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  • ksec - Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - link

    For those who never follow them closely, does they current Rivet Network owns any hardware IPs? or is everything now software running on top of Intel / Realtek ? Reply
  • Ian Cutress - Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - link

    As far as I'm aware, Intel and Realtek have to add certain features to their silicon in order to get the Killer Prioritization Engine to work, and they can only do that with a license from Rivet. I'm under the impression that Rivet has essentially been providing that licence in exchange for (a) only Rivet can use that hardware in Rivet's own products and (b) Rivet will buy a lot of them in order to sell to its OEM customers. It might make the silicon a bit bigger, but it guarantees Intel/Realtek another 1m-10m chips sold depending on the product. Reply
  • ksec - Thursday, May 21, 2020 - link

    Thank You. Apology for the awful spelling mistakes, Anandtech's commenting system needs some updating. Reply
  • Samus - Thursday, May 21, 2020 - link

    This acquisition is more fascinating than the technology itself. Just wrapping my head around Qualcomm willingly working with Intel to trade IP just made a kitten explode. Reply
  • Ian Cutress - Thursday, May 21, 2020 - link

    This isn't Qualcomm willing working with Intel though. The Rivet Networks spin-out from Qualcomm Atheros happened in 2014. Reply
  • verattemples - Wednesday, June 3, 2020 - link

    I was without work for 6 months when my former Co-worker finally recommended me to start freelancing from home… It was only after I earned $5000 in my first month when I actually believed I could do this for a living! Now I am happier than ever… W­­W­W.iⅭ­a­s­h­68­.Ⅽ­O­Ⅿ Reply
  • Flunk - Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - link

    Wow, a world where the Killer NIC isn't worse than the Intel NIC? What does Rivet bring to Intel again? Intel already had a better reputation. Reply
  • willis936 - Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - link

    When you’re bleeding market share you do everything you can to try to retain it. Taking Killer off the table for AMD is a blow to AMD end-user NIC options. Reply
  • Operandi - Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - link

    Nobody cares about Killer. This what you do when an engineering company with too much money can't solve their problems with engineering. Reply
  • nathanddrews - Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - link

    Maybe Rivet has some crazy obscure patent that Intel wants? I can't think of any other reason. Reply
  • Samus - Thursday, May 21, 2020 - link

    Well, the hardware always was a solution looking for a problem. That's why they just...stopped doing hardware. The magic was always in driver optimization, something Intel was always pretty good at from a reliability perspective but certainly not a performance perspective, especially with WiFi. Reply
  • Ian Cutress - Thursday, May 21, 2020 - link

    The software isn't driver optimization. It's deep packet inspection, filtering, traffic recognition, and traffic prioritization. Rivet has a whitelist for the most popular apps, sure, but when you have a traffic stream where it doesn't automatically recognize the source, it will analyze it and filter it to an appropriate prioritization path Reply
  • PeachNCream - Thursday, May 21, 2020 - link

    It's a waste of CPU cycles and RAM to inspect packets and give them priority leaving the PC when the rest of the route over dozens to thousands of miles of cables and optical connections will not do anything to any of that traffic that is different than any other data packets traversing the same links. Why bother wasting the time on the PC to run software that cannot ever actually offer a measurable benefit to the end user given how literally ever other node will treat that data without priority?

    Deep packet inspection is fantastic when you are looking for malware or need to properly route data to the right end point in your data center. However doing it from a home computer will only get a priority packet to your ISP-provided junk router which doesn't care whatsoever and will push it up to your ISP that also doesn't care. The ISP will put it out onto the global network that (wait for it) doesn't care either. It'll get to where it ought to go over apathetic wires and apathetic routers, all of which totally disregard what your PC is doing with Killer software and you can enjoy exactly ZERO benefits from having wasted all that effort to begin with.
    Reply
  • neuen - Thursday, May 21, 2020 - link

    While I agree with you theoretically, I do not in practice. Disclaimer: I do not know if what Killer does is analogous to the anecdote I will describe as I have never used Killer however I guess it is in the same system of coordinates.

    I had a problem with my ISP. Whenever I started downloading heavily, the websites barely opened, I could literally see 5% packet loss. While I could I understand it on 10 Mbit link, it was kind of strange to see this bad of a situation on the 500 Mbit link I had (I could have expected higher latency but not straight packet loss and websites not loading at all).

    I have tried to liaise with them to introduce proper QoS on their side as it should be however it was just time spent in vain when you are dealing with a country-wide ISP.

    Then I was finally fed with the problem and took matters in my own hands. I have set up ingress and egress shaping at 496 Mbit on my side and some basic automatic prioritisation (I did not prioritise specific apps, everything was on auto) - lo and behold losing 4 Mbit of bandwidth led to no packet loss and no latency change when I was downloading with maximum speed and thousands(!) of connections at a time - I intentionally made such tests.

    Theoretically, as you say, my ISP should have solved this problem and I am wasting CPU cycles. Yet in practice, the theoretical approach was not achievable yet the problem was solved on my side by wasting some CPU cycles.
    Reply
  • magreen - Thursday, May 21, 2020 - link

    @neuen Sounds like the real solution for you is to change ISPs. I doubt Killer is generating solutions for your use case. But do they have any other real use cases? Reply
  • TheUnhandledException - Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - link

    Is it though because a device not having killer ethernet is an added bonus for me. Hell I am still upset Dell removed the option of Intel wireless going with Killer garbage on some of their products. Reply
  • Reflex - Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - link

    Most of us just force installed the Intel driver for the chip those cards are based on and went our merry way. Reply
  • Drkrieger01 - Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - link

    NIC add-in cards aren't a bad idea for extreme enthusiasts. Good server based NIC's offer incredible performance and throughput, as well as higher than normal speeds (for example 10Gb offers 1/10th the latency of 1Gb). If Killer/Intel puts out one of these cards, it would be phenomenal for AMD users - especially Pro-sumers doing dev work with large files over networks. Gamers would benefit from an increase of 1-3ms ping (big whoop?), but that's about it. Reply
  • Operandi - Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - link

    "10Gb cards offer 1/10th latency of 1Gb"???

    Clearly you have no idea what you are talking about.
    Reply
  • Samus - Thursday, May 21, 2020 - link

    I lol'd too. Though the serialization delay is in fact a 1/10th shorter duration in microseconds (so Drkrieger01 is technically correct) this doesn't mean 10Gbe is going to have 1/10th the overall latency.

    In fact I'm not sure why latency was brought up at all. The latency introduced at the physical layer is measured in microseconds, while standardized network latency is often discussed in milliseconds, so the Gbe or 10Gbe really have negligible impact on real world LAN latency because beyond the speed of the interface, there are a lot of other factors adding tremendously more latency.

    Latency depends on many things like distance, queuing, CPU overhead, frame sizes, etc.
    Reply
  • blppt - Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - link

    Most of the time mid-to-top end AMD motherboard have Intel NICs anyways---i'm not sure why 'taking killer off the table' for AMD really hurts them that much. Reply
  • ExarKun333 - Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - link

    Also, potentially more IP that helps Intel with wireless modems. Reply
  • Ian Cutress - Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - link

    The Killer AX1650 is already built on Intel silicon since April 2019 Reply
  • Reflex - Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - link

    Yup, and they perform the best with the generic Intel driver. Reply
  • PeachNCream - Thursday, May 21, 2020 - link

    That's really the only good thing about Killer NICs after they started rebranding Intel products. If you were stuck with Killer hardware before they put a different sticker on an Intel card, you had no route short of replacing the adapter to get a reliable network connection. At least now you're not stuck with Rivet Networks' pretty pointless software.

    I do wonder what Intel is going to do with the company. The Killer branding has always been rather childish and the marketing attempts don't work on a buyer with rudimentary networking knowledge. Then again, Intel did sell that Skull Trail NUC so they aren't beyond appealing to that tween man-child gamer segment living in mommy's basement.
    Reply
  • FXi - Thursday, May 21, 2020 - link

    I just want the ability to go completely generic Intel for drivers until it is proven that Killer software offers something of value to network conscious users. Intel networking hardware is already pretty fast, up to date on standards, and well supported/updated in software. In a networking world, that's a pretty useful combination right there. I've been sizeably unhappy with all the machines migrating to Killer products, save for those that I could return to an Intel software stack.
    So at least now I hope we can keep networking bulletproof and up to date. If there are some hard or soft improvements I don't mind if they are gently included, but no more do I want to find out that some software glitch in the supposedly "advanced" Killer stack takes 6-9 months to get corrected. I've kicked whole devices out of vendor selections just because they only offered Killer products. So Intel's "integration" had better not compromise the products they have. Probably we'll see when we get to Wifi 6e, coming soon.
    Reply
  • azfacea - Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - link

    how in seven hell is this getting approved ??? its like AWS shamelessly buying IBM cloud or digital ocean. like WTF ??

    As if the situation in Ethernet controllers wasnt bad enough already ?? gigabit ethernet from 90s remaining da standard today ?? intel is not satisfied with its own "hide the controller" performance now it wants to use its money to remove any chance of someone else competing in this market. NICE
    Reply
  • 0mnibuss - Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - link

    Pretty much... But I'm all for sticking it to Qualcomm in IP, just need more wired AND wireless solutions to make the market better. Because right now, its been really stagnant. Reply
  • Makaveli - Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - link

    I haven't looked at any of Killers stuff in a long while.

    Is the goal rule to still stick with Intel nic's when possible?
    Reply
  • Reflex - Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - link

    Yes. Killer is based off of Intel so you can force the Intel driver to install and it will work. But whenever possible you are better off just getting the Intel NIC. Reply
  • CheapSushi - Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - link

    Unless you actually have driver issues, what's the point? People far too easily don't give anything other than generic stuff a chance. That's why there's so little innovation or interesting ideas aside from the same tired CPU and GPU brand launches. Reply
  • Reflex - Thursday, May 21, 2020 - link

    I actually have their latest in my laptop (Dell XPS13) and consistently had lockups with the Killer driver especially when doing any heavy network transfers. Switching to Intel fixed it.

    Also, Killer's purported features make very little sense, most of what they claim couldn't work without AP's and switches that support those features. And their service is a potential security risk.
    Reply
  • FXi - Thursday, May 21, 2020 - link

    Reflex I hear and solve stories like yours on a very regular basis. I move all current stuff to Intel drivers only. Reply
  • Reflex - Thursday, May 21, 2020 - link

    I've moved literally every system I've found with Killer drivers over to generic Intel with always positive results. Plus you get to remove that useless service they install. Reply
  • Makaveli - Thursday, May 21, 2020 - link

    I think because when its comes to networking Stability is king over performance and features as long as the latter two are at an acceptable level. Reply
  • PeachNCream - Thursday, May 21, 2020 - link

    If you buy a modern Killer NIC you end up with Intel hardware which accepts standard Intel drivers because it what Rivet Networks has brought to the table is just a software stack that doesn't actually do anything useful. It makes grandiose claims, but without network awareness (for which there hasn't been in the over 15 years the company has been changing hands between various corporate owners), there is nothing it does that is actually helpful. Its simpler and easier to just get an Intel-branded network adapter and forget that Killer NICs exist.

    Intel must have gotten the company for nearly no cost if they were even willing to obtain the brand name given its reputation for selling non-performance-enhancing software and their storied past of lousy, skittish drivers. I think the only person Rivet Networks managed to really dupe into going all in on the company was Ian Cutress since he used to really prop up the company's software year ago until we in the comments box started demanding supporting benchmark data (which he never has been able to provide) and backed him off it a bit.
    Reply
  • yeeeeman - Thursday, May 21, 2020 - link

    At least in the wireless department, Intel is doing pretty well and I wouldn't call it stagnant. Wi-Fi cards are built by adhering to a spec and the speeds that AX Intel cards reach nowadays are pretty much in line with what the spec says.
    Still, next gen (wifi 7) will bring a LOT more improvements, I can tell you that.
    Reply
  • FXi - Thursday, May 21, 2020 - link

    And to reinforce that, Intel has consistently brought the first client cards in both the Wifi 5 and Wifi 6 generations, so they have helped each time to move the industry forward. Could they be more feature laden? Yes maybe. But I'm in the camp of wanting as little trouble as possible in networking gear vs special features. It's one less place to worry when you are trying to solve a network influenced performance issue. Reply
  • Reflex - Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - link

    10GigE hasn't taken off because of power requirements. Not worth it for what it brings to the table for the vast majority of users. 2.5Gbit is now becoming a thing to avoid the power consumption of 10Gig. Reply
  • SteveX107 - Thursday, May 21, 2020 - link

    That's true. I don't see the point in using a 10GigE when your network doesn't reach even half of the speed. Reply
  • FXi - Thursday, May 21, 2020 - link

    Also agree moving to 2.5 is going to be plenty good until you need backbone worthy capacity. But that happens much more upstream and by that point you're less impacted by power consumption. Power will always be some issue because it costs to buy and to cool the resulting heat, but you are at a different level when you are choosing the value of 10G there. Reply
  • Beaver M. - Sunday, May 24, 2020 - link

    It didnt take off because theres not much hardware for it, much less affordable.
    2.5GBit are a joke and obsolete already.
    If they had such issues with 10Gbit, then at least 5GBit would have made some sense. But 2.5 is just nonsense.
    I will have a practical 283MB/s instead of 113. Wow. Woohoo...
    Are are doing the same mistake as SATA did. And then people found other ways and they were established in a heartbeat.
    They are doing the same mistake here.
    Reply
  • Daeros - Monday, June 1, 2020 - link

    2.5Gbps and 5Gbps Ethernet weren't developed for home networking - that's just a trickle-down effect. They were developed as a solution for enterprise networking, where 10G-baseT didn't have PoE capabilities and WiFi APs were saturating their 1Gbps connections. WiFi AC came out, and it was suddenly easy to swamp the backhaul. 2.5/5 answer this by being designed to work on existing 5e cabling and supporting PoE in a power envelope that enables 1u, 48-port switches. The fact that you get 2-5x more bandwidth in your home network is just another way to monetize the IP. Reply
  • brucethemoose - Thursday, May 21, 2020 - link

    Uh, Killer used other NICs anyway. There are quite a few Ethernet NIC manufacturers, and *a ton* of vendors... Reply
  • brucethemoose - Thursday, May 21, 2020 - link

    *point being it is kinda like AWS. Theres plenty of NIC competition, just not enough name recognition or marketing power among the competition. Reply
  • sorten - Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - link

    I assume the first thing they'll do is kill the Killer brand, given its reputation. Seems like a weird acquisition, but they would have had a deep engineering review during due diligence, so there must be something that Intel wants. Reply
  • CheapSushi - Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - link

    A bit sad since there's nothing actually wrong with the brand. It just perpetuates because gamers and others tend to complain constantly about kibda-sorta-mayve aspects. The "unique" thing for them after acquired by Qualcomm is just the continuation of the router like software stack. Most don't use it, this complain, because they already have some other crappy router at worst. Some had driver issues a long time ago and it just never got let go by the hardware community. People prefer generic "it works". Yet they eat up 99999 iterations of a CPU or GPU. Reply
  • PeachNCream - Thursday, May 21, 2020 - link

    The brand has a reputation for selling features or capabilities that do not actually benefit the end user. Giving certain traffic leaving the NIC priority only works as long as all the other hops on the route those packets take are also aware of that priority and respond accordingly as well. Since the vast majority of home networking hardware does not care and is not aware of Killer's software, the benefits proposed apply between the computer's network adapter and the very first hop (your home router) where that priority is moot. The ISPs, the backbone links of the world, and the distant end nodes will treat the traffic in an agnostic manner among all other similar traffic.

    No software bundle on an individual PC will alter how the global data infrastructure treats that traffic. That's why, despite Ian frequently touting the benefits of Rivet Networks' Killer software, he has literally NEVER provided measurable benchmark data that justifies his positive leaning bias toward the brand. I recall he once mumble-cowered away from that very thing by saying how it was difficult to create a benchmark that showed a difference via comments. It's all be a little disturbing to watch since I generally respect Ian's other work. However, when it comes to Killer products, he has not shown he is an unbiased journalist, but I've yet to tease out the exact reason why this is the case.

    Anyway, adding another software layer in the network data processing stack that simply cannot overcome the way data travels beyond the local PC's network adapter is pretty pointless. At best it can cause no harm beyond eating a few unnecessary CPU cycles and a throwing away a little RAM. At worst, it could cause problems that any other piece of software can introduce via unpatched security holes, sloppy programming, and compatibility problems with programs that expect different network data handling.

    So the brand itself has inherent problems associated with selling users on benefits that don't exist, cannot be delivered as promised, and are potentially problematic.
    Reply
  • Daeros - Monday, June 1, 2020 - link

    TBF, the benefits were real 10+ years ago. Also, Ian has some serious biases that come through in a variety of ways, and has for years. Reply
  • Makaveli - Thursday, May 21, 2020 - link

    I think its just the software stack an not necessarily hardware but that is just a guess on my part. Reply
  • timecop1818 - Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - link

    Well that's really unfortunate, so now I can't buy anything with Intel NICs either as they will be tainted with this killer bullshit, unless Intel is buying this stuff just to bury them. Reply
  • SteveX107 - Thursday, May 21, 2020 - link

    OT: Why doesn't Anandtech switch to another comment management system, such as Discus? Reply
  • vladx - Thursday, May 21, 2020 - link

    Probably because they wisely decided against a like/dislike system that Disqus currently uses. Reply
  • PeachNCream - Thursday, May 21, 2020 - link

    "When we saw a Killer NIC in the Dell XPS, the company had truly made it."

    The company has not truly made anything of value in over a decade and getting Dell to keep using Intel wireless adapter hardware with some other company's sticker on it is not a remarkable accomplishment since those laptops would have ended up with Intel adapters regardless.
    Reply
  • shadowjk - Thursday, May 21, 2020 - link

    This is just a clever plan for Intel to triple their network controller income:

    1) Intel replaces their line of Ethernet and wireless controllers with killer networking, complete with killer's infamous driver quality
    2) Intel relaunches their own controllers at double the previous price point
    3) Profit!
    Reply
  • PeachNCream - Thursday, May 21, 2020 - link

    Well, there is a need for a "premium gamer" category in just about every product type and network adapters are one of the few places where gamers can't ramble pointlessly about specs to one another in order to impress their friends mainly because Rivet Networks' attempts to be that premium brand have failed to offer a more reliable or more useful product that actually does anything that can be shown in a benchmark or in some review article.

    To the contrary, Bigfoot/Rivet/whatever company bought the leftovers of the original company this year, has really only managed build a reputation of being somewhere between worthless garbage you replaced with a crappy Realtek card from ebay to an Intel NIC with a different sticker that you used with Intel drivers if you wanted anything to work reliably.

    Perhaps being purchased by Intel will at least help with the honesty department of marketing. Rivet has always hard sold their traffic prioritization as somehow beneficial when it clearly is not able to do anything at all that can be measured. Intel has a better marketing crew and the company may professionalize how the products are presented. We'll have to simply wait and see what happens.
    Reply
  • schujj07 - Thursday, May 21, 2020 - link

    I wonder if they are acquiring Killer because they lost out on the bid to acquire Mellanox? Reply
  • Soulkeeper - Thursday, May 21, 2020 - link

    Another competitor bites the dust.
    Now I guess intel will only have to worry about realtek.
    Reply
  • PeachNCream - Thursday, May 21, 2020 - link

    One can only hope that Killer branding will die for good after this and the "features" that were supposedly worth the garbage software will fade from memory as well.

    Personally, I'd rather have, in order of preference:

    1. Intel NIC running Intel's drivers
    2. Realtek NIC
    3. Anything else possible including cans with string or a station wagon filled with floppy diskettes
    4. Something with Killer branding that Rivet Networks touched
    Reply
  • schujj07 - Thursday, May 21, 2020 - link

    For 1GbE the i350 is a good NIC. The Intel X550/710 are decent 10GbE and one of the few that is used for RJ45 connections. When it comes to anything with an SFP connection give me a Mellanox ConnectX any day. I wish that there were ConnectX4-LX cards that had 10GBase-T connections instead of just SFP+/SFP28. Reply
  • jabber - Sunday, May 24, 2020 - link

    I remember when the Killer NICs came out there was one guy going round all the tech forums bigging up the Killer NIC and trying to intimidate anyone who criticised them. Used the same name everywhere. The name escapes me but it was pretty amusing to see someone shil so badly. Reply
  • PeachNCream - Monday, May 25, 2020 - link

    At least one of the company's employees made a show of stepping into the comments for a few of Ian's recent articles at Killer NICs in an attempt to PR blast the unproven benefits of using one. I wouldn't be surprised if the shill was a company employee working either at the direction of leadership or on the side once it became clear that customers were not generally buying into the hype.

    Although I do still like the original Killer NIC. It had some interesting potential because, IIRC, it offloaded network stack processing to the FPGA/ASIC. It even ran some sort of lean OS independently of the rest of the PC (working from really old memories here so that might be all sorts of inaccurate). However, what the company evolved into over the years after acquisitions and changing hands multiple times is a bit of a disappointment in terms of what it attempts to sell as beneficial to the end user.

    Maybe Intel will do us all a favor and figure that out in the coming year or two and the graciously deposit the brand and flaky software it now sells into the waste bucket of failed tech gadgets. Killer NICs should live in the past with greatness things like the Zune.
    Reply
  • Dragonstongue - Thursday, May 21, 2020 - link

    See, AMD needs to be doing things like this if they are to survive another onslaught to occur, locked out of other metrics.

    have always understood their was many a glaring problem for killer branded things, or at the very least, cause headaches for people.. not saying other things do not do this.. looking at you Gaming edge x570 branded Nahimic 2 crapware

    cool overstory though thank you
    Reply
  • jabber - Sunday, May 24, 2020 - link

    What we really need is someone to do a big in-depth test of current NIC tech and see what really works and what is marketing BS. Realtek/Intel/Qualcom NICs...switch everything on/off/individual settings etc. Does the additional 'tweaking' software do anything? Best settings for throughput or latency etc. Switching on or off MS networking components. I haven't really seen an up to date comprehensive test for years. Reply

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