We don't hear Bigfoot's name all that often these days, but the company is still out there scoring juicy design wins with PC vendors. This time, its Killer Wireless-N 1103 adapter has landed inside of Dell's Alienware gaming laptops. We're not talking about a single flagship notebook model, either; Dell offers the card as an option across its mobile gaming lineup, from the diminutive M11x to the jumbo-sized M18x.
The Wireless-N 1103 came out in March and looks like a rather innocuous Mini-PCIe card. However, Bigfoot's trademark latency-reducing mojo is part of the menu—the firm claims "up to five times lower latency than competitive products"—and so are traffic-shaping and traffic monitoring features. Oh, and the card can purportedly hit transfer speeds of up to 450Mbps over 802.11n.
From what I can tell, Dell charges either $30 or $80 extra for the Wireless-N 1103, depending on whether the system comes configured with Intel's Advanced N + WiMAX 6250 adapter by default or not. That Intel adapter is a $50 upgrade over the default Dell 802.11n Wi-Fi card, so springing for the Bigfoot solution requires no great leap.
If I were a notebook gamer, I'd probably be fine plugging in an Ethernet cable to reduce my ping in online games. That said, substituting a cheap 802.11n adapter for a Wireless-N 1103 on a high-end gaming notebook seems awfully sensible. Network cards for gaming desktops can be a tough sell in a world where every bargain-basement motherboard has at least one Gigabit Ethernet port out of the box. Notebooks haven't yet succumbed to that kind of integration with Wi-Fi, though, and they continue to require discrete adapter cards.