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Print 67 comment(s) - last by Dactyl.. on Feb 22 at 8:17 AM

Bigfoot Networks launches its entry-level Killer K1 NPU

Users wanting a fancy network card but turned off by the high price tag of Bigfoot Networks’ KillerNIC M1 will be able to achieve networking bliss with the new lower priced Killer K1. The new affordable entry sheds the shiny heatsink and support for Flexible Network Architecture applications, or FNApps, to lower costs.

Shiny heatsink and FNApps support aside, the Killer K1 has a lower-clocked variant of Bigfoot Network’s network processing unit, also known as an NPU. The NPU found in the Killer K1 clocks at 333 MHz instead of the KillerNIC M1’s 400 MHz, how much of a performance difference 67 MHz makes is yet to be seen. Memory remains unchanged though, with 64 MB of DDR ram “to offer gamers a faster online gaming experience.”

Lag and Latency Reduction Technology remain supported on the Killer K1. "The new Killer K1 is exactly what they are asking for - LLR Technology at a price they can afford. Killer K1 offers the same great gaming performance of the Killer NIC and works with all games including popular titles like World of Warcraft and Battlefield 2,” said Harlan Beverly, co-founder and CEO of Bigfoot Networks.

While Bigfoot Networks’ FNApps are unsupported out of box, users wanting to take advantage of FNApps can purchase an upgrade. The upgrade costs $30 and enables FNApps support. Killer K1 owners can purchase the upgrade at anytime.

Specifications for the Killer K1 are as follows:
  • 10/100/1000 PCI Network Interface Card
  • 333 MHz Network Processing Unit
  • 64MB RAM
  • Full NIC functionality
The Killer K1 is only available from online retailers with an MSRP of $179.99; however, online retailers are offering the Killer K1 with a rebate to bring the price down to $149.99. Bigfoot Networks claims the Killer K1 will only be available for a limited time, so if you’re looking for another “gaming enhancing” peripheral to join your Ageia PhysX card, head over to your favorite online retailer before it sells out.


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Vista
By afkrotch on 2/15/2007 12:44:09 AM , Rating: 2
I personally want to see if Vista's new network stack renders this thing completely useless.




RE: Vista
By Hare on 2/15/2007 1:42:25 AM , Rating: 5
Forget Vista. Common sense already made this completely useless.

The first hop to a router takes <1ms. After that the KillerNic has absolutely no benefits. So if my generic realtek nic can achieve the same <1ms what good would the KillerNIC do? Nothing...

People say that the KillerNIC handles QoS. Great, so what? QoS is usually handled at the router. It doesn't matter if there's a local QoS on a computer unless one plans on running a few torrent apps while gaming and even then it's just easier to limit the bandwidth on the apps itself...


RE: Vista
By Dactyl on 2/15/07, Rating: -1
RE: Vista
By therealnickdanger on 2/15/2007 9:35:11 AM , Rating: 2
The only question is if that miniscule difference is worth $180 to you.


RE: Vista
By jtesoro on 2/15/2007 11:45:04 AM , Rating: 5
All of you are just jealous of people who get a tremendous benefit from using KillerNIC. Specially those of us who also use Monster Cable for all our LAN wiring. It makes everything so much faster. I'm sure of it. Really. I mean really sure.


RE: Vista
By nordicpc on 2/16/07, Rating: 0
RE: Vista
By cgrecu77 on 2/16/2007 12:30:28 PM , Rating: 4
he so obviously is ...


RE: Vista
By mindless1 on 2/16/2007 8:42:11 PM , Rating: 2
If you send me your KillerNic, I'll do the Gold plated teflon pimpshnitz mod to it for a mere $195 more.


RE: Vista
By Aikouka on 2/15/2007 9:50:37 AM , Rating: 2
But World of Warcraft is a fairly memory and cpu intensive game, so you'll more than likely see a decent increase from simply over-clocking. Given decent components, over-clocking is free ;).


RE: Vista
By Dactyl on 2/22/2007 8:17:15 AM , Rating: 2
This is what I got crucified for saying:
quote:
Common sense is worthless next to empirical evidence.

And empirical evidence says: some games benefit by a few FPS, especially World of Warcraft. Other games show no boost at all.
What I said is 100% true. Here's the proof:

EVERY SINGLE HARDWARE SITE that has tested the KillerNIC card with World of Warcraft had a better play experience compared to using the motherboard's built-in NIC.

EVERY SINGLE ONE that I can find through a Google search, and from the list on BFG's site. Here is the list. (there are zero BigFoot networks press releases in this list; all of these are, as best as I can tell, independent reviews)

AnandTech has a review with facts and figures
http://www.anandtech.com/showdoc.aspx?i=2865&p=9
quote:
We see about a 4% increase over our other products in frame rates. . . .
Ping rates did improve by up to 7% (host system improvements and server variables) and this is where we did notice a difference in game play during the busy test sessions on Friday and Saturday nights. When our area was full of players we did notice smoother game play at times with the Killer NIC.


Gerry Block of IGN has a subjective review
http://gear.ign.com/articles/729/729733p2.html
quote:
Other games, especially World of Warcraft, seem to benefit in both ping and fps.


HardOCP conducts a BLIND TEST
http://enthusiast.hardocp.com/article.html?art=MTI...
quote:
Thomas was able to identify which session of his was powered with the Killer NIC rather easily. Like our FEAR player, Thomas noted that the overall gameplay was smoother when comparing between sessions. One place specific that Thomas visited was Iron Forge. He noted that it was “lag city” most of the time as it was with his non-Killer session in testing. He explained that his experience with the Killer NIC in Iron Forge was very smooth and “lag free.”


PC Perspective Review - includes objective statistics
http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid=338&type=expe...
quote:
Not only did the frame rate increase dramatically, but the ping rate was also significantly lower; 20% to be exact. With a big increase in frame rate and much lower latency, he was definitely disappointed when I took the card back.


MMORPG.COM Review - with objective figures
http://www.mmorpg.com/showFeature.cfm/loadFeature/...
quote:
With the Killer NIC installed, it doesn't slow down very much at all. Whereas on my PC it smoothed it out noticeably, on her PC it sped things up very noticeably. . . .
Wow! Over a 10 FPS increase just by installing the Killer NIC. It is starting to look like it really makes a difference on older systems playing MMORPG games.


What you are saying is, no matter how much evidence I produce from trusted sources like HardOCP and AnandTech, I will always be wrong because you feel like I should be wrong. That's not common sense, that's common stupidity. That's what Steven Colbert calls "truthiness"

I've been saying the same thing since day one:
http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=4112&...
quote:
What I want to know is:

Does it do what it promises? Does it lower your ping by a meaningful amount, and/or increase your FPS?

The fact that Bigfoot has not sent its card out to be tested by many independent sources is a very good reason to be suspicious (like a movie studio not sending out a bad movie to critics before it launches). I certainly wouldn't recommend running out and buying one quite yet.

We'll find out soon enough how much of a performance boost (if any) it gives for online gaming. Until then, saying anything else (good or bad) about the card is mere speculation.


Disclaimer that should be obvious: just because KillerNIC improves performance at WoW doesn't mean you should buy one. Depending on your setup, you might get better performance by upgrading a graphics card or CPU, or adding 1GB of RAM. I'm not telling anyone to buy one of these cards. I don't work for BFG or anyone else.

You pissed on my opinion, and you pissed on the scientific method. That's why I'm fighting back with this post. Which includes links to reviews that BFG doesn't include on its web site, presumably because BFG doesn't want you to see them. I'm not a shill. I'm just an angry sonofabitch who doesn't like being called a crank.


RE: Vista
By AstroCreep on 2/15/2007 1:49:14 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
...So if my generic realtek nic can achieve the same <1ms what good would the KillerNIC do?

Well, the regular one has the FNApps functionality, which (on paper) sounds very cool, but there is no real support for it yet. Now this cheaper model doesn't even include FNApps support.

So yeah, not much more. :( Hell, even if my on-board NIC were to die I can get an Intel Gb NIC these days for about $20...


at least it doesn't look like crap anymore...
By bunnyfubbles on 2/15/2007 4:40:11 AM , Rating: 1
You have to admit, getting rid of the queer heatsink is a plus.

Now if they could only find a way to chop off another $100, they might actually have a chance.




By Techiedude37 on 2/15/2007 8:26:51 AM , Rating: 3
They can drop the price to five bucks, unless they fixed the card and it's drivers nobody is going to buy it. I evaluated one back in December. The very popular A8N32SLI-Deluxe motherboard from ASUS had no idea I had plugged it in. I tried multiple PCI slots with and without other devices, nothing got it to recognize the card. Once the driver was manually loaded the card came up, but would disappear after a reboot.
I sent the card right back and never offered it on our systems.
Garbage is garbage, no matter what it costs.


RE: at least it doesn't look like crap anymore...
By EODetroit on 2/15/07, Rating: -1
By Polynikes on 2/15/2007 10:44:40 AM , Rating: 2
Using this NIC to be "more competetive" in gaming is like using steroids in baseball. It's a stupid waste of money for a very minimal gain.

I can pretty much guarantee that if two people with the exact same system specs and network capabilities were playing WoW in a PvP setting, but one of them had the killer nic, he/she would have no advantage whatsoever. Perhaps in an FPS those couple frames or slightly better ping would matter, but even then, I doubt it would make a significant difference.


RE: at least it doesn't look like crap anymore...
By EODetroit on 2/15/2007 3:53:46 PM , Rating: 3
The Anandtech review was the best review anyone has bothered to do on it. If you don't understand how the KillerNic works, I suggest you read it. All your network certs doesn't mean your comment amounts to a hill of beans if you haven't even read the review on the very site you're commenting on (well I suppose DailyTech and AnandTech aren't technically the same).

To sum up:
It improves pings by removing latency on your own computer associated with the windows network stack. This also off-loads network-related duties from the CPU, thus freeing CPU time for other activities, like the game you're playing. Obviously, the game would have to be network-bound and/or CPU bound for any of this to have a noticable effect. WoW and FEAR, according to Anandtech, happen to be two of those games where the effect was noticeable. Read the damn review.

If you have a low end rig, your $150 are better spent on hardware upgrades, not a KillerNic (but you would notice a big improvement, just not as big as if you got a better video card, for example). If you have a high end rig, you're unlikely to notice the improvement caused by the KillerNic. Somewhere in between, the KillerNic might make sense for some people.


RE: at least it doesn't look like crap anymore...
By Sunner on 2/16/2007 3:13:44 AM , Rating: 3
[q]It improves pings by removing latency on your own computer associated with the windows network stack. This also off-loads network-related duties from the CPU, thus freeing CPU time for other activities, like the game you're playing. Obviously, the game would have to be network-bound and/or CPU bound for any of this to have a noticable effect. WoW and FEAR, according to Anandtech, happen to be two of those games where the effect was noticeable. Read the damn review.[/q]

Windows network stack?
Please, how much time do you think a packet will spend in there before taking that 100+ MS roundtrip outside your computer?
I have a 450 MHz P-II acting as a firewall, it handles stateful inspection of 100 Mbit worth of traffic just fine.
Granted, it's running OpenBSD rather than Windows, but I can't imagine the Windows stack sucking so much that it'd need a TCP offloader just to manage the measly amounts of traffic from WoW without increasing latency by any noticeable amount.

What's funny is that the KillerNIC doesn't show jack in anything other than the games they've mentioned, and even there the gains are minimal at best.
Reminds me of the good ole times when nVidia and ATi would take turns in coming out with driver hacks for certain games, claiming they had done something revolutionary, but in practice testing it with another game showed nothing at all.

Maybe if I wanted a fancy looking collectors weapon, I'd buy a KillerNIC and peel the heatsink off, but for use in a computer? No thanks.


By rushfan2006 on 2/16/2007 9:19:02 AM , Rating: 2
Well said...and that's the problem - people don't understand how networking works so they go "yeah this card has to rock....its a KILLERNic after all and the company says so...".



By rushfan2006 on 2/16/2007 9:15:39 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
The Anandtech review was the best review anyone has bothered to do on it. If you don't understand how the KillerNic works, I suggest you read it. All your network certs doesn't mean your comment amounts to a hill of beans if you haven't even read the review on the very site you're commenting on (well I suppose DailyTech and AnandTech aren't technically the same).


Actually I did read the article, secondly I try not to ever rely on one source of information. When you go that route you are setting yourself up to be scammed, swindled and mis-informed because you are in effect putting one source above all others. Anandtech is a great site - else why would I visit it? The holy grail of information though, it is not. I suppose you get your non tech-news from one channel too and whatever they spin is consumed by you as fact and nothing but?

quote:
It improves pings by removing latency on your own computer associated with the windows network stack. This also off-loads network-related duties from the CPU, thus freeing CPU time for other activities, like the game you're playing. Obviously, the game would have to be network-bound and/or CPU bound for any of this to have a noticable effect. WoW and FEAR, according to Anandtech, happen to be two of those games where the effect was noticeable. Read the damn review.


I love this particular part of your post because you are proving and validating my own point and you don't even understand it. Which is, re-instated in simplified terms, if a product is going to cost as much as the KillerNIC does it better be damn well showing significant positive results in EVERY application of its advertised use (in this case games). The KillerNIC fails to live up to this claim. This isn't me responding in spite, it is fact. You give a tone of my network experience as meaning nothing, then you even go "read the damn article"...Well sir, read my damn post again. Because obviously it beamed right over your head to which I was stating..then in your attempt to slam me because you dropped the cash on this product and you'd feel silly if it didn't do anything...you wind up validating my own post.

Bottomline - it is a gimmick product. Any gains, regardless of your high and vaulted view of Anandtech, are not major at all. And as stated prior -- only seem to benefit certain titles. For $50, maybe $85 tops I wouldn't be so hard on this product...for $200 or more...you are damn right I'll be critical.









RE: at least it doesn't look like crap anymore...
By EODetroit on 2/16/2007 9:27:03 AM , Rating: 3
That's bull and you know it. You just quoted pieces of what I posted and misconstrued it to (attempt) to win a debate on the internet. Just like you ignore the Anandtech analysis of how the KillerNic works. Not even talking about the real noticible benefit, but the theory of how its supposed to work, which every reasonable human should be able to agree on.

I stated the theory of how it works... that doesn't prove any of your points. Its just the facts. Then I go on to describe how most people should NOT buy it. Because in fact I DON'T feel the need to prop up something I bought (as I previuosly stated). But you don't quote any of that because winning on DailyTech is more important than real discussion.

Oh and in the event that you were to go and read other reviews of the KillerNic, they are all MORE glowing than the Anandtech review. Anandtech seems to have been their harshest critic, and they say that there is definately improvement in games like WoW and FEAR. Despite your network certs which tell you that it can't possibly do anything, in fact it does.


By mindless1 on 2/16/2007 9:17:39 PM , Rating: 2
The product is a joke, the last thing anyone needs to have since the price puts it beyond any practical gain in any system it'd be placed in, relative to all the more common gaming enhancements.

If you're claiming your box could do 154 FPS instead of 151, I think you have missed the point. If that insignificant gain matters to you, go around your house and tweak every clock, can-opener, etc you have- it won't be but a waste of time and money.


64Mb of DDR ram?
By nurbsenvi on 2/15/2007 6:17:42 AM , Rating: 2
Now, are all those rams actually have some use or is it just there to make the card look good?

Maybe they just wired all these rams to warm up your room...

Seriously, what the hell do they store in those rams?




RE: 64Mb of DDR ram?
By erwos on 2/15/2007 8:17:54 AM , Rating: 2
There's a full-blown Linux OS running on the card.

This thing really does have a lot of potential for writing custom net-apps. I have no idea why people are so eager to slam this thing.

One FNA they've got up on their site that might appeal to folks is the BT client. Run it on your card, and you can download straight to a USB drive connected to the KillerNIC. No load on your desktop whatsoever. Another FNA they've suggested (but isn't out yet) is a web-based file sharing application.

The KillerNIC is extremely over-priced as a network card, and its benefits for gaming are exaggerated. It's actually pretty reasonable for an embedded Linux card, especially with the specs given. People just need to rethink how they view this card.


RE: 64Mb of DDR ram?
By BladeVenom on 2/15/2007 9:34:39 AM , Rating: 3
No, they need to rethink how they market it.


RE: 64Mb of DDR ram?
By bottle23 on 2/15/2007 9:43:48 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly.

95% of the people around here won't exploit the Linux potential of this solution to begin with! That's why they slam it.

They're pushing out a product that would make a killing in the open community.


RE: 64Mb of DDR ram?
By Hare on 2/15/2007 1:44:21 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah sure it uses linux but why on earth would anyone buy this instead of a decent router such as Buffalo WHR-G54 (or an Asus if you want a HD) that also runs linux and all sorts of apps already (check out DD-WRT or open-wrt). I'm using one currently and it's handling my QoS and samba-shares among other things.

Why buy an expensive card when you can get a 50$ router that is stand-alone and the support already exists!


RE: 64Mb of DDR ram?
By bottle23 on 2/15/2007 6:18:24 PM , Rating: 2
How much bandwidth can a router handle before it becomes a bottleneck?

That's the point of such NPU powered NICs. There is no way a $50 router is able to handle 1 Gbps+ speed. At best, the more expensive ones for the home user can cover up to 120 Mbps.

Run some tests on a couple of routers for the home user market and you'll see what I mean.


RE: 64Mb of DDR ram?
By sdifox on 2/16/2007 4:55:48 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
by bottle23 on February 15, 2007 at 6:18 PM

How much bandwidth can a router handle before it becomes a bottleneck?

That's the point of such NPU powered NICs. There is no way a $50 router is able to handle 1 Gbps+ speed. At best, the more expensive ones for the home user can cover up to 120 Mbps.

Run some tests on a couple of routers for the home user market and you'll see what I mean.


Err, how many people do you know has gigabit pipe to their premise. Hell, there isn't even that many gigabit link to corporations. Just buy a quality gigabit NIC and you are set. Hell, for that price you can get a quality nic and router.


Making Difference
By Uncle C on 2/15/2007 12:30:34 AM , Rating: 2
To some people an extra few frames per second is worth the 200 or more dollars. I just wish I was one of them.




RE: Making Difference
By Grumpy1 on 2/15/2007 12:36:12 AM , Rating: 3
Money shredder. Did you say money shredder!!!


RE: Making Difference
By Armorize on 2/15/2007 12:48:09 AM , Rating: 5
for only 10* payments of 99.95 you too can have a money shredder. Tired of all that money lying around the house, then look no further! it slices and dices, and even makes little snowflakes out of that extra cash. dont wait call today!

*amount of payments is subject to change.

and coming soon the change shooter!


RE: Making Difference
By Spartan Niner on 2/15/07, Rating: -1
Easy alternative
By JackPack on 2/15/2007 12:56:33 AM , Rating: 2
How 'bout I just mail a $179.99 donation to Bigfoot Networks?




RE: Easy alternative
By Armorize on 2/15/2007 2:09:36 AM , Rating: 2
naw just buy my money shredder instead =P


RE: Easy alternative
By Senju on 2/15/2007 3:40:30 AM , Rating: 2
Hey! Where can I buy your money shredder? That sound really cool! :D


RE: Easy alternative
By Hexxx on 2/15/2007 8:58:41 AM , Rating: 3
Only available as a bundled extra with the PhysX P1 or Killer NIC K1.


Gimmicks are fun
By joetokyo on 2/15/2007 10:22:17 AM , Rating: 2
Even the reviews linked from the killer nic site are pretty bad. They are stretching for any validation by linking poor reviews... and only 3 or 4 reviews at that.

This NIC probably only helps WOW performance if you have a low end or troubled system that WOW maxes out. Your $200 would then be better spent on a more high-end system.

Anyway, I bet some folks will still buy it, but never admit it.




RE: Gimmicks are fun
By FightingChance on 2/15/2007 11:10:29 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly, for that amount of money you could get some far more beneficial RAM or a better video card, instead of this snake oil.

Seriously, killer NIC? Please. Reminds me of the Turbonator for cars, a plastic fan blade assembly that snaps into the air intake hose of a car in an attempt to spin the air into a vortex. While this would be beneficial if the spun air actually got into the cylinder chamber that way, it can't because the air hits the throttlebody and intake manifold first, undoing any kind of air 'shaping'. But the product keeps on going, thanks to people and their blind obedience. "It's so logical, it must work!"


RE: Gimmicks are fun
By goinginstyle on 2/15/2007 11:12:27 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Even the reviews linked from the killer nic site are pretty bad. They are stretching for any validation by linking poor reviews... and only 3 or 4 reviews at that.


Wait a minute, that Editor's Choice award from HoCP had to validate the card. Kyle "visited" their offices and observed two employees testing identical systems except for the network cards installed. He then poured (maybe a few beers also) over reams of test data that proved beyond a doubt the card was working.
In the second test they brought in several gamers and tested in BigFoot's offices on machines that were "equal". He again observed the game play from shoulder height and asked pointed questions to the test subjects who were "feeling" the difference or maybe just wanted to get it over with and eat.
He then declares the card might actually lower pings and marginally improve fps rates in certain games but actual benchmarks are useless,you need to "feel" the difference. No telling what was being felt at that point but this review should be enough info and proof needed to blindly run out and buy the card. Not....will wait on AT or TechReport to see how they "feel" about it with actual benchmarks.


RE: Gimmicks are fun
By VooDooAddict on 2/15/2007 1:48:11 PM , Rating: 2
Now you got me started on the H .... I'll keep it short.

I see what they are trying to do in their reviews and I see some value in it. Their reviews alone though wouldn't help me make a product recommendation or purchase.


Yet to be "scene" ?
By bobsmith1492 on 2/15/2007 12:13:57 AM , Rating: 2
Spelling nazi strikes again!




RE: Yet to be "scene" ?
By Armorize on 2/15/2007 12:18:21 AM , Rating: 4
I sawed that two =P


shooting blanks
By Armorize on 2/15/2007 12:17:18 AM , Rating: 4
...seriously... who would buy this thing? If this thing cost like $20 bucks I might look at it, but cmon... how much of an increase can you get 1-5 fps and ping differance? I hope everyone wants to buy my money shredder just as much =P.




RE: shooting blanks
By Spartan Niner on 2/15/2007 12:30:33 AM , Rating: 1
Psst... I'll sell you a Ageia PhysX card for only $149.99* with that fancy new Killer network card. It'll increase your FPS and add gobs of physics to all your games!**

*Price is after $100 MIR, and is thru TigerDirect.
**Supported on a whopping 3 games!

;)


RE: shooting blanks
By Visk on 2/15/2007 1:39:51 AM , Rating: 1
IT'S GOT A USB PORT!


LoL
By medavid16 on 2/15/2007 11:13:28 AM , Rating: 2
Some of you are too generous.

Let's face it, it's junk, but we want to believe it's not. As some have already pointed out, the Vista stack should render this thing close to useless.

Secondly, with chipsets like the 680i/590i, which I've been enjoying for the last couple months, with DUAL-LAN, you can easily configure the settings to give you performance > this card. And as costs go down, other chipsets are sure to follow, really making this thing obselete... if it isn't already.




RE: LoL
By Mitch101 on 2/15/2007 12:01:25 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed

I read that were about to start seeing 10GB network speed in the home being afforable soon. Not sure who needs it but Im sure I would find a use for it.


RE: LoL
By SmokeRngs on 2/16/2007 10:27:47 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Let's face it, it's junk, but we want to believe it's not.


It's junk? Do you realize that this card is actually nothing new? NICs like this have been around for a long while now. However, you didn't see them in the consumer market as they have been used almost exclusively in the enterprise market.

What Bigfoot Networks has done is brought this card to the consumer marketplace.

I'm not telling anyone to go out and buy this card. I don't care if you own none or a hundred of them. I don't like seeing it being called junk by people that have no clue what it actually is. The price is way too high for most people considering the small improvements it lends in gaming and other consumer oriented tasks.

However, if the apps ever take hold and the price drops, I could see this card as very beneficial. Personally, I would love to get my hands on one but I'm not spending that kind of money on an NIC with minimal current benefits.


By pillagenburn on 2/15/2007 2:25:55 PM , Rating: 2
the train of thought governing the purchase of this card is the same thinking that governs the purchase of Corsair x1231029401294 MHz DDR2 SDRAM for some $500+.

It just doesn't make a damn bit of difference for the most part. The $150-200 DDR2 800 or 900 or even 1000 can and will do 99% of the job the $500+ crap does.

Just like a $20 or on-board NIC will do 99% (or even 100%) of what this NIC does...

just use some common sense people




By mrteddyears on 2/16/2007 6:12:29 AM , Rating: 2
Death to net processors long live software stacks :-)


By highlandsun on 2/17/2007 6:34:07 AM , Rating: 2
I've seen smart NICs come and go at least twice already. Back in the original days of Ethernet, when CPUs only ran at around 5-12MHz, and handling packet interrupts would eat up all your CPU cycles, companies like Excelan came out with smart NICs that could do the full IP stack in hardware. In those days 100KB/sec was considered good throughput for a TCP stack, and with an Excelan card you could get 250KB/sec.

The thing is, CPUs got faster, but those NICs didn't. Back in '91 when I was at JPL I had a couple computers with these smart NICs in them, chugging away at 250KB/sec. But simply by optimizing my kernel's TCP stack (adding Van Jacobsen's TCP Header Prediction logic, among other things) I could get 500KB/sec driving the card directly with a 12.5MHz CPU, disabling the NIC's own CPU. A year after that we got a new supercomputer system in, with the next generation of smart NICs, and they were only delivering 600KB/sec throughput. The vendors thought that was great, but again, just using my tuned TCP driver and disabling the NIC's own processor we got a full megabyte/sec throughput on plain ethernet.

The same thing happened again with FDDI, 100Mb ethernet, and a bunch of other network technologies that have come and gone, and I've written better drivers for all of these than any hardware vendor has ever built into their firmware.

It's sad, because the concept is good - use a smart NIC to offload the work, and that means the main CPU has to field a lot fewer interrupts than otherwise. And yes, handling interrupts in the main CPU *is* a relatively expensive task. But these guys have two completely opposing constraints at work - they want an embedded processor smart enough to drive a complete network stack, but they want it to be as cheap as possible. Invariably that means a NIC with just barely enough onboard CPU to reach the target interface speed, and hardly enough on-board firmware for a really competent network stack implementation.

Maybe the KillerNIC is different, and it actually has enough onboard smarts to deliver 100% of available network bandwidth and still have cycles and memory to spare for user-defined applications. If it can actually do that, then they should be selling into the HPC crowd, there's way more buyers there accustomed to these price tags than in the gaming world.

But my past experience forces me to be skeptical...


By bigfootemp on 2/16/2007 11:34:43 AM , Rating: 2
Hey Gang,

We love the debate on the forum, and I thought I would chime in. I am a Bigfoot Networks employee, and had a few things to say because I feel like there is a lot of misunderstanding on this board.

First of all, the Killer NIC is not like any other Gigabit NIC out there. It has a processor and memory on it, and is designed to get data to your game as fast as possible once it hits your computer. Killer completely replaces the Windows Networking Stack with a hardware implementation, which allows it to get data to the game faster and more directly. Getting data to the game more quickly means data can get incorporated into the game up to several frames ahead of what users normally experience.

What does this mean for gamers? Well, Killer frees up a small amount of CPU cycles because your CPU doesn't have to do networking anymore, and these cycles become critical when you need the CPU power the most -- i.e. -- when bombs are rocking your world in BF2 or when you are raiding Molten Core.

In regards to the AnandTech review, we actually consider it a positive review performance-wise because Gary saw measurable and more importantly -- noticable -- improvement in FEAR, WoW, and Counter Strike. Even the blind test he did on a kid using a dual core PC worked...the kid came out and asked what was going on because WoW was playing a lot faster. In the end, I think Gary didn't like the price and the drivers (he had an unistall problem). That was 5 months ago, the drivers are super stable now and the price is a $100 cheaper. The rest of the reviews have been great and can be found at: http://www.killernic.com/KillerNic/KillerNewsRevie...

We hope you give it a chance, and are confident if you do you will like it.

I am here if you have any questions.

Robert




By lro2 on 2/16/2007 4:51:35 PM , Rating: 2
OK, I'll bite.

Can you tell me which NIC doesn't have a processor and memory on it?
(I guess it depends on how you define "processor" and "memory". ) But for me, a thingy like this http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9e...
contains both.


Can I disable all TCP/IP, winsock etc. etc. bindings from lets say Windows XP to your NIC? What if i delete the files? I guess they are no longer needed, because your NIC completely replaces them.

How exactly is your NIC "game aware"? What if I change the game name from "quake2.exe" to "quack.exe", does the NIC still understand that I'm in a rush the get the much needed head shots? Can I see any sample code from your implementation, if such a wonderful thing exists?

This chapter about the CPU not doing any networking any more gets me excited.. It just sounds so exciting!

So with your NIC my cpu is free from all the nasty things NICs generally want, which is cpu time (comprised from dma, irq, disk and memory access). That's sweet. How did you implement that?

Looking forward for your reply,
sincerely,
WebANoob


By bigfootemp on 2/18/2007 3:27:52 PM , Rating: 2
Hey Iro2,

No other consumer network card that I am aware of has a high performance processor on it with 64 MB of ram. Maybe I am wrong...

I am not a developer of the card, and if I were I probably couldn't say how it worked exactly. But, online games use the UDP protocol, which is what Killer focuses on accelerating.

Glad you are so excited :)


limited time only indeed
By mforce on 2/15/2007 5:54:56 AM , Rating: 3
Now at first I was surprised that this is being offered as a limited time only thing. I've thought about it a bit and now I know why. It's simple actually , the company that makes it, Bigfoot Networks, won't be around for much longer cause they'll go bankrupt soon if they keep this up.
So better hurry and get yours today.
P.S. : I hear Transmeta is hiring so maybe that's where Bigfoot Networks employees can go. :) . Unfortunately that's what having a lousy idea gets you.




RE: limited time only indeed
By MrBungle123 on 2/15/2007 12:44:00 PM , Rating: 2
ROFLMAO!


I wonder....
By SpaceRanger on 2/15/2007 9:43:12 AM , Rating: 1
How much DT was paid to put this ad up for BN..




RE: I wonder....
By theprodigalrebel on 2/15/2007 9:51:59 AM , Rating: 2
Dailytech carries press releases for every popular product launch in the tech industry. This is no different. This is not an Anandtech Review where they are giving it an Editor's Choice Award.

Press Release for a Product Launch != Review


RE: I wonder....
By SpaceRanger on 2/15/2007 1:18:46 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Bigfoot Networks claims the Killer K1 will only be available for a limited time, so if you’re looking for another “gaming enhancing” peripheral to join your Ageia PhysX card, head over to your favorite online retailer before it sells out.


Sorry.. That is not Press Release material. That's an AD...


RE: I wonder....
By Cincybeck on 2/15/2007 9:17:25 PM , Rating: 1
An AD with a very sarcastic tone to it?

"to join your Ageia PhysX card"
-Every one knows the card was a flop and only people who bought into the hype of the PhysX card would also buy into the hype of the KillerNIC. Laymen terms, they're downing it like vigilante school kids picking on the fat kid at recess time.

"head over to you favorite online retailer before it sells out."
-Again, there's no chance of this thing selling out, so they're downing it again.

I mean come on how dense to you have to be not to pick up on great humor such as that.


PCI
By Pessimism on 2/15/2007 8:49:45 AM , Rating: 2
I REFUSE to purchase another PCI based add on card. When are manufacturers going to clue in and start making PCI-E peripherals? What is it going to take? I'll take this opportunity to bash Creative for being late with their PCI-E X-Fi also.




RE: PCI
By cochy on 2/15/2007 10:14:18 AM , Rating: 2
Especially since pci's limited bandwidth shouldn't help push 1000mb/s ethernet.


best line ever
By lufoxe on 2/15/2007 8:55:15 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
so if you’re looking for another “gaming enhancing” peripheral to join your Ageia PhysX card, head over to your favorite online retailer before it sells out.

'nuff said




When I think about it is sad.
By Mitch101 on 2/15/2007 12:04:00 PM , Rating: 2
If anything positive can be said here about the product is at least someone is looking at alternative items possibly providing a boost to pc performance even if its limited to only a few items.




By VooDooAddict on 2/15/2007 1:55:44 PM , Rating: 2
I've said it before I respect what they are doing ... but they aren't going to achieve impressive gains a good NIC used to.

If you are worried about your onboard NIC causing any lag issues from poor drivers/chipset ... just snag yourself an Intel gigabit ethernet NIC.

The drivers will be solid.




By thinairbikes on 2/17/2007 10:16:50 AM , Rating: 2
I'd definately be all over the tried and true Intel NIC, if I wanted more performance, I'd just get an Intel server NIC.




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