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Is the 3COM 3C509B a Direct Replacement for the 3COM 3C509 Ethernet Card

oldpcguy

Experienced Member
Joined
Sep 23, 2021
Messages
186
I am looking to add networking to my Packard Bell 80486 system running NetBSD 1.0. According to the NetBSD documentation the 3C509 card is natively supported. A look through Ebay and I see the 3C509 as well as 3C509B cards available with the latter being more plentiful and therefore a wider range of pricing. I'd like to buy the 3C509B card but want to ensure it would be seen by the OS without having to mess around with locating drivers.

Anyone know if the two are directly interchangeable?
 

GiGaBiTe

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2015
Messages
2,735
Location
Austin, Texas
I believe they use the same driver. IIRC, the only difference between the two was the B version has a larger packet buffer to alleviate problems with dropped packets when the system is heavily loaded.
 

mdog69

Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2019
Messages
11
Location
West Midlands, UK
The 3C509B also supported PNP (aka plug--n-pray) - a feature I've never had cause to use under any OS.

The 509 and 509B also differ with boot ROM support. IIRC both support 32k ROMs, but the 509 requires a 32k window, but the 509B uses a 16k window with bank switching.
 

Shadow Lord

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2010
Messages
3,155
Location
California
I believe they use the same driver. IIRC, the only difference between the two was the B version has a larger packet buffer to alleviate problems with dropped packets when the system is heavily loaded.

I had always wondered about this myself. Good to see some info on it. However, I am not sure about the driver. I seem to recall running in to issues using MS LANMAN where depending o nthe card in the system I would have to chose either 3C509 or the Etherlink III driver...
 

oldpcguy

Experienced Member
Joined
Sep 23, 2021
Messages
186
I had always wondered about this myself. Good to see some info on it. However, I am not sure about the driver. I seem to recall running in to issues using MS LANMAN where depending o nthe card in the system I would have to chose either 3C509 or the Etherlink III driver...
I wasn't able to get the network card operational but that could be my inexperience with NetBSD. Finding information on how to configure version 1.0 is difficult (as search results tend to focus on the later releases). I have set that project aside for the time being as I work on some Apple II systems.
 
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