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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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Not quite useless
By East17 on 3/23/2009 6:56:37 PM , Rating: 1
OK ... first of all , I hate bashing . I don't like the ones bashing , apple for delivering a nicer product with a REALLY different operating system and asking a 50% price premium for their products. That means that Ferrari should be bashed for asking a 300% price premium over the Corvette only for offering a different design. Come on people ... IT's CAPILISM we're linving in . Besides , the original Killer NIC really WAS improving the performance as shown in the AnandTech review / product evaluation . There WERE better results F.E.A.R., World of WarCraft, and Counter Strike: Source . With FEAR getting a 10% performance boost and WoW getting some nice 5% otherwise obtained only by buying an overclocked video card that's usualy exactly 50$ more expensive :) . Yes ... the price might apear high but it's smaller than the 249$ price point that was used 2 year ago . Much lower with, hopefully, better perfomance . The most important thing here is that THEY DO IMPROVE performance ... unlike Intel was doing with it's Pentium 4 @ 1,4 GHz back in 2001 when they had around 30 legal actions against them based on the fact that the P3 was getting better performance results than the Pentium 4. These guys don't lie .. they make some money and , hopefully, their product will bring more than 5% all round improvement . If not ... than they are doing the Intel / Willamete dance and getting paid very well for it by the fools stupid enough to buy before seing the benchmarks.

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007
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