Image: Killer Networking

If you’re a competitive gamer (or own a gaming-oriented motherboard), you’ve probably heard of Killer Networking, which produces Ethernet products and software that’s supposed to deliver lower latency for a superior gaming experience. How effective they are in increasing kill count is still up for debate, but those who are convinced may want to check out the company’s latest release, the Killer Ethernet E3100.

This is a 2.5 Gbps Ethernet controller that features the company’s exclusive Killer Prioritization Engine, which automatically detects game traffic and prioritizes it for faster gameplay. According to Killer Networking’s marketing materials, users can expect “over 3X better in-game latency performance during peak network usage periods.” The controller also features numerous other technologies – GameFast Technology, Extreme Game Mode Technology, the Killer Intelligence Engine, DoubleShot Pro Technology, and Killer Control Center 2.0 – to ensure that gamers have the best network performance possible.

Image: Killer Networking

General Technical Specifications

  • 10/100/1000Mbps/2.5Gbps
  • Compatible with 2.5GBASE-T Alliance PHY Specification
  • Supports 2.5 Gbps with Cat 5e and above
  • IPv4 and IPv6 support
  • Supports jumbo frame to 16K bytes
  • RSS support
  • Supports Wake Up Frame or Magic Packet
  • Smart speed operation for automatic speed reduction on faulty cable plants
  • Supports 2.5G Lite (1G data rate) mode
  • Power optimizer support
  • Supports APCI and PCI MSI
  • Receive Side Scaling (RSS) and MSI-X to lower CPU use in multi-core systems

Other Specifications

  • Compliant with Microsoft NDIS5, NDIS6 (IPv4, IPv6, TCP, UDP) Checksum and Segmentation Task-offload features
  • Supports IEEE 802.1P Layer 2 Priority Encoding
  • IEEE 802.1Q VLAN support
  • IEEE 802.1p QoS support
  • PCIe Specifications:

Supports PCI Express 2.1

  • Compatible with IEEE 802.3, IEEE 802.3u, IEEE 802.3ab, IEEE 802.3bz
  • Supports PCIe L1 substate L1.1and L1.2
  • Features inter-connect PCI Express technology
  • Supports connected standby
  • Supports IEEE 802.3az-2010 (Energy Efficient Ethernet)
  • E3100G is 6 mm x 6 mm package; E3100X is 7 mm x 7 mm package

“The industry is accelerating the transition to 2.5 Gbps Ethernet,” said Rivet Networks’ CEO Michael Cubbage. “Gamers that demand the best need the Killer E3100 to get the lowest latency and incredible throughput. With more and more routers and switches hitting the market supporting 2.5 Gbps Ethernet, it is the perfect time for Gamers to upgrade.”

“With MSI laptops featuring Killer E3100, not only do gamers get the benefit of faster gaming connections, enthusiasts and prosumers will also be able to enjoy accelerated connections for home multimedia steaming server or network storage,” said Derek Chen, Sales & Marketing Director of MSI.

“Acer continues to integrate innovative new technologies to enhance the gaming experience on our Predator and Nitro devices,” said Vincent Lin, Associate Vice President, Product Marketing and Planning, Acer Inc. “Network performance is an essential part of online gaming, and the Killer E3100 ethernet controller can give gamers the network connection they need to compete.”

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14 Comments

  1. But Dan I think that’s a waste of time. ESPECIALLY in the US. The average household doesn’t have a need for 2.5g, and honestly the price to enter 2.5g as compared to 10g copper isn’t a massive delta. So for those of us that want high speed cabled connections in the home 10g would be the smarter path and provide with a much better experience for a cost that isn’t all that more than 2.5g.

    2.5g is a schtick in my OPINION that is completely in line with the broadband providers of the world. Pay for our 2.5G bandwidth experience and we will provide your home 2.5g router for just 20 dollars more a month. Then you can buy your 2.5g cards through our affiliate links. (or USB adapters that is much more likely. )

    WE didn’t need a stopgap lower tier… the ONLY reason I see for that is so residential connection providers can tier up to 2.5g and not look like they are lagging behind.

    But who knows.. this is only based on 20+ years of industry observation. It’s not like I was right about Cloud gaming…. oh wait.

  2. I don’t disagree with you. However, I still have to test this crap. I’ve been doing this for years you know. I’ve tested whatever was included to make sure it worked right. That’s all. I let other people decide what they do and don’t want.

    My $0.02 I agree with you. The only thing is, that newer residential construction, or any of it done in the last 10-20 years often has CAT5e cabling in the house already. Some newer stuff has CAT6. But anything that isn’t, isn’t going to see 10Gbps connections on their home networks. That’s about the only reason I can see for a stop gap option to exist. That said, I can see broadband providers doing exactly what you describe.

  3. I don’t disagree with you. However, I still have to test this crap. I’ve been doing this for years you know. I’ve tested whatever was included to make sure it worked right. That’s all. I let other people decide what they do and don’t want.

    My $0.02 I agree with you. The only thing is, that newer residential construction, or any of it done in the last 10-20 years often has CAT5e cabling in the house already. Some newer stuff has CAT6. But anything that isn’t, isn’t going to see 10Gbps connections on their home networks. That’s about the only reason I can see for a stop gap option to exist. That said, I can see broadband providers doing exactly what you describe.

    My home is closer to the normal story. I have several consoles, 2 tv’s, A laptop, a couple tablets, and at least 4 phones all on my wifi. What uses corded connections? My desktop and my work laptop for VPN. Sometimes my private laptop too. Otherwise it’s all wifi because I don’t really care about a few dropped packets.

    2.5g (if providers had a connection fast enough) would be fine but still the cost difference between that and 10g (for my use and many use cases in the world to be honest.) is negligible unless I’m paying it by month.

    But yes you need to be able to properly test 2.5g and see if the hardware does what it is supposed to do with killer’s software seat parked on top of it.

    Killer NIC always has been and always will be a schtick for those that would want to invest in it. Now if there were a killer home router/wifi hotspot that I could assign bandwidth priority to my wired connections over my wireless… And it could do it intelligently… THAT would be something.

  4. My $20 says it’s total bullshit.

    I’ll take an intel NIC every time, no exception.

  5. Yeah OK and where do we get 2.5g switches/routers from?

    edit – Amazon has this 8 port switch for the low low price of $539

    Jesus.

    10gig SFP+ switches can be had for less.

    It’s all marketing BS anyway since everything has to go through the 1g uplink port on my FIOS router.

    Don’t get me wrong. I am a huge proponent of more bandwidth in the home.

    I’m current home network looks something like this:

    Gigabit Fios In –> Custom build pfSense Router –> Aruba 48 Port Gigabit switch with 4 10gig SFP+ uplink ports.

    The SFP+ ports are all populated as follows:
    – Single VLAN Trunked 10Gig optical line to my VM / NAS server
    – 10Gig optical line to my Workstation
    – 10Gig optical line to MikroTik 24port Gigabit first floor switch
    – 10Gig optical line to MikroTik 24port Gigabit second floor switch

    I also have a dedicated 10gig optical run between my workstation to my server just for NAS purposes.

    So, 10gig serves two important functions in my house.

    1.) Backbone: The 24 ports in each switch on each floor share 10gig of bandwidth to the main switch in the basement. Considering I have many empty ports on those, and the WAN is limited to gigabit speeds I’m never going to come close to saturating those backbone 10gig lines, but between NAS and TV traffic to the server and WAN traffic, I’ll certainly hit a few gigabit when the planets align. And that’s kind of the point, you want it to not be limited during the worst case.

    2.) Consolidation: I used to use as many as 8 gigabit lines to my server, some dedicated for certain purposes, others link aggregated to handle the load from the many different VM’s Now its all consolidated in a single 10gig trunked line with many VLAN’s to the main switch. It’s a much sleeker and more convenient solution. Again, it rarely comes anywhere even near maxing out, but again, that’s the point.

    3.) NAS traffic. My dedicated 10gig line from my workstation to my NAS is great, and very convenient for transferring large files. When the NAS is relatively idle, not being hit hard by the VM’s or other clients in the house, I can hit 1.2GB/s sequential data transfer. Capital B. Copying a 20Gig video file takes 17 seconds.

    I have a couple of Unifi Wireless AP’s, but I don’t really use Wifi for much. Our phones. And the laptop I rarely use.

    So, yes, I realize my use scenario is atypical for home users, but there are many applications where having higher internal bandwidth than your external bandwidth is very useful.

    Their claims of lowering pings to external game servers can’t possibly be anything but complete and utter rubbish though. I can’t believe they can actually make claims like this without being concerned about fraud accusations…

    This Killer company has never done anything worth ****.

  6. They mention faster gaming. There’s no internet service that can saturate a 2.5 Gbps connection, and very few that can even saturate a 1 Gbps connection.

    They’re just marketing a higher number as being better, when in reality it’s useless for gaming.

  7. Well the big claim here isn’t 2.5GB, it’s 3x better latency.

    which, according to their marketing, was one test running Overwatch pings while simultaneously saturating the network with torrent traffic from the same computer. And pings on “the competition“ were around 150ms, but with Killer was only 50ms.

    …which any router with a programmable QOS setting could achieve the same thing… across the entire LAN

    So the claim to fame here is the NIC has some built-in game oriented QOS settings, which they cleverly label “Extreme Gaming Mode”

    They are only missing two things:
    – They misses the opportunity to Mention how they can improve game streaming quality
    – Lack of RGB integration

  8. Well the big claim here isn’t 2.5GB, it’s 3x better latency.

    which, according to their marketing, was one test running Overwatch pings while simultaneously saturating the network with torrent traffic from the same computer. And pings on “the competition“ were around 150ms, but with Killer was only 50ms.

    …which any router with a programmable QOS setting could achieve the same thing… across the entire LAN

    So the claim to fame here is the NIC has some built-in game oriented QOS settings, which they cleverly label “Extreme Gaming Mode”

    They are only missing two things:
    – They misses the opportunity to Mention how they can improve game streaming quality
    – Lack of RGB integration

    Yeah, I have a few issues with that.

    If it is done on the NIC itself, then the traffic that is competing with the game traffic would have to originate from the same PC, not something else on the network.

    And agreed, a router would be a better place to do this, as it would cover everything on the network. Usually good QoS settings are not default though, and many consumer grade routers are CPU limited when it comes to good QoS. And QoS settings can be complicated to set up for a beginner.

    If Killer sold a router with good pre-configured QoS settings to prioritize traffic that looks like game traffic, they may actually have a product that would be useful. I’m not convinced I have the confidence in Killer to pull this off. Thus far they have pretty much been a sham of a company surviving entirely on tricking fools with misleading marketing.

  9. I’m current home network looks something like this:

    Gigabit Fios In –> Custom build pfSense Router –> Aruba 48 Port Gigabit switch with 4 10gig SFP+ uplink ports.

    The SFP+ ports are all populated as follows:
    – Single VLAN Trunked 10Gig optical line to my VM / NAS server
    – 10Gig optical line to workstation
    – 10Gig optical line to my Workstation
    – 10Gig optical line to MikroTik 24port Gigabit first floor switch
    – 10Gig optical line to MikroTik 24port Gigabit second floor switch

    I also have a dedicated 10gig optical run between my workstation to my server just for NAS purposes.

    So, 10gig serves two important functions in my house.

    1.) Backbone: The 24 ports in each switch on each floor share 10gig of bandwidth to the main switch in the basement. Considering I have many empty ports on those, and the WAN is limited to gigabit speeds I’m never going to come close to saturating those backbone 10gig lines, but between NAS and TV traffic to the server and WAN traffic, I’ll certainly hit a few gigabit when the planets align. And that’s kind of the point, you want it to not be limited during the worst case.

    2.) Consolidation: I used to use as many as 8 gigabit lines to my server, some dedicated for certain purposes, others link aggregated to handle the load from the many different VM’s Now its all consolidated in a single 10gig trunked line with many VLAN’s to the main switch. It’s a much sleeker and more convenient solution. Again, it rarely comes anywhere even near maxing out, but again, that’s the point.

    3.) NAS traffic. My dedicated 10gig line from my workstation to my NAS is great, and very convenient for transferring large files. When the NAS is relatively idle, not being hit hard by the VM’s or other clients in the house, I can hit 1.2GB/s sequential data transfer. Capital B. Copying a 20Gig video file takes 17 seconds.

    I have a couple of Unifi Wireless AP’s, but I don’t really use Wifi for much. Our phones. And the laptop I rarely use.

    So, yes, I realize my use scenario is atypical for home users, but there are many applications where having higher internal bandwidth than your external bandwidth is very useful.

    Their claims of lowering pings to external game servers can’t possibly be anything but complete and utter rubbish though. I can’t believe they can actually make claims like this without being concerned about fraud accusations…

    This Killer company has never done anything worth ****.

    Holy hell Zarathustra, that is a beefier setup than some places I’ve worked at. Overkill your middle name? LOLs

    Nothing that happens in my house needs more than 1g, except maybe backups. I’m not running a mission control center or anything. And I live in an old house where running cat6 to each room, or multiple switches by fiber in your case, would be painful at best. Plus I get real lazy when I’m at home, I deal with all that **** at work already. At my house, if it’s not in my office then it’s all wifi.

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