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D-Link DFE-530TX 10/100 PCI Ethernet Adapter
Last updated: 07/29/03

The DFE-530TX uses  DL10030 PCI Fast Ethernet controller (which I understand is a variation of VIA's Rhine chip)  and Davicom's DM9101F: 10/100 BASE-TX Single Chip Transceiver to produce a low-cost, yet powerful, Ethernet adapter suitable for PCs, high-end workstations, and file servers.  The DL10030 is a 32-bit bus-mastering, burst-mode controller.  This, plus a FIFO buffer make the DFE-530TX a fast card.  Built-in NWay auto-negotiation detects 10 and 100 Mhz connections and automatically supports half and full-duplex modes.

This is a  high-quality board with excellent silk-screening, good lay-out, and electrolytic capacitors rated at 105C.  The back and front of the board are almost solid with ground and power planes; an indication of good engineering.  The RJ-45 jack is the best I've seen on any board.  A CAT5 jumper cable snaps tightly into place.

The User's Guide is well-written, but incomplete.  It's treatment on network cabling omits connecting two computers together with a cross-over cable, some of the basic installation rules (e.g., stranded cable), and safety guidelines.  Trouble-shooting is weak.  Coverage of common Windows 95/98 problems is entirely missing.  A diagram of the board would be nice.

Software is provided on a single floppy for just about every imaginable network environment, including Windows for Workgroups; Windows 95, 98, and NT; Novell; SCO Open Server and Unix; Sun PC-NFS; Banyan VINES; and IBM LAN Server.

Installation was very easy with Windows 98 SE (plug 'n prey as it should be):  shut-down, turn-off, and unplug computer; remove the cover, install board; plug-in and turn-on computer; insert floppy and Windows CD when Windows asks for them; click when prompted to reboot after the files are installed.

D-Link's Web site is quite good, is easy to navigate, has drivers, manuals, etc, and makes it easy access to tech support; but, it currently lacks FAQs and detailed technical information.  Although, D-Link's web site states the board features four 4 LED indicators, I counted three: 100 Mhz, Link, and Activity.  The User's Manual agrees with my count.

The DFE-530TX includes a lifetime warranty from a major manufacturer.  It costs a few more bucks than similar boards from other manufactures, but I would say the extra touches of quality are certainly worth the small premium.

Larry

More info is available on D-Link's web site.

Copyright, Disclaimer, and Trademark Information Copyright © 1996-2006 Larry F. Byard.  All rights reserved. This material or parts thereof may not be copied, published, put on the Internet, rewritten, or redistributed without explicit, written permission from the author.