Bigfoot Networks is back with the second incarnation of the Killer NIC, this time calling its self the Killer Xeno Pro and selling for ~$140.  It’s a PCIe card sporting a 400MHz processor and has 128MB of RAM, all improvements over the original; meanwhile its main competitor, the onboard NIC, hasn’t changed that much and is still essentially free.  ExtremeTech put it up against the onboard NIC on an ASUS Rampage II Extreme by playing mulitplayer games and then firing up µTorrent in the background to see how well the Killer NIC can live up to its claims of prioritizing saturated bandwidth.  The results will not blow you away.

“More than two years ago, we published a review of a novel product, the Killer NIC network gaming card. The idea of a network card optimized for games is by no means silly, but we found the price exorbitant and the performance lackluster. About six months later, the Killer K1 hit the market, offering a less expensive model that disposed of the ability to run custom applications on the card’s processor without sacrificing any of the game performance. Again, the price was too high and the performance difference with a regular motherboard-integrated NIC was just too small.

Now, Bigfoot Networks is back with yet another Killer network card, and this one has a few new tricks up its sleeve. The Killer Xeno Pro is a PCI Express card instead of 32-bit PCI, uses a faster processor with more RAM, costs less, and has audio input and output jacks to run VOIP software directly on the card. What’s more, Bigfoot Networks is not selling cards themselves for the Xeno products. Rather, they’re following the Nvidia/ATI model of coming up with the technology and reference design, then letting partners like EVGA (who sells the product reviewed here) build and sell boards.”

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