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.
You know Bigfoot Networks as the company behind the Killer NIC series, which are cards designed to improve your ping, Internet connection, and even your framerates while gaming online. Many consider a dedicated NIC to be of dubious value, but would you feel the same way if it came integrated onto your videocard?
That's a question Bigfoot Networks and TUL (otherwise known as PowerColor) aim to find out. The two companies are working together on a combo card that will combine "best of breed PC graphics and networking for online gaming." They already have a prototype avaiable and plan to show it off during Computex in early June.
According to Bigfoot Networks, the combo card is built around ATI's HD 5000 graphics family. For what it's worth, Bigfoot is making much ado over this being the "world's first single card, PCI Express solution combining Bigfoot Networks Killer 2100 Gaming Network Card technology" and ATI's aforementioned graphics.
Computex runs from June 1-5, at which point we'll have more info on this.
Bigfoot Networks, makers of the original Killer NIC (see our review in the Holiday 2006/2007 issue, page 70) is back again with a new product and more big promises. According to Bigfoot Networks, the new Killer 2100 is the world's fastest online gaming network card, which isn't hard to believe considering the extremely niche market it's competing in.
"Killer 2100 is the fastest network card available for online games, period," said Michael Howse, CEO, Bigfoot Networks. "From its completely redesigned user interface and race-inspired outer casing to its high-performance Game Networking DNA software, everything about Killer 2100 screams speed and maximum performance."
Like the original, the Killer 2100 comes with a dedicated 400MHz network processor, but this time around Bigfoot doubled up on the onboard memory to 128MB of DDR2 RAM and the card now plugs into a PCI-E x1 slot. If you're new to Bigfoot's aftermarket NICs, the Killer cards work their mojo by using their own optimized network stack instead of the one built into Windows, and according to Bigfoot, you can expect up to 10x lower latencies versus an onboard NIC.
Reviews of the original have been mixed, with our own evaluation noting an "imperceptible ping reduction," though frame rates did go up anywhere from 3 to 10 percent when using the Killer NIC for online gaming. We've yet to test the new Killer 2100, so we'll reserve judgment until we do.
Bigfoot says the new card is "coming soon" with an MSRP set at $129.