×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Killer NIC K1 and Custom BitTorrent Client Tested

CowboyNeal posted more than 7 years ago | from the frags-and-files dept.

106

NetworkingNed writes "The new Killer NIC K1 is the successor to the much debated original Killer NIC card that offers the same features at a lower price: this time for about $170 or so. Not cheap, that's for sure. But in this review at PC Perspective, not only is the new card tested under the drastically updated Vista networking stack with improved results, but the free BitTorrent client that runs on the Killer NIC is reviewed as well; with it you should be able to download torrents without affecting online gaming performance. Enough to warrant a $175 network card?"

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

106 comments

Enough to warrant a $175 network card? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18469987)

No. No it isn't.

Re:Enough to warrant a $175 network card? (2, Insightful)

smallfries (601545) | more than 7 years ago | (#18470037)

Yes. Yes it is. Out there are people willing to spend money on gold-plated scart connectors. I say the more overhyped, overpriced pieces of junk on the market to separate these fools and their cash the better.

Re:Enough to warrant a $175 network card? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18470283)

Well, let's see. SCART is an analog signal, which can be degraded if the contacts aren't clean. Gold-plating helps to prevent corrosion of contact surfaces. While the results may be minor, it makes sense to me. On the other hand, gold-plated connectors for digital interfaces is absurd.

Re:Enough to warrant a $175 network card? (2, Informative)

hjf (703092) | more than 7 years ago | (#18470533)

gold-plated connectors for digital interfaces is absurd.
ever looked at ANY PCI card? notice how the contacts are golden? notice that they don't rust? guess what. gold plated. it's just that gold plating is so overrated. a few grams of gold are enough to plate hundreds of PCI cards, so it doesn't add that much to the price of the card or connector actually. so yes, even digital interfaces benefit from gold plating (probably more than analog connections do).

Re:Enough to warrant a $175 network card? (1)

bcmm (768152) | more than 7 years ago | (#18470589)

I have seen a gold-plated "A/V USB cable". It cost several x £10 more than a normal USB cable.

Re:Enough to warrant a $175 network card? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#18470743)

I got a gold plated SCART cable for my Gamecube, the thing cost about 5€ and was the cheapest GC SCART cable available.

Obvious (5, Funny)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 7 years ago | (#18470041)

The NIC has its own processor, will run a Bit Torrent client and save to its own USB drive.

But will it run Linux?

Re:Obvious (4, Informative)

solafide (845228) | more than 7 years ago | (#18470095)

Yes it does. Scroll down in the PC Perspective article [pcper.com] to the FNA=Flexible Network Architecture section - it's about a page down. It talks about how the card is basically a miniature computer, running Linux.

That's the whole point of the story. (5, Insightful)

DrYak (748999) | more than 7 years ago | (#18470317)

But will it run Linux?


That's the whole point of the Killer NIC : It *does run* Linux.
The whole story can be broiled down to the Killer NIC being in fact a nice small router with loadbalancing/QoS/Pcket prioritizing. Plus a small server with it own mass storge pugable in USB.
The Killer NIC is nothing more than a glorified router shrinked to the size of a PCI card.
Once you get the basic idea there are only two quirks :
- It is sold completly ready to go. Whereas /. geeks lovingly tune their traffic shaping scripts to reach optiml balance between their latency sensitive application (VoIP, interactive SSH, gaming), their bandwith critical apps (File download, file sharing) and the rest (IMing, real-time meteo, etc.), this card comes "pre-tuned" so joe six pack has only to plug it to enjoy the benefits of QoS.
- As this is a PCI card and not a box that must communicated of the internet, the driver can use special hooks and directly tap into the Windows TCP/IP stack. Thus the router can sort and select packaets before they even leave the computer. Thus joe's gaming traffic gets put in front with higher priority than the traffic generated by the dozen of spywares/trojans/virus/spam zombies running in background.

Basically it's targeted to the same people who need quad-core CPUs : geeks who want to hack it, and clueless users who need to still have performance even when everthing is crawling under the load of crapware.

Re:That's the whole point of the story. (1)

hjf (703092) | more than 7 years ago | (#18470733)

The Killer NIC is nothing more than a glorified router shrinked to the size of a PCI card.
no it's not. first of all, don't mix up "router" with the "broadband router" crap you buy for $20. second, any router will indeed increase your latency, while this card reduces it. it's just a network offloading engine on steroids. as no one will ever push gigabit here (because of the PCI bus limitations). so, as it has a whole lot of unused power, it can be used to run apps on it.

Re:That's the whole point of the story. (1)

DrYak (748999) | more than 7 years ago | (#18473701)

first of all, don't mix up "router" with the "broadband router" crap you buy for $20.


I wasn't speaking of broadband routers. (also because in that case, the verb "shrink" won't apply)

second, any router will indeed increase your latency, while this card reduces it.


Did you read my post til the end before hitting that submit button ? That's what I referred to when speaking about hooks in the TCP/IP stack.

Re:That's the whole point of the story. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18473215)

this card comes "pre-tuned" so joe six pack has only to plug it to enjoy the benefits of QoS
Joe sixpack doesn't buy and install his own network cards, you're thinking of Frank fatass.

Re:That's the whole point of the story. (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474237)

The Killer NIC is nothing more than a glorified router shrinked to the size of a PCI card.

You could get a very good device that was exactly that four years ago - a snapgear firewall/router on a PCI card - they are the guys that started uClinux and gave it back to us. It's been so long they were bought out twice so the current name is different.

Re:Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18471035)

I thought it came running Linux out of the box? (seriously)

Spend the money elsewhere (4, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 7 years ago | (#18470047)

If you're so worried about bittorrent degrading your performance, save your money - haul out that "obsolete" 1-2ghz machine and you won't have to leave your main box running (and costing electricity) when you seed.

Re:Spend the money elsewhere (3, Insightful)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 7 years ago | (#18470253)

I said it before, and I'll say it again. If you buy this card, then you deserve Everything You Deserve To Get(tm).

I'll still say that you don't need to trademark every silly thing that your card does "special". Like, "This case now with SafeCorner(tm) so that you're likely to get less BloodNStuff(tm) on your NetworkBOOST(tm)"

It just sounds way too much like you're marketing snake oil...

No, but yes... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18470259)

It's not going to save any electricity. You rather have 2 boxes on while you're gaming instead of one, and while you're not gaming you still have one sucking electricity. There's no real energy savings here.

But energy saving aside, it's still a good setup. Spend that 175$ on a 500GB HD, and throw it in an old lifecycled 2GHz box (with enough RAM preferably). Run all the P2P apps you want on it. Use it as NAT/firewall (DNS if you want, and filtering proxy, etc). And LAMP server. Throw MySQL/PostgreSQL/Firebird or whatever DBs you need on it. And SVN/CVS/whatever-you-like repository, and continuous integration server. Host your personal wiki stuff on it. Use it as a file server. Make it a video/music server. Setup a VPN to access your stuff when away from home (and even Terminal Server if you want). Use it to do backups and burn discs. Set it up as a MythTV (or VDR) and/or Asterisk server. Install VMWare Server on it to do all your software testing (installations, deployment, running stuff on other platforms/distros, etc). Use it to re-encode DVDs or recorded shows to mpeg4 (XviD or x264). Install a DynDNS client (or whatever similar service, to keep it updated). Use it to automate X10/home automation stuff. And if the load is light enough and it's in a convenient location, it can be a perfectly fine family PC (check email/browse web/play mp3s/watch movies in mpeg4 or off youtube/google for recipes/check weather forecast/use it to sync your mp3 player's contents/whatever you want). Too many possible uses to list...

I wouldn't have a 2nd box just as a NAT/router or just for BitTorrent, but there's so many other uses for it - even for the average home user. A lot of families have more than one computer nowadays (and having one totally defeats the point of a ridiculously expensive NIC). I'd rather just stop BT while I play games and restart it after I'm done rather than buying this thing anyways.

Re:No, but yes... (3, Informative)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 7 years ago | (#18470309)

"It's not going to save any electricity. You rather have 2 boxes on while you're gaming instead of one, and while you're not gaming you still have one sucking electricity. There's no real energy savings here.

You might game for an hour or two, and download/seed for 24 - for 22 of those hours, your main box is off and not using electricity - and its more than likely that you can run the older box headless, saving even more juice; also that the video card in the older box doesn't run as hot ...

Re:No, but yes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18470483)

So instead of having one PC on for 24h, it's like having one on for 26h. New video cards might use more electricity under heavy load, but they're not bad when idle (30 watts tops - far less than a 2nd PC uses; might be 20 watts more than a very old card). I can't see the the 20 extra watts (if that) the card draws using up more power than running full a 2nd computer for a few hours. Not to mention most newer processors are more energy efficient too, so the older box might use more electricity there, negating the potential 20 watt savings from the video card. Running headless (no monitor) is no saving compared to having your monitor off either.

If there's any savings at all (most likely not), it's going to be very, very small -- negligible. But again, there's so many other uses for a 2nd box that it's a total non-issue.

Re:No, but yes... (1)

name*censored* (884880) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475535)

If you know what you're doing this isn't an issue. Just underclock your CPU as much as you can bring to bear (this way you can unplug the fan, saving 2 or so watts..) as a seeding server wouldn't need much CPU power at all. Then, power down/uninstall every device you aren't using (sound, video, etc). Besides, it's well worth the fact that you don't have to sleep in the heat and noise of your desktop/gaming box. Also, it means you can dump your non-boot disk (eg, media disks) in the other box and use it for serving up media/etc; since 100mb is more than enough for serving up even video media. You can set the other box to shutdown and wakeup (WOL) on command, or on schedule, or just set its power management to spin down anything it doens't use, so it's no more inefficient than having it all in your desktop box.

Re:No, but yes... (3, Informative)

arivanov (12034) | more than 7 years ago | (#18470623)

Seconded - the thermal footprint of an average P3 after replacing the disks with modern ones is in the sub-50W range. The CPU depending on the model consumes 18-27W at max utilisation, disks are at most 10W each and peripherals rack up 10W or so on top of that. This is comparable to the thermal footprint of a 1GHz+ mini-ITX which is about as low as you can get with modern x86 hardware.

Compared to that a modern gaming capable system runs happily into the 400W+ territory. Even with all the advances in power saving modes on the peripherals and the CPU you are likely to find running an old P3 for router/firewall/P2P/file server/etc considerably more efficient compared to allocating these resources on your "main" box.

The only problem is the scarcity of CPU fans for P3s. There are none on the market. Athlon heatsinks/coolers for the older socket format often need cutting bits off and are also getting rare, so finding a suitable set to refurbish an old box may prove extremely challenging.

Re:No, but yes... (1)

dpiven (518007) | more than 7 years ago | (#18471639)

The only problem is the scarcity of CPU fans for P3s. There are none on the market. Athlon heatsinks/coolers for the older socket format often need cutting bits off and are also getting rare, so finding a suitable set to refurbish an old box may prove extremely challenging.


I just checked three very popular parts sites and in the space of a couple minutes found about three dozen fans that will fit S370. Hardly "challenging".

Re:No, but yes... (1)

Insightfill (554828) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475743)

The only problem is the scarcity of CPU fans for P3s...

I've had quite a few low-end P3s pass through my hands, many with failing fans. I found that the easiest solution was to underclock the CPU and unplug the fan. Quietest system you ever did (not) hear.

For light web surfing and such, it still makes for a decent computer, and with enough RAM, Windows XP (or 2000) still flies well enough.

Re:No, but yes... (1)

meehawl (73285) | more than 6 years ago | (#18479093)

Old PSUs are sometimes amazingly inefficient, especially at lower loads, that you might be lucky to get 50% efficiency. So you're got to double your (conservative) estimates for real-world usage. Don't go by the numbers - the only way is to use a kill-a-watt or equivalent and measure typical usage over a few days, then normalise.

Re:No, but yes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18470599)

2GHz? Man, you could run all that shit and more on 200MHz.

Re:No, but yes... (1)

octopus72 (936841) | more than 7 years ago | (#18471487)

If you have a gaming machine, you probably don't even care about electricity (especiall as low-end machine with integrated graphics will need a fraction of power used by a monster with an overclocked Athlon-FX X2 and a SLI nvidia 8800 setup).

And gamer's parents typically don't know how much power a PC can consume :)

Re:Spend the money elsewhere (1)

l0rd (52169) | more than 7 years ago | (#18470531)

Amen. I've got my own via Nehemiah low power based server with a few hard disks attatched & 512 MB of RAM. On it I run subversion server/apache/torrentflux/samba/imap so it's pretty much my personal server for everything and it only costs a few hundred bucks to put together in total.

Advantage of this is that you don't need to run you pc 24/7 and your resources aren't drained. Not to mention the fact that I can access my mail & initiate bittorent downloads anywhere on the planet from my smartphone.

Moral of the story is, if your geeky enough to need a special network card for bittorrent you may as well go the extra few yards and get a totally custom based solution ;)

Custom? (1)

rtechie (244489) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476045)

get a totally custom based solution

There are dozens of specialized Linux distributions on distrowatch designed for this purpose. Toss the disk in the old system, toss in the CD, format the drives and you're done. FreeNAS comes to mind, but I don't know if it has a BT client preinstalled.

Re:Spend the money elsewhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18470761)

actually you'll need to be doing QoS so the game packets is higher than torrent packets, so just using a 2nd PC won't help you. Not sure how to deal with incoming torrent packets flood your input. Also putting in a switch in front would add latency.

Re:Spend the money elsewhere (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 7 years ago | (#18472497)

"Also putting in a switch in front would add latency."

Not really - the switch will examine the first few bytes in the packet, then route it. Its called "cut-and-forward", as opposed to grabbing the whole packet and then forwarding it - "store-and-forward". The switch can always figure out from the first 7 bytes (and usually less) which port to forward to. You won't notice a few nano-seconds.

Re:Spend the money elsewhere (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 7 years ago | (#18473977)

Good luck finding a cut-and-forward switch.

99% of Ethernet switches on the market are store-and-forward, and cut-and-forward switches fall back to store-and-forward under heavy load anyway.

In short, you'd spend $1-2k to get a switch that does cut-and-forward instead of store-and-forward, and shave at most 0.6 ms or so off of your latency for 100Base-T. (Less if your game doesn't send packets at the 1500 byte MTU, which I think most games don't, as they don't need to send that much data at a time.)

Re:Spend the money elsewhere (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474353)

You can get used Cisco switches on ebay for less than half the price of the "killer nic" - and ALL the computers connected to them will enjoy the benefits, not just the one with the "killer nic".

There are cases where this would be useful (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 7 years ago | (#18471081)

For example, I think the VOIP gateway possibilities are intreguing. Among other things, if it is managed really well, you ought to be able to do SIP connections etc withot worrying about IRQ's while the vital CPU time is spent on the TDM cards' DSP.

I know TCP offloading is one thing that a lot of people recommend with higher-traffic Asterisk instances too.

I doubt it is necessary for a home computer but could have a lot of other nice applications.

Re:Spend the money elsewhere (1)

suineg (647189) | more than 7 years ago | (#18471507)

Pretty sure the concept was about ping time so while you are playing (nonstop for some) you can still do things like seed or download from Usenet without losing your killer ping time.


Now if they could only make this in a PCMCIA or Express format and while they are at it how about a PPU.

other products? (1)

FrivolousPig (602133) | more than 7 years ago | (#18470057)

Do they plan to make a router to match? Mine drops connection under heavy torrent load, or my instant messengers hop on and offline like a jackrabbit on crack. Looking online, this seems to not be an uncommon problem for routers and I have yet to see a (consumer) router designed to handle this type of traffic well.

Re:other products? (1)

RabidJackal (893308) | more than 7 years ago | (#18470857)

Mod the parent down/off-topic if you must, but this is actually a good idea. If they could turn the technology they have here into a router that can handle large amounts of connections, maybe some wireless and programs running on it (like bittorrent), I sure as hell would buy it.

At the moment, its not my NIC thats the bottleneck, its my router.

Re:other products? (2, Informative)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474055)

No clue why you got modded -1, it's a good question. Most consumer-grade routers suck.

Look into DD-WRT or a similar "aftermarket firmware" on a compatible router. I suggest the Buffalo WHR-G54S - Cheap ($50 at Circuit City, $43 or so shipped from NewEgg) and fully compatible with DD-WRT.

The problem is not the CPU speed, but the fact that many routers have too small of an ip_conntrack table (or the equivalent if they do not run Linux). DD-WRT lets you bump up the size of that table and decrease the idle connection timeout time. Boom, most common router problem fixed. (No clue why no manufacturer does this... It's not like an extra 512 entries in the table really takes up that much more memory.)

It also lets you prioritize traffice, dumping BitTorrent (or whatever you choose) traffic to the lowest priority. I can run all the BitTorrent I want and never affect any games. :)

Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18470059)

Your connection quality does not depend on your NIC and drivers, provided they are satisfactory and stable. Your upstream and downstream bandwidth and latency depend entirely on the quality of service that your ISP provides. No network interface card can affect the quality of the connection that your ISP provides, no matter what, period. A twenty year old NE2000 compatible NIC will do just fine for most broadband service.

Firewire vs USB 2.0? (1)

malia8888 (646496) | more than 7 years ago | (#18470063)

While the Killer NIC can't really improve your (client) network's latency to the host network, they can lower the "effective" latency with two methods. First, the LLR technology makes sure that your OS and networking card do not add any unnecessary latency into the game.

This sounds a bit like the difference between USB and Firewire, if I am reading the article correctly. The Killer NIC carries traffic without burdening the OS. It seems like this has possibilities above and beyond gaming. NICE.

Hence the Bittorrent client. (1)

DrYak (748999) | more than 7 years ago | (#18470357)

It seems like this has possibilities above and beyond gaming.


Like running a bittorrent client.
Which could even run while the computer is off.
(Network cards are powered by the WOL connector. And the storage could easily be a USB stick pluged into the card's port).

Re:Firewire vs USB 2.0? (2, Interesting)

arth1 (260657) | more than 7 years ago | (#18470461)

malia8888 (646496) wrote:

The Killer NIC carries traffic without burdening the OS. It seems like this has possibilities above and beyond gaming. NICE.


Well, UDP traffic is rather important for all of us who use NFS heavily. I haven't seen any Linux drivers for it, though (that doesn't mean they don't exist).

But a NIC with a CPU and memory that offloads the CPU and increases speed isn't new at all -- the existing cards just haven't been hyped up as much. The real question here is how the KillerNIC holds up to the already available cards that offer this, like the 3com 990 series, which has been out on the market for some 5-6 years now.

Another good question is how it, being 100 Mbps, will hold up compared to 1000 Mbps solutions. Since you can get a decent Intel Gigabit NIC for four machines plus a Gigabit switch for the same price as this one card, that's definitely a valid question.

Regards,
--
*Art

Re:Firewire vs USB 2.0? (1)

Grym (725290) | more than 7 years ago | (#18472103)

Another good question is how it, being 100 Mbps, will hold up compared to 1000 Mbps solutions. Since you can get a decent Intel Gigabit NIC for four machines plus a Gigabit switch for the same price as this one card, that's definitely a valid question.

That's a good point. However, for most home users, I would suspect that it would. Simply because the bottleneck (or rate-determining step, if you will) isn't their internal network or even the router but rather their cable modem. Sure, a home gigabit network would be faster, but once it hit the router it'd all be the same, right? The advantage to QoS is that it affects both internal AND (outbound) external traffic. So, at least in my mind, this would mean that the killer NIC might actually out-perform a gigabit setup for most home users/applications Though, this probably wouldn't apply to those in college dorms or with fiber lines to their houses.

-Grym

Re:Firewire vs USB 2.0? (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 6 years ago | (#18476121)

Sure, a home gigabit network would be faster, but once it hit the router it'd all be the same, right? The advantage to QoS is that it affects both internal AND (outbound) external traffic.

The problem here is how few devices between your PC and the game server will support QoS. Internet, with a few exceptions, doesn't support QoS, but is best effort. QoS is as of yet really only useful within a LAN environment. Here on the LAN, it can ensure that my wife can watch TV from a local TV-streamer without drop-outs while I'm doing a backup. But it won't do shat for when my wife wants to stream video from an internet site while I bittorrent the latest distro DVDs.

Screw the "NIC" aspect but.. (3, Interesting)

antime (739998) | more than 7 years ago | (#18470087)

$170 for an embedded (Coldfire?) computer on a PCI card is not that much, and it could actually be useful for other tasks like monitoring, logging and administration. The on-board FPGA could also be used to offload some processing jobs, but it probably doesn't have too many gates.

Re:Screw the "NIC" aspect but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18470333)

Well, especially if their "FNAPP" engine can be used to set up a TOE and / or log-to-usb.

NIC K1? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18470097)

If you angle the K just right it almost looks like NIC 1701. And then round the 'I' a little bit and you have marketing genius!

I already d/l torrents and game at the same time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18470101)

Its called Dual Core with a 24mb/s connection.

Do they take your brain when you get one? (5, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#18470151)

In every single one of the "reviews" of this card the "reviewer" has been a complete idiot.

Having never tested a network card (except to stress the maximum bandwidth of on-board solutions), especially one with claims of gaming benefits like this, I spent a long time finding a testing method that I was comfortable with.

Why not just setup a test network with a workstation with that NIC, a test server, a sniffer and some test scripts?

You image the workstation so you can start clean with each NIC you're testing.

You use the sniffer so you can see what is actually on the wire.

You use the scripts instead of doing anything manually because you want to remove the human factor as much as possible.

Online gaming is notoriously unreliable and unrepeatable as we all should know by now. Servers can be slower or faster based on the time of day, number of users online at the time; personal ISP connections can vary based on line quality, number of users in the area online at the time; global networks can go up and down and stream traffic anywhere at any time!

YES! Those are all the reasons why you run your own test server instead of adding additional variables to a test. So, are you going to do the test correctly?

For WoW, I selected a busy server, and attempted to play at the same time during a week day to try and always have a similar traffic level.

I guess not. Even with knowing every reason NOT to do that, you went ahead anyway.

I then used FRAPS to monitor our frame rates during the online game play and used the in-game ping monitoring for each title, reported every 10 seconds or so to another person writing the answers down. Each test was run 10 TIMES; nope, not kidding here. I wanted to be VERY sure that our results weren't a fluke, in either the Killer NIC's favor or not.

So what I'm wondering is why haven't we seen any REAL evaluations by people who know what they're doing? Do the Killer NIC people simply refuse to provide hardware to anyone who has a clue?

The on-board networking on the 975XBX2 motherboard was used for the non Killer NIC tests.

So you didn't even bother to test against a mid-range card? You used the chip on your motherboard.

Here is the torrent FNApp at work! You can see I have four files being downloaded at one time, though only two are transferring at the time. One of the things I wish BigFoot Networks had included was a transfer rate and maybe a way to see what you are actually uploading.

That's why you would use a sniffer.

In Day of Defeat: Source, I saw a 5% frame rate increase when using the Killer NIC versus the on-board networking on the Intel 975XBX2 motherboard.

And, once again, you didn't even go out and pick up a $50 NIC to compare it against.

The game did "feel" a bit faster, just as I reported in my testing under Windows XP, but once again, I am hesitant to put too much weight on that claim as it is such a vague and hard to verify point.

That's why you script the tests.

Under FEAR, I saw even more impressive results, especially considering that in Windows XP I saw NO change in performance.

And that didn't tell you something?

The model that supports FNApps is going to cost you around $179 retail, and Newegg.com has it for sale for $178 as of this publication date.

Seriously, you didn't test against a $50 NIC?

Re:Do they take your brain when you get one? (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 7 years ago | (#18470289)

Right and odds are he did not even bother to make sure the motherboard NIC was a real NIC. You don't see it in server boards much yet thank goodness but lots of desktops have sudo NICs which do most of their work in software. That could explain those 5% frame rate jumps right there. I suspect you'd get that improvement with ANY real NIC, no need for your $50 mid range, an old NE2000 would likely deliver.

Re:Do they take your brain when you get one? (1)

Splab (574204) | more than 7 years ago | (#18470965)

Also even midrange NICs can be capable of collecting a set of packets before interrupting, onboard NICs hardly ever does that, so you will get more interrupts, thus context shift and thus lower performance. But as others has pointed out the guy doing the review has no clue what he is doing - but that should match pretty well with the people buying it, so it might be a win-win situation.

Re:Do they take your brain when you get one? (2, Insightful)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 7 years ago | (#18470327)

Hey, Monster Cables have a huge market too. Mostly from people's word of mouth that "I'm telling ya, it really sounds better with these gold-plated connections!"

They are not interested (1)

DrYak (748999) | more than 7 years ago | (#18470471)

So what I'm wondering is why haven't we seen any REAL evaluations by people who know what they're doing? Do the Killer NIC people simply refuse to provide hardware to anyone who has a clue?


No, they are just not interested. The people who understand what they are doing completly dismiss the card, and consider it as joke.
In fact it can do nothing good for them. This card have only two target audience :
- Joe six-packs, whose computer have become huge virus hideouts, pumping so much spam up to the point that their "internets tube is clogged". They need some hardware QoS / packet prioritizing solution (plus a quad core CPU to run all those crapware threads), but can't write one themselfs (installing a full-blown linux router + traffic shaper is out of question).
- /. Geeks who'll take advantge of the on-board linux to run bittorent clients while the computer is off (powered by the WOL connector), or use it as a server network card and using the onboard linux as a mean of monitoring the host server even if it crashed, etc.

The mid-range of power user isn't any of those two groups and doesn't see any advantage in it.

You used the chip on your motherboard


By the way some high-end on-board NICs talk directly to the Northbridge (usually through something like hyper transport) and aren't limited by the PCI bus speed.
It was the case with some of the earliest Athlon 64 chipsets (some VIA based mother board had direct NICs that where faster than the then nForce with NICs over PCI).

Of course that was before the PCI express bus, and not the case in those testvertisements.

Re:Do they take your brain when you get one? (1)

Vigile (99919) | more than 7 years ago | (#18470487)

There are some valid points here, but the on-board NICs on modern motherboards are just a fast and latency free (if not more so since this one runs on the PCIe bus) that most external NICs.

Re:Do they take your brain when you get one? (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 7 years ago | (#18473629)

I've installed plenty of drivers for on-board NICs. So far, just about every Gigabit chipset contained "Hardware Checksumming" or some veriance to offload "TCP/IP Tx and Rx". Suck examples include Intel, Broadcom, and Marvell. I'm not sure, but I think Realtek provides this function too.

If you have a 100Mbit NIC, there's a very good chance it doesn't have this feature unless it's Broadcom or Intel based.

NetworkingNed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18470203)

Anyone wanna guess that NetworkingNed works for the shady company that makes this load of crap NIC? At least he had the semi-decency to post a link to the wikipedia entry rather than his company's own page.

yuo 7ail #it! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18470261)

Gave 7he bSD

An even better solution... (5, Interesting)

NerveGas (168686) | more than 7 years ago | (#18470311)

Just get one of these [theinquirer.net] . An external hard drive with built-in wireless networking and a built-in bittorrent client. No computer needed to download.

Set it up, let it leach off of an unsecured wireless network until the owner catches on, then switch to another one. No DMCA letters (at least not to YOUR door), and gaming performance on *your* network won't suffer at all!

Yes, that's bad in several ways. But it's still an interesting/funny thought!

Re:An even better solution... (1)

Splab (574204) | more than 7 years ago | (#18470993)

Then someone starts complaining to the police, then they pinpoint the origin of your box and you get "pwnd". Very good idea.

Oh, I'm sure. (1)

NerveGas (168686) | more than 7 years ago | (#18471629)


    First, they'd have to figure out what was going on. That eliminates 99.9% of the people with unsecured wireless. Then, they'd have to actually call the police. That eliminates 90% of the .1% left. Then the police would actually have to care enough to do something about it, which drops the figure by another 99%. Those are the kinds of odds of winning a lottery, I think.

    Seriously. Some time ago, my credit card number was used to call porn lines. On the statement, it had numbers to call to dispute the charges. I did, and my money was refunded. One of the companies gave me the phone number that the perp called from, which was easily traced back to an address.

    I went to the police and said "Look, you've got someone using stolen credit card numbers. Here's his phone number, his address, and proof. The companies he called may even have recorded evidence." I was told that since my money was refunded, I wasn't a victim, and they didn't want to deal with it. If they won't get off of their butt when HANDED a credit-card scammer, I can't imagine they'd get very excited about someone using bandwidth, either.

Re:Oh, I'm sure. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18473089)

So, did you hunt him (or her) down yourself and kneecap them?

Re:An even better solution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18472359)

There's also several NAS boxes that run Linux. With firmware hacks you can gain console access and run whatever applications you want on them, including Bittorrent.

Not the card for us here at slashdot (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 7 years ago | (#18470375)

This card wasn't designed with the common slashdotter in mind. We have well tuned linux routers that do QoS and filtering, we have older machines running the torrents and other services 24/7 consuming less power and producing less noise, while our main rig is a screaming NO2-cooled behemoth that dims the lights every time it switches contexts.

The average twit gamer doesn't have all that. They pawned their "old" P4 for 50 bucks to put down on their $200 X-Fi Ultimate, and THAT made such a "huge" difference in framerate because it "offloads" sound processing to its own CPU. In their logic, surely a $200 network card will also yield (simple-)mind-blowing enhancements.

These are the same idiots who are going to buy my "uber-framerate booster driver", which merely slows down the system clock proportionally to the price they paid me, thus seriously warping framerate calculations... just like in the old 386/486 days. Fools are so easily parted with their money!

paranoia, but paranoia is good from a security POV (2, Insightful)

Blymie (231220) | more than 7 years ago | (#18470451)

I've always wondered if there was a world-wide conspiracy with NICs and key points on the net. Naturally, if you wanted to analyze all traffic that existed (yes, yes... imagine the CPU power required for that!) the place one would start would be the NIC!

I'm just referring to packets that are tagged, and when the packets are tagged as such, the NIC effectively ignores them if not specifically destined for its MAC (making same packets impossible to detect even with a hub and another box with a same nic). One could have NICs send out detailed, compressed data concerning addresses and ports, and perhaps even a complete duplicate dump of data being sent to a specific host, if requested remotely.

Now sure, this is the ultimate in paranoia. First, you would require complete complacency on the part of those designing NIC chips, and in many cases this is even done by contracted IC Design firms. There are just too many people involved to have some form of high level conspiracy, allowing for the ultimate in government control.

However, we now have a NIC that is effectively a machine of its own, making it inordinately simple for all sorts of black hat shenanigans. Even if one were to trust the company, a card like this, if exploitable remotely, would be great to set up a nice little monitoring station and even a spam relay on. How would you detect it, if you're a simple user and you don't have another Linux box or firewall to detect the traffic outgoing? Firewalls are also effectively useless (unless in a locked down state that few put them in) once a box is allowed access to NAT. There are simple ways to punch holes through firewall, and using NAT, keep them open with little traffic.

Of course, one could also just phone home every few hours anyhow.

Frankly, while I *like* real hardware NICs, I at least trust that Intel's 100% hardware NIC is going to be relatively unexploitable. It's a single purpose device, so you're not going to be (I hope!) easily loading a trojan on there.

This thing however? It sounds like you could load anything on that "NIC".

Stay away. We don't even know anything about this *company*, let alone it's security review process for the software running the NIC.

Re:paranoia, but paranoia is good from a security (1)

bcat24 (914105) | more than 7 years ago | (#18470543)

Yes, I can see how there could be problems, but it isn't any different from a router. Most routers that I know of are fairly powerful devices. They run the same risks as this card as far as exploits go.

Re:paranoia, but paranoia is good from a security (1)

Blymie (231220) | more than 7 years ago | (#18470601)


Yes, but most routers aren't designed by some team of "dudes" in a basement somewhere, selling snake oil.

Frankly, I wouldn't buy some no-name, discount router either. I'll stick with the big names, or at least names I know and can trust, or from companies that I see handle security issues. Unfortunately, many of the stores selling this discount crap should be shot... I have no faith that a router without any reasonable documentation, and without and real mention of how to get to the homepage, is going to listen to and perform security updates on a timely basis.

So, sure.. a router, a crappy router definitely, is an equal risk. That doesn't detract from *this* risk. As well, up until now, we haven't really had to worry about such a beast in a PCI slot of a computer. That can wreak its own special breed of havock, when you think of it.
 

Re:paranoia, but paranoia is good from a security (2, Funny)

swillden (191260) | more than 7 years ago | (#18470975)

Frankly, I wouldn't buy some no-name, discount router either. I'll stick with the big names, or at least names I know and can trust, or from companies that I see handle security issues.

<tinfoil>So you'll buy from the company the NSA would bother to target for subversion, rather than the no-account shop who flies under their radar. You fool, you fool.</tinfoil>

Re:paranoia, but paranoia is good from a security (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 7 years ago | (#18470947)

I'm just referring to packets that are tagged, and when the packets are tagged as such, the NIC effectively ignores them if not specifically destined for its MAC (making same packets impossible to detect even with a hub and another box with a same nic). One could have NICs send out detailed, compressed data concerning addresses and ports, and perhaps even a complete duplicate dump of data being sent to a specific host, if requested remotely.

How would you hide this data from routers? Routers have to copy packets received on one NIC and send them out another NIC. If the NIC doesn't report such packets to the host doing the routing, how will the host know to resend the data? Keep in mind that many routers are not the little pre-built boxes, and some of those that are commercial routers run customized open source software. I use a regular PC running Linux as a router, and if you ever use "connection sharing" on Windows you're using your PC as a router, too.

Paranoia is well and good, but this is close to the what-if-they're-reading-my-mind category.

Re:paranoia, but paranoia is good from a security (1)

Blymie (231220) | more than 6 years ago | (#18478479)


First, keep in mind I stated:

"Now sure, this is the ultimate in paranoia. First, you would require complete complacency on the part of those designing NIC chips, and in many cases this is even done by contracted IC Design firms. There are just too many people involved to have some form of high level conspiracy, allowing for the ultimate in government control."

Second, yes... Linux and other open sauce variants make this inordiantely difficult. However, imagine a world where Linux did not appear? All it would require is the passing of a few laws, orders from the certain organizations, and Windows would pass on such packets without you ever seeing them.

Of course, in such a world, perhaps NIC cards can speak to each other directly over the PCI bus? No, it's not impossible. If you control the NIC chip, you control the BIOs, you control the system bus, you control all. The level of control we're talking about, after all, is the power to dictate to computer manufacturers to do "what they are told".

Really, if you control the hardware, the software follows....

Editors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18470511)

The new Killer NIC K1 is the successor to the much debated original Killer NIC card that offers the same features at a lower price *snip*

They are NOT called network interface card card's!
They are just called network interface card's, or NICs, or NI-cards if you prefer a stupid yet more correct way

Jebus

why did not test it with a good nforce Motherboard (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 7 years ago | (#18470633)

like the 570, or 590 amd or 590 or 680 intel as they have build it tcp/ip offloading at full gig-e speeds. This card can't hit full gig-e speed with it's pci bus also how does it hold up with a pci sound card on the pci bus?
Other that have tested it with nforce boards have seen little to no differences in fps or ping and say the cost is way to high for what it does.

also new boards only have 1 or 2 pci slots and you may only have 1 free after you put in 1 or 2 big video cards and most people will want to have a sound card in that last pci slot.

Re:why did not test it with a good nforce Motherbo (1)

Emetophobe (878584) | more than 7 years ago | (#18473221)

Checkout this forum thread about the KillerNIC card and PCI bandwidth: http://www.endlagnow.org/ELNForums/Topic531-9-1.as px [endlagnow.org]

Quote from "TytusTytus"

GameTraveler,

Thanks for posting. There is no 'official' planned PCI-E version of the Killer NIC as of yet.... (sorry). I'm the CEO and the Mad Scientist, so I'm always exploring new technology ideas though. As for PCI-E being Point-to-Point: yep it is. but it still get's mixed in at the Chipset, and mixed in with PCI traffic... (so there is still sharing if even at the DMA controller of the computer's memory).

The Killer NIC simply doesn't need that much bandwidth (unlike some other things like Physics Accelerators and some Sound Cards/etc... which really COULD use that much bandwidth).

Remember, the Killer was designed for Low Latency, and PCI is perfect for that.

When I say 'unshared' PCI, I mean not 3 or 4 PCI cards all running at the same time (like on some server machines).... but Killer works great with 1 or 2, (even 3 probably, but I haven't tested it.

ALL OUR TESTING IS DONE WITH AN XFI ALSO ON THE PCI!!! (this was an important point, and all our performance numbers are still rock solid fantastic).

Tytus

Its that Gamer rip off branding again (2, Insightful)

JackMeyhoff (1070484) | more than 7 years ago | (#18470647)

Yup, every thing they stamp "Gaming" on its 2x the price (or more in this case) just to RIP YOU OFF. Box sets, RIP OFF Gaming hardware, RIP OFF and more flimsey CPU "G" brands on Dell hardware, RIP OFF and you arnt covered by WARRANTY for OCing anyway. STOP paying the GAMING tax! dammit.

Re:Its that Gamer rip off branding again (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#18472065)

Real gamers build their machines, anyway... this is for gamer "wannabees". They deserve to get ripped off.

Re:Its that Gamer rip off branding again (1)

JackMeyhoff (1070484) | more than 7 years ago | (#18472295)

Uhh gamers build their own CPU's? the G branding on the Intel Core 2 Duos means "Gamer" and is unlocked. OCing isnt covered by warranty or service agreements.

Routers (1)

daeg (828071) | more than 7 years ago | (#18470719)

There are a few home-user grade routers out there that will do all of this just fine. I'm extremely impressed with the D-Link Gamer Lounge router, for instance. I didn't have to configure anything, but I can play WoW with 100 latency, be talking on Vonage, while running a .torrent at full speed and be saturating both my upload/download (for instance, OpenOffice, which was downloading at over 2MB/s on a residential line). There were no problems on the Vonage end, either. And instead of spending $175 for each NIC card in the house, I only had to spend $XX for the router.

I suspect there are a few other similar routers out there now, too. They aren't the cheap $30 D-Links, though. I upgraded from a terrible AT&T Wireless Router. Yech.

Re:Routers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18472109)

Or for those already running a linux firewall on iptables, wondershaper [lartc.org] ... well... works wonders. I'm on a 15/2 FiOS line and had a roommate for a while that was on bittorrent *constantly* streaming 10 things at a time. We're talking 24/7. I couldn't play ANY game without lag. Slap wondershaper in, it tweaks things up based on the line speeds you hand it, and bam. Problem solved.

Sure if you know enough about iptables you can do the tweaks yourself, but when somebody writes a script that you understand when you read it, why not just use that instead? ;-)

Skip the expensive NIC and make use of that old PC (1)

Laebshade (643478) | more than 7 years ago | (#18470747)

Skip the expensive NIC and make use of that old PC. Turn the old PC into a router (I used Gentoo Linux), setup some QoS, and no problem with performance (unless my ISP is having bandwidth/latency issues).

Is Your Electricity Free? (1)

meehawl (73285) | more than 6 years ago | (#18479067)

Skip the expensive NIC and make use of that old PC.

And how much does that PC cost annually to power? Let's say it's consuming a conservative 200W. It'll take 5 hours to consume a kilowatt. Let's say you pay 12 cents/kilowatt-hour. Leave it on 24/7, multiply the daily cost out annually, and you see that that this "old PC" is a most expensive folly for something this simple. You're much better off getting a low-watt (10-20W) router, upgrading the firmware, and running your QoS there.

Offtopic: Useless tagging (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18470839)

Slashdot should just get rid of the tagging beta that is rendered useless by people who use it to add their editorials to the front page. Look at the ones for this piece:

"Yes, No, Hardware, Networking"

Only two of those belong there. To the numbnuts who added "yes" and "no": Fuck off. You've abused the system and deserve to have tagging privileges revoked.

Just goes to show you that the public will abuse any service you give them.

Re:Offtopic: Useless tagging (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#18472039)

To the numbnuts who added "yes" and "no": Fuck off.

      No, YOU fuck off!

      The "yes" and "no" tags indicate all the story headers that for some reason slashdot editors choose to end in a closed question like: Enough to warrant a $175 card? Yes using rhetorical questions is an accepted manner of getting your point across. However an open question might be even better, like "At $175, what makes this card so special?"

      This is far beyond the reach of most editors, however.

Re:Offtopic: Useless tagging (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18472237)

Thats why I tagged it yesnomaybe

Re:Offtopic: Useless tagging (1)

Zaharazod (951446) | more than 7 years ago | (#18473589)

>>To the numbnuts who added "yes" and "no": Fuck off.
> No, YOU fuck off!

You make an interesting point.. or you would, if the purpose of tags were to answer arbitrary and pointless questions posted in the summary. The purpose of tags is to aid searching. Yes and no are meaningful answers; they are not functional tags.

NIC Card == TP Paper (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18471395)

That's Network Interface Card Card;
That's Toilet Paper Paper...
I rest in your face hoser!

The whole hardware NIC idea (1)

octopus72 (936841) | more than 7 years ago | (#18471645)

Don't know about Windows efficiency, but with dual core chips all this seems possible in software and without adding much overhead. Clearly this NIC targets gamers, so if Windows gaming performace stays as described in the article, the card might improve latency and FPS (although, as we see, by few percent only).

They seem to have a callback which sets a bit ready in userspace (i.e. in game process memory), so game doesn't have to synchronously poll for data. This is also possible to do with on-board NIC's, provided that driver framework allows it, as it is still the kernel that sets this bit. Recently lot of attention in Linux community was given to async interfaces to userspace, among them kevents, threadlets (lightweight threads) etc. Such interfaces could allow drivers to easily send data "ready" events to userspace callback, which sets e.g. a data ready bit, so main game thread doesn't need to poll and wait for it.

There are also similar interfaces in Windows, only the on-board drivers should probably be enabled to use it (and btw. there is a software QoS as well).

Another point is that multicore CPU's are now mainstream and a tasks, either kernel or userspace based, which e.g. processes network data and talks to hardware can be run at no visible cost to game performance, and in some cases this can even yield better latency as CPU's are faster than a NIC processor (for example with wireless chips when en(de)cryption is used).

um dont we have that already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18472935)

"with it you should be able to download torrents without affecting online gaming performance"
But I can already do this. All you need is a proper router (pfsense, smoothwall, etc) and a phat pipes. I never have a problem with connections as the pfsense can scale alot from its default of 10000 concurrent connections. Just add more ram.

Problem with Killer NIC BitTorrent Client (1)

EnvyRAM (586140) | more than 7 years ago | (#18473397)

The client will most likely work fine on public torrent sites but I would hesitate to purchase this card if most of the torrents I am downloading are private. The majority of private trackers ban obscure clients, rendering the Killer NIC's strongest selling point to torrent users useless.

Re:Problem with Killer NIC BitTorrent Client (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18476169)

Thats not true. I've only seen a few sites do that. And its really easy to bypass that.

Its like going to a site that insists you use MSIE. You just change the user agent. That sort of bullshit doesn't fly.

Re:Problem with Killer NIC BitTorrent Client (1)

EnvyRAM (586140) | more than 6 years ago | (#18476249)

You can spoof the user agent but it is also possible to tell if the user agent is being spoofed. Sending challenges to the client, checking the format of their response, and seeing how the client handles the announce makes spoofing extremely difficult to an attentive tracker. The majority of the private sites are using some form of the TBDev source and most of the ones with the user-agent ban mod block obscure clients to reduce cheating.

Or you could do this... (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474541)

you should be able to download torrents without affecting online gaming performance. Enough to warrant a $175 network card?"

That's about the value of my old computer, so why not just let it run BT while I game on the new machine? I've still got unused ports in the router.

This is not a bad idea, but not a fix for most.... (1)

TheNetAvenger (624455) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474865)

This is not a bad idea, but not a fix for most....

People that run BitTorrents and are having performance issues is NOT always related to a generic NIC.

The fact is that most Torrent clients saturate the entire available bandwidth. So if you are running more than one computer in your house, all internet performance goes to hell on every computer because of one machine running a BitTorrent client.

This card will NOT help people like this, although it make take some of the load off the machine it is attached to. But if your internet bandwidth is STILL being saturated, your online performance is still going to suck with a BitTorrent Client active.

And as others have noted, there are OK mid range NICs out there that don't consume CPU as much as the generic cards, are in the 30-60 dollar range, and with a modern processor from the past two-three years will give you the same boost this NIC will for generic gaming performance.

And with HT and Dual Core technology becoming the norm, even this benefit is reduced considerably.

If anyone has paid attention to the changes in Vista in the network stack and audio stack, you will see a common progression. They both have adapted technology from the 360 development, and are moving toward a model that works better in a multi-core environment than having external hardware assisted technologies as was popular in XP.

In a year or so when quad cores are the basic standard, utilizing a fraction of one core to handle audio and networking is no longer going to be a performance issue, especially with this many cores sitting around waiting to be used. Even the 360 with 3 cores does rather well with pushing the audio and nic processes through one of the cores and still leaves a lot of room for gaming.

So this product is a good idea, but a very Niche product and people with older systems would be better off investing this kind of money into a new MB and CPU.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...