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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.


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

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