The Killer Nic drivers and software are installed from the Asus CD which is supplied in the box.
Firstly, we need to discuss Latency V Throughput. Latency is commonly refered to as ‘Lag’. This is a measurement of delay for a network packet or series of packets. Latency is a good measure of the real speed of your network or Internet connection – low numbers indicate fast networking.
Throughput is different, because this is a measure of bandwidth, basically how much data can be delivered to its destination. This is often the system by which consumer Internet connections are classified and priced.
It is important to understand that Latency does not measure Throughput. 30Mbps might seem like its a service ‘speed’ but in actuality its explaining what bandwidth is available to a connection. Standard networking devices are designed to maximise throughput. They are not however designed or optimised to lower latency for online games.
When you play a game online you might think its using 8mbit of your bandwidth, but in reality you will often find its hovering around 25-100kbps. Sometimes if you are playing a game and you notice lagging, its not that your connection isn’t handling massive amounts of data its that the packet delays are causing lag and therefore game responsiveness.
The Game Networking DNA Technology that is utilised in the BigFoot Killer Nic product is tuned to reduce latency, therefore optimising the gaming connection you experience when online. Subsequently it would make sense that with this technology you could experience smoother game play while the machine is multitasking in the background.
The Bigfoot software suite is very capable and offers functionality to check your speeds, as well as monitoring network traffic and CPU load.
The first test we decided to use was the Game Network Efficiency (GANE) Test, which is in place to simulate real world network performance for online PC games. This test is used to create a gaming load on a Windows PC as well as transmission of gaming network traffic over a local network. This test is also designed to test two network cards at once making direct comparisons between both at the same time.
The setup is a little complex, but ill describe it in a step by step manner.
Firstly you connect the host (listen/server) PC to a gigabit switch through a standard gigabit ethernet connection. The Killer Nic is then used on the other test PC and it is connected to the gigabit switch via both the Killer Network gaming card and a standard Intel NIC.
On the server PC we then configure the properties of the onboard network card to have a static IP address. We then adjust the subnet mask to 255.255.255.0. The test PC is then configured in a similar manner, but we assign different static IP’s to both the Intel NIC and the Killer . Again the subnet mask is set to 255.255.255.0.
On the main test PC we then go into advanced via the IPv3 properties window. We then uncheck the ‘Automatic Metric” box and set the metric value to “1″. Both cards need this applied as the NIC uses it to send network traffic. If we leave this setting at ‘automatic’, Windows does not alternate between the NICs and instead will send all the traffic through one card rendering the test useless.
The next stage is to run GANE on both the server/listen PC and the main test rig. GANE measures then compares latency between two network cards installed on any PC. This is handled by a procedure of sending 100 byte packets over the local network on a round trip, every 50ms. Kitguru has selected 100bytes as the packet size because this is a good real world representation of a standard network packet. We want to run this size specifically to test Bigfoot’s claims that many network cards are not optimised for this ‘game’ related data packet size.
While we set up the server PC we also need to run a game benchmark on the main PC and in this case we will use Resident Evil 5 in DX10 mode with the built in benchmark at maximum settings on our screen at 1920×1200 resolution. While we are running this, we are sending packets between both NICs on the main PC to the receiving (listening) PC. This mirrors a real life situation of playing a game online while transmitting data back and forward.
Adapter 1 is the Killer Nic and Adapter 2 is the Intel solution. The results above show that the Killer Nic is 4.0 faster than the Intel solution and delivers a result with almost 25 times less jitter. On a lesser solution this can actually be as high as 35 times faster with 120 times less jitter!
Our average UDP ping was 0.000287643 on the Killer nic and it was 0.003075006 with the Intel solution. Our average mean ping was 0.232525 on the Killer Nic and 0.921490 on the Intel Nic. The worst case scenario is more critical as it could cause lag online. The onboard solution is 5.287735 while it is 0.355063 on the Killer Nic … massive differences. Bear in mind this is obviously over a very tight local network, but when heading online to game on a server thousands of miles away this will increase, exponentially.