Bigfoot returns; with a new gaming network card

Subject: General Tech | March 23, 2009 - 11:35 AM |

It has been more than 2 years since the release of the first Killer NIC product, the world's first network card aimed at gamers, and PC Perspective was one of the few outlets to get our hands on the product for a write up.  There were then, and remain to this day, a lot of questions about the need for and technologies behind the Killer-line of network cards but hopefully soon we will have more answers from Bigfoot, the company behind it all.

Today at GDC, Bigfoot is announcing the new Killer Xeno networking card, a next-generation NIC for online gaming.  The Killer Xeno sports an "NPU" (network processing unit), either 128MB or 256MB of memory, PCIe interface, hardware-accelerated voice chat from TeamSpeak 2 and more.  The price on the lower-end Xeno Pro will be $129 while the Xeno Ultra will run you $179.  I have included their press release below, but until we get our hands on the product we'll leave it alone.  This is really something that NEEDS to be tested before any judgement can be passed.  Look for our article on this product in April. 

SAN FRANCISCO, Game Developers Conference - March 23, 2009 - Bigfoot

Networks, the networking technology company behind the Killer(tm) line of

gaming network cards, today launched Killer Xeno, the company's

next-generation voice chat-enabled network interface card for online gamers.

The new product comes with more memory, an upgraded network processing unit

(NPU), and integrated audio for hardware-accelerated voice-chat, all

designed to bring gamers the ultimate online experience. The Killer Xeno

platform provides Bigfoot Networks' partners and customers the fastest time

to market with a flexible product design for customizing, licensing and

distributing Killer Xeno.

Killer Xeno's voice-chat acceleration technology addresses the most

requested gamer feature, and will enable the millions of online gamers

worldwide who utilize these chat services to enjoy a "hiccup-free" voice

experience while playing the latest generation of online games.  Bigfoot, in

providing voice chat, has partnered with companies supporting leading

products such as TeamSpeak and Vivox as well as utilizing the popular open

source application Mumble.

Killer Xeno is also a flexible product design platform that enables

customers, including Add-In-Board (AIB) vendors and PC OEMs, to license and

differentiate Killer Xeno products for their markets. Bigfoot Networks also

announced today that leading game systems developer Alienware, Dell's

high-performance gaming brand, will be the first exclusive PC OEM to ship

the Killer Xeno Pro.

"The worldwide online gaming market is rapidly growing, and with more

gaming customers come more customer requests, demands and needs.  Alienware

works to stay ahead of the curve and Bigfoot Networks helps us do this,"

said Frank Azor, senior vice president and general manager, Alienware. "The

Bigfoot Networks' Killer Xeno gives us the proven technology needed to

guarantee customers' ultimate online gaming experience."

Additionally, the company announced that EVGA Corporation, the leading-edge

3D graphics card and motherboard manufacturer, is Bigfoot's first exclusive

third party AIB partner to license Killer Xeno to be distributed under the

EVGA brand.

"EVGA, from the beginning, has embraced intelligent innovation and

leadership within our product philosophy," said Andrew Han, EVGA president

and CEO. "By partnering with Bigfoot Networks, EVGA can now offer the Killer

Xeno Pro to members of the VGA community.  In particular, this new product

will greatly improve the immersive experience and competitive edge for

online gamers.  Addressing our customers' real-time networking needs and

empowering them with new products is made possible with Bigfoot's Killer

Xeno technology."

"Bigfoot Networks' products are designed to provide the best experience for

today's new generation of real-time network-dependent applications such as

online gaming, voice chat and file sharing," said Bigfoot Networks CEO

Michael Howse. "Our new high-volume distribution partnerships with Alienware

and EVGA will enable a wide variety of product implementations and price

points for gamers and consumers worldwide."

The Killer Xeno gaming network cards deliver the ultimate online gaming

experience, decreasing latency and offering better framerates, thus enabling

smoother gameplay. Key features of the Killer Xeno include:

* PCIe interface: provides for higher throughput.

* Killer Xeno NPU: dedicated smart packet processor for all network

operations, ensures the delivery of time sensitive data like game control

and VoIP.

* Plug and Play compatibility with all games.

* Windows network stack bypass: provides for direct to game interrupts.

* Integrated audio chip: offloads VoIP operations to Killer Xeno NPU for

'"hiccup-free" voice communications while gaming.

* On board RAM (256 MB/Ultra and 128/Pro): enables applications such as

Firewall, VoIP chat and bandwidth control to run on the card simultaneously

with no system performance degradation.

* Firewall:  Stops intruders with zero gaming performance impact. Based on

robust Linux iptable implementation.

* Bandwidth control:  Prioritize network traffic for each application by

setting bandwidth priorities and max/min limits through a simple interface.

* Onboard status display: Xeno Ultra model includes a customizable LED

display for caller ID, network statistics, game information or any

user-customized messages.

The Killer Xeno comes in two form factors, Killer Xeno Ultra with 256MB of

on board ram, OnBoard Status Display and Killer Xeno Pro with 128MB of on

board ram. Both models include audio processing for VoIP chat.

The Killer Xeno Pro will be available for $129.99 from both Alienware and

EVGA in April 2009. The Killer Xeno Ultra will be available for $179.99 in

May from leading online retail partners. Check for

more details.

To see Bigfoot Networks at the Game Developers Conference 2009, March

23-27, at the Moscone Center, San Francisco, please visit us at booth #6406.

About Bigfoot Networks

Bigfoot Networks is dedicated to developing groundbreaking networking

hardware and software for gamers and mass-market consumers. Bigfoot aims to

support the rapidly growing online and competitive gaming markets, in

addition to mainstream consumer applications that can benefit from the

company's leading technology. Powered by Bigfoot's proprietary Lag and

Latency Reduction technology, the company's first product line, Killer

NIC(tm), is the industry's first network interface card (NIC) designed

specifically to improve network performance for a smoother, more responsive

online game experience. Bigfoot Networks is funded by leading venture

capital firms North Bridge Venture Partners and Palomar Ventures. To learn

more, visit Bigfoot Networks at

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