Bigfoot Networks Killer NIC & Killer K1 Network Cards



Without a doubt the Killer NIC is one of the most technologically advanced network cards I'll ever lay my hands on. Bigfoot Networks have clearly put a lot of time and research into the Killer NIC and have gone to extraordinary lengths to bypass the bottlenecks found in the Windows networking stack. In addition to this, the FNA architecture allows developers to make use of the Killer NIC's platform - undoubtedly increasing the cards appeal as new and innovative applications are released in the future.

However, the results from our tests proved to be less than compelling and I can honestly say that if I'd purchased this card with a view to improving my FPS and ping, I'd be disappointed. It is quite possible that our test machine and server set-up left little room for any achievable improvement by the card, but it is my opinion that the user group with the largest interest in the Killer NIC is going to be people that are already running top-spec systems. For anyone running a lower spec'd PC, the results will most likely be much more noticable, but at ~$180 for the baseline Killer K1 card, surely wouldn't these people be better investing in an extra 1gb ram or a new graphics card?

Another factor to take into consideration is that the Killer NIC's results do seem to be largely dependant on the game played. Whilst Overclock3D is primarily an FPS (First-Person Shooter) community and our testing reflects this, lots of people are reporting that the Killer NIC really shines when used with MMO games like World Of Warcraft.

On another note, I would be interested to see how the Killer NIC performs inside one of the Overclock3D game servers. With a large percentage of it's traffic being UDP based, maybe the card would be better suited to this kind of environment and could actually help reduce the ping of all players on the server. If we get an opportunity to perform this test any time in the near future, we'll be sure to update this review.

• The best looking NIC the world has ever seen!
• A good idea with plenty of future potential.
• Reported to produce best results with MMO games on lower spec systems.

• Expensive
• Little or no gain on high-end PC's in FPS games.
• ~$180 could buy a more worthwhile upgrade.
• Didn't play nicely with our Windows 2003 x64 system.

Innovation Award

Thanks to Bigfoot Networks for making this review possible.

Manufacturer Response

In order for all reviews to remain fair and accurate, Overclock3D allows every manufacturer 24 hours to respond to any comments or issues brought up during the review. Bigfoot Networks have taken this opportunity to highlight the following points:

1) We are glad you saw the smoother and lower Pings and the significant frame rate improvement on F.E.A.R. and CounterStrike. We believe you would have seen even more noticeable improvement had the testing been done on maps where other players were playing too. Killer is designed to give you that extra performance edge you need when the explosions are going off and the bullets are flying all around you. Those are the precise moments where you can’t afford to lose your CPU due to networking or to have a latency spike, and Killer helps in both cases.

2) In regards to your x64 experience, we only support Windows XP and Vista so it is no surprise that you experienced trouble on Windows 2003. We support both 32 and 64 bit versions of Windows XP and Vista.

3) There is a significant feature of Killer that was not tested as part of this review, and we would love it if you had the time to take a look at it and incorporate it into this article. The feature is our hardware offloaded torrent downloader, called FN Torrent. This program consists of an easy-to-use Windows application that works with a torrent client that runs on Killer’s Flexible Network Architecture. The idea is that you plug a USB thumb drive or hard drive to the back of Killer, and then when you run FN Torrent you can download an unlimited number of torrents without impacting your CPU utilization at all. Literally, your CPU utilization stays at 0% while you are downloading your movies, songs, etc… Because of that and the other features of Killer, you can actually play an online game while downloading tons of torrents and your game play will not be smooth, fast, and unaffected by the torrent downloader.

Discuss this review in our forums.
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Most Recent Comments

21-03-2007, 19:50:47

Well its a sweet review. Quote

21-03-2007, 20:08:39

Great review and technology insight.

Nice one XMSQuote

21-03-2007, 20:25:41

I just looked thru the graphs and laughed at their promo stuff at the beginning. Not sure how it is an innovation?

The idea of sharing the load is ok (3years ago), but the fps test doesn't prove anything (in that it is a graph over time periods). The same with the ping graphs. Altho neither shows a significant difference

The 1ms 'gained' could be due to other factors. (avg gain or loss. 0.9ms)

The same with the fps. (avg gain. 5.6fps)

'Sharing the load' on a dual core system isn't really going to make much difference tbh also what happened to all the software stuff they have been boasting about.

I know I sound like I'm being aggressive or whatever but at the end of the day it's a overpriced NIC (10x the normal price?) with a router spec processor on it (based on routers than can be had for £8-£45).

One thing the tests do prove is that their own marketing tests were probably done on a low spec system.

Not sure how it ends with 70%

Still a good review, even if it is more like an advert (Given the masses of marketing info) Quote

21-03-2007, 20:30:06

Great review, stupid piece of hardware.Quote

21-03-2007, 20:31:32

Originally Posted by name='FragTek'
Great review,stupid piece of hardware.
idd haha

glad someone agreesQuote

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