What is a 10Gb network card?

A network card or NIC (Network Interface Card) is the device that makes it possible for your computer to connect to the network, mostly to a LAN. In most computers, the network card is embedded in the motherboard but it can also be replaced or used as an external component. The most common classification of network cards is on the basis of speed- a 10GB network card means it can support speed up to 10Gbps. However- that does not mean you will get 10Gbps speed- the actual speed depends on the ISP. This means if you get a 40Gb network card but your ISP offers just 1Gbps, then 1Gbps is the maximum that you can expect. bps

Most network cards operate at least up to 1Gbps speed. However, to stay on the safer side, having a 10Gbps network card is ideal, for it leaves the possibility of making use of the higher speed offered by your ISP. So which is the best 10GB network card? What should you look at while searching for a network card? These are exactly the questions that we will try to answer ahead.

Check out the thorough reviews of the best 10Gb network cards in 2021 below.

1. TRENDnet 10Gb Network Card, PCIe 2.0, 3.0

Best 10GB Network Card in 2021 - The Ultimate Guide-10TechPro

The TRENDnet 10Gb network interface card comes with an RJ-45 Ethernet port and 4 PCIe 3.0 interfaces. It can convert any PCIe 3.0 or 2.0 slot to a 10G Ethernet port. It also has support for 5G as well as 2.5G speeds using Cat5e cables with a maximum distance of 100m. It is compatible across most Windows versions, including Windows Server 2016 and 2012, as well as Windows 10 and 8.

This 10GB network card is compatible with most installations, and you get low-profile brackets in the package. The performance is enhanced due to its jumbo frame that supports sending frames up to 16KB. The LED indicators are helpful to convey the link speed, port status, as well as activity. You get a 3-year warranty from the manufacturer.

Pros

  • Supports 5G and 2.5G speeds
  • Simple installation, brackets included in the package
  • Works with most Windows versions

Cons

  • Does not support Linux-based OS.
  • Jumbo frame setting options have fixed values, no variable rates.

2. Synology 10Gb Ethernet Adapter/ Network Card

Best 10GB Network Card in 2021 - The Ultimate Guide-10TechPro

This 10Gb network card from Synology comes with an RJ-45 connector with support for IEEE 802.3x as well as 802.3an/BZ. This allows a smooth migration to networking environment of 10GbE using existing infrastructure It also has backward compatibility along with auto-negotiation for lower data rates from 10Gb to 100Mbp.

While this may be certified only for use with Synology devices, it works with other devices too, including computers running Linux OS. This is one of the best 10Gb network card for Linux-based OS users. OS like Ubuntu has support for this card out of the box. It also comes with a 5-year warranty.

Pros

  • Plug and play setup for most operating systems
  • 5-year warranty
  • Recommended for Synology devices

Cons

  • Requires extra setup and installations for Windows-based systems
  • No driver-support from Synology

3. 10Gtek 10Gb PCI-E Network Card with Dual Copper Port

Best 10GB Network Card in 2021 - The Ultimate Guide-10TechPro

10Gtek offers this 10Gb Network card that has their proprietary controller chip for enabling ‘Intelligent Offloads’ for greater server stability. It is compatible with most major operating systems, including Windows as well as Linux-based OS. It uses RJ45 ports with dual-copper that can connect to Category 6 and Category 6A, making it a suitable choice for data center environments.

The package includes the latest driver CDs along with the network card. The PCI Express 2.1 in this network card is compatible with both PCI-E X16 and X8 slots. You get just 1-year of warranty along with lifelong tech-support from the manufacturer.

Pros

  • Compatibility with all major operating systems
  • Driver CD included in the package
  • Lifetime tech support for any issues

Cons

  • Only 1-year warranty
  • Sensitive to overheating in case sufficient airflow is not provided

4. Ipolex 10Gb Network Card PCI-E X520-DA2

Best 10GB Network Card in 2021 - The Ultimate Guide-10TechPro

This 10GB network card from Ipolex uses an Intel chip as the main controller to minimize packet loss and provide uninterrupted server operation. It has 2 SFP ports that can be connected to 10Gb/s SFP+ modules or to Direct Attach cables. This network card supports usage with most major operating systems including Windows, Linux, VMWare, etc. PCI Express X16 and X8 are both supported

The river CD is bundled in the package and also available on Intel’s website. The network is backed by a 1-year warranty along with lifetime technical support from the manufacturer.

Pros

  • Intel chip provides efficient data center operation
  • Lifetime technical support
  • Works with almost all major operating systems

Cons

  • Warranty limited to just 1-year
  • Low-profile brackets not included in the package

5. H!Fiber 10Gb Network Card with Dual SFP+ Port

Best 10GB Network Card in 2021 - The Ultimate Guide-10TechPro

With dual  SFP+ ports and PCIe v2.0, this 10Gb network card from H!Fiber works with almost all Windows Server and Red Hat Linux Operating Systems. It uses a high-quality chip that allows for high reliability and performance. It is compatible with both PCI X16 and X8 lane. The 2 SFP+ ports allow for better scalability and flexibility, making it the right choice for modern data centers.

The driver CD is bundled in the package to allow for a hassle-free setup. There is no official warranty/guarantee provided by the manufacturer, but you do get a 30-day return window with this product.

Pros

  • Compatible with all major operating systems
  • PCI X16 and X8 compatibility
  • 2SFP+ ports provide  better scalability

Cons

  • No warranty/guarantee from the manufacturer
  • Lifetime technical support not provided

How To Pick The Best 10GB Network Card

While the above 5 are the best 10Gb network cards that you can get from Amazon, your search is still not over. Picking out the best one is about ensuring that all-important factors are considered. These factors and considerations are what we will discuss next.

Card Interface

The interface that the NIC connects to is an important factor. PCI is the preferred choice in desktop computers, while most laptops use PCMIA. With PCMIA cards, you also need to consider if you will need any additional cables and if the right type of slots is present.

Connection Type

Most networks today use RJ-45, so this should be the preferred choice while buying a network card. However, if your network uses some other interface like coax, then you need to ensure that the network card you get supports it.

Operating System Compatibility

While most network cards support all major operating systems, this is still an important consideration for a hassle-free installation and peak performance. Ensure that the NIC is compatible with your preferred OS, be it Windows 10, Server, or any Linux-based OS.

Warranty and Technical Support

Choose a network card that has at least 1-3 years of warranty including coverage in case of any defects. Also, does the manufacturer offer technical support, and is it 24/7? Both these things are important to get the most out of your investment and ensure stable and reliable connectivity.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Does a network card support lower speeds?

Yes, most NICs or network cards are backward compatible. If you get a 10Gb network card, it will support speeds from 10Gb to 100 Mb in most cases.

  • What is PCIe and how is it relevant to network cards?

PCIe or PCI express is an updated version of the interface that is used for motherboard-level connections including network cards. PCIe cards are available in 5 sizes, from 1 to 32, with each referring to the number of lanes in the slot. For network cards, PCIe x8 and x16 are the common variants. You can place a PCIe x8 card in an x16 slot, but not vice versa.

  • How many network cards do I need?

For single laptop/desktop computers, 1 network card is sufficient. However, in data centers and server computers, multiple network cards are required to allow them to handle greater traffic. Some network cards made for data center use have multiple network interfaces bundled in a single card.

  • What speed network card do I need?

The speed of the network ultimately depends upon the ISP. Simply using a 10Gbps network card does not get a higher speed unless the ISP supports it. While most modern computers have at least 1Gbps network cards, a 10Gbps network card is a future-proof choice ensuring that you are prepared for major upgrades in the future including 5G networks.  

Final thoughts

A network card is among the most important equipment in any personal computing or data center setup. This is why you must not hurry and take your time in finding the best 10gb network card in 2021 for your requirements. Our review of the top 5 network cards on Amazon should help you shortlist the best ones that the market has to offer. With our short buying guide and a few tips, you should be well on your way to finding the best 10gb network card of 2021 that money can buy.