Rivet Networks Killer E2500 Gigabit Ethernet For Gamers With Advanced QoS Tested

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Killer E2500 Results And Conclusion

We will utilize four scenarios in our test for each game. Each scenario will be run with Killer’s Advanced Stream Detect (ASD) disabled and again with it enabled. First, we take a baseline reading with only the game running. Second, we add in a YouTube video in the background with the resolution forced to 1080p and skip around the video to clear any existing buffer. Third, we scrap the YouTube video in favor of five BitTorrent downloads for various Linux distributions. Finally, we add back in the YouTube video while continuing to torrent for a near worst-case scenario.

A brief demonstration of the concepts behind our testing is shown in the video above. It should be noted that this was recorded under less-isolated circumstances than our final testing and is subject to additional jitter. Jitter aside, however, the demonstrated conclusions are the same.

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League of Legends Perf Test

The first scenario establishes that ASD has zero notable impact when a game is the only network application running. This makes sense, as there is nothing to compete with gaming traffic in the queue. The second scenario tells a similar tale. Yes, YouTube utilizes a significant amount of bandwidth but it isn’t enough to impact game packets noticeably. Jitter is still possible while the buffer is building, but was not observed in our testing. Ping times in both of these scenarios kept within +/-5ms.

Moving on to the third scenario, we see a sharp uptick in latencies when ASD is disabled. Unlike the previous scenarios, our game ping increased and a significant amount of jitter was introduced. The majority of variations were within +/-20ms, but variations of more than +/-50ms were also observed semi-regularly. It’s clear that fully saturated bandwidth is bad for online gaming. Switching ASD on, to its credit, did nearly eliminate both high ping times and jitter.

In our final scenario, we observe a split in the effectiveness of ASD between game titles. In both games, we experienced massively increased latencies which varied from around 150ms to more than 250ms in both games. However, while ASD was able to tame the latency issues in LoL, CS:GO still suffered noticeably. Additionally, with ASD off YouTube would buffer for approximately a minute before playing about 4-5 seconds and then buffer again. With ASD on, Youtube playback remained smooth while playing LoL and had occasional brief (<1 second) pauses while playing CS:GO.
The Killer E2500 definitely stands head and shoulders above competing NICs, but it isn’t a silver bullet for lag either. Our testing suggests that if a user already has an unsaturated connection, they may not notice any bit of difference. For the rest of us, however, the Killer E2500 can help seamlessly prioritize the limited bandwidth we do have to kill unwanted lag spikes.

With the Killer E2500, we don’t need to give a second thought to what is going on in the background on our computer. Torrents can seed away, updates can download at the worst possible moment, and still our frags will not suffer. Sure, there’s a point of oversaturation even for the Killer E2500, as demonstrated in Scenario 4, but even still the buffer it provides is very worthwhile.
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The best part of working with the Killer E2500 is just how easy it is to use. Unlike previous versions, there is now a built-in speed test to auto-configure your bandwidth. Before, these needed to be set manually which required either knowing what your ISP was offering or jumping on a third party service like SpeedTest.net to figure it out. Beyond this, the default profiles are optimal to the point of most users never needing to adjust them. For the exceptions, the Killer Control Center has an improved layout over previous iterations, which makes fine tuning custom profiles a breeze.

Is there still work for Rivet Networks to do? Absolutely. The Killer E2500 can’t save us from lag if another device on the network is hogging bandwidth. Maybe next up, Rivet will tackle the home router market. They wouldn’t be the first to offer QoS configurations on a router, by far, but they do have an eye for making their solutions user friendly and tuned for enthusiasts and gamers. Until then, we’d be hard pressed to find a more effective solution on the market today. Rivet remains one of the only companies focused on optimizing network traffic with gamers in mind, and since the Killer E2500 isn’t a cost-adder, there’s really no downside for gamers to seek out motherboards featuring the technology.

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