EVGA Bigfoot Networks Killer Xeno Pro Review
The Killer Xeno Pro
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.