EVGA Bigfoot Networks Killer Xeno Pro Review

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Bigfoot Networks is doing a number of things differently with the Killer XENO Pro. First off, the company is no longer selling the cards directly, and has instead adopted a model similar to NVIDIA and ATI, whereas partners distribute their own versions of the XENO Pro. In our case, the card came from EVGA, who happens to be the first of Bigfoot's distribution partners.

In addition to a new distribution scheme, the Killer XENO Pro is also Bigfoot's first PCI Express variant of the Killer NIC (the originals were PCI only). And gone from the card is the customized (and expensive) Xilinx Spartan FPGA. The result is a very compact expansion card that sports a simple chrome "K" sticker on its 400MHz network processing unit.
 

    

    
EVGA Bigfoot Killer Xeno Pro Gaming NIC

Adjacent to the NPU 128MB of Qimonda DDR2 memory is present. The memory compliments the NPU and not only allows the Killer XENO Pro to perform its networking processing duties, but to run apps written for the Killer NIC as well.

You'll also notice the USB port on the Killer XENO Pro. That ports gives users the ability to connect a drive, for file storage. You see, the Killer XENO Pro can be set up for fully-offloaded, BitTorrent file transfers that leverage the NPU. If you're paying attention that means the Killer XENO Pro has a processor, memory, and a means for storage--essentially the card is more than just a NIC, and is closer to a "system on a card."

The Killer Xeno NPU works as a dedicated smart packet processor for all network traffic.  The card's software bypasses the Windows network stack and offers direct to game interrupts. The Xeno Pro also features and integrated audio chip which offloads VoIP operations to NPU for cleaner voice communications while gaming, though currently only Mumble servers are supported, which limits the appeal of this feature. If your game uses a proprietary voice communications tool, like Valve's game engines for example, the Xeno integrated audio chip won't help.

In addition to smart packet processing and VoIP acceleration, the Killer Xeno Pro is also able to run applications like a firewall, and its inherent bandwidth controls allow the card to handle multiple workloads simultaneously with no system performance degradation. The Killer's bandwidth control and traffic shaping features prioritize network traffic for each application by setting bandwidth priorities and max/min limits through the driver interface. The culmination of Bigfoot's efforts are what the company calls its LLR technology, or Lag and Latency Reduction.

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Comments
bob_on_the_cob 5 years ago

Kinda puts my adhoc network to shame. I couldn't deal with the 10mbps transfer speeds though. I most likely just missed it, but what are the prices on these things?

marco c 5 years ago

Right on the last page Bobo--$129.

rapid1 5 years ago

This is actually a great IDEA. The problem is it is basically unnecessary on a typical PC. I could see super hardware junkies "which I probably would qualify as" would want these. However; the investment makes it extremely relevant (mostly to free cash and brash purchasing habits) only to a very small group. I think looking at these reviews I would be more likely to purchase the realtek unit than the "Killer" unit.

The price difference as well as the relevance is just not a major concern. I personally tend to base a motherboard choice on four things. The first is the BIOS setup and component manageability as well as ease of these things. The second is benchmarked performance and component availability. Within the last must have on a MB is a dual gigabit Ethernet (which I usually run bridged) on board especially on a PCI express board (generally gigabit Ethernets onboard operate through PCI express). The fourth is placement of plug-in and amount etc relevant to my needs at the time of purchase.

The problem with the killer is therefore it is unneeded for me. Plus the fact that most new technology on the CPU basis is quad core which almost all except a very minor few applications, or games etc us fully. So why would I need a separate CPU unit on my NIC. I also use at a minimum 4 gigs of memory, and with a quad or even dual CPU processor the memory is unnecessary as well. So I truly see absolutely no point on this unit in a regular or even a mega performance home PC unit.

soulshine25 5 years ago

Great review. I was considering this card to handle my torrent downloads while I'm doing other things on the computer to improve multitasking, as torrents can consume quite a bit of resources. I would like to hear if anyone has experience with intesive torrent downloads with this card and the affect it had on improving overall system responsiveness for multitasking or not. This article mentioned torrents in passing but didn't really explain this use case.

Initialied 5 years ago

I tried one of these out for a few days as I figured that was the best way to test the product (I hate taking work home with me!). With my on board NIC (Marvell Yukon Gigabit) I cannot game and torrent, with the Xeno in my system instead of getting 250+ ping I was getting ~60 on servers that I get 20-50 on with torrents switched off. So not perfect but much better.

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