Bigfoot Networks Killer NIC M1 75

Bigfoot Networks Killer NIC M1

The Package & Installation »

Introduction



Today I will be taking a look at an interesting new card from Bigfoot Networks. It's called the Killer Network Interface Card in short KillerNIC. This card is unlike any other "gaming" network card on the market today because it has the capability to offload the entire network stack from the CPU to its on board NPU (Network Processing Unit).

This card takes a radical new approach to packet managing and processing because it's optimized for gaming and not throughput. This should result in lower latency (Ping) and should give a smoother gaming experience because the CPU doesn't have to process network information while performing gaming related tasks. Because this card can handle of the network related tasks on its own the CPU can focus entirely on powering the game and the operating system. If your FPS (Frames Per Second) in game is limited by your CPU you should see an increase in FPS if you install a KillerNIC.

Besides being optimized for gaming this card allows you to run FNA (Flexible Network Architecture) applications directly on the card without affecting your computers performance. This can be done because the KillerNIC card has its own CPU/NPU and RAM. The most interesting aspect of the FNA applications is in my opinion the fact that you can run a "hardware" firewall on the card or download torrents with the FNA BitTorrent client without increasing the workload on your system.

Another interesting fact about the KillerNIC card is that it actually runs a stripped down Linux core, so if you are a Linux enthusiast you can write your own FNA application. The source code is available off the KillerNIC website, it's well documented and should make it easy for Linux developers to write some really neat FNA applications.

Specifications

Technical Specifications from KillerNIC:
  • Data Rates: 10/100/1000 Ethernet Fast Ethernet Controller
  • 400 MHz Network Processing Unit
  • Integrated Memory: 64MB DDR PC2100
  • IEEE Compliance: 802.3, 802.3u, 802.3x, 802.3z
  • Data Path Width: 32-bit PCI
  • Data Transfer Mode: Bus-master DMA
General:
  • Connectors: RJ-45
  • Port: USB2.0
  • Operating System: Windows XP, Windows Vista
  • Typical Power Consumption: 5-10W
The reason why the card can handle all of the network traffic without using CPU or operating system resources is because the card itself is a small Linux PC with its own NPU and RAM. Features such as LLR, MaxFPS, FNA, are all made possible through the use of the 400 MHz processor and 64 MB memory capable of running a stripped down version of Linux. Besides the NPU and the RAM the card features an LLR ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) which essentially controls packets flow and makes sure that the proper action is applied to every packets received or transmitted from the card. LLR ASIC is essentially the backbone with the NPU and RAM as its main resources.

Right now the KillerNIC ships with both a Windows Vista and Windows XP driver. Both available in 32 and 64-bit variants. Drivers for Linux are currently in the beta stage, but available at KillerNIC homepage.
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