Network-intensive applications require high-performance network adapters. 

In the Network Subsystem Performance Tuning guide for Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2, the topic Choosing a Network Adapter explores some considerations for choosing network adapters, as well as how to configure different network adapter settings to achieve the best network performance.

This guide also contains sections on Performance Tuning Network Adapters, Network-Related Performance Counters, and Performance Tools for Network Workloads