Rivet Networks and Intel partner for Killer Wireless-AC 1550 chip

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 2×2 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 2×2 802.11ac 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.

Comments closed
    • The Egg
    • 2 years ago

    Just the other day, I was lamenting how painless and easy NICs have become. Oftentimes they’ll “just work” right out of the box on a clean Windows install, and not even require any input from the user. Boooooring. Now we finally have some software that can create bizarre, fun-to-solve issues by silently messing with network traffic, and if we’re lucky, maybe even drivers that introduce some exciting system instability.

    Hooray!

    • Waco
    • 2 years ago

    As long as I can use the standard Intel driver, fine. Otherwise, no. Too much history of bad crap.

      • ludi
      • 2 years ago

      “Too much history of bad crap” — are you referring to Killer drivers, or anything Intel ever released for the 7xxx series WiFi chipsets?

        • willmore
        • 2 years ago

        My 7260 AC runs great and always has. Maybe you’re having issues with the Windows driver.

          • Ninjitsu
          • 2 years ago

          7260 is pretty rock solid. Bought it for some 30 euros to replace whatever crap Dell had put in at the factory (Realtek or something). Excellent investment!

            • willmore
            • 2 years ago

            Same here. Laptop came with some Broadcom junk that was 1:1 n-only. $20 invested and now my wireless is super fast. I get >40MB/s when doing backups to the server. I used to hook up the GigE when I did camera backups, but now I don’t bother as it barely takes longer to do the backup over wireless as it does to find and hook up the ethernet cable.

          • ludi
          • 2 years ago

          I thought the same thing until I started experiencing problems with random connection drops and network resets, and then I did a bit of searching and found that Intel had a long history of driver problems with that particular chipset. Doesn’t affect everyone but when it does, it’s incredibly frustrating.

      • shank15217
      • 2 years ago

      Well, then just by a AC-9260 then, its the firmware/drivers that is supposed to make it a ‘killer’ card.

    • LostCat
    • 2 years ago

    I probably don’t need it anymore with my ISP putting in fiber.

    But I’d dig it. The newer drivers for the E2200 seem to actually work properly, as well. (Took em how many years? Heh.)

      • juzz86
      • 2 years ago

      I’ve got an E2400 and a 1535 on my motherboard. The latest driver for both is very good, most stable they’ve ever been. I’ve switched away from the Intel NIC actually, because I like the ‘on-the-fly’ QoS the Network Manager provides.

      I’m not a high-bandwidth user, but I’ve experienced no issues with them on this driver so far (about 2 months, I think).

    • Chrispy_
    • 2 years ago

    The only laptop in a general-use fleet of 31 pool laptops with issues is the MSI Stealth which uses a Killer WiFi solution. Intel, Broadcom, Realtek, Atheros – those are all absolutely fine.

    Sample size of 1 (actually 2, a friend of mine kept dropping out in Diablo3 and Destiny2 with a Killer NIC, too) but as far as I’m concerned Rivet/Killer are only diluting the appeal of an all-Intel WiFi solution.

      • LostCat
      • 2 years ago

      Current or older one? I know the E2200 has issues but I’ve been curious about the newer kit.

        • Chrispy_
        • 2 years ago

        I’m talking about the WiFi. Isn’t the E2200 a wired ethernet solution?

        Anyway, the two laptops I’m thinking of would both be the current gen (up until this new 1550 announcement). I presume that makes them the Wireless-AC 1535, which a quick Google will tell you has issues with bluetooth mice hanging occasionally! Not ideal for a gaming solution at all :\

        I read somewhere that the 1535 is just custom firmware/driver on top of an existing chip made by someone else. That would mean that Rivet Network’s only achievement is to break a previously-functioning product with their crappy software stack.

          • Waco
          • 2 years ago

          I was referring to Killer software in general. Intel chipsets have always been rock solid for me.

          • Bauxite
          • 2 years ago

          1535 is atheros 10k, dump their trashware and use whql or recent kernel driver and it works well.

          • LostCat
          • 2 years ago

          Yes, but I think the 2200 is their oldest kit that wasn’t on an addin card.

      • tanker27
      • 2 years ago

      MY current Mobo, Gigabyte G1 Sniper M5 uses a Killer NIC………NEVER AGAIN! I do not know what Killer does but it’s crap. When its time to move I will run away from it.

      Fool me once……..

      • Bauxite
      • 2 years ago

      Which is kinda funny because killer has usually been atheros, with a sprinkle of broadcom. Atheros has been solid for awhile, definitely the best in the *nix world for ages.

      But yes, I ran into several gaming laptops with the same dropping link in high network load problem (mmos in busy areas are an easy test) which was solved by installing a more recent and totally generic atheros whql driver.

    • TwistedKestrel
    • 2 years ago

    Whoever keeps brokering these deals is a master of their trade. Nobody wants this stuff but manufacturers keep going for it

      • mudcore
      • 2 years ago

      It drives me insane that companies like Dell will put this in products like the XPS laptops. Zero benefit, plenty of potential headache.

        • Archer
        • 2 years ago

        I have a new XPS. I took out the Killer card … and put in a 9260. This deal is some weird voodoo stuff.

    • Archer
    • 2 years ago

    Best of hardware coupled with the very worst of software.

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