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Realtek Semiconductor

Realtek Semiconductor

Integrated circuit company

Realtek Semiconductor Corporation is an integrated circuit company, but does not have its own production facilities. Located in Science Park, Taiwan, it was founded in October 1987 and subsequently listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange in 1998. As of 2017, Realtek employed 4,000 people, 78% of whom had research and development hands-on experience.


Realtek's best-known products are:

10/100M/1000M Ethernet adapters and controllers with a global market share of 70% (as of 2003);

AC97 and High Definition Audio codecs, which Realtek's market share (primarily concentrated in integrated sound cards) is 50% (2003);

card readers;

USB hub/branch controllers;

wireless LAN controllers;

SSD controllers.

Production of network controllers began in 1991-1993, among the popular models is the RTL8139/RTL8129 Fast Ethernet family (peak popularity from the late 1990s to the mid-2000s). Low-cost chipsets and integrated Gigabit Ethernet network controllers have evolved since the mid-2000s, particularly RTL8169+RTL8110.


Realtek's single-chip Ethernet controller (RTL8139) won the "Best Component" and "Best of Show" award at COMPUTEX Taipei '97. Seven years later, the dual-band three-mode WLAN solution including the RTL8185L main band processor level access manager and the RTL8255 RF chip again win the "Computex Best Choice" award at COMPUTEX Taipei 2004.


Realtek products have sometimes met with criticism. For example, the FreeBSD operating system kernel source code makes the comment that "RealTek 8139 PCI NIC redefines the meaning of 'low-cost product'. The Realtek 8139 supports DMA (direct memory access), but has such a terrible interface that it negates any advantages that DMA would normally offer." However, OpenBSD developer Theo de Raadt once praised Realtek - "(fairly new) Gigabit Ethernet chips are not too bad in general, and contain a lot of documentation. So the Taiwanese products may have come a little late to the market, but they are as simple and user-friendly as they know how to be on the market."

Inexpensive Realtek networking cards, priced in the order of hundreds of rubles, were often installed by ISPs for customers to connect via Ethernet, as well as other types of connections, if the device has an Ethernet interface. Motherboard manufacturers often install cheap Realtek chips as a built-in network interface. Users should note that in some cases the cheapness of the network adapter may have been achieved by transferring functions to the driver, which runs on the CPU. As a result, with heavy traffic, the CPU has to do more work than in the case of more functional network cards.


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