Testing the Killer 2100 Gaming Network card is going to be a mixture of Synthetic and real world testing today. We need to analyse performance under controlled conditions and once we figure out what the card is doing then we will put it to the test in a variety of real world, gaming and networking tests.
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 Killer 2100 Gaming Network card 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.
Installing the card is a straightforward enough process, you insert a CD and install the driver – interestingly before driver installation Windows 7 reports the product as a PowerPC based product.
When the driver installs it goes through a somewhat long drawn out procedure.
Everyone of those little blocks above takes 5 seconds to fill, it is best going to get a cup of tea and a biscuit while this completes, just be careful not to fall over the power cable on the way out, or you can more than likely kiss goodbye to your new gaming card purchase.
It then checks the speed of your connection, it didn't get our upload speed correct however, but you can easily adjust the settings.
With testing in mind we configured our testbed PC outlined on the previous page and set up a server PC with two further cards in it, another Killer 2100 and an onboard Intel gigabit solution. The server PC was a 980X based system with 6GB of Corsair DDR3 and an Intel 160GB in it, running Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit.
High quality Cat 5E and Cat 6 cables are used throughout the home network.