Testing 10Gb switches using iPerf

So I have a few 10Gb Switches I need to test out using iPerf. I know iPerf can handle it as they have 10Gb public servers available on the internet, but can my machines handle it and can I get cheap NICs to do this also?

Machines I want to use are Dell 7010 with Core i3 2120 3.3GHz 2GB DDR3 – was super cheap from eBay. They are the MT (tower) so have 3 PCI slots that are full height, one x16, one (x4 electrical) x16 and one x1. The chipset is IntelĀ® Q77 Express Chipset so v2 only, with only 8 lanes, so I assume the x16 slot is from the processor (also v2 16 lanes) and the x4/x1 from the chipset. (Note the DT has the same PCIe configuration but half height, and the SFF has only the x16 and x16 (x4 electrical).)

PCIe versionYearTransfersx1 speedx4 speedx8 speedx16 speed
120042.5GT/s2Gb/s8Gb/s16Gb/s32Gb/s
220075GT/s4Gb/s16Gb/s32Gb/s64Gb/s
320108GT/s7.88Gb/s31.52Gb/s63.04Gb/s126.08Gb/s
4201716GT/s15.76Gb/s63.04Gb/s126.08Gb/s252.16Gb/s

So the x4 slot can do 10Gbit speeds, but the x16 would be better as it can do 64Gb/s – and also closer to the processor electrically so less latent. There’s quite a few dual 10Gb card cheap on eBay so maybe i’ll start by looking into them….

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