Demystifying Intel PRO/1000 Quad Port NICs

You may have seen us recommend the Intel Pro/1000 series quad port gigabit NICs, and we do so with good reason - they’re cheap and reliable.

That said, there’s a strong lack of information on them, and many of the eBay listings for one version may actually not actually be the product they describe. This post will serve as a (very general) overview to make you aware of the distinction, and when you may prefer one card over another.

Do note that some OEMs (HP, not Dell) reuse part numbers, so do not consider recommendations or listings that only identify a card by the HP part number. For example, the HP NC365T part number has applied to both the PRO/1000VT and the i340-T4. Confirming the controller is a means of determining which is which.

Note: there is a known issue with the PT/VT chips and Dell motherboards for Sandy Bridge (2nd gen) Intel processors and for AMD embedded R-series from 2014, resulting in kernel panics on FreeBSD based systems (i.e. pfSense). It is quite possibly SMBus related. If you have such a system and want a quad port NIC, try the i340-T4 or the i350-T4. I recommend going for the i340 in any case.




PRO/1000 PT (EXPI9404PTL)
Controller: 82571GB
First Intel PCIe quad port, tried and true. Dirt cheap.
No fancy features to speak of.

VMDq No
I/OAT Yes
SR-IOV No
IPsec Offload No

Preferable for: well, it’s not.
Average cost: $12-20


PRO/1000 VT (EXPI9404VT, Dell OEM 0YT674/K828C)
Controller: 82575B

Exclusively released as an OEM card, so information from Intel is only available with an OEM rep login.
First card to allow for kernel packet processing on multiple cores.
Also added some hypervisor-friendly features, like VMDqs.

VMDq Yes (4/port)
I/OAT Yes
SR-IOV No
IPsec Offload No

Preferable for: also not preferable
Average cost: $12-20


PRO/1000 ET(2) (E1G44ET2, Dell OEM 0HM9JY/0H092P)
Controller: 82576

Adds SR-IOV support over the VT models.
Often sold as Dell OEM PRO/1000 VTs.

VMDq Yes (8/port)
I/OAT Yes
SR-IOV Yes
IPsec Offload Yes

Preferable for: virtualization workloads
Average cost: $20


i340-T4
Controller: 82580
First PCIe v2 quad port from Intel. Loses SR-IOV.
Lower power consumption than PRO/1000 cards (~4-5W vs 10-12W)

VMDq Yes (8/port)
I/OAT Yes
SR-IOV No
IPsec Offload No

Preferable for: nonspecific workloads
Average cost: $25


i350-T4
Controller: i350
Brings back SR-IOV. Has some additional virtual machine technologies (mostly Hyper-V driver implementation focused).

VMDq Yes (8/port)
I/OAT Yes
SR-IOV Yes
IPsec Offload No

Preferable for: virtualization workloads
Average cost: $35

This datasheet has much more info on the controller features of the i350, i340, and the PRO/1000ET (as well as the X520).

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This might explain why I was having a lot of trouble getting pfSense to run right on Proxmox. I was using the quad port nic PRO/1000 PT (EXPI9404PTL)
Controller: 82571GB