Bigfoot Announces New Xeno NIC

If you're the type that insists on using BitTorrent while playing the latest online games, then the Xeno line of network cards from Bigfoot may be right up your alley.

Despite computer hardware advancing in leaps and bounds, we sometimes find ourselves cursing the heavens and violently shaking our monitors. Sure, the latest offerings from AMD, Intel and Nvidia will boost our frame rates and allow for speedy HD encoding/decoding, but it all goes to Hades if our Internet connection isn't cooperating.

If you insist on downloading copious amounts of media while playing an FPS or MMO, latency between you and your favorite server may become an issue to say the least. Until now, whenever we fire up Quake Live or Warhammer Online, torrents get paused and take a backseat to the action. However, Bigfoot Networks wants you to download and play at the same time with no sacrifice in performance.

Starting at $130, Bigfoot's new Xeno line of network interface cards are about five to ten times more expensive than an average NIC. However, that premium price comes with a promise from Bigfoot that you will never be the victim of latency again. The Xeno Pro and Xeno Ultra both sport a PCI Express x1 connection, offering more throughput than their older M1 and K1 brothers. Each card boasts gigabit Ethernet, USB 2.0 as well as audio input and output. The audio ports are included because the Xeno cards tout built-in voice chat processing. This combined with a 400 MHz NPU (Network Processing Unit) means your CPU and motherboard are no longer responsible for voice or networking. With that processing power now freed up, Bigfoot claims you will see a noticeable difference in your games frame rates.

There are two primary differences between the Xeno Pro and Xeno Ultra. The Ultra comes with 256 MB of onboard memory compared to the 128 MB on the Pro. The Ultra also boasts a "bling bar," which can display link speed, network status, "or anything else you want it to say." However, this bar is attached to the side of the card, so unless you have a case window, you won't be able to see any of the displayed information. The cards offer a number of other goodies, including a built-in firewall, built-in BitTorrent client, bandwidth control, and game networking acceleration, which "bypasses the Windows Network Stack to transfer packets directly to/from the game." Bigfoot has also announced that eVGA has signed on as a partner and will release its own NIC's based on Killer Xeno technology.

The Xeno Pro will go for $129.99 and the Ultra will set you back $179.99, and both will be available within the next month. If playing Doom 3 online while simultaneously downloading the Doom movie is that important to you, this card may be answer to your prayers. If you're like me and run BitTorrent while sleeping, then perhaps a nice $15 Ethernet card is more your cup of tea.

  • hellwig
    Don't waste $170 or even $130 buying a NIC that supposedly reduces your latency and increases transfers. These claims are unsupported, although it is good to see the price much lower than the $499 they wanted for the Killer NIC.

    Instead, send me only $19.95 (+ 9.95 shipping and handling), and I'll send you my revolutionary new NIC Speed Enhancer. Simply attach the product (looks like a spondgebob sticker, but trust me, there's a lot more than meets the eye) to any IC on any existing NIC product from any company. I guarantee you'll be seeing reduced latency and increased transfers or your money back (minus handling and restocking fees, also, sticker must be removed and returned undamaged, if sticker was scratch-and-sniff, fragrance must still be detectable to qualify for refund). Don't wait, act now, quantities are limited.
  • zaratustra06
  • curnel_D
    I 'plan' on getting one only because I want the onboard linux torrent client. Will be a life saver.
  • MoUsE-WiZ
    Or just get a torrent client that doesn't suck? uTorrent is smart enough with its bandwidth/memory demands that it doesn't effect my latency at all =/
  • duckmanx88
    has TH tested these cards yet?
  • lire210
    wow what a useless product and why would I want to waste a pci-ex1 slot on this my pci was ok but what if I want a sound card cmon xfi or this hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
  • H8ff0000
    I bought a Killer NIC K1 awhile back. Bad idea on my part. It sounded like a cool idea, especially for myself since I torrent like crazy, but the product simply doesn't meet what they state. Look on their forums and you will understand what I'm saying. Lots of reports of problems installing, using, etc. Their drivers are problematic, and much worse, they need bios flashes, that WAY TOO OFTEN go bad. The software that goes along with the card causes a lot of headaches as well. Their support people are nice, which helps, but it didn't stop the card from becoming mere internal case-bling for many users. I'm not saying to NOT buy their products, just make sure to do the research first.
  • curnel_D
    MoUsE-WiZOr just get a torrent client that doesn't suck? uTorrent is smart enough with its bandwidth/memory demands that it doesn't effect my latency at all =/That's not true at all, and you know it.
  • dansergiu
    I don't get it. Either this article is lacking crucial information or it simply states false information. How exactly am I going to reduce lagging using this card while BitTorrents are still running. Every BitTorrent client tries to make as many TCP connections as possible for maximum bandwidth. That's a fact. This card has a separate processing unit and can handle audio. So? does it make sure that I get a dedicated bandwidth for my application (read game)? I don't think so. All it does is take some processing out of the CPU but it also installs a driver in the OS, interrupts and synchronization with the CPU and Northbridge. So you actually reliving less processing from the CPU than you may think. But the BitTorrent client still tries to take as much bandwidth as possible. Nothing stops him from doing that. This card is completely garbage. Don't buy it. This is false marketing and Bigfoot tries to sell it's stupid cards at very high prices just so people would think they are actually worth anything.
  • blackbeastofaaaaagh
    For such a card to make any sense it has to be able to perform on-board traffic shapping. It should also assign higher priority to outgoing ACK packets over regular TCP packets.
    A couple of gateway/router claim to do this (haven't tested them myself). My net-surfing used to slow to a crawl when I had heavy-duty p2p sharing going on. Not anymore. I purchased a software-based traffic shaper and have been very happy with it.

    Check out the link. It has a nice crash course tutorial.