Network Transfers and Impressions
We also spent some time experimenting with the Xeno Pro in normal day to day computing situations, copying files to and from a NAS server, downloading torrents, and of course gaming--but this time without FRAPS running. In addition to some hard benchmark data we also wanted to get a feel for how the Xeno Pro worked, and whether or not it enhanced or detracted from our experience in any way.
Unfortunately for the Xeno Pro, network transfers proved to be a real problem. Whereas the integrated Realtek NIC was able to copy a large 4.3GB ISO from our NAS server at about 79MB/s the Xeno Pro peaked at a little over 9MB/s.
We spoke with Bigfoot about the slow transfer speeds and were told that since the card is optimized for latency and not throughput, and that most users won't have broadband connections faster than 10Mb/s, that this is the kind of network transfer performance to expect from the Xeno Pro currently. We also spoke to EVGA about this issue briefly and were given the impression that there may be some driver tuning that could change this situation, but we don't have any solid information on any updates just yet. Regardless, at this point, tuning bandwidth control or toggling game mode on or off via the Xeno Pro's current drivers doesn't improve network transfer speed very much (our scores were taken with bandwidth control off in application compatibility mode). Whether that statement is true in the future remains to be seen.
Gaming Impressions: The benchmark data on the previous page shows that the Xeno Pro does in fact improve gaming performance. But is the difference perceptible? We're going to answer that questions with a tentative yes. Having used the card for a few weeks during our normal routine, we would say on-line gaming was better overall, with fewer dropped connections and more stable pings during long gaming sessions.
The Xeno Pro also shined in less than ideal conditions. For example, if we played Left 4 Dead while streaming music and downloading a file simultaneously, the Xeno Pro was much better able to handle the load than the integrated NIC. The game was still perfectly playable on the Xeno, but the integrated NIC's performance in-game vacillated wildly, which detracted from the experience.