It has been more than 2 years since the release of the first Killer NIC product, the world’s first network card aimed at gamers, and PC Perspective was one of the few outlets to get our hands on the product for a write up.  There were then, and remain to this day, a lot of questions about the need for and technologies behind the Killer-line of network cards but hopefully soon we will have more answers from Bigfoot, the company behind it all.

Bigfoot returns; with a new gaming network card - General Tech  1

Today at GDC, Bigfoot is announcing the new Killer Xeno networking card, a next-generation NIC for online gaming.  The Killer Xeno sports an “NPU” (network processing unit), either 128MB or 256MB of memory, PCIe interface, hardware-accelerated voice chat from TeamSpeak 2 and more.  The price on the lower-end Xeno Pro will be $129 while the Xeno Ultra will run you $179.  I have included their press release below, but until we get our hands on the product we’ll leave it alone.  This is really something that NEEDS to be tested before any judgement can be passed.  Look for our article on this product in April. 
SAN FRANCISCO, Game Developers Conference – March 23, 2009 – Bigfoot
Networks, the networking technology company behind the Killer(tm) line of
gaming network cards, today launched Killer Xeno, the company’s
next-generation voice chat-enabled network interface card for online gamers.
The new product comes with more memory, an upgraded network processing unit
(NPU), and integrated audio for hardware-accelerated voice-chat, all
designed to bring gamers the ultimate online experience. The Killer Xeno
platform provides Bigfoot Networks’ partners and customers the fastest time
to market with a flexible product design for customizing, licensing and
distributing Killer Xeno.

Killer Xeno’s voice-chat acceleration technology addresses the most
requested gamer feature, and will enable the millions of online gamers
worldwide who utilize these chat services to enjoy a “hiccup-free” voice
experience while playing the latest generation of online games.  Bigfoot, in
providing voice chat, has partnered with companies supporting leading
products such as TeamSpeak and Vivox as well as utilizing the popular open
source application Mumble.

Killer Xeno is also a flexible product design platform that enables
customers, including Add-In-Board (AIB) vendors and PC OEMs, to license and
differentiate Killer Xeno products for their markets. Bigfoot Networks also
announced today that leading game systems developer Alienware, Dell’s
high-performance gaming brand, will be the first exclusive PC OEM to ship
the Killer Xeno Pro.

“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,”
said Frank Azor, senior vice president and general manager, Alienware. “The
Bigfoot Networks’ Killer Xeno gives us the proven technology needed to
guarantee customers’ ultimate online gaming experience.”

Additionally, the company announced that EVGA Corporation, the leading-edge
3D graphics card and motherboard manufacturer, is Bigfoot’s first exclusive
third party AIB partner to license Killer Xeno to be distributed under the
EVGA brand.

“EVGA, from the beginning, has embraced intelligent innovation and
leadership within our product philosophy,” said Andrew Han, EVGA president
and CEO. “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.”

“Bigfoot Networks’ products are designed to provide the best experience for
today’s new generation of real-time network-dependent applications such as
online gaming, voice chat and file sharing,” said Bigfoot Networks CEO
Michael Howse. “Our new high-volume distribution partnerships with Alienware
and EVGA will enable a wide variety of product implementations and price
points for gamers and consumers worldwide.”

The Killer Xeno gaming network cards deliver the ultimate online gaming
experience, decreasing latency and offering better framerates, thus enabling
smoother gameplay. Key features of the Killer Xeno include:

* PCIe interface: provides for higher throughput.

* Killer Xeno NPU: dedicated smart packet processor for all network
operations, ensures the delivery of time sensitive data like game control
and VoIP.

* Plug and Play compatibility with all games.

* Windows network stack bypass: provides for direct to game interrupts.

* Integrated audio chip: offloads VoIP operations to Killer Xeno NPU for
‘”hiccup-free” voice communications while gaming.

* On board RAM (256 MB/Ultra and 128/Pro): enables applications such as
Firewall, VoIP chat and bandwidth control to run on the card simultaneously
with no system performance degradation.

* Firewall:  Stops intruders with zero gaming performance impact. Based on
robust Linux iptable implementation.

* Bandwidth control:  Prioritize network traffic for each application by
setting bandwidth priorities and max/min limits through a simple interface.

* Onboard status display: Xeno Ultra model includes a customizable LED
display for caller ID, network statistics, game information or any
user-customized messages.

The Killer Xeno comes in two form factors, Killer Xeno Ultra with 256MB of
on board ram, OnBoard Status Display and Killer Xeno Pro with 128MB of on
board ram. Both models include audio processing for VoIP chat.

The Killer Xeno Pro will be available for $129.99 from both Alienware and
EVGA in April 2009. The Killer Xeno Ultra will be available for $179.99 in
May from leading online retail partners. Check www.bigfootnetworks.com for
more details.

To see Bigfoot Networks at the Game Developers Conference 2009, March
23-27, at the Moscone Center, San Francisco, please visit us at booth #6406.

About Bigfoot Networks

Bigfoot Networks is dedicated to developing groundbreaking networking
hardware and software for gamers and mass-market consumers. Bigfoot aims to
support the rapidly growing online and competitive gaming markets, in
addition to mainstream consumer applications that can benefit from the
company’s leading technology. Powered by Bigfoot’s proprietary Lag and
Latency Reduction technology, the company’s first product line, Killer
NIC(tm), is the industry’s first network interface card (NIC) designed
specifically to improve network performance for a smoother, more responsive
online game experience. Bigfoot Networks is funded by leading venture
capital firms North Bridge Venture Partners and Palomar Ventures. To learn
more, visit Bigfoot Networks at www.bigfootnetworks.com.