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Our testing methods
Those considering picking up a Killer NIC will almost certainly be looking to replace an onboard networking solution, so we've compared the card against a couple of popular options. The first comes to us via Nvidia's nForce 680i SLI chipset, which features a couple of integrated Gigabit Ethernet controllers with hardware TCP offload engines. Our second contender is a PCI Express GigE card based on Marvell's Yukon 88E8052 Gigabit chip—a popular choice for integrated motherboard networking.

Since the Killer NIC isn't cheap, we've put together a reasonably powerful gaming system for testing

All tests were run three times, and their results were averaged, using the following test systems.

Processor Core 2 Duo E6400 2.13GHz
System bus1066MHz (266MHz quad-pumped)
Motherboard EVGA 122-CK-NF68
Bios revisionP24
North bridgeNvidia nForce 680i SLI SPP
South bridgeNvidia nForce 680i SLI MCP
Chipset driversForceWare 15.00
Memory size2GB (2 DIMMs)
Memory type Corsair TWIN2X2048-8500C5 DDR2 SDRAM at 800MHz
CAS latency (CL)4
RAS to CAS delay (tRCD)4
RAS precharge (tRP)4
Cycle time (tRAS)12
AudioIntegrated nForce 680i SLI MCP/ALC885 with Realtek HD 1.67 drivers
Graphics EVGA GeForce 8800 GTX 768MB PCIe
Graphics driverForceWare 158.18 drivers
Networking Bigfoot Killer NIC with drivers
Marvell Yukon 88E8052 with drivers
Integrated nForce 680i SLI MCP with Forceware 15.00 drivers
Hard drive Western Digital Caviar RE2 400GB
OS Windows Vista Ultimate x64

Thanks to Corsair for providing us with memory for our testing. 2GB of RAM seems to be the new standard for most folks, and Corsair hooked us up with some of its 1GB DIMMs for testing.

Also, all of our test systems were powered by OCZ GameXStream 700W power supply units. Thanks to OCZ for providing these units for our use in testing.

We used the following versions of our test applications:

The test systems' Windows desktop was set at 1280x1024 in 32-bit color at an 85Hz screen refresh rate. Vertical refresh sync (vsync) was disabled for all tests.

All the tests and methods we employed are publicly available and reproducible. If you have questions about our methods, hit our forums to talk with us about them.