Killer NIC alternatives?

JonnyK

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I've read a bunch of reviews on this thing and it seems like it's worth getting, but i don't want to add on $250 to my rig. How much performance increase would it be over the onboard connections on the evga 680i sli board i just ordered? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813188009

Also are there other add-in network cards that would do about the same thing for a lower price?
 

Sgraffite

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What reviews have you been reading? The ones I read it basically made little to no difference.
 

Sgraffite

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Supposedly good if you play WoW, but then again it could be the placebo effect. I didn't see any overwhelming evidence that is it a worthwhile purchase.
 

JonnyK

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Well regardless of how good it is, are there any other cheap cards that do the same thing?

And i do spend a crapload of time playing WoW, along with fps games online
 

Sgraffite

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That's the only NIC that's I heard of that does that, but there are however routers that have packet prioritization and QoS. There are even some routers touted as gaming routers, although I can't attest to whether not they make a difference. You may consider the routers off topic to the question but I honestly can't think of any NIC alternatives to the Killer NIC.
 

Met-AL

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There are even some routers touted as gaming routers, although I can't attest to whether not they make a difference.

I have a gaming router, and the QoS really doesn't do much for me, but maybe on a connection that was shared with several members of a family, it may then. I can be FTP uploading on one of my PC's and even with GameFuel (QoS) turned on, I still get lag spikes, but with GameFuel turned off, it's way worse. So, Gamefuel does improve things, but it's not a cure all for a overloaded connection.
 

ray4389

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I use a D-Link DFE-530tx and it's only 10/100 but it's fast. I don't have gigabit ethernet so I didn't spend the extra $$$ for the gigabit one. I have a larger than normal network in my house too. I also have the NF4 onboard LAN and it's fine too. I hate the nVidia firewall and it should be killed with a hot torch. The built in windows firewall plus router firewall on a low security setting in combo with AVG free has kept me virus free.

BTW I hate a Netgear WGR 54mbps wireless router from a few years back with Motorola cable modem
 

Orinthical

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JonnyK

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Does anyone have any experience with the intel 1000PT? This is what i was looking for originally i think. In the hardocp review of the killer, they said it improved how "fast" the game feels while playing WoW. Can this same thing be achieved with the 1000PT or are the high end chips on the killer (if there are any) the reason that it's expensive, and works as good as it does?
 

Orinthical

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My pings decreased in BF2 when I went to the 1000PT and I might have gained an extra frame here or there but nothing I have hard data on. It's a good card and offers PCIe bandwidth.

The Killer NIC is a 400MHz computer that just happens to plug into a PCI slot. It offloads and accelerates the entire network stack rather than just checksum. That is what gives it an edge when compared to other cards out there. The price is the only thing keeping me from purchasing the Killer; when it's half the current cost, I'll buy two.

If you're looking for the best; The Killer offers more tha any current standard NIC. So if money is no object, go for it.
 

Farva

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You probably will not notice much (if any) increase with a GB NIC as the fastest connection you get is the slowest part of the connection. I know the WoW servers are hammered hard and Blizzard is having trouble with bandwidth. Even when I played (I just quit), I never had a ping below 100.
 

Farva

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Is it really worth it to play World of Warcraft 1 frame per second higher?

Think about it.

I have yet to understand how a faster connection will get you higher frames :rolleyes:

Maybe someone can explain this to me.
 

Orinthical

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I have yet to understand how a faster connection will get you higher frames :rolleyes:

Maybe someone can explain this to me.
Simple answer: It has nothing to do with your "faster connection", rather with the offloading capabilities of the specific network interface. By taking over calculations that would normally be processor driven, your CPU is free to concentrate on other areas thus improving your overall experience. In some video games this might lend itself to an increase in FPS.

But to answer the "is worth it for 1 extra fps" question... I'd have to say, nope.

P.S. Lets not turn this into yet another debate thread please. :) The Op just asked if there are any alternatives to The Killer out there... if you know of any, please post!
 

Farva

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Simple answer: It has nothing to do with your "faster connection", rather with the offloading capabilities of the specific network interface. By taking over calculations that would normally be processor driven, your CPU is free to concentrate on other areas thus improving your overall experience. In some video games this might lend itself to an increase in FPS.

But to answer the "is worth it for 1 extra fps" question... I'd have to say, nope.

P.S. Lets not turn this into yet another debate thread please. :) The Op just asked if there are any alternatives to The Killer out there... if you know of any, please post!

Oh, I wasn't debating it, I was just trying to understand how people thought that. It seems more theory than actuality. But if I am wrong, please correct me.
 

Orinthical

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Oh, I wasn't debating it, I was just trying to understand how people thought that. It seems more theory than actuality. But if I am wrong, please correct me.
I know where you're coming from and happen to agree that, at this particular moment and price-point, the card is not worth having. BUT, how it works, is no longer a mystery nor theory. :)

Most NIC's out there today, including the higher end server NICs, offload checksum and other basic algorithmic functions from the CPU but still leave a good amount of the network calculations up to the CPU. In comparison, Killer offloads the entire network stack including both high and low-level network functions. In games like WoW that are more CPU dependent than GPU, it makes sense as to why you would see a jump in performance. This also explains why you don't see a jump in more graphic intensive games which are more GPU intensive than CPU. If the game is using a good amount of cpu resources, any little bit you free up will gleam a performance increase. However if the game is more GPU intensive and barely touces the CPU, you could free up resources to your hearts content and barely see any difference.
 

JonnyK

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See that's news to me i guess. I understood that it would take some load off the cpu, but i thought having a powerful network card somehow got packets (sorry if this is the wrong word to use) in and out of my pc faster. A good example of what this would hopefully improve: I have a rogue and i was dueling another rogue yesterday. Being 2 rogues in a duel, we both stealth and then basically walk around untill one person see's the other person, hopefully undetected. So i was in this situation, saw the other rogue before he saw me, i was then following him around spamming my attack key, only to have him suddenly get the jump on me. It's just a crazy issue from network lag and is the way it is in WoW. In the Hocp review it seemed that this exact thing is what the killer nic eliminates, which would be awesome.

based on that example, i didn't think offloading calculations from the cpu to get a few extra frames is what would remedy the problems that i've experienced in wow. Is it maybe because of not having to go through the long line of things waiting to get processed by the cpu, and going straight in and out the network card, the latency is so much lower and therefore allows you to see the game as it is, and not with a moment of lag that you normally see?
 

codegrinder

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One thing I still don’t understand, how does the acceleration help if you don’t have a router that will recognized the tagged packet from the network card, or if you have multiple computers on the network, alot of consumer routers are "dumb" and dont care what packet goes out first.
i could see this nic helping if you 1. are not using dual core and 2. if your computer is connected directly to the internet in which case the software firewall solution that you are using would take away any acceleration the nic provides. i don’t know, it just seems like a marketing ploy.
 

JonnyK

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Yeah it is all confusing still, i really would like to just have one to plug into my computer and see if there's a difference.
 

Orinthical

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Is it maybe because of not having to go through the long line of things waiting to get processed by the cpu, and going straight in and out the network card, the latency is so much lower and therefore allows you to see the game as it is, and not with a moment of lag that you normally see?
Correct. I was explaining the jump in fps seen in some games, like WoW... you are correct in realizing the other part of the equation. Because the entire networking stack is being handled by The Killer, a layer of resistance is eliminated thus allowing the data to arrive and be computed more smoothly than the average NIC. The data gets to your game and back at a quicker pace than the average joe which is credited with giving your the 'edge' in games.

One thing I still don’t understand, how does the acceleration help if you don’t have a router that will recognized the tagged packet from the network card, or if you have multiple computers on the network, alot of consumer routers are "dumb" and dont care what packet goes out first.
I thought that at first but the key is that The Killer's claim to fame does not rely on QoS tagging. By eliminating the resistance caused by processor or kernel contention (above), The Killer gets packets in and out smoother than the average NIC. That is what they are saying gives you the boost in performance and, more importantly, the 'edge' in games.

Yeah it is all confusing still, i really would like to just have one to plug into my computer and see if there's a difference.
Could always put it on a credit card, try it out... and if you don't like it or think it's not worth it... send it back for a refund minus the restocking fee or what-not.
 

tomstomper

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I would love to debate the pro's and con's and tech details of how Killer works...

But to answer the posters question: Yes ,Killer K1 was just released!!!

Same great Killer Performance (it is WAY MORE than 1FPS in WOW, more like 10-20 + 10-30ms lower latencies).

100$ cheaper. ($149 After rebates)
https://www.killernic.com/store/DisplayDetail.aspx?which=114

FNA Technology optional!

If ya'll wanna ask techy questions, just email or start a new thread, i love this stuff!!!
 
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I would love to debate the pro's and con's and tech details of how Killer works...

But to answer the posters question: Yes ,Killer K1 was just released!!!

Same great Killer Performance (it is WAY MORE than 1FPS in WOW, more like 10-20 + 10-30ms lower latencies).

100$ cheaper. ($149 After rebates)
https://www.killernic.com/store/DisplayDetail.aspx?which=114

FNA Technology optional!

If ya'll wanna ask techy questions, just email or start a new thread, i love this stuff!!!

So exactly what is different? It just doesn't have the hooks implemented for running your own programs (FNA)? Is it the same hardware otherwise?
 

mikeblas

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P.S. Lets not turn this into yet another debate thread please. :) The Op just asked if there are any alternatives to The Killer out there... if you know of any, please post!
I think you're far better off with a nice Intel workstation card than the Killer card. Plus, it's cheaper.
 
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The Intel card's arn't spectacularly cheap, they're just cheaper. I'm really happy with my dual port PT/1000's as far as performance goes. Real big throughput on them and a very nice driver.
 

tomstomper

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Yep, Much more affordable, FNA is "disabled" (and can be upgraded/enabled later), and 333Mhz NPU instead of 400Mhz NPU.

In general, gaming improvement is about the same.

You won't be able to run as many simultaneous FNA Torrent downloads at once with the Killer K1... but otherwise, it's a great card.

(and yes, FNA Torrent: the ability for Killer to download Torrents with 0-impact to your PC is available now (as well as an FNA Firewall, and many other apps)
 

SpitFire000

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from what i gather this card is basically a packet prioritizer? if that is true i would suggest to throw a IpCop/m0n0wall/Endian sys together and basically get a "killer nic" on all of your networks computers.

After i installed my Endian(2.6 celly 512mb) i noticed ~20ms ping drops, and no performance hit while seeding/leaching with torrents.
 

Gertrude

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Same great Killer Performance (it is WAY MORE than 1FPS in WOW, more like 10-20 + 10-30ms lower latencies).


I don't see how is is possible in most cases. Perhaps if you have a system where the CPU is pegged at 98 - 100% to begin with, then you might get some benefit by having the network card handle some of the packet processing to alleviate some of the systems CPU cycles.

If that were the case then a CPU upgrade would do more than a network card in my opinion.

Also how can the card in the computer lower the latency that much. Once the packet is out of the network card/computer the data is reliant on your network, then your ISPs, and any of their peering partners, and finally then the destination network.

If I ping my gateway,
Code:
64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: icmp_seq=3 ttl=64 time=0.637 ms

How can you shave 10 - 30MS of 0.6, because after that a network card has no control over what routes to take, or QoS..

Also the comments about adding a router, or *nix for QoS wont help 90% of the people unless your network is currently so congested with other traffic that you need to prioritize you WoW traffic. It will likely just make things slower by having your packets get routed through another host.

I just searched for benchmarks, and came across a few articles, and none of them show any consistent improvements in frame rates, or response times/latency across multiple titles.

Unless you like spending money, or are caught up in the marketing I can't see it being a beneficial investment.
 

mikeblas

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Unless you like spending money, or are caught up in the marketing I can't see it being a beneficial investment.
Me, neither. For the machines I care about, I use Intel cards. For the machines I'm not too concerned with, I've got the motherboard cards. As long as I can set jumbo packets, I'm fine.
 

Orinthical

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I love intel cards and use 1000PT's in my main gaming machines and 1000GT's and MT's in everything else. That said, I see the potential benefit from The Killer due to the way it actually works. I don't own one and haven't really endorsed the purchase of one in the past, especially at the old price point.

I do however see the potential for some great benefits given maturity, especially for some of the more network intensive games out there. Just like I see potential in Vista even though you may be hard pressed to find driver support right now.

And it's not trying to shave anything off of the time it takes for a packet to get to your gateway necessarily, instead it looks at shaving time off of how long it takes a given game to make a call through the various software layers in your machine to generate that packet. It's a different approach and, given maturity, one I see potential in. We'll just have to wait and see but given the new price point I may snag one just to see if there's any real benefit given the games I play. And hey, I wonder how long it will take to see a m0n0wall fork that will run on the card. Since they mentioned an "FNA" firewall, maybe they already have one.

On the same note, I think the WoW marketing dance is simply because that game has over eight million subscribers and, if it says it will improve your gameplay, I'm sure there are a good number of those subscribers willing to spend the money. Mainly the PVP crowd looking for an edge.
 
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On the same note, I think the WoW marketing dance is simply because that game has over eight million subscribers and, if it says it will improve your gameplay, I'm sure there are a good number of those subscribers willing to spend the money. Mainly the PVP crowd looking for an edge.

I am going to have to agree here. Earlier Bigfoot made the claim that "its about how you make requests to the Windows networking stack", which is akin to saying that the Linux networking stack is superior to the Windows stack in this manner. The Linux networking stack is pretty flexible and its somewhat believable, but its sort of a stretch. And since Vista is using a brand new stack, the same thoughts probably will not apply once Vista becomes more popular as a gaming OS. I still see a great future for this device if it can do cryptographic operations more efficiently than the CPU - in other words games may be able to use secure connections more commonly if this sort of tech takes off.
 

Orinthical

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I still see a great future for this device if it can do cryptographic operations more efficiently than the CPU - in other words games may be able to use secure connections more commonly if this sort of tech takes off.
Excellent point. Though once you move into cryptography you open an entirely new world. Think of all the agencies who make use of point-to-point encryption devices; How about instead of spending $10,000+ for one of those devices, you get it on a $250 NIC. Definitely an area I'd look into if I was Bigfoot. :)
 

mikeblas

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Why would a gamer be doing cryptography on their NIC? Unless they're running IPSEC, I don't see the point. (And even then, why not get the Intel card, for cheaper, with IPSEC in hardware?)
 

Orinthical

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Why would a gamer be doing cryptography on their NIC? Unless they're running IPSEC, I don't see the point. (And even then, why not get the Intel card, for cheaper, with IPSEC in hardware?)
A good many games already use some form of encryption, especially MMORPG's, though I don't really see game developers trusting a NIC to do the job as that opens the data stream up to relatively easy modification.

I do see a good amount of potential in the security market though...
 

mikeblas

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A good many games already use some form of encryption, especially MMORPG's, though I don't really see game developers trusting a NIC to do the job as that opens the data stream up to relatively easy modification.
Right. So, again: why would a gamer be doing encryption on their NIC?
 

Godmachine

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If it does what it people are saying it does then its worth it ten times over for WoW. Large raids, PVP lag can make or break hours of progress or a tournament. Alot of wow players would pay the extra cash as well to get less lag anyday. I know a guild leader that recently spent 4000 dollars to upgrade his PC and get a 30 Inch Dell monitor, because it provides more UI space for hotkeys and macro's in game. You think 250 dollars is gonna phase someone like that to get a edge over anyone? i doubt it
 

Farva

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If it does what it people are saying it does then its worth it ten times over for WoW. Large raids, PVP lag can make or break hours of progress or a tournament. Alot of wow players would pay the extra cash as well to get less lag anyday. I know a guild leader that recently spent 4000 dollars to upgrade his PC and get a 30 Inch Dell monitor, because it provides more UI space for hotkeys and macro's in game. You think 250 dollars is gonna phase someone like that to get a edge over anyone? i doubt it
Perhaps, but you still cannot control how the traffic goes once it is out in the WAN. Traffic already gets routed to how the routing tables see what is the fastest route. You cannot control that unless you can somehow take over those routers on each hop and kick enough people off so you have the best throughput possible. Good luck hacking all those routers because ISPs have pretty damn good security on them. ....I'm just going to stop my rant now.
 
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