What do you get when you combine a gaming-centric NIC with a GPU? Truthfully, the world's still trying to figure that out, but Bigfoot Networks and TLU (responsible for the PowerColor brand) are jonesing to see what exactly will happen here at Computex. The two have joined forces on Bigfoot's first-ever integration effort -- the heretofore unnamed network card / graphics card hybrid combines a Killer 2100 with an ATI Radeon HD 5000 series GPU, and the prototype board on hand here in Taipei boasted a pair of DVI ports, an HDMI output and a gigabit Ethernet jack. The company's hoping that gamers will be eager to upgrade their GPU with one that also helps lower ping times and give them more control over which programs get priority when sharing bandwidth, and while pricing remains up in the air, the outfit's CEO told us that buying the combo card would obviously be cheaper than buying each one on its own. If all goes well, the first PowerColor / Bigfoot Networks card will be out and about in a few months, which led us to pry a little deeper into the outfit's plans.

We asked if it had any other integration tactics coming up, and they didn't hesitate to mention that mainboards are next on the mishmash block. Convincing motherboard makers to swap out the tried-and-true NIC for one of Killer's modules would obviously be a boon for a company that still describes itself as a "startup," and it's yet another avenue to get into a gamer's home that wouldn't traditionally buy a standalone network card. When we asked how long it would take for Killer cards to start showing up within gaming laptops, he seemed rather confident that it would happen in the not-too-distant future, and given their existing relationship with Alienware, we wouldn't be shocked in the least to hear of the M15x and M17x nabbing it first. Furthermore, Bigfoot's intently looking into getting its name on the wireless side sometime "next year," essentially providing WiFi users the same ping lowering, network controlling tactics that it currently does over Ethernet. Finally, we were told that there's nothing at all stopping the Killer 2100 from being integrated into more cards from more vendors, and if the right offer came along, you could definitely see a combo NIC / GPU with an NVIDIA core rather than ATI. Needless to say, the little-networking-company-that-could looks to be ramping things up in a big way, and while we never were much on buying standalone add-ins, we're duly intrigued by these integrated solutions.

Bigfoot Networks Killer 2100 and TLU GPU / NIC combo card

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Bigfoot Networks and TUL to Reveal Gaming Combo Card at Computex

Companies to demonstrate world's first GPU + NPU solution for online gamers

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – May 27, 2010 – Bigfoot Networks, the networking technology company behind the Killer™ line of gaming networks cards, and TUL Corporation, a leading manufacturer of ATI graphics cards under the PowerColor® brand, will be unveiling a Gaming Combo Card at Computex that combines "best of breed" PC graphics and networking for online gaming. The working prototype is the result of cooperative design efforts on behalf of both companies announced in Taiwan earlier this year.

The Gaming Combo Card is the world's first single card, PCI Express solution combining Bigfoot Networks' Killer™ 2100 Gaming Network Card technology and ATI Radeon™ HD 5000 graphics family technology. The Gaming Combo Card taps into massive parallel processing power on the GPU to deliver unrivalled visual quality and gaming performance supporting Microsoft® DirectX® 11 technology. 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.

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Bigfoot Networks reveal GPU / NIC combo card, talks up motherboard integration and WiFi