EVGA Bigfoot Networks Killer Xeno Pro Review
Our Summary and Conclusion
Performance Summary: Depending on the situation, the Killer Xeno Pro performed relatively well. In our game tests, which measured framerates and ping times, the Killer Xeno Pro worked as advertised--the card improved framerates somewhat and lowered ping times over an integrated gigabit solution. However, optimizing the Xeno Pro for latency had a detrimental impact on network transfer speeds, which were dramatically lower on the Xeno than they were on the integrated NIC.
In the conclusion of our review of the original Killer NIC back in 2006, we made this statement:
The Killer NIC does everything Bigfoot Networks claims it will do. The card's dedicated NPU offloads network processing from the host CPU, freeing it up to perform other duties. And with its advanced traffic shaping capabilities, prioritizing gaming packets and bypassing the built in Windows Network Stack, the Killer can reduce lag and ping times in many games. Both of these things amount to a better overall gaming experience. But despite the fact that the Killer seems to do just what it is designed to, justifying the $279 price tag will be difficult for all but the most hardcore on-line gamers.
Although the Killer Xeno Pro's $129 is far more palatable than the original's, the Xeno is in the exact same predicament today. While the card does do what it is supposed to do, and it delivers on its claims of enhanced game performance, the deltas that separate it from the essentially free integrated NICs on today's motherboards are just too small to justify the additional investment for the vast majority of gamers. We should also point out that many broadband routers---some of which are cheaper than the Killer Xeno Pro--also have the ability to prioritize game data and manage bandwidth, further mitigating the Xeno Pro's advantages.
We're sure there is a small minority of gamers that won't mind making the additional investment in a specialized NIC specifically designed for gaming, if it gives them even the slightest edge in their favorite game. Those types of users will probably be pleased by the Killer Xeno Pro, but that group of consumers is a rather small niche'. If you're among that group, great, the Xeno Pro is a cool product. If you're not, don't sweat it; your integrated NIC will serve you just fine.