Killer NIC gets an early review

— 3:10 PM on September 1, 2006

Bigfoot Networks' Killer NIC "gaming network accelerator" has yet to hit stores, but the card has landed in IGN's labs and been the subject of an early review. We already had a brief look at the Killer NIC's features earlier this month, and IGN's review mostly covers the same things. However, the folks at IGN also ran a preliminary benchmark with fairly interesting results:

Based upon some rough benchmarking, without the Killer NIC our test PC (AMD FX 62 2600, ATI Radeon X1900 XTX, 2 GB RAM) runs F.E.A.R. at 1024x768x32 with details maxed and 2xAA-2xAF at an average of 74 fps though two 15 minute sessions. Our ping to server ranged from 40-80ms, and our average worked out to 67ms over the two sessions.

After installing the Killer NIC we got back on the same F.E.A.R. server and played on the same map. The improvement with the Killer NIC was noticeable and impressive. Pings to server dramatically improved, generally ranging from 17-50ms, averaging 45ms over another two 15 minute sessions. FPS also got a nice bump, jumping our average from 74 to 86 fps.

That said, as IGN itself points out, benchmarking the Killer NIC accurately is a difficult task. Online games are a very volatile environment, and differences in ping or frame rates could very well be attributed to changes on the game server or in gameplay itself. Even if the Killer NIC is indeed responsible for the lower ping and higher frame rates, though, gamers might find the card's announced $279.99 price tag to be a pretty serious deterrent.
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