The cheapest 10G/5G/2.5G Ethernet PCie Network Cards (NIC) and USB Adaptors for Windows, NAS, Laptops and more

Multi-gig ethernet is very slowly becoming more affordable, more switches are becoming available and many high-end routers now have a multi-gig port.

Admittedly it is still not exactly affordable to the average consumer and the cheapest switches are limited to just a couple of 10G ports such as the Netgear GS110MX at £141. The MS510TXPP which uses a mixture of ports including 2.5G, 5G and 10G is £341.63 then the recently announced Zyxel XS1930-10 with 8 10G ethernet ports is £370.00.

Zyxel XS1930
Zyxel XS1930

However, you then need to have multi-gig on your client devices and that is also very expensive. Multi-gig PCIe cards are almost always too expensive for most consumer devices.

The cheapest solution would be to use SFP and a router such as the MikroTik 326-24G-2S+RM allowing you to connect up a couple of devises with 10G for less than £200.

However, if you want to use copper Ethernet then you will have to pay more.

PCIe Cards

For home users, including myself, the only realistic  option is the ASUS XG-C100C which sits comfortably under £90.

Some of the options have 2 ports which can be beneficial for server builds, and the price per port looks a little more reasonable.

Out of this list I can only really recommend the ASUS XG-C100C PCI-E Network Interface Card due to the price of competing products, it may not be suitable for commercial use or servers but for home builds it should be perfect.

Multi-gig 10Gbe and 5Gbe USB Adaptors

I wouldn’t personally use a USB adapter on a desktop build, but these work out much cheaper and also the only realistic option for a laptop.

I have reviewed the TRENDnet USB-C 3.1 to 2.5GBASE-T Ethernet Adapter and at the time I criticised the pricing of it, but at the moment it is the cheapest branded multi-gig adaptor in the UK.

The Club 3D is suspiciously cheap but it seems to have decent reviews and worth a gamble on for 2.5G.

I had previously recommended the QNAP adaptor over the TRENDnet with it only costing a bit more but offering double the speed, but there are some unfavourable reviews on Amazon so I would approach with caution.

Synology NAS 10Gbe Ethernet

If you have a Synology NAS with a PCIe expansion slot then the E10G18-T1 is surprisingly affordable for a branded adaptor and likely your best option for getting multi-gig to work.

Motherboards

If you are doing a brand new PC build, it will likely be cheaper to get a motherboard with multi-gig built in, these boards do come with a premium price, but once your factor in the savings on a PCIe card then they start to look quite reasonable.

The ASRock AMD Ryzen X470 is the stand out motherboard here, and if you are building a Ryzen based PC it is well worth considering. I may even consider upgrading my motherboard to that rather than buying a separate NIC.

AMD X470 Motherboards

AMD X570 Motherboards

Intel Z490 Motherboards

Intel Z390 Motherboards

Last update on 2021-08-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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