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I work at an industrial research lab, and we have a research group that's building up a Linux-based compute cluster. The have about 46 nodes so far, with more to come. They came to us a few months ago looking for a suggestion for a 48-port managed gigabit switch to network the nodes together. We are a Cisco shop for the core networking stuff, but since they are budget-constrained, I got them a Dell 5548 switch which came in a bit under $1,000. Unfortunately this switch has been nothing but problems (not sure what the root cause is, but after a few week of running the nodes on it, it slows way down - I measured between 0 - 1Mbps throughput between two ports on it using iperf on two of the nodes... Usually I can get in the higher 900's on a gigabit switch.) Anyways, they are soured on Dell gear now, and they want to look at getting something different.

They want a 48-port gigabit switch, no 10Gb uplinks needed (it has a 1Gb uplink to the core, which is plenty for their purposes.) It would be great if it was stackable, as they plan to expand the cluster. They do want a managed switch, but no L3 capability is needed. And (of course) it has to be as cheap as possible :)

I've looked at the HP 2910-48G (Internet price ~$2,000) and the Cisco 2960S-48TS-L (Internet ~$2,500.) any other suggestions on brand/model I should consider? Would love to find something that's priced more around the $1,500 level...

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closed as not constructive by Sven, dunxd, Tom O'Connor, splattne Dec 16 '11 at 15:17

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Shopping Questions are Off-Topic on any of the Stack Exchange sites. See Q&A is hard, lets go Shopping and the FAQ for more details. – Sven Dec 16 '11 at 14:06
For a compute cluster you should be looking at Cisco 4948, decent port buffers and all round good (based on the 4500 platform). 2960S-48TS-L is a desktop access switch for low-end PC's. – HampusLi Dec 16 '11 at 14:41
If you want to buy a switch on the cheap, try shopping about for used kit on ebay. – ConcernedOfTunbridgeWells Dec 16 '11 at 16:06

You're unlikely to find anything with the feature set you want around the price that you're willing to pay.

You'd be best off with the Cisco, as the HPs tend to screw up with blocking, and need rate limiting to get decent performance (I've found this very recently with some HP 2910 48s we've got here in the office

Other decent contenders are Force10 S60 range, which are closer to $10,000 but are non-blocking, and offer wire-speed 1GE switching.

If I was in your position, I'd be looking at the Cisco, but through a gold level partner, because only schmucks pay list price.

If you're absolutely convinced that you want to sacrifice quality (Cisco) vs Price (Netgear), then there's some fine stackable managed netgear switches.

The cool thing about those Netgears is that the stacking cable is a standard HDMI cable => Cheap.

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I'm going to mirror the Netgear recommendation. It matches your price and feature request and I've had some good luck with them in environment where budget was a concern. – Doug Dec 16 '11 at 15:30
my biggest problem with netgear is that the value and usefulness of their switches can often be doubled by filling the case with water and telling people its an avant-garde birdbath. Still, if price is the main factor they may be the only game in town, as long as the OP remembers they were cheap for a reason... – RobM Dec 16 '11 at 15:41

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