It looks like EVGA is starting to kick into higher gear than most of other AIBs [Add-In Board vendor]... after experimenting with dual 19" LCD display and launching DisplayLink-enabled adapters, EVGA got their feet wet with their PC-over-IP line of products. After the obvious success, the company decided to bring some dedicated network hardware to the PC crowd as well.
Fast forward to today, and we have EVGA introducing a product from Bigfoot Networks and become the launch partner for the second generation of Killer NIC products. Killer NIC is somewhat an odd-ball in the world of integration. The world got used to the marvels of integrating Gigabit Ethernet controllers on the motherboards, and then Killer NIC appeared at the same time as Ageia.
While the concepts were great, there was just one white elephant in the room. Use of PCI interface. For reasons unknown, both companies opted for a dying connecting standard and a price of 249 greenbacks. Ageia got bought, Bigfoot well, stands on their own and the company opened its closed doors and started to work with 3rd party vendors such as EVGA.
While Killer NIC line-up is consisted out of two models, EVGA decided only to launch the cheaper version. For a grand total of 129 greenbacks, you will get a 400 MHz processor and 128 MB of DDR2 memory at 266 MHz. Just like the first generation product, Killer NIC features embedded Linux-based operating system and features CPU and OS independent network stack. As Harlan stated in an interview with OCModShop, the company "overpromised" on capabilities of the first generation part, due to limitations imposed by OS. Second generation part now supports sound capabilities as well, so you can connect your headphones and microphone directly to the card. The USB 2.0 port for overnight torrent-sucking or mouse-in for reduced also made its return.
Personally, I have used Killer NIC ever since it came out, and the product does what it stands for - enables you to enjoy without tasking the CPU with networking issues. For LAN parties, this was worth like a pot of gold - the minute I would share drives, I would often suffer tremendous drop in performance due to CPU being loaded to 100%. Nope, it wasn't hard drive issues or swap issues since I had 4GB at the time when most folk had 1GB. but with Killer NIC, my policy changed to "suck all you want, you all gonna die anyways" [at least in games]. Second feature that you will like is the fact that there is no need to install low-quality drivers from integrated network cards... now, if we could only get rid of sound driver...
We look forward to reviewing this product, and comparing it to the first generation, and most popular motherboard solutions.