Bigfoot and VisionTek team for GPU/NIC hybrid

— 7:00 AM on December 1, 2010

At Computex earlier this year, Bigfoot Networks and graphics card maker TUL displayed a prototype expansion card that combined a Radeon HD 5000-series GPU with Bigfoot's Killer 2100 network controller. I'm not sure that product ever made its way to retail shelves, but now we have word that a similar hybrid will early next month. This time around, Bigfoot is working with VisionTek to combine its Killer 2100 NIC with a Radeon HD 5770 GPU. Dubbed the VisionTek Killer HD 5770, the resulting card also has the ability to pass audio over HDMI, making it a potential replacement for all kinds of integrated peripherals.

The official press release makes no mention of extra memory or juiced clock speeds, so we're probably looking at a 1GB card with stock clocks. That's not terribly inspiring given the fact that the Killer HD 5770 will ring in at $200, which is a $50-60 premium over standard 5770s. The cost includes the integrated NIC, of course, but you can buy the Killer 2100 all on its own for just $77. All told, convergence saves one expansion slot and about $20 while locking you into a mid-range graphics solution that doesn't have nearly the pixel-pushing horsepower of other $200 cards.

To be fair, the Killer 2100 used to sell for $130, so the savings could have been more compelling. Even then, though, I'm not sure I see the value in this particular tag team. If you're serious enough about online gaming to benefit from a Killer NIC, odds are you probably want to run a graphics card more powerful than the 5770. And, if you've been gaming a while, you probably know that graphics cards need to be upgraded far more frequently than network controllers.

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