"Killer" network card with 64 MB of RAM due next month

Posted by Humphrey Cheung

Austin (TX) - Back in March, we interviewed Bigfoot Networks, a small start-up that promised to end gaming lag with specialized network cards. Now more details about those cards are emerging. Bigfoot has announced that it will sell its "KillerNIC" network card next month. The card's on-board 64 MB of DDR PC2100 RAM and 32-bit 400 Mhz CPU claims to eliminate most lag by processing and reorganizing network traffic before it hits the main CPU.

The network card has a 1000/100/10 Mbps Ethernet port and a USB 2.0 port. The USB 2.0 port is part of Bigfoot's Flexible Network Architecture which allows developers to write applications to run on the NIC's processor. The card will also allow players to throttle the ping times that are sent to other players, something some shady online gamers have been doing for years.

Exactly what happens inside the KillerNIC is a secret, but Bigfoot executives hope to shorten a game packet's total time from one computer to another. Back in March, Harlan Beverly, Bigfoot's CEO, told TG Daily that much of the perceived lag happens because the computer is bogged down processing networking packets. Enterprise servers have worked around this problem by installing TCP offload chips or cards.

Routers are also trying to solve lag with Quality of Service (QoS) and other techniques. One example is Ubicom's StreamEngine technology which is used in some D-Link and ZyXEL gaming routers.

Bigfoot says the card will start selling in mid-August, but has not yet released the price.

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