K is for Killer
The Killer itself is sent in a red box with a group of warriors along the bottom of the box in various states of attack. The rear of the box has a CGI image of the card with arrows pointing to different parts of the card explaining the core technologies.
The card itself is sporting a rather epic heatsink which is K shaped with eyes cut into it. While this shiny K looks the business, it’s rather unnecessary and a smaller, more functional heatsink would have sufficed; especially considering as you’ll never see it once it’s installed in your rig.
The rear of the card contains a surprise. While I expected a standard RJ-45 socket providing the network connectivity, the USB port was a little odd. Apparently this port allows the Killer to use some kind of off-card storage, i.e. a USB disc. This is necessary if you want to use the FNApp for Bittorent. The card will save the file that you want to download directly to the USB disc, meaning that there is no need for the hard disc in your PC to be used.
Personally, this does seem like a really good idea, but there seems to be a security issue with allowing direct access to the card like this. Imagine a PC using the Killer NIC and some unsavoury character plugging in a USB drive into the network card. Now the Killer NIC has a look at the disc and loads a program that logs all of the packets sent/received and uploads them to a separate web server. Another option would be to plug in the USB drive which contains a program that spams others with your network connection. Whether or not any of this is possible, remains up to someone who has the knowledge and the conviction.
There are actually two versions of the Killer NIC which are named K1 and M1. Both of which can do exactly the same thing in regards to network traffic, but the K1 has a couple of differences. For example, the M1 runs with a 400mhz processor, while the K1 is left with a 333mhz version. This means that there is no need for the K nickel heatsink that the M1 sports. Also, FNApps are disabled (although currently the K1 is shipping with them enabled for a short period of time), you’ll be able to upgrade to use them in the future if you so wish however (probably using a firmware update). As a result of not having access to FNApps, the USB 2.0 port has been removed, which means that even if you upgraded to be able to use FNApps you won’t be able to store things on a USB disc.
In some ways the K1 seems like a better idea. If you are buying this to lower your ping, then that’s all you want. You don’t need the heatsink, you don’t need the USB port, and you don’t need FNApps. Both cards are reported by BigFoot themselves to perform similarly in ping-lowering so to me the K1 seems like the obvious choice.
Packaged with the card is a driver CD, a free games CD (full of games that are freely available on the internet), a short manual and the card itself.