plan (heh, heh) is to replace the 33.6 faxmodem with a 56K one I have left from a previous computer then put the Ethernet card in the PCI slot and let 'er rip. The consensus is from most people I've asked about this is the card will work and in any case will be faster than a USB connection. I'll check out the possibility of the ISA Ethernet card. To date, I've found a USB connection kit (the computer which is a Pentium 166 with USB ports) for under 100 bucks but two NIC Ethernet cards and crossover cable (I'm only connecting two computers) for under 50. Thanks again for the replies.

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    Re: Ethernet Card in Non Bus Mastering Slot

    Bottomline is that it might work. Depends on the card and the OS you are running on the HP. If you are running an OS which supports USB then the USB ethernet approach will be your safest (and slowest) solution.
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    Re: Ethernet Card in Non Bus Mastering Slot

    Even if you have problems with the PCI NIC, you can still use an ISA NIC and spend less than the USB approach.

    Good luck.
    <big><big><font color=blue>Ian</font color=blue></big></big>
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    Re: Ethernet Card in Non Bus Mastering Slot

    I don't know about the card, the ones I've been looking at are two D-Link DFE-530TX+ Fast Ethernet 10/100 PCI Network Adapters at CompUSA for $11.45 each. The OS on the HP 3100 is Windows 95. There are two USB ports presently on the HP and at first, I thought going that route would be the easiest and would cost around 100 bucks. The Ethernet way would cost around 50 and be faster in theory. But are you suggesting that it wouldn't work at all, or the Ethernet card is a gamble that may or may not work? Thanks!

  11. #11
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    Re: Ethernet Card in Non Bus Mastering Slot

    Some of the initial PCI slot implementations left a bit to be desired. <img src=/S/shrug.gif border=0 alt=shrug width=39 height=15>

    If memory serves me correctly, you can not use USB ethernet with Win95.
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    Re: Ethernet Card in Non Bus Mastering Slot

    I just checked the documentation for the USB connector kits and you're absolutely right, it will not work under Win 95. Oh, well, thanks! You probably saved me quite a bit of money. So it sounds like it's ethernet or zippo. I'd like to ask you to expand a bit on what exactly you meant by the "initial PCI slot implementations left a bit to be desired." Was that ethernet connections under Win 95?

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    Re: Ethernet Card in Non Bus Mastering Slot

    No, what I meant was that the PCI spec and its "standard" implementations took a while to settle. A non-busmastering slot on an old PC may be enough off spec so that the D-Link card may not work. The 530Tx and its cousin the 538Tx are both stable reliable cards. The 538 includes a low level DIAG on it's floppy. The 530 probably does as well. This DIAG should be run BEFORE you try to use the NIC in Win95.
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    Re: Ethernet Card in Non Bus Mastering Slot

    Sounds good to me. Can I throw one more idea past you? What about putting in an ISA Ethernet card in the Hewlett Packard PC ISA slot? And then sticking a regular NIC card in the other newer up to date PC? Would they share data at the 10 mbps rate? Might that work? Thanks again for taking time to pursue this.

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    Re: Ethernet Card in Non Bus Mastering Slot

    That should work. You might even be able to find a supported 100Tx ISA card.
    <big><big><font color=blue>Ian</font color=blue></big></big>
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