Bigfoot Killer Wireless-N cards land in Alienware laptops

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.

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