Killer NICs find their way into Dell gaming PCs

Remember Bigfoot's Killer NIC? Bigfoot Networks introduced this network card last year, promising to dramatically shrink latencies in games. The card essentially works to speed up UDP traffic, and it includes a built-in Linux distribution that can run so-called FNapps like a firewall, BitTorrent software, or voice-over-IP software for games.

Dell seems to remember the Killer NIC too, because we just received a press release saying the PC maker now offers the Killer NIC K1 in its XPS 630 and XPS 730 gaming desktops. Dell lumps the card together with Ageia's Nvidia's PhysX card under the "Gaming Essentials" section of its PC customization page, and it charges $149 for it. That's about what you can expect to pay at online retailers these days.

Curious about whether the card was really worth the price, we actually reviewed the Killer NIC back in August 2007. We found that while the card did actually reduce lag in games as advertised, the extent to which it did might not justify the cost ($170-250 at the time) for most folks. The card is a little cheaper now, though, and Bigfoot's lag-reducing techniques could conceivably make the difference between silver and gold medals for competitive gamers.

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