Computex 2010 CoverageClayMeow - July 5, 2010
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I met with the CEO and President of Bigfoot Networks, Michael Howse, to find out what the company behind the Killer NIC cards had in store for us in 2010 and beyond. The first thing I was shown was the recently released Killer 2100. The Killer 2100 features a 400 MHz dedicated network processor (NPU) and 128 MB DDR2 RAM.
The real star of the show, however, may be the new software. First up is the Gaming Network Efficiency Benchmark. Ever since the Killer NIC line was introduced, users would often state that they noticed an improvement, yet never understood exactly how much they were gaining. Bigfoot Networks heard those pleas and the new benchmark aims to provide the answer. The benchmark allows you to chose two adapters to compare and then tracks the UDP Ping time on a graph. After the test is complete, you can see the mean ping time for each adapter, the standard deviation, and the average of the worst ten percent. It really allows you to see how much faster the Killer card compared to your other choices, like onboard.
The second bit of software is actually what controls how your Killer card performs. Bigfoot Networks Killer Network Manager software allows you to do everything from monitoring performance, examining the network usage of individual processes, setting how much each is allowed to use (or blocking them completely), and testing your Internet Provider speed.
Lastly, Bigfoot Networks announced that it is working with video card manufacturers to combine its Killer 2100 with video cards. The first such company it worked with was the TUL Corporation, manufacturer of the PowerColor brand of ATI graphics cards. The PowerColor Sniper combines a Radeon HD 5770 with a Killer 2100 on one card. As the standalone Killer 2100 utilizes the PCIe x1 interface, Howse often heard that gamers only had one such slot available and didn't want to sacrifice a dedicated sound card, or other device, for a Killer NIC. By putting the Killer 2100 onto a graphics card, gamers will be able to receive the benefits of the NPU without sacrificing an additional PCIe slot. The card will contain a separate GPU and NPU, but obviously share the same bus, so Bigfoot is working closely with TUL to ensure maximum performance is achieved. Howse assured me that he is shooting for equal or greater performance on both the graphical level and network level. If this is accomplished, this should be a huge boost for Bigfoot Networks, possibly pushing the company into more mainstream use.