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Bigfoot Networks Xeno Pro  (Source: Bigfoot Networks)
Bigfoot Networks is back with new network card for gamers

There are a myriad of different products that are aimed at the PC gamer from computer mice to keyboards and headphones; if you can think of a peripheral there is probably a version for the gamer.

Back in 2006 when Bigfoot Networks first announced a network card for gamers called the Killer NIC, the product was viewed with a very skeptical eye by most gamers. Exactly how a network card could improve the gaming experience was a question of debate.

Bigfoot Networks has announced a new second-generation network card for gamers. The new network card is called the Killer Xeno and will be first distributed by Alienware and EVGA. Alienware will bundle the network card into some of its high-end gaming desktops while EVGA will sell the card as an add-in product for compatible systems.

The Xeno offers more memory, an updated network processing unit, and integrated audio hardware for accelerated voice-chat. The voice hardware promises to allow gamers to use chat applications in game without the frequent stuttering and other issues with voice quality.

Killer Networks says that Alienware will be the first PC maker to offer the Killer Xeno Pro card as an exclusive option. Alienware's Frank Azor said in a statement, "The worldwide online gaming market is rapidly growing, and with more gaming customers come more customer requests, demands and needs. Alienware works to stay ahead of the curve and Bigfoot Networks helps us do this. The Bigfoot Networks' Killer Xeno gives us the proven technology needed to guarantee customers' ultimate online gaming experience."

EVGA has the exclusive rights to distribute the Killer Xeno as an add-in card under the EVGA brand. EVGA's Andrew Han Said, "EVGA, from the beginning, has embraced intelligent innovation and leadership within our product philosophy. By partnering with Bigfoot Networks, EVGA can now offer the Killer Xeno Pro to members of the VGA community. In particular, this new product will greatly improve the immersive experience and competitive edge for online gamers. Addressing our customers' real-time networking needs and empowering them with new products is made possible with Bigfoot's Killer Xeno technology."

The Killer Xeno cards fit into PCIe slots on the mainboard and the integrated network processing unit claims to ensure the delivery of time-sensitive data like game control and VoIP packets. The device bypasses the Windows network stack for direct to game interrupts. The Ultra model has 256MB of RAM onboard and the Pro model has 128MB of RAM to enable firewall, chat, and bandwidth control to run simultaneously.

The product prioritizes network traffic for each application by setting bandwidth priorities and limits with a simple interface. The Xeno Ultra has a customizable LED display for caller ID, network statistics, and game information. Users can also program custom messages to give their gaming rig a bit more bling.

The Killer Xeno Pro will be available from Alienware and EVGA for $129.99 in April 2009. The Killer Xeno Ultra will ship in May from other leading partners for $179.99.



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RE: Interesting concept, but
By chizow on 3/23/2009 3:40:48 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
They might be willing to pay for a SoundBlaster, but will they pay over $100 for a NIC?


That's just the thing, paying for a $100 SoundBlaster does yield a tangible benefit in sound quality and positional effects, particular in games. From what little I've researched on these Killer NICs there's been no conclusive tests or benches that show any benefit over standard onboard gigabit ethernet. I'd love to see a comprehensive review that shows any benefit but again, they just don't exist.


RE: Interesting concept, but
By warrioryoko on 3/23/2009 5:06:53 PM , Rating: 2
http://www.anandtech.com/showdoc.aspx?i=2865

There we go, fixed that for you.

The first version of the card does consistently boost performance. By an average of 10% or so. I'm more interested
in the idea, that we move to creating hardware that picks up different processes like network traffic and handles it on its own, instead of relying on the OS, user settings, etc. to handle it.

I don't even come close to asserting it's worth $100, or more, for that extra performance. I agree that manually changing your OS and Network/Router settings will improve your performance more than use of the card will. Also that if you are SERIOUSLY that hard pressed for a few less ms in latency, you're much better off BUYING A FASTER CONNECTION.

It's a nice idea, and works to an extent - and I feel the concept they're working under is more important than the role or performance of their hardware itself, that of hardware specialization for specific tasks.

But it's not worth the current cost.

And if you buy Alienware, Dell XPS, or Falcon Northwest systems, you're likely ignorant of these points, and are likely commited to overspending so much that you wouldn't feel the extra hit from one of these cards to your wallet.


"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive

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