Bigfoot Sighting at E3...


Off in a corner of South Hall, amongst the Asian importers and those devices that are supposed to polish your damaged game discs back into playable condition, I came upon a small booth giving away toy hand grenades (which my dog absolutely loves) and showing off their networking cards specifically designed for gamers. Like a voice in the wilderness, Michael Howse, CEO of Bigfoot Networks, was touting the abilities of their new Killer 2100 network interface card. You hear lots of people touting lots of things at E3, often strange things that would appeal to twelve people - three of which worked on it.

However, the potential audience of the Killer 2100 is a little larger... it would really only appeal to anyone who plays PC games online. That's all of you MMORPG players, RTS players... heck, even casual games could benefit. The idea is simple, yet groundbreaking - the card allows your games' communication to completely bypass the CPU.

The modern computer is a phenomenally amazing device, but it's designed to be general-purpose and, as such, is subject to a lot of inefficiency. For example, your computer's central processing unit(s) are general purpose devices that sit there and churn out computations to interpret user input (from mouse, kayboard, gamepads and the like), queue up and spool out sound, control the loading and saving of data to and from your hard drives... along with various other stuff that its doing just to run the operating system under everything. Generating the graphics was once a major part of what your CPU would have to do, until graphics cards came along and changed things. Now, it's not uncommon for a high-end graphics card to have clock speeds and memory that would rival some computer systems. Real gamers wouldn't dream of trying to use "on-board" graphics adapters to play games. However, most motherboards have on-board network interfaces and gamers end up using these to play their games online. The problem is that these network interfaces use system resources and all data transferred into or out of your system first is managed by the operating system, causing unnecessary lag as your data sits in your system waiting to move, like a businessman stuck in customs at an airport. With the Killer 2100, your data bypasses the OS completely, cutting out the long lines at security, jumping in its personal jet and flying to its destination directly.

The secret weapon behind the Killer 2100 is Bigfoot Networks' Game Networking DNA technology. This consists of several optimizations including a dedicated Network Processor (NPU - think GPU, but for networking), Visual Bandwidth Control, Windows stack bypass and Advanced Game Detect, all working together to speed up your timing-sensitive gaming traffic to reduce lag-induced, game-killing performance issues.

The Killer 2100 is a PCIe card with a 400 MHz dedicated network processor and 128 MB DDR2 RAM and is compatible with Windows 7, Vista and 32-bit XP. Killer 2100 products will be available in the coming weeks in the U.S., Europe and Asia, for a suggested retail price of $129 USD.

For more information, visit Bigfoot Networks' website and check back for a full-length hands-on review when we get a Killer 2100 in-house for some serious testing.

Killer 2100
Bigfoot Networks