Bigfoot Networks Killer NIC & Killer K1 Network Cards

Software Drivers & Testing Methodology

Killer NIC Drivers

Installing the Killer NIC drivers on our Windows XP SP2 test machine proved extremely easy. Simply insert the card, install the drivers and away you go. The installer even updates the card to the latest firmware available from Killer NIC's site during the install.

I also tried installing the Killer K1 on Windows 2003 Server (x64), but unfortunately in this instance the latest x64 drivers from Killer NIC's website caused the server to loose all network connectivity and even froze Windows startup subsequent reboots.

Killer NIC Drivers

The main menu provides you with the ability to flip between "Gaming" and general use "Application" mode as well as tweaking some of it's more advanced features. Also included is the ability to increasing your ping and change the LED light sequence on the underside of the card.

Killer NIC Drivers Killer NIC Drivers

Both of these pages are probably best left well alone by the average user. I certainly had very little idea of the impact on changing any of the presets, but I suppose if you are into tweaking, you could possibly further increase the performance of the card by adjusting the settings and running benchmarks.


Test PC Configuration

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 @ 3.6ghz
Motherboard: Asus Commando P965
Memory: Patriot PC2-8500 2GB DDR2
Graphics: ATI Radeon X1950Pro
Network: Marvell Yukon 88E8056 PCI-E Gigabit (Onboard)
OS: Windows XP SP2 (x32)



Testing Methodology

The hardest part of this review by far was finding a way to produce a fair comparision of the Killer NIC against the onboard NIC in our test PC. Reviews we've seen of this card in magazines have used two identical machines connected to the same network, playing the same game on the same server at the same time. Although a good idea, these reviews don't take into consideration the massive difference in FPS that two players at different positions in the game map, or with different numbers of other players on the screen could have on the overall result.

For this reason, the results over the following page were produced in the following conditions:

Counter:Strike Source & F.E.A.R
• Private CS:S / F.E.A.R server configured on Overclock3D Dual Xeon 3.6ghz server.
• Server located at IDNet racks in Redbus co-location center, London.
• Client PC connectivity via IDNet ADSL (6mb) broadband. Tracert 2 hops from server.
• No other players on server to prevent any variance in results due to increased or reduced server bandwidth associated with fluctuating number of players in game.
• Tests of Killer NIC and Onboard NIC produced within 30 minutes of each other and with server network load being checked beforehand using BWMonitor to ensure consistency.
• FRAPS configured to take screenshots every 30 seconds for a total of 30 minutes with the server ping and FPS information in every screenshot.
• Player takes a consistent route around the map for the entire 30 minutes.


As the above tests for CS:S and F.E.A.R were under strict testing procedures we decided to offset these results against some random gameplay on a random public server using Quake 4:

Quake 4
Random Quake 4 Internet server.
Client PC connectivity via IDNet ADSL (6mb) broadband.
Tests of Killer NIC and Onboard NIC produced within 30 minutes of each other.
FRAPS configured to take screenshots every 30 seconds for a total of 30 minutes with the server ping and FPS information in screenshots.
Player takes a consistent route around the map for the entire 30 minutes, but also engages with other players.
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Most Recent Comments

21-03-2007, 15:50:47

nunzio
Well its a sweet review. Quote

21-03-2007, 16:08:39

Luffy
Great review and technology insight.

Nice one XMSQuote

21-03-2007, 16:25:41

equk
I just looked thru the graphs and laughed at their promo stuff at the beginning. Not sure how it is an innovation?

The idea of sharing the load is ok (3years ago), but the fps test doesn't prove anything (in that it is a graph over time periods). The same with the ping graphs. Altho neither shows a significant difference

The 1ms 'gained' could be due to other factors. (avg gain or loss. 0.9ms)

The same with the fps. (avg gain. 5.6fps)

'Sharing the load' on a dual core system isn't really going to make much difference tbh also what happened to all the software stuff they have been boasting about.

I know I sound like I'm being aggressive or whatever but at the end of the day it's a overpriced NIC (10x the normal price?) with a router spec processor on it (based on routers than can be had for £8-£45).

One thing the tests do prove is that their own marketing tests were probably done on a low spec system.

Not sure how it ends with 70%

Still a good review, even if it is more like an advert (Given the masses of marketing info) Quote

21-03-2007, 16:30:06

FragTek
Great review, stupid piece of hardware.Quote

21-03-2007, 16:31:32

equk
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='FragTek'
Great review,stupid piece of hardware.
idd haha

glad someone agreesQuote
Reply
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