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network card

Discussion in 'General Hardware Issues' started by idr, Mar 6, 2015.

  1. idr

    idr Established Techie7 Member

    I just received an older computer as an auxiliary machine for my work. It works on WinXP, which is enough for me, but it came without a network card. I would like to connect it to the Internet. How can I find what network card will be appropriate, and can it be a external USB device.
    Please advise
  2. idr

    idr Established Techie7 Member

    By the way - my router is cable connected to the computer
  3. Digerati

    Digerati Super Moderator Techie7 Moderator

    First, I would advise against connecting any XP system to your network (everything on your side of the router) or the Internet. There is just no way to ensure you can keep it secure. I would urge you to remove XP and either buy and install a later version of Windows, or use one of the many and fully capable versions of Linux, which of course, is free.

    Ethernet network adapters are very low tech devices that use industry standard network protocols so there is no need to worry about different features, different security capabilities, or brand names. No doubt this computer has several PCI slots available. You can pick up an inexpensive 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet adapter like this at most any computer shop. Most should have several used ones laying around for even less. I showed this one because it has a "low profile" bracket in case your computer case is a "slim" model.

    Note PCI is NOT the same as PCIe (PCI Express). This older computer may not support PCIe.

    Also note this is a 10/100/1000 or "Gigabit" adapter to support faster "gigabit" networks. But it is not likely your Internet connection is faster than 100Mbps so you may be able to find a 10/100 adapter for even less money. Still, if you have a choice, get one that supports 1000Mbps as it will be newer. Even XP should have the necessary generic drivers to support any card you get. But if you buy a new (in the box) card, it will (should) have an installation disk with drivers.

    As far as external USB, yes, there are plenty to choose from as seen here. And they are even less expensive because newer computers rarely use PCI anymore. But frankly, if this were going with a newer PC or notebook, I would not hesitate to suggest a USB to Ethernet adapter. But with an older XP system, I feel using a PCI adapter would be more reliable.