Wait, wait, wait just a minute, isn't the Killer E2100 Network Processing Unit a product of Bigfoot Networks? It most certainly is, but what many people don't know is that Qualcomm Atheros somewhat quietly scooped Bigfoot up a couple of months ago, a purchase that made sense considering Bigfoot was using Qualcomm hardware anyway and tweaking it with their own software. In any event, Qualcomm Atheros is now fully in charge and the company really wants to get the word out that its Killer E2100 NIC is integrated and available in new Gigabyte G1.Assassin 2 motherboards based on Intel's X79 Express chipset. So does Gigabyte.
For years, if you wanted a cool looking, high-end gaming machine but didn't feel like spending dozens of DIY hours on a badass custom rig, the odds were good that you settled on an Alienware (assuming you could afford one). Now, the gaming PC field has been blown wide open, with several different vendors offering powerful, Battlefield 3-ready set-ups. If you're Alienware, how do you make yourself stand out from the crowd? By staying cutting-edge. Starting today, you can snag one of Bigfoot's "Killer" line of gaming-optimized network adapters with your new Alienware laptop.
We're slightly perplexed with VisionTek's new "Killer HD 5770" graphics card, which the company touts as the world's first online gaming upgrade card for PCs. We get the marketing behind that statement -- after all, the videocard comes with Bigfoot Networks' Killer E2100 NIC baked in -- but who exactly is this card aimed at?
If you're buying into the hype of a dedicated hardware NIC for lower pings (you can read our review of the standalone Killer 2100 here), then integrating it into a videocard makes perfect sense. Two gaming solutions, one PCI-E slot -- that's a winning combo. Buy why not use a higher end GPU, like the HD 5850, 5870, or even one of the new 6000 series cards?
For those of you interested in a mid-range card from last year with an integrated NIC, the Killer HD 5770 is the "only upgrade card specifically designed to combine high-quality graphics and low-latency networking for gaming," VisionTek says. The combo card comes with 1GB of GDDR video memory and supports DirectX 11, OpenGL 3.1, and everything else you already know about the HD 5770.
The Killer HD 5770 will be available early this month for $200.
Attention Alienware shoppers: You can now configure a pre-built gaming desktop with Bigfoot Networks' Killer 2100 NIC, Bigfoot announced today.
"Online gamers demand exceptional network performance," said Frank Azor, Product Planning Manager at Alienware. "The combination of Alienware PCs and the Bigfoot Networks Killer 2100 gaming network card represents a lethal combination -- maximizing performance for more frags, faster leveling, and higher scores."
Of course, it's Azor's job to sell potential customers on the merits of Bigfoot Networks' latest dedicated NIC, and while our own testing revealed some definite improvements in average ping, we had a hard time discerning any subjective difference between the Killer 2100 versus the onboard Realtek Ethernet chip found on the Asus P7P55D-E we used for testing (see our full review of the Killer 2100 here).
Still want one? If so, Bigfoot says its Killer 2100 card is configurable in Dell's entire Alienware desktop lineup, and is also available as a direct purchase upgrade from Dell.com.
Bigfoot, the company behind the uber expensive Killer line of network interface cards (NIC), expands its lineup this week with the Killer Xeno Pro and Ultra cards. Both cards run on the PCI-E interface and purportedly offer better throughput than the company's earlier models. But the biggest selling point for the Xeno series is the integrated audio for hardware-accelerated voice-chat.
"Killer Xeno's voice-chat acceleration technology addresses the most requested gamer feature, and will enable the millions of online gamers worldwide who utilize these chat services to enjoy a 'hiccup-free' voice experience while playing the latest generation of online games," Bigfoot wrote in a press release (PDF). "Bigfoot, in providing voice-chat, has partnered with companies supporting leading products such as TeamSpeak and Vivox as well as utilizing the popular open-source application Mumble."
The Xeno Pro comes with 128MB of onboard RAM, while the Xeno Ultra upgrades to 256MB, while also adding a customizable onboard LED status display for caller ID, network statistics, game information, and customized messages. Otherwise, the two cards are share the same spec sheet, including an upgraded NPU, hardware bandwidth control, and a hardware firewall.
The Xeno Pro will be available in April for $130 from both Alienware and EVGA. The Xeno Ultra will be available in May for $180 on retail shelves.