Saturday, January 8th 2011

ASUS Combines Killer NIC and Xonar Audio into Single Addon Card

It seems like Bigfoot Killer, the family hardware-accelerated latency-chopping network controllers is really taking off after garnering interest from the motherboard industry. First, it was MSI announcing a strategic partnership with Bigfoot to bundle NICs using Killer 2100 and the probability of integrating it onto its motherboards, then Gigabyte beating MSI to that by unveiling not one, but three LGA1366 motherboards under the G1.Killer series with integrated Killer controllers, that leaves us with ASUS.

ASUS' first encounter with the Killer NIC is in the form of a multifunction addon card called ASUS ThunderBolt. Multifunction addon cards aren't new to ASUS. Recently, it released U3S6, a card that integrates USB 3.0 and SATA 6 Gb/s controllers with two ports of each kind. The ThunderBolt, on the other hand, integrates Bigfoot Killer 2100 network controller and ASUS Xonar sound. So in one package, it gives gamers access to a more responsive network and clearer audio.

The ASUS ThunderBolt is a PCI-Express addon card, integrating a Killer 2100 controller with its own dedicated memory; and in probability, an ASUS AV100 audio chipset found on low-profile ASUS Xonar sound cards such as Xonar DS. It provides 7.1 channel audio out with over 100 dBA SNR, and packs software that emulates popular positional-audio technologies such as EAX, and various Dolby/DTS mojo. The card draws power from a 4-pin Molex connector. The entire card is covered by an EMI shield, which also gives it a nice "product" feel.

To begin with, ASUS will bundle the ThunderBolt with its new upcoming LGA1366 motherboard, the Rampage III Black Edition. In the near future, it may also sell the card separately.
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35 Comments on ASUS Combines Killer NIC and Xonar Audio into Single Addon Card

#1
Arrakis+9
they went wrong with the 4 pin molex connection imo stick a 6 pin pcie connection on it instead and they have a winner
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#2
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
by: Arrakis+9
they went wrong with the 4 pin molex connection imo stick a 6 pin pcie connection on it instead and they have a winner
These days, with every drive using SATA power connector, most end up with free Molex connectors. PCI-E ones are precious for entry-mid PSUs.
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#3
AsphyxiA
id rather just see killer NIC integrated motherboards. Forgive me, but, what are the benefits from using Killer 2100 over say a good Intel 1 Gb/s card?
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#4
overclocking101
the only benefit is it offload cpu work into the addon card, so the cpu will have more free resources
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#5
LittleLizard
by: overclocking101
the only benefit is it offload cpu work into the addon card, so the cpu will have more free resources
Which in this time & age is pointless unless you are using a sempron or an atom. And if you use that, you wouldnt buy this.

Still, i see this as a great product just cause you can have a proper soundcard + bonus & bigfoot sells chips.
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#6
Cratzky
i would buy this if its sold seperatly :toast:
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#7
Cratzky
by: AsphyxiA
id rather just see killer NIC integrated motherboards. Forgive me, but, what are the benefits from using Killer 2100 over say a good Intel 1 Gb/s card?
The benefits is that you can control every single application running on Your computer that uses any kind of internet bandwidth, you can also change alot of other stuff that you havent seen at all on a intel built-in NIC, also you can make it so it prio the gaming. That normally means lower response time and better ping in games.
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#8
cavemanthreeonesix
by: Cratzky
The benefits is that you can control every single application running on Your computer that uses any kind of internet bandwidth, you can also change alot of other stuff that you havent seen at all on a intel built-in NIC, also you can make it so it prio the gaming. That normally means lower response time and better ping in games.
Yes but every review I've ever read about a bigfoot "killer" nic has shown that the offloading of the net bandwidth from the cpu has no gain in performance in any game and there is no measurable gain in response time or ping.

The only benefit these have like posted above is on a software level where you can manually set priorities to applications, ie dividing net bandwidth for gaming while downloading....

then the price of these cards always let them down
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#9
Vancha
Why is this Killer NIC suddenly appearing on things? They've been around at least a couple of years, and always been known to make next to zero improvement. I imagine this could lose companies more sales than it'll get them due to people who don't want to spend extra on something that's nearly pointless.

Edit: Though not so much with this, seeing as it's just bundled in with the main event.
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#10
Aleksander
I wandering which mobo is that one in the photo?
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#11
AsRock
TPU addict
Well that big ass thing will help to keep the heat trapped in some cases. I see that sound card getting pretty dam hot due to the v card.
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#13
LAN_deRf_HA
Two notes. This is going to have some of the worst reviews in newegg history (driver related). And now why on earth does this need a molex? The killer draws under 10 watts, the soundcard part should be similar.
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#14
Mussels
Moderprator
by: Cratzky
The benefits is that you can control every single application running on Your computer that uses any kind of internet bandwidth, you can also change alot of other stuff that you havent seen at all on a intel built-in NIC, also you can make it so it prio the gaming. That normally means lower response time and better ping in games.
that only works if you are the only PC on the network (direct to modem)


thats so damn rare these days (everyone shares behind a router) that its worthless. killer NIC cant control the traffic from other systems to prioritise your gaming packets over someone elses.
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#15
AsphyxiA
by: Cratzky
The benefits is that you can control every single application running on Your computer that uses any kind of internet bandwidth, you can also change alot of other stuff that you havent seen at all on a intel built-in NIC, also you can make it so it prio the gaming. That normally means lower response time and better ping in games.
id agree but I believe tha you can do this on addon intel cards. You can also distribute resources through your router, seems rather pointless of a card at the price point they are selling them at vs. the competition.
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#16
happita
The Killer NIC cards should go the way of the Physx add-in cards.....EXTINCT.
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#17
AsRock
TPU addict
by: happita
The Killer NIC cards should go the way of the Physx add-in cards.....EXTINCT.
My guess is thats why they are getting other companys to sell them and this is just a way for them to stay alive...

To me i don't care about the killer nic although i would like the option to buy a high end mobo with or without one without losing out on other mobo features.
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#18
Mussels
Moderprator
i agree with asrock - while i'd never buy one outright, i wouldnt be opposed to them being on my mobo if the cost wasnt that much extra.
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#19
[H]@RD5TUFF
This to me is very interesting, depending on if it uses a 1 x PCI-e, I think this is pretty sexy.
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#20
LAN_deRf_HA
by: happita
The Killer NIC cards should go the way of the Physx add-in cards.....EXTINCT.
Extinct eh? I think you mean integrated into nvidia drivers. Perhaps the GTX 680 will have a network jack.
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#21
H82LUZ73
by: Aleksander Dishnica
I wandering which mobo is that one in the photo?
ASUS will bundle the ThunderBolt with its new upcoming LGA1366 motherboard, the Rampage III Black Edition
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#23
runnin17
This IMO is just stupid. The sound card part is OK, but the killer NIC is retarded. My question is how this will affect slot spacing. Anyway, killer NIC can die for all I care :)
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#24
happita
by: LAN_deRf_HA
Extinct eh? I think you mean integrated into nvidia drivers. Perhaps the GTX 680 will have a network jack.
No, I mean the ADD-IN physx card that you put into a slot just to get PhysX physics. Integrated physx on a video card is very understandable. But, an NIC on a sound card, that sounds a little weird. If it was built into the mobo without compromising too much space and while keeping the cost reasonable like others have said, then I would see no problem with it.
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#25
Mussels
Moderprator
by: happita
No, I mean the ADD-IN physx card that you put into a slot just to get PhysX physics. Integrated physx on a video card is very understandable. But, an NIC on a sound card, that sounds a little weird. If it was built into the mobo without compromising too much space and while keeping the cost reasonable like others have said, then I would see no problem with it.
sound card in a video card sounds weird, but it works fine.

dont forget that the latest HDMI specs actually include 100Mb networking, so network on video cards is likely to appear
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