BigFoot Killer 2100 Gaming Network Card Review

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The KitGuru audience love to frag, and while many of us have a high definition console, we know the primary gaming machine will always be a PC. Thats the way it should be.

KitGuru review many processors, coolers, motherboards and graphics cards, but what we don’t often focus on is the connection to the internet for online gaming. Today we are going to look at the Killer 2100 Gaming Network card from Bigfoot Networks – which the company claim will transform your gaming experience.

We have never looked at a BigFoot Network product before and when they called me a few weeks ago for a briefing I had to admit I was somewhat sceptical that all their claims could be true. I fail to see how a ‘gaming’ network card could be that different from a high quality Intel onboard solution.

BigFoot originally released the Killer NIC M1 and K1 models four years ago in 2006 and in Mid 2009 they then released the Killer Xeno Pro.

When the M1 and K1 were originally launched they featured a USB port on the card which had a 333mhz CPU onboard. This was basically a linux system which could communicate with the host windows machine via the PCI-Express slot. It allowed FNapps to be run and a full SDK was made available to developers, which while a great idea in theory caused bloated apps to be made which in effect could slow down the system.

The Xeno Pro removed the FNApp system but added support for audio and offloading VOIP onto the card. Audio offloading unfortunately never really hit the headlines. I liked the idea of being able to run a Bitorrent client from the card while gaming and not experience any lag, but in reality the removal of all these should reap dividends when it comes to long term performance. On May 11 2010 they released the Killer 2100 Gaming Network Card which has many new features. That said, the new card is also massively streamlined and is technologically more advanced than previous models.

BigFoot are keen to promote the Game Networking DNA – which is a dedicated network processing unit which bypasses the Windows Networking Stack and offloads the CPU to accelerate game traffic inside the PC to put it ahead of other network traffic.

The Advanced Game Detect automatically detects and prioritizes game traffic to boost speed and sustain online gaming performance.

Visual Bandwidth Control. Software to let you see which applications are hogging bandwidth and set limits for each or shut them down completely with application blocking, so they don’t interfere with online gaming performance.

Application Blocking. Control or block each program on the PC that accesses the network so they dont interfere with the game you are playing.

Online Gaming PC Monitor. Monitor and manage performance of Online Gaming with exclusive at a glance display controls and a completely redesigned interface.

Plug and Play game support – no patches, no extra software, just simply install the driver and its ready to rock.

Killer 2100 Specifications

  • 10/100/1000 Ethernet NIC
  • 1x PCI-Express interface
  • 400 MHz ARM processor powering the NPU
  • 128 MB DDR2 RAM
  • RJ-45 connector
  • Performance-inspired housing
  • Supports Logitech keyboard LCD display
  • Supports FRAPS
  • Red LED glow (switchable)
  • Control Panel Application & Tray Indicator
  • Advanced Game Detect™
  • Online Gaming PC Monitor
  • Visual Bandwidth Control
  • Application Blocker
  • Bypasses Windows networking stack, offloading network calculations to NPU
  • Plug and play
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Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
BigFoot Killer 2100 Gaming Network Card Review, 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 rating
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  • Tres Kewl

    Wow this really makes a difference, glad to see its not just ‘scientifically’ proven though. real world testing seems good also. Worth looking into, but its quite a lot of money. I guess its basically a ‘mini PC on a card’.

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  • Eric K

    Its hard to dismiss technical testing like this at the end of the day, although I agree with Zardon, I thought these were gimmicks designed to sell to gamers who had more money than sense. Clearly not. Good education in this article, the reason I love kitguru.

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  • Death Dealer

    There have been some really educational articles on kitguru this year already, but I agree this one really opened my eyes to another area I had no idea existed.

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  • Harry

    Very good reading this morning, thanks Z. Interesting to see the latency improvements in such a technical way. Most articles just show subjective testing and I always feel the companies are paying the reviewers to write it. This all makes sense. PowerPC processor on a network card? thats impressive!

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  • Tech Head

    I can only assume that the relatively high asking price puts most people off, because it all makes such sense that these DO work. even the earlier versions did work. network activity can not only put a high load on a CPU, but the cards are just generalised when it comes to component configuration. These cards really do offer a much more focused platform for gamers.

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  • Flo

    I gotta hand it to zardon, these articles are always so good to read. even technical stuff can be understood. Great stuff.

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  • Tim

    Very entertaining read, even though networking tends to bore me to sleep. Not sure id pay £100 for a card like this as I dont game online much, but I would think that people who play a lot of FPS titles online and need maximum response time would love one.

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  • Stefan

    Very very expensive for what you get, but in reality if you spend all your spare time gaming then I would say this is a good buy as Zardon says. for the rest of us? Not so sure. well balanced review, I like the conclusion

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  • Tri Color

    Havent had time this morning to read it in depth, but I read the conclusion and will read the rest later. 8.5/10 for a £100 network card? it better be a good product!

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  • AMD4EVER

    I have the older card, the K1 and it works very well, I always notice when I use ordinary cards as when im gaming online in BC2 I get lags. I never get lags with a bigfoot. very good product, but yeah a bit costly, I think if they could drop the price by 30% they would sell a lot more.

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  • Francois LeBon

    Far too much to spend on a network card. well for me anyway, I play the odd title online but I never really notice much lag. the CPU use drop is interesting, that might help some people who are struggling to maintain performance on their system?

    I wonder if professional gaming clans use these? advantage maybe?

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  • Gareth Cringle

    I doubt pro gamers use these, they normally game locally in events when the local networks are well optimised.

    Maybe im wrong. Not sure im sold on this still. the lags are better no doubt about it, but I wonder how it translates to a majority of games online.

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  • Dilbert

    Well I wasn’t expecting something this positive. surprised me, in a nice way.

    I would like to try one out before forking out the money as I do play online often and can suffer from ping issues.

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  • Trev Mang

    ive read mixed reports on these products, but the testing has never really been detailed in any way.

    Rather inspired to do the variety of testing you did, in the context of a local network and with online tools available. It certainly seems to cut the mustard with your test results.

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  • Jeo

    Very compelling results. I think I will take a risk and order one online now. I have some issues with WOW lately and I think this would help, going on the test results.

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  • Ben

    I had the K1, and I thought it was good, but it got damaged when I moved house a year ago. I shall order one of these myself as I like a good gaming network card, my onboard broadcom sucks.

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  • Derek Flanks

    It is expensive, however the processor on the card is actually quite costly to produce, even though its not a high powered main CPU by todays standards. Its a reasonably priced product and the software aspect alone makes it worth it.

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  • Cecil

    My brother plays in a clan and he has one of these already. he says it really helps to cut out lag when he games across continents online.

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  • Edmond Wittacker

    the TCP performance is staggering, that alone is worth the money IMO.

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  • Daz

    £100 for a network card? thats more than the Sapphier HD5670 Ultimate Edition you reviewed here a while ago.

    It seems very very overpriced.

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  • Tom

    It is serious money, but I think its probably worth it if people want the best network connection they can get to the outside world.

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  • larry and mo

    I bought one of these last week, its working very well. Helped my COD MW2 online performance.

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  • breaker

    No denying the performance giong on the test results, but the price? Thats way over the odds for what I would pay. they should do a lite version or a cheaper one. I could get a decent CPU for a little more.

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  • mick

    Great review, loved the detailed analysis sections. Only problem I have is why is it so expensive?

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  • Ray

    Those complaining about the price need to understand that the software suite development alone is comprehensive and costly to produce. Not sure they could make a lite version, as the new 2100 is basically already a lite version of the older cards made for performance.

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  • dark knight

    Personally I found the review rather complex and I didnt understand some parts of it. it seems fast, but how does it actually help my gaming? by just reducing latency via packets? £100 for that?

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  • Tommy Fran

    The card has a processor onboard (powerpc) with DDR2 memory, its basically not only been designed to optimise packets back and forward but its taking the load from the main CPU in the system. its basically a little computer on a card. While networking seems a rather weird choice to offload to another CPU, it can cause interupts to the main CPU which can even sometimes cause hitching. probably not on a 4.8ghz Core i7 mind you, but those gaming on a lower end CPU would benefit more.

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  • Steven

    Yeah, its for all intents and purposes a stripped down mini computer on a card, its not just a network card which is often just a little chip to manage throughput. this card is doing so much more, and there is even a software interface and updates available to flash it. I wouldnt recommend you use this outside Windows 7 however, its getting primary focus from bigfoot on Windows 7. not XP.

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  • Fraline

    I think ill invest in one of these, my BT broadband is giving me massive issues when I go online. it might not cure it completely but im sure it would help. thanks for the detailed review, most useful.

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  • Rockstar Lover

    Zardon, if I buy this and it sucks, im hunting you down :)

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  • http://bigfootnetworks.com Arrakiv

    Hey. I’m the community manager for Bigfoot Networks, the people who designed the card. Just wanted to toss out to the fellow who was curious whether or not pro-gamers use the card: Yep, they do. We actually sponsor several major eSports teams, too, including Fnatic, SK-Gaming, Evil Geniuses, Team-Dignitas, and more.

    Also, really cool to see a review go so in-depth. :-) And thanks to all of the commentors for the feedback!

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  • SDT

    I play a lot of COD4 and MW2 and this thing helps significantly in those close calls where you and your opponent shoot at the same time. I am playing better, getting more kills and winning more. For $120, this beats a lot of other things you can get for your rig. Buy it – try it – love it – don’t deny it.

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    I am regular visitor, how are you everybody? This piece of
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    I seldom write responses, but I looked at a few of the remarks here BigFoot Killer 2100 Gaming
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    I put things off a lot and never manage to get nearly anything done.

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