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COMPUTEX: The GPU/NIC Combo Card Revealed

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 36 comments

A prototype combines Bigfoot's Killer NIC with TUL's ATI Radeon HD 5000 graphics card.

Bigfoot Networks, the company behind the "Killer" line of gaming network cards, is currently showcasing a rather unique PCI Express hybrid at Computex 2010 in Taipei. In conjunction with TUL Corporation, the device combines Bigfoot's Killer 2100 Gaming Network Card technology with TUL's PowerColor-branded ATI Radeon HD 5000 graphics card. The result is a "best of breed" Gaming Combo Card that's deemed as the first of its kind.

"The Gaming Combo Card taps into massive parallel processing power on the GPU to deliver unrivaled visual quality and gaming performance supporting Microsoft DirectX 11 technology," Bigfoot said. "Using Killer Game Networking DNA technology, the card also classifies network traffic and separates game data for priority treatment, while reducing freezing, stuttering and other symptoms of lag. The Gaming Combo Card is a one card, one slot solution that is plug-and-play ready to give consumers a competitive online gaming edge."

It will be interesting to see how this card performs given that the NIC and GPU are using the same PCI Express bus. However, the prototype card provides two DVI ports, an HDMI output prt, and a gigabit Ethernet jack. Currently there's no indication of pricing, however it was suggested that this combination will be cheaper than purchasing the NIC and GPU separately. As for availability, the combo card may actually appear in a matter of months, however that's not set in stone.

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  • 28 Hide
    figgus , June 3, 2010 8:54 PM
    Next inventions by Bigfoot: a fridge and powered subwoofer combo, a cell phone umbrella, and a toaster that warms your bathwater while you are in it!
  • 20 Hide
    someguynamedmatt , June 3, 2010 8:55 PM
    I'll be honest, I never really saw the point behind 'gaming' NICs. I mean, maybe if it was the only thing between you and direct access to the internet, then maybe. But you've got the ISP, several converter boxes, and hundreds of miles of old copper wire to go through. Isn't the onboard NIC good enough? And even if you have a rig good enough to need that little bit of extra speed from a faster NIC, wouldn't you have the cash to buy an actual graphics card with, anyway?... :D 
Other Comments
  • 17 Hide
    XD_dued , June 3, 2010 8:50 PM
    Uh...No. I'll stick to integrated and 5850 thanks :) 
  • 28 Hide
    figgus , June 3, 2010 8:54 PM
    Next inventions by Bigfoot: a fridge and powered subwoofer combo, a cell phone umbrella, and a toaster that warms your bathwater while you are in it!
  • 20 Hide
    someguynamedmatt , June 3, 2010 8:55 PM
    I'll be honest, I never really saw the point behind 'gaming' NICs. I mean, maybe if it was the only thing between you and direct access to the internet, then maybe. But you've got the ISP, several converter boxes, and hundreds of miles of old copper wire to go through. Isn't the onboard NIC good enough? And even if you have a rig good enough to need that little bit of extra speed from a faster NIC, wouldn't you have the cash to buy an actual graphics card with, anyway?... :D 
  • 0 Hide
    tharkis842 , June 3, 2010 9:00 PM
    Yah, that's what we need, an NIC fighting with my video card for dominance. Instead of network lag we'll have to deal with a drop in frame rate.
  • 5 Hide
    rockstone1 , June 3, 2010 9:05 PM
    That looks awesome for anyone who does a lot of Lan. I wonder what the performance will be.
  • 3 Hide
    chickenhoagie , June 3, 2010 9:08 PM
    XD_duedUh...No. I'll stick to integrated and 5850 thanks

    as will I
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , June 3, 2010 9:15 PM
    i think you lot missed the point, the card analyzes network traffic and gives priority to game data over lets say torrent data, yes it would add a slight overhead but if handled correctly and in hardware rather via software it might actually boost network performance if you like to multitask and game at the same time
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , June 3, 2010 9:31 PM
    Amazing great idea. Will bring multiplayer games to a new level.
  • 1 Hide
    nforce4max , June 3, 2010 9:39 PM
    i much rather have the Lucid Hydra combo instead and slap it in with my two 9800gt 1gb editions in the middle slot on my xfx 780i.
  • 1 Hide
    Parsian , June 3, 2010 10:15 PM
    this is like adding oranges with apples... how did they even conceive this?
  • 7 Hide
    maigo , June 3, 2010 10:42 PM
    how bout a mouse with a nic? then you could get your shots onto the internet even faster
  • 3 Hide
    pocketdrummer , June 3, 2010 11:04 PM
    This would be ok for a game like wow, but the pitifully slow HD5000 won't serve any game justice. It would be better to just use integrated. It's kinda funny they named their company "BigFoot" because they are as likely to be seen (in any real gaming system).
  • 0 Hide
    alextheblue , June 3, 2010 11:34 PM
    SomeGuyNamedMattI'll be honest, I never really saw the point behind 'gaming' NICs. I mean, maybe if it was the only thing between you and direct access to the internet, then maybe. But you've got the ISP, several converter boxes, and hundreds of miles of old copper wire to go through. Isn't the onboard NIC good enough? And even if you have a rig good enough to need that little bit of extra speed from a faster NIC, wouldn't you have the cash to buy an actual graphics card with, anyway?...

    I have FiOS - but even cable/DSL doesn't generally traverse "hundreds of miles of old copper wire". They hit a station somewhere nearby that is hooked up to a fat pipe.

    Anyway, with FiOS I already get excellent latency compared to most cable/DSL connections in this area. Shaving off several ms, and reducing spikes, would be useful - if it was really cheap. However, it's not cheap enough right now, so you'd still get more benefit by getting a better GPU or CPU instead. If you have a rig that already is loaded with the best hardware available, then it's probably worth it to buy a Killer NIC.

    So as a combo card, no, I don't see the point unless it's a LOT cheaper than a seperate Killer NIC (practically a free addition to the GPU). But for an already-loaded $2000+ gaming PC? It might be worth adding just the Killer NIC by itself, without the GPU combo (since you would already have awesome GPUs).
  • 2 Hide
    idisarmu , June 3, 2010 11:36 PM
    multitaski think you lot missed the point, the card analyzes network traffic and gives priority to game data over lets say torrent data, yes it would add a slight overhead but if handled correctly and in hardware rather via software it might actually boost network performance if you like to multitask and game at the same time


    Or you can just turn off your torrents and anything unnecessary.
  • 1 Hide
    alextheblue , June 3, 2010 11:38 PM
    nforce4maxi much rather have the Lucid Hydra combo instead and slap it in with my two 9800gt 1gb editions in the middle slot on my xfx 780i.
    Hmm, that's actually not a bad idea. Throw it into a Hydra setup. But that will only be interesting to me if the next-gen Hydra boards really shine.
  • 1 Hide
    eddieroolz , June 3, 2010 11:48 PM
    Didn't they find out that NICs don't work?
  • 0 Hide
    requiemsallure , June 4, 2010 12:03 AM
    ok i accually work with this stuff so i know that if a circuit/trunk is needed to carry data it will have as much bandwidth as needed (or if on the user end as much as ordered). the problem with gaming and NIC's lies not so much with the NIC that you have in your computer as it does with the Interface in a server or router or switch and the processing capability of the router or switch or server (generally not routers or switches). if your NIC is the "best" there is, it probably out performs the interfaces in these devices, not so much the routers or switches (among other devices) but, the servers NIC (bandwidth of the NIC) are generally the biggest problem. In other words, unless the entire path has interfaces that are as good as your "gaming NIC" then it is pretty much useless to get one.

    In other news its pretty much useless to get a gaming NIC.
  • 1 Hide
    rockstone1 , June 4, 2010 12:10 AM
    AlexTheBlue But for an already-loaded $2000+ gaming PC? It might be worth adding just the Killer NIC by itself, without the GPU combo (since you would already have awesome GPUs).


    It's a shame it's not a GTX GPU, you could use the GPU portion for Physics processing
  • 0 Hide
    Gin Fushicho , June 4, 2010 12:23 AM
    Seems like to me it's just going to jack up the price. Most connections meant for gaming should be good enough with the integrated Networking on good motherboards.
  • 2 Hide
    jazz84 , June 4, 2010 12:55 AM
    Adding to AlexTheBlue's sentiment, this is just a silly idea. As has been said, gaming NICs are pretty much a gimmick. But let's consider the supposed target market: hardcore gamers who have cash to spare on a blinged-out network card AFTER all the other gaming gear they've purchased / had mommy and daddy buy. These are people who wouldn't even conceive of gaming with a budget-level card like an HD5000. Completely agree with rockstone1 that this is a sorely missed opportunity to go with an Nvidia GPU to at least add appeal as a PhysX coprocessor. Now it's just their same old glorified local QOS NIC with a crippled graphics card hanging off of it like a hideous shriveled up conjoined twin. Swing and a miss, Bigfoot. Swing and a miss...
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