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There’s a lot of hype about which network card to go with. Having low latency is perhaps the single most important consideration for any gamer to make. You can have the fastest graphics card, the best processor, and the biggest monitor on earth, but if you’re lagging out it’s all for nothing.

Some gamers, desperate for an end to their lagging woes, think their network card is to blame. At the dawn of high speed internet there may have been a grain of truth to this. Anymore, however, the network card you select has almost no bearing on system performance

I might be the first one to say this publicly, but I really don’t care. I’m tired of explaining this one to my customers. Purchasing a high end network card is the single biggest waste of money that you could plop those Benjamins down on.

So why the hype? Why does everyone seem to recommend high end network cards? MARKUP! Every time a computer manufacturer sells a network card, they make a ton of money. I’d rather earn a ton of customers and tell you the truth in the matter. I’m just sayin’…

So what’s a fella to do who’s looking to improve bandwidth? Well you’ve got some options.

1) Select a high speed internet provider who can keep up with your gaming savvy. The two most obvious choices are QWEST and Comcast. They’re about equal in performance, although I prefer Comcast for most purposes. I will say that QWEST generally offers better upload speeds, which is very important for some people. QWEST also offers connection speeds which don’t change when your neighbor logs on. Comcast usually gives you the most speed for your buck without weird power outages.

I hate the customer support of both companies, but that probably won’t change soon. Bottom line is they both work, just make sure you purchase the speed which is right for you. Oh and make sure you look out for those promotional offers they’re always advertising!

2) This is perhaps lesser known but very important. Instead of joining games based on how many people are in them, look first for games which are geographically close to you. Even with a low ping, a server which is all the way across the US is going to behave SLOWLY as soon as you join. It should also go without saying that you should select games that have low pings, although this metric changes every few seconds depending upon dozens of factors.

In conclusion, your motherboard’s built in network card is JUST FINE! As long as it’s 10Mbps or higher (100 is only useful for LAN parties) you’re in good shape!

If you have any questions, be sure to post here, e-mail us, or give us a call. We’ll be glad to help you out!

-Josef
StealthMachines Custom Gaming Computers