Optiplex 960 Network Card Dropouts and Slow Speed

Recently installed a new Dell Optiplex 960 running 32-bit Windows 7 Enterprise. The system board includes an Intel 82567LM-3 network adapter. With the latest Intel driver from Dell, version 11.5.4.0, the card would frequently lose connectivity for two seconds (e1kexpress events in System event log). When it reconnected, it would often be at 10Mbps instead of 1Gpbs. Also at startup, the card apparently did not connect fast enough, which led to various errors (DNS lookup 1014, NETLOGON 5719, Time-Service 131, group policy failures).

There is some confusion as to whether System Idle Power Saver (SIPS) causes this issue, and whether SIPS is available on the 82567LM-3. It is not exposed in the driver settings.

Upgrading to the latest driver from the Intel site, version 11.5.10.0, did not help.

Rolling back to the base Microsoft driver included with Windows 7, version 10.5.1.0, does help. No errors and consistent 1Gpbs speed in 39 hours since rolling back.

Intel threads discussing this issue:

http://communities.intel.com/thread/9913

http://communities.intel.com/thread/7057

10 thoughts on “Optiplex 960 Network Card Dropouts and Slow Speed

  1. Rao

    Mark,
    Thank you for the info. We are having the same issue with the Dell optiplex 760.
    Could you please me in resolving this issue in windows XP Pro SP3?

    I did updated BIOS and Network driver from dell, no luck.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. Mark Berry Post author

    Update: Machine had been doing okay with the native Windows 7 driver (10.5.1.0) but still sometimes having trouble finding the domain controller and time server at startup.

    On 6/16, I updated to the current Intel 82567 network driver (version 15.2, with Driver Version 11.6.92.0, Driver Date 4/12/2010) from the Intel download center. So far that has been working well: the machine seems to connect quickly enough to the domain controller that it is not complaining about group policy and time services like before.

  3. Anthony Sheehy

    I am wondering if these startup events are really something to get excited about? I too see the e1kexpress drop-outs after WSUS updates restart the PCs, but thus far they have not actually affected operations. Outside of start-up events, I do not see issues. All our PC correctly retrieve and apply policies.

  4. Mark Berry Post author

    Do they work okay after a daytime reboot? I.e. is it reconnecting fast enough that they have access to roaming profiles, server shares, etc.?

  5. Frank Pauli

    I ran across this same issue on a new Optiplex 960 and assumed it was the old issue with some NICs not properly negotiating the highest network speed. Though I was connecting into a 1 Gbps switch, the connection was only at 10Mbps (ouch!). I forced the NIC to connected at 1 Gb and have not had any problems since then.

  6. Mark Berry Post author

    On 10/15, I allowed Windows Update to install “Intel(R) 82567LM-3 Gigabit Network Connection”, which installed ProSet Version 15.2.89.0 and downgraded the driver to 11.5.4.0. Network errors started up again (dropouts, reconnecting at 10Mbps).

    Today I uninstalled the Intel software that MS update installed, and downloaded and installed the latest driver from Dell, which is now 11.6.92.0–back to where I was on 6/16–see my June 24 note above. At least Dell has now updated to the driver version that seems to work best.

  7. John Willis

    Mark,

    “…sometimes having trouble finding the domain controller and time server at startup.”

    If ypu have 5719 EventID in event logs its due to your switch offering Spanning Tree Protocol “before” allowing normal traffic to pass. Make sure switch ports connected to “end point workstations” are not treated as if they are switches by enabling Cisco “Portfast” or equivalent feature on the switch.

    Microsoft Knowledge Base Article kb247922 specifically deals with this for servers, but the same occurs for workstations. Though for workstations time server and no logon server can be found are the symptoms.

  8. Nick

    Mark, although a very active problem about a year ago, there are still some threads out there related to this issue. Ironically my 2 year old Optiplex 960 (Win7x64 not on a domain) only started seeing the problem in October and it was intermittent; but anoying. There were a few things going on with the machine so I rebuilt it in the middle of December. The problem got worse since then and I played all the games with drivers and manually setting speed/duplex and had Dell replace the MB a few days ago. I was going to buy a new NIC and disable the on-board NIC when the thought occured to me; try the video driver. I recalled updating my Radeon HD4600 driver in early fall. I checked and AMD just released a new driver in December. I updated the driver and the problem appears to be resolved. Not sure how this affects others that you have worked with, but I thought it might be valuable information for you. Be well. Nick

  9. Nick

    Sorry to have bothered, but apparently spoke too soon. What seem to immediately resolve the problem and be stable for the first time in weeks; has returned. Going to buy another NIC, enough with this issue.

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