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Bigfoot Network's Killer K1 NIC review

Jeremy Star Posted:
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Hardware Reviews 0

Bigfoot Network's Killer K1 NIC review

Performance - Where is the GO button?

WoW

Yeah, yeah. Get it out now. Regardless of whether you love it or you hate it, World of Warcraft is undeniably the 600 lb gorilla in the MMORPG mist. I ran WoW with all the graphical goodness cranked to the utmost.

WoW runs great on this type of mid-range PC. It was practically designed to run full out on a system like this. Anything more is basically overkill. Instances, Ironforge, or just running around killing things, the game runs pretty smooth with the built in NIC. There is some hitching in crowded areas, and people sometimes take a bit of time to appear on screen, but it's generally acceptable.

With the Killer K1 NIC installed, WoW stills runs smooth. It is, however, noticeably less laggy in crowded areas, and there doesn't seem to be a delay when people load in. As with the M1, the K1 really glosses over any lag you may experience. You almost don't notice until you remove the K1 again, then it seems laggy. The ping is much lower with the K1 installed.

But wait! There's more! After my Killer M1 NIC review, many people complained that upgrading to a dual-core processor would negate any benefit you would see from adding a Killer NIC to your system, so I wanted to put that to the test and see if the Killer would help the same system with a better processor. I popped open Ye Olde Teste Machine and ripped out the clunky Athlon 3000 and replaced it with a faster, dual-core AMD Athlon X2 4200 processor.

Running WoW with the new processor was indeed a bit faster, however there was still noticeable lag in crowded situations. While the FPS (Frames Per Second) were higher, the game still didn't feel as smooth as the Athlon 300 with the Killer K1 installed.

After installing the K1 with the Athlon X2 4200, the lag seemed to disappear again. Once again, the game felt much smoother, and pings were much lower.

Athlon 3000 - No Killer K1

Min FPS Max FPS Average FPS Average Ping
27 51 36 135 ms

Athlon 3000 - Killer K1

Min FPS Max FPS Average FPS Average Ping
27 56 39 39 ms

Athlon X2 4200 - No Killer K1

Min FPS Max FPS Average FPS Average Ping
30 47 39 131 ms

Athlon X2 4200 - Killer K1

Min FPS Max FPS Average FPS Average Ping
31 45 41 60 ms

Here we can see that the biggest advantage of the Killer K1 is a much lower ping when it is installed. I'm not sure why the K1 actually raised the ping when installed with the Athlon X2 4200, but it was most likely due to a heavier network load than when it was tested with the Athlon 3000.

We can also see that - true to its advertising - the K1 does increase FPS. The amount here seems minimal, but again, with two PCs side by side, it may prove to be greater.

Conclusion? WoW definitely sees improvement with the Killer K1, dual-core PC or not.

Vanguard: Saga of Heroes

My second test subject was the newly released Vanguard: SOH (hereafter referred to as VG). Simply put, VG can use as much help as it can get running on a mid-range PC, since it was designed with "future proof" graphics. I ran VG on "balanced" settings, with no tweaking.

VG runs like a three-legged dog on this system. There were literally times that I had to stand up and walk away from the PC for a while. I was that frustrated with the abysmal performance. My character would run for three steps, then lag and start walking for a few steps, then run for three steps, and repeat ad infinitum. I lost track of the number of times I died because the program froze while I was fighting something. Unfreeze! Oh, sorry 'bout that, but you're dead. Have a nice walk back!

After installing the Killer K1, the game became somewhat more tolerable, but I still experienced "lag" death. At least with the K1, the "hitching" while running around noticeably lessened. I also noticed more spell effects that the game had apparently determined my system was not fast enough to display before. Interesting, in a maddening, want-to-destroy-something kind of way. As with WoW, the ping was quite a bit lower, although it wasn't quite as dramatic.

Ok, so now we remove the Athlon 3000 and retire it to the great junkyard in the sky. (Or, build my mother a PC with it. Same difference.) Ah, glorious dual-core power, thou art restored to me in the form of the Athlon X2 4200.

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Agent_X7

Jeremy Star