Newer drivers ARE better. Go figure.

For some time now, I've been having issues in which my HP MediaSmart Server (powered by Windows Home Server) would experience less-than-stellar network throughput and even fail to respond at times. Given the fragile nature of Windows Home Server and value I place on my data, I dared not deviate from the baseline HP configuration. Until now. Given this was clearly a network-related issue, I checked out the SiS191 network adapter in Device Manager. I was shocked to find HP baselined the server on drivers over a year old. I ran a benchmark using AIDA32 3.92 from my desktop to the server (connected via CAT-5 @ 100mbit through a customized Linksys WRT54G).

Figure 1 - Old drivers...

Figure 2 - Network performance on old drivers is all over the place... Average speed: 6301.3 KB/s

According to SiS, the latest driver for SiS191 chipsets is 2.0.1039.1100 dated 03/03/2008 (Update 3/31: The download package on their site is dated 03/11/2008). After ignoring all the warnings and legalese on SiS's website, I down'ed the package, remoted into my server, installed the driver, and rebooted, fingers crossed. The server went down, flashed its cute LEDs in a multitude of scary colors (e.g. red), and came back up... without issues. I ran a second benchmark to see if there were any improvements. And there were!

Figure 3 - Network performance on newer drivers, much more stable. Oh and faster! Average speed: 6436.1 KB/s

Figure 4 - Before and after overlay (rough). Green = new // Red = old.

As you can see, the newer drivers yielded an increase in average speed and a much more stable level of throughput. It appears my server-went-to-sleep syndrome has disappeared as well. What were your results?

(03/31 - Please note your mileage may vary. My server is only on a 100mbit line. Users on 1Gbit lines could reap an additional increase in performance. Cough, Linksys, could you send me a router?)