Best Ethernet network adapter/NIC for a Hackintosh

Added 8-15-2014: This post ist outdated, please see here for more information on natively supported PCI-e network cards for OS X.

My ASUS P6T motherboard features a gigabit-capable Realtek 8111C onboard NIC. There’s an official but old OS X driver for this network adapter available from Realtek, but it crashes my Hackintosh whenever I try to use an OpenVPN connection to a remote server. Luckily, there’s an alternate RTL 81xx driver from Lnx2Mac which doesn’t suffer from this limitation. However, when I did some network benchmarking using a remote Linux server, I wasn’t getting consistent results regarding throughput. It seemed that the further a remote server was away, the less consistent was the throughput I got. It even got worse when using a VPN. It took me quite a while until I found out that the culprit was the Lnx2Mac driver for my onboard network adapter. Don’t get me wrong, the Lnx2Mac driver is perfect if you just need some sort if Internet connection and I appreciate the efforts that have been put into it. But since I was looking for a high performance driver, it didn’t seem to be a good choice. Since these driver issues are unlikely to be sorted out in the near future, I decided to buy a new PCI network adapter. After doing some research on the Internet, I bought the HP NC360T PCI-Express PRO/1000 PT Dual Port NIC. This network adapter works a treat on my Hackintosh:

  • Native OS X support through the AppleIntel8254XEthernet kext, the NIC works out of the box!
  • Dual gigabit ports
  • IP packet fragmentation implemented on driver level (unlike Lnx2Mac)
  • Support for larger MTU sizes, a.k.a. “Jumbo frame”
  • Still works after waking from sleep (haven’t tried WOL though)

I’m finally getting consistent throughput results, even over a VPN. Since my QNAP NAS supports a MTU 9000 Jumbo Frame, transfer speeds from/to my NAS have increased as well. I got the HP NC360T from eBay for US$ 39, which seems to be a reasonable price.

9 thoughts on “Best Ethernet network adapter/NIC for a Hackintosh

  1. forgot to add, when booted with Clover bootloader from USB installer, NC360T works just fine. Tried both DSDT and non-DSDT, same blank screen before logon.

  2. Thanks OP for sharing this. My P6T (original) works fine with Lion/Mountain Lion except the on-board NIC can’t get the IP/DNS automatically, only IPv6 DNS works but super unstable. that’s why I bought a NC360T. Strange thing is, it freezes the startup and shows a blank screen right before reaching the logon, but I can boot up fine with the USB installer using the default Clover bootloader. Will try to install Clover permanently. But anyone experiencing the same problem?

  3. After reading so many good things about the NC360T NIC from so many places on the net, I picked one up for my Mountain Lion 10.8.2 hackintosh.

    As promised, it does work out of the box without third part drivers being installed. However, I am having a frustrating problem where the NIC stops passing traffic. When this happens, I can move the ethernet cable to the other port and get a good connection again for a while. Eventually, the other port stops responding as well and I have to switch again.

    Any idea what could be causing this strange problem?

    Mike

  4. Great write up. I’m in a similar position, have working onboard Ethernet, but dreadful data transfer rate to my NAS.
    What kind of through put are you getting after the new nic?

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