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Written by Steven Iglesias-Hearst   
Tuesday, 15 February 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
VisionTek Killer HD5770 Combo Card
Closer Look: VisionTek Killer Combo
VisionTek Killer HD5770 Detailed Features
Features and Specifications
Killer NIC Software and Testing
Video Card Testing Methodology
DX10: 3DMark Vantage
DX10: Street Fighter IV
DX11: Aliens vs Predator
DX11: Battlefield Bad Company 2
DX11: BattleForge
DX11: Lost Planet 2
DX11: Tom Clancy's HAWX 2
DX11: Metro 2033
DX11: Unigine Heaven 2.1
VisionTek Killer HD5770 Temperatures
VGA Power Consumption
VisionTek Killer HD5770 Overclocking
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Bigfoot Networks Killer Network Manager

Before we get onto the graphics performance tests we will take a look at the Bigfoot Networks "Killer Network Manager" software suite. There are a few handy features in this software and it is actually quite useful if you want full control over your network traffic. During installation of the bigfoot networks software it downloaded and flashed new firmware to the card. This disturbed me slightly as flashing firmware within the windows OS environment is not something I would usually do no matter how stable I might think the OS is, there should have been a warning or choice at the very least. Thankfully all went well and my card wasn't bricked and I live to tell the tale. After you are set up and running the software will do an internet connection (download and upload) test to gauge your current connection speed (bandwidth).

Bigfoot_Network_Killer_Manager_Overview.jpg

This is the main screen of the Killer network manager software, from here you can get information about your system and also monitor your network bandwidth usage. If you have FRAPS installed and running you will also get an FPS reading.

Bigfoot_Network_Killer_Manager_PC_Monitor.jpg

In this next screen you can select specific items to monitor from the drop down box and it will write to a line graph, you can also save a log of your results for later use.

Bigfoot_Network_Killer_Manager_Applications.jpg

This is the application management screen, the most useful part of the software as far as I am concerned. When you first get to this screen the software grabs all of your running programs and gives them a network usage priority of normal (out of Low, Normal, High and Highest) any games automatically get a priority of Highest. You can change the priority of any application with the drop down menu or you can reduce its bandwidth usage by selecting it and dragging the slider on the right hand side (an arrow is visible when the program is active) from full down to zero usage.

You can also see in real time which programs are using bandwidth and how much they are using, this could be quite effective when troubleshooting things like viruses or malware infections that are spreading or downloading junk to your PC. There is also another drop down menu that gives you the choice to allow or block network connection to each application.

Bigfoot_Network_Killer_Manager_Network.jpg

This is the network configuration screen, from here you can change various settings related to your current internet connection. You are able to test your current connection speed for bandwidth management here, the software detected my speed at 22.66Mbs down / 2.19Mbs up. This is good because my current package from my ISP is 20Mbs down / 2Mbs up, so either my ISP is over provisioning or the Killer E2100 NIC is working it's magic.

Bigfoot_Network_Killer_Manager_Advanced.jpg

In the advanced screen you can manage certain aspects of the network manager software, change default application priority and change how and what information is displayed.

Bigfoot Networks Killer 2100 Testing

Using the advanced network test in PassMark Performance v7 (Advanced > Networking...), I tested the transmission speed (Mb/s) of the TCP and UDP protocols on the Killer 2100 NIC and compared the results to my motherboard's on-board NIC (RealTek RTL8111E Gigabit Fast Ethernet). The nature of the Killer 2100 NIC is to accelerate game traffic, and since game traffic relies on UDP transmission we would hope to see an increase in speed here...

VisionTek_Killer_HD5770_Combo_Card_PassMark_Network_Test.jpg

And that is exactly what the case is here, the Killer E2100 NIC totally wipes the floor on the on-board network controller. The result above is an average reading, TCP results were very tight and stayed within 2Mb/s throughout the tests, but when we tested the UDP transmission speed the top end went over 500Mb/s at times which is quite interesting. These tests were conducted in a controlled LAN environment and so real world results will be somewhat lower but still promising.



 

Comments 

 
# I like the ideaktew 2011-02-16 07:19
I've had very good history with 5770s and the network speed improvements are very interesting (if you need that type of thing). I think my core disappointment is they did not use a quality cooling solution. Better heatsink or double fan or something to get to or below reference standards.

If I put a mid range machine together again, I'm looking for cool and quiet just as much as performance. This one seems to miss on each of those details and the price has moved it beyond a range I'd be considering in a mid-range build.
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# HmmIM0001 2011-02-16 10:55
The 5770 is a nice midrange card and paired with the Killer Nic, it would be the perfect card for IMO, a WoW player who wants a little graphics upgrade (or a lot) and a nice nic boost to boot. (It is one of the big games that does show a benefit using the Killer Nic vs Onboard.

A lot of people continue to cry foul and say it is just a placebo effect, but a lot of the high end gamers still pick one up since it does do a bit of cleaning and prioritizing of gaming traffic over other traffic while you are gaming. I do have a new Killer 2100 at home here to try but I have yet to have the time to open my rig and install it. Just too busy to deal with it as the comp also needs a bit of tweaking while I have her out.

Either way this card would be a prime candidate for a good crossfire setup to make it a potent little combo.

Also the cooling solution is similar to what VisionTek has been using on a lot of their card and it may make the system itself run a bit hotter since it vents into the case, it also cools the card a reasonable bit better than the stock reference design while also being quieter. What is the bummer is the 5700 series chip runs hotter than the 5800 series for whatever reason. It is the same chip used on the 5870M on laptops and they just get hot under load. The VT 5870 I own on my desktop has a very similar cooler (but more copper) but it idles at around 30-40C and under load never goes above the 70C's. A nice improvement over the older awesome yet super hot running 4800 series. (I had a VT 4870X2) It idled at 58C if the idle clocks were enabled, and under load it often hit 80+ with the VRM's themselves hitting 100C quite often on a lot of owners cards. They ran hot but ran great while they lasted.
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# Not that cheap, IMO.Olle P 2011-02-17 04:11
While the VisionTek Killer 2100 is a pretty expensive NIC, you can get a similar card at
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# most of the reply disappeared...Olle P 2011-02-17 04:14
A similar NIC can be had at
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# Darn code!Olle P 2011-02-17 04:18
It's the "less than" sign that cut my messages short... Here we go again:

A similar NIC can be had at less than $10.
A basic HD5770 less than $130.
Combined less than $140, which is way less than the $200 combo card.

The combo card is just about only worthwhile when you have a micro-ITX motherboard (only one expansion slot) *and* need the extra network speed *and* need fair graphics performance.
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# RE: VisionTek Killer HD5770 Combo CardSteven Iglesias-Hearst 2011-02-18 00:32
Similar NIC? or are you talking about any old network card?
Value rating was based on buying a VisionTek HD5770 and a Killer NIC since there are no other VGA+NIC comparison products.

AS I pointed out in my article, this card is aimed at MMORPG / RTS players.
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# RE: RE: VisionTek Killer HD5770 Combo CardOlle P 2011-02-18 05:20
The only reasons for using a NIC when there is a network controller on the motherboard are to a) offload the CPU and/or b) to have more network connectors.
"Any old network card", as you put it, *will* do this. And when it comes to MMORPG gaming the LAN speed is fairly irrelevant, since the server typically doesn't reside within the player's LAN. The vast majority of players have 100 Mbps internet speed or less, which will bottleneck any NIC.
So for relevancy the comparison should also include a cheap, separate, network card, and it should be made towards some server on the internet, or at least on a 100Mbps LAN incapable of higher speeds. I have a hunch that the Killer card isn't decidedly faster in that situation...
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# RE: RE: RE: VisionTek Killer HD5770 Combo CardSteven Iglesias-Hearst 2011-02-18 14:49
I do not own a game server that I can test on, also I can't just choose 'some' game server to conduct tests on because there are too many variables involved for it to be a controlled test. If the test isn't controlled then the results might as well just be plucked from a hat.

All I wanted to find out was whether UDP transmission was faster on the Killer NIC than on my on-board NIC since game traffic relies on UDP protocol. Testing this on a LAN resricted to 100Mb/s won't prove asnything as it is still a LAN.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: VisionTek Killer HD5770 Combo CardOlle P 2011-02-21 04:03
"Testing this on a LAN resricted to 100Mb/s won't prove asnything as it is still a LAN."
It will prove what happens when the top speed is governed by an external bottleneck. Restricting the speed to 10Mbps should be even more realistic, since that's closer to the real world limits.
Your own test showed that the motherboard's NIC ran both TCP and UDP at about 95 Mbps, which is what you get with a 100Mb restriction.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: VisionTek Killer HD5770 Combo CardSteven Iglesias-Hearst 2011-02-21 04:40
"It will prove what happens when the top speed is governed by an external bottleneck. Restricting the speed to 10Mbps should be even more realistic, since that's closer to the real world limits."

Since both NIC's are capable of near 100Mbps on TCP and UDP then the results would be equal and inconclusive.

The only real way to test would be to set up a game server and control the load on that server, connect to it with two identical machines at the same time (one with killer NIC one without) and record average frame rates and ping and also run the same test as detailed within this article.

My budget won't allow for that, so I test within my means.
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# usefulldie 2011-03-26 03:14
6870 I like it for price and power consumption I think for best buy
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