Back in the day, building a computer meant keeping a stack of add-on cards handy. Graphics, sound, and network cards made sure the inside of your case looked anything but empty. These days, add-on cards with gear that's generally included in mobos is a tough sell. Despite that, Rivet has done pretty well with its Killer brand of network cards, a series of high-end NICs that focus on gamers and enthusiast users, squeezing every last bit of efficiency out of the connection. Now the company has paired with Intel for its latest release, the Killer Wireless-AC 1550 chip.
The Killer 1550 is a 2x2 Wi-Fi module that should be able to deliver throughput of up to 1.73 Gbps across the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. The chip fully supports 802.11ac Wave 2 features including 160-MHz channels. Killer says the 1550 can deliver twice the throughput of "standard 2x2 802.11ac adapters." There's also full MU-MIMO and beamforming support on tap, along with Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity.
The partnership has Intel covering the hardware side, while Rivet brings its Killer expertise to bear on the software and firmware side. According to AnandTech, the chip itself is reportedly the Intel Wireless AC-9260, an offering that's already on the market.
Where things could get properly 'Killer' is in the software prioritization features. Rivet says that the 1550's Advanced Stream Direct 2.0 tech can create up to six network prioritization layers to handle games, streaming video, and audio. Gaming, on the other hand, could get a boost from the company's Lag and Latency Reduction tech (a trademarked name, too).
Using the Killer software, users can visualize network traffic and see what applications and websites are using bandwidth. Likewise, there's functionality for setting traffic prioritization and bandwidth limits, which should keep low-priority traffic from interfering with the big stuff. The Killer Control Center offers prioritization by category, application, and website, and it can detect over 500 websites automatically. AnandTech says that Rivet's software supports 1,000 of the most commonly-used applications, all monitored on a daily basis to make sure they're detected correctly. In the event one of those undergoes a change that Killer's software doesn't automatically detect, users should get an update in the next day or so.
If you're rocking both a Killer Wireless-AC 1550 and a Killer Ethernet controller in your system, you can take advantage of Killer DoubleShot Pro to automatically pick the fastest network connection available for high-priority traffic and use the other interface for low-priority applications. Systems with the Killer Wireless AC-1550 will probably ring in at a premium, but if you need the extra control, it sounds like it could be worth it.