Combining the best current graphics chips with the best choice for a network interface for the gamer is apparently the purpose of the VisionTek Killer HD 5770.
The card combines a Radeon HD 5770 video solution with 1 GB of DDR5 memory and a gigabit network interface on one card. The idea is a good one, but has a few flaws in concept – however, it may work wonderfully in practice.
The first problem is that the type of user that is so rabid about gaming that they will spend extra for a network interface to speed it up is going to buy a top of the line video card, so perhaps this should have been put on the newer and faster HD 6xxx series cards. Also, the Killer NICs, when sold by themselves have had dedicated RAM onboard for storage and processing, and the VisionTek announcement makes mention of none.
While the combined cost is modest, and it might garner a following in the budget category, the problem is that the modest changes that the Killer NIC provides will be almost unnoticed by most.
It may be useful to some that wish to have a gigabit network interface on a system where the motherboard has only 10/100 networking, and there is a dearth of available expansion slots. One way this could be useful is the situation where a HTPC has no gigabit port, in a house where the media server does, so the benefits to the overall network could be many. Snappier performance in general will be the result, and in many mini ATX motherboards there is no second PCI Express slot.
If this catches on, we may see an announcement of the HD 6xxx series from this manufacturer coming with a Killer NIC attached.
In the meantime, this may be a good second trick for your mid-range one-trick pony.
While PowerColor unveiled such a product months ago, VisionTek has actually become the first company to introduce a single-PCB card which brings together graphics and networking and combines a Radeon HD 5770 with a Bigfoot Killer E2100 NIC.
Dubbed Killer HD 5770, the hybrid card takes up two slots, has 1GB of GDDR5 memory, an AMD 40nm Juniper GPU, a 400 MHz-clocked NPU (network processing unit), and provides one HDMI and two DVI outputs, as well as a Gigabit Ethernet port.
"The VisionTek Killer HD 5770 card is the only upgrade card specifically designed to combine high-quality graphics and low-latency networking for gaming," said Michael Innes, COO & EVP of VisionTek Products, LLC. "We are pleased to offer our customers unrivaled online gaming performance with the unprecedented convenience of a single plug-and-play card."
The VisionTek Killer HD 5770 is set to hit North American stores in a matter of days and will cost $200.
Wouldn’t it be nice to see a few more of these dual purpose cards?
If this catches on, we might see more things included on add-in cards. Not necessarily on video cards, but there are some natural choices for combinations, like an additional NIC on a USB 3.0 or Firewire add-in card, perhaps both.