Hi. We are finally back online, after 75 hours without power. Sorry for the absence.
Here's a short article at Linux.com that I think everyone should read.
For ages, I have trolled for the lowest cost nics with a decent chipset. For a couple years, I was centered on Kingston parts, but they got out of the nic market. Now, I have failed spectacularly in finding cheap nics that work well. I have had to resort to nics costing 3-5 times as much to get decent performance and reliability.