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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: Waste of money
By Ryanman on 3/24/2009 9:24:51 AM , Rating: 1
The NIC actually does work... in certain conditions.
A number of reputable review sites have shown decent framerate increases. It's the same as getting a higher-tier videocard/processor or (in the old days) a sound card.

But, as a lot of people have pointed out, you pretty much have to be hooked up to your cable modem directly with no router to see ping drop at all. How many people are still on wired connections with only one computer is debateable.

Not saying it's a great deal, far from it. But it's an add on card that does more than the Physx ones ever did. And god knows Alienware somehow pushes these parts to their consumers in decent volumes.

RE: Waste of money
By SSDMaster on 3/24/2009 10:03:56 AM , Rating: 2
lol that's silly.
Your router is just another hop.
I have my Router running DDWRT and I bridged it with my other router. So I've got a wireless connection that's rather stable, hooked up to my router, cable modem, INTERNET.

And I still get a measurable ping drop. Its not really all about ping though. Getting around Microsoft's networking stack is where you see the better networking performance. That's also the only reason FPS is increased. It takes less cycles for the packets to be injected into the code (using bigfoots terminology don't shoot me).

RE: Waste of money
By Ryanman on 3/25/2009 12:33:01 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed, however I've seen a couple reviews where "in" ping increased, thanks to hardware offloading.

I'm saying the card's a wired one.... if you're using a wifi card, how could the hardware do anything except bypass the Windows stack? You'd have to have a wired connection, directly to your modem, to see if the hardware did anything more for you. Which is basically what I said above : )

"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins
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