Why Upgrade to 10GbE Network Speeds?
As technology progresses, the speed of everything is getting faster. Considering 1 Gigabit Ethernet was released June of 1998. 1Gbe speeds are now 24+ years old! When transferring files over the network, 1GbE connections are easily the bottleneck! Even when transferring files between old-school platter hard drives! Add SATA SSD's or even NVMe drives into the mix and you're certainly limiting file transfers!
This guild will help bring your network up to 10GbE speeds. Depending on if you buy new or used, expect to spend between $250 – $500 for two network cards, cable, & a small switch.
10GbE Recommended Switches
As of right now MikroTik offers the best value & price when it comes to the 10GbE market.
Cheapest 10Gbe switch in existence! This switch features (4) 10GbE SPF+ ports and (1) RJ45 1GbE port that makes it super easy to tie into an existing network.
Similar to the desktop switch, but with more ports! This switch features (8) 10GbE SPF+ ports and (1) RJ45 1Gbe port that makes it super easy to tie into an existing network.
Single, Dual, or Quad SFP+ Network Card?
While the jump to the 10Gbps realm might seem like a big leap if you're coming from 1Gbps. Consider that modern NVMe drives can still easily saturate a single 10Gbps line. If you consistently transfer files between Windows machines on NVMe drives, or you just want to future proof, you may want to consider a dual or quad network interface card.
Buy used NIC's on eBay and save big!
Buying used networks cards comes with some major savings! I'm often able to snag up dual port cards WITH fiber transceivers for under $39 dollars! That's a $200 dollar savings from buying new! I've put a few links together that will search for the best deal, so you don't have to!
New Cards on Amazon
If you prefer the peace of mind of buying new. (Used cards might have problems or shorter life-span.) Then below you will find the best priced 10GbE cards Amazon has to offer. The cards below are the “10Gtek” brand which use Intel based chips and have really great compatibility with a wide range of transceivers.
10Gtek 10Gb PCI-E
Single SFP+ NIC
This is a great budget network card that has a single SFP+ slot so you can use either a fiber or a copper transceiver. (Fiber is what I recommend as the fiber “SR” transceivers are much cheaper!)
10Gtek 10Gb PCI-E
Dual SFP+ NIC
Double the ports but not double the price! This budget network card has (2) SFP+ slots so you can use either a fiber or copper transceiver. (Again, multimode fiber transceivers are cheaper.)
10Gtek 10Gb PCI-E
Quad SFP+ NIC
This card really leaves the realm of “budget” but it's worth mentioning because if you “have to have” a quad SFP+ network card, and you are on a budget, this one is probably the cheapest one out there.
Fiber vs Copper
While copper Ethernet is pretty much standard for homes and offices. There's also a place for fiber cables in the home and office as well! Best part is that you don't have to pick between one or the other. You can use both! There are some pros and cons to both.
- Copper cables and devices are cheaper when dealing with 1GbE networks.
- Multimode fiber cables and transceivers are usually cheaper when dealing with 10GbE networks.
Awesome little 10Gbe transceiver that usually runs about $20. It's a multimode fiber, SR or “short range” transceiver, but can send signals up to 300 meters, or roughly 980 feet!
OM3 LC Cable
Hands down one of my favorite OM3 multimode fiber cables out there! This cable has great quality and a price that is often cheaper per foot than Cat7 copper cable. (Multiple lengths available too.)
I recommend getting a fiber transceiver instead as they're 1/3 the price. But copper can be a bit more durable. If you do go the copper route, this is the best one to get.
Cat7 Ethernet Cable
Not all copper Ethernet cables are created equal. This is a high quality cable at a great price. Highly recommended! (Multiple lengths available too.)