Bigfoot network card cuts ping, adds bling

In a bid to squeeze as much cash out of affluent gamers as possible, Bigfoot Networks has launched a new member of its line of Killer network cards.

The latest temptation to join the line-up is the Killer 2100, which Bigfoot says offers a connection that’s “up to 10X faster than standard connections.” To make its case, Bigfoot quotes comparative ping times when compared with a standard onboard network adaptor.

According to Bigfoot’s figures, the Killer 2100 has an average ping time of just 0.251ms, compared with a much higher average of 6.043ms when using a standard onboard network adaptor. As well as this, the onboard network adaptor’s ping time varied dramatically, while the Killer 2100’s was much more consistent.

As with previous Killer cards, the 2100 cuts down latency by guiding network traffic past the usual Windows network stack. The idea is that the card creates its own route for network traffic that goes straight to the game, which also frees up some CPU time.

To help it out, the card has a 400MHz dedicated network processor, as well as 128MB of DDR2 RAM. Fitting into a single-lane PCI-E slot, the card also comes in what Bigfoot describes as “performance-inspired housing.” To us, that means that Bigfoot tried to make it look as much like a Fatal1ty sound card as possible, even though it’s completely unnecessary.

Specifically targeted at gamers looking to cut down the latency, the card comes with a bundle of features that come under the umbrella of Game Networking DNA. The collection, says Bigfoot, will “accelerate latency-sensitive game traffic while reducing stuttering, freezing and other symptoms of lag, giving online gamers a competitive edge.”

As well as bypassing the Windows network stack, the Game Networking DNA features also include Advanced Game Detect, which automatically recognises online game traffic, and prioritises that above any other network traffic.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t use your network connection for anything else simultaneously, though. The card also comes with Bigfoot’s Visual Bandwidth Control, which enables you to throttle the bandwidth of your network connection in whatever way you want, while your gaming traffic still gets priority.

This, says Bigfoot, means you can “download files while you play online, or use voice chat without interfering with your game by using a few simple controls.” Bigfoot Networks’ CEO, Michael Howse, boasted that the "Killer 2100 is the fastest network card available for online games, period."

The card works with Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 and has a recommended retail price of £86. Cards are expected in Europe shortly.