Visiontek and Bigfoot have developed a PCI Express x16 expansion board that features both a GPU and NIC, which is billed as
the "world's first online gaming upgrade card." The single-slot card combines a Radeon HD 5770 with Bigfoot's Killer E2100 network controller and is said to be the only PCIe expansion device that marries high-quality graphics with low-latency networking.
In case you're unfamiliar, the Killer E2100 is sold as a standalone NIC for about $85
. It's said to reduce latency and boost general gaming performance over standard onboard network controllers, but reviews tend to show the improvement is miniscule -- and that's okay. We're not about to knock folks for buying a premium network card. We love luxury hardware as much as the next nerd.
However, we have to question why the companies decided to strap a 'luxury' NIC to a year-old mainstream graphics card instead of something like the upcoming HD 6900 series. If someone's buying an HD 5770, we assume they want a decent value, and the Killer HD 5770 e-tails for around $230
. That's in the ballpark of the new HD 6870
, which is a more logical purchase in our opinion.
We like the idea of saving an expansion slot, but why pair a quickly evolving technology with one that hasn't changed much since inception? You'll want to replace the Radeon HD 5770 long before the E2100 is obsolete, which means you'll have to buy another hybrid card or run the Killer HD 5770 beside your new GPU anyway. So, why not just buy the standalone E2100 outright?