Are you the ultimate hard core PC gamer? Hardcore World of Warcraft PVP your game? Does a fraction of a second make a difference between wining and losing in your game? Then I’m sure you look for any edge you can find through better hardware or software. We have all spent top dollar on top of the line CPU’s, Video Cards, and Memory, but now we can add another high end piece of hardware we might all need to consider upgrading. How about your Network Card?
Bigfoot Networks have stepped up to the plate in the NIC department and created the Killer NIC M1. This is not your average network card. This card has it’s own processor a 400 MHz Network Processing Unit, along with 64MB of ram built in. The card has these features because it takes complete control of the network stack and it is no longer processed within Windows. The card frees up your Main CPU and memory and handles everything within the Killer Nic M1. And when your CPU and Memory have less load that means less latency and higher frame rates, and it also has shown in testing that connectivity between player and server to be improved by several milliseconds.
This card is completely configurable. It actually has its own Linux OS installed and built into the card. It has its own CLI (command line interface) that you can interact with to change settings and fully customize your card to your preferences.
I have not tried this feature yet, but If your internet connection is too good apparently you can increase your ping rates, you an actually make your connection seem less stable to your opponent giving you an advantage.
Having said all that my personal experience with the card has been positive. Installation was simple, I disabled my onboard nic card in my BIOS, and popped the card into its bay. On boot windows detected the card which was easily enabled using the included driver CDROM.
My ping time was lowered by 20MS on Battlefield 2142 and 18MS in World Of Warcraft. I immediately noticed how much smoother players look wandering the city in and how much faster they appear upon login. I also noticed a much more consistent ping rate when testing a constant ping to servers. These immediate results were very impressive to me, being such a easy upgrade it really is worth it in my opinion even if you are just using the default settings without any tweaking.
The card has a few different applications, and these all run on the card. You tweak the settings using a frontend program in windows but the settings are actually saved to the card itself. It has a firewall built in, and bandwidth control to allow you to limit bandwidth to different applications and set priority.
Id prefer to see bigfoot release a new driver for the card, as it seems they are a bit slow on driver updates but it hasn’t been a problem for me in Vista at all. The price is a bit too high in my opinion and that’s why I believe it will remain a product for the hardcore. But if you want that edge and you are willing to pay the price it will give you results and will be worth your money.
The card also looks fantastic in a clear open sided case, the big chrome K heat sink takes up most of the card and really looks impressive. I can see this being a problem if space in your case is an issue. It does take up lots of space and I did have to remove the card next to it and move it to another slot. But it looks fantastic so I am happy with it.
I definitely would buy this card if I was a big PC gamer. Prices on this card have dropped quite a bit and the features and quality are excellent. The results I noticed between the time i powered down and installed were big enough that I noticed, and my test results verified I wasn’t crazy.
Bigfoot Networks has a winner in the Killer Nic M1.