Notebookcheck
, , , , , ,
search relation.
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
 
Intel | Move Data Faster

The Killer 2.5G Ethernet to USB-C Adapter offers blazing fast connectivity and intelligent networking for gamers and power users on the move

Killer instincts. OEMs are fast ditching the Ethernet port in pursuit of thin and light form factors. Despite the availability of newer Wi-Fi standards, Ethernet is still the preferred connectivity option for gamers and power users. The Killer 2.5G Ethernet USB-C Adapter brings the best of Killer's acclaimed networking features in a compact adapter that looks and plays the part. In this article, we explore the Killer 2.5G Ethernet adapter and test it ourselves to see what makes it tick. (Sponsored article.)
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam, Daniel R Deakin,
, , , , , ,
search relation.
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
 

Introduction

Thin and light laptops are fast becoming the order of the day thanks to the availability of highly energy-efficient processing that does not require a massive cooling setup to deliver great performance. While this immensely helps with portability, the downside is that OEMs have to cut down on port selection in order to achieve the slimness targets that are demanded by the market.

In pursuit of thin and light utopia, we are seeing a trend where OEMs don't mind leaving out the Ethernet port, the popular arguments being:

  • It hinders creating extremely thin and portable designs.
  • Laptops focus on mobility, so wireless performance is more paramount.
  • Those who still prefer wired internet can use some sort of USB dongle or docking station.

While these are not completely invalid reasons, wired Ethernet is still the best choice when it comes to raw performance, particularly for gamers and power users. Sure, we do have many high-end gaming routers on the market that narrow the gap between Ethernet and Wi-Fi, but performance-conscious users and pro-gamers still swear by wired Ethernet. Also, users may want to have an upgraded networking experience that is much faster than the default Wi-Fi and Ethernet NICs on their devices without having to upgrade the whole laptop.

Besides, there's also the issue of security. Plugging into enterprise systems for diagnosis or data transfer is often enabled only via Ethernet, which can make not having an Ethernet port a huge disadvantage. 

But what if your device either does not have an Ethernet port or only has a low-performing one? The new Killer 2.5 Gigabit RJ-45 to USB-C 3.1 Ethernet Adapter (US$49.99 on Amazon) is the answer for all your high-performance and secure networking needs.

Killer 2.5G Ethernet Adapter — Unhindered throughput

There is no dearth of Ethernet to USB adapters on the market. Most laptop OEMs also offer accessory USB or Thunderbolt docking stations that include at least one Gigabit Ethernet port. So, what makes the Killer 2.5 Gigabit RJ-45 to USB-C 3.1 Ethernet Adapter stand apart? There are many factors, and they go way beyond raw speeds alone.

Most Ethernet USB dongles or docks offer just Gigabit Ethernet. If you have a router that supports 2.5G or higher throughput, you stand to lose out on a ton of bandwidth. With the Killer 2.5 Gigabit RJ-45 to USB-C 3.1 Ethernet Adapter, you get to use the full 2.5G throughput without any limitations, thereby enabling fast and efficient multitasking online.

Killer 2.5G Ethernet USB-C Adapter maximizes the potential of your fast network connection.
Killer 2.5G Ethernet USB-C Adapter maximizes the potential of your fast network connection.

The Killer advantage — Where every ms counts

As mentioned before, Killer's benefits don't just stop with unhindered 2.5G throughput. In fact, a good majority of ISP pipes around the world offer just about a 10th or even less bandwidth, which further highlights the importance of Killer's renowned packet prioritization features.

The Killer 2.5 Gigabit RJ-45 to USB-C 3.1 Ethernet Adapter features the same Killer Prioritization Engine that made Killer network interface cards (NICs) popular in gaming laptops. The Killer Prioritization Engine is aimed at optimizing game traffic and ensuring it gets prioritized over other network packets, thereby enabling low-latency gameplay even during peak bandwidth use.

Often, wanting to binge on our favorite online series in 4K means cutting down on all other parallel network traffic, including other communications, game updates, and downloads. With the Killer Prioritization Engine, that is no longer a concern as the algorithm intelligently prioritizes network packets to ensure you get the best of both worlds.

Another Killer technology that gamers appreciate is GameFast, which suspends processes that are not essential for gaming. This can free up to 10% CPU cycles and 20% memory during online play, enabling better utilization of hardware resources.

Working alongside the GameFast feature is Killer Extreme Game Mode Technology and Killer Intelligence Engine. It is not always possible to connect to a relatively decongested network, so Killer's Extreme Game Mode kicks in to ensure that game traffic is not hampered due to other network activities. Killer Intelligence Engine is a boon for gamers and enthusiasts, who need a reliable way to assess where bottlenecks lie along the network path.

, , , , , ,
search relation.
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
 

Two Killers are better than one

Many laptops and high-performance gaming desktops these days feature a Killer Wi-Fi NIC. If you happen to have such a PC, you are in for a real treat. With Killer DoubleShot Pro technology, it is possible to use both Killer Wi-Fi and the new 2.5 Gbps Ethernet USB-C Adapter simultaneously for a maximum throughput up to 4.9 Gbps. Using Killer Control Center 2.0, it is possible to configure DoubleShot Pro to determine which packets can use Wi-Fi and which can go over Ethernet. 

Killer Control Center 2.0 is a highly intuitive application that helps users to easily monitor bandwidth used on a per-app basis and adjust priorities for their favorite apps as needed.

Feature comparison - Killer 2.5 Gigabit RJ-45 to USB-C 3.1 Ethernet Adapter vs. the competition.
Feature comparison - Killer 2.5 Gigabit RJ-45 to USB-C 3.1 Ethernet Adapter vs. the competition.

Performance testing — This Killer lives up to its promise

Now that we know the potential of this nifty Ethernet adapter, how about some real-world usage to put Killer's claims to test? We used an assortment of test devices to check for compatibility. We compared the Killer 2.5G Ethernet Adapter to similar devices including:

  • Amazon Basics USB 3.0 to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter (ASIX AX88179)
  • Anker Premium USB-C Hub A8302 
  • Dell DA200 USB-C Hub

iperf3 was used to measure total throughput. We also recorded power draws under idle and load conditions along with temperatures. 

Compatibility

The Killer 2.5G Ethernet Adapter is based on the E3100 chipset, which is available in three variants — E3100, E3100G, and E3100X. Windows detects the Killer 2.5G Ethernet Adapter as an E3100U. We can confirm that the Killer 2.5G Ethernet Adapter works out-of-the-box with full 2.5G functionality in Windows, macOS, iOS, and Ubuntu without having to install any drivers.

For testing with iperf3, we used a desktop powered by the Intel Core i7-8086K as the server. This server PC is equipped with an Intel X550 10 Gbit NIC and is connected to a Netgear GS110EMX Ethernet Switch that offers two 10G ports. The other client test devices include:

  • Apple MacBook Air M1 Entry (macOS)
  • Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 (macOS)
  • Acer Swift 3 (Ryzen 7 4700U, Windows 10)
  • Honor MagicBook (Core i5 - 8250U/NVIDIA MX150, Windows 10)
  • Apple iPad Pro 11-inch (2018, iOS)
  • BMAX Y11 Convertible (Ubuntu 20.04)

Network performance

The Killer E3100U 2.5G Ethernet to USB-C Adapter performed as expected in iperf3 total throughput tests. We recorded a consistent 2.38 Gbits in both iperf3 receive and transmit tests. The rest of the Gigabit adapters max-out close to the 950 Mbps mark.

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Killer E3100U
Honor Magicbook
2374 (1187min - 2374max) MBit/s ∼100%
Killer 1650x Desktop WiFi
Aorus Z370 Ultra Gaming Desktop
1885 (937min - 1897max) MBit/s ∼79%
MSI GT76 Killer AX1650x
MSI GT76 Titan DT 10SGS
1337 (684min - 1391max) MBit/s ∼56%
Average of class Gaming
  (223 - 1743, n=170, last 2 years)
1084 MBit/s ∼46%
Dell DA200
Honor Magicbook
950 (949min - 949max) MBit/s ∼40%
Anker A8302
Honor Magicbook
949 (475min - 949max) MBit/s ∼40%
Amazon Basics ASIX AX88179
Honor Magicbook
904 (454min - 909max) MBit/s ∼38%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Killer E3100U
Honor Magicbook
2371 (1187min - 2377max) MBit/s ∼100%
Killer 1650x Desktop WiFi
Aorus Z370 Ultra Gaming Desktop
1659 (837min - 1706max) MBit/s ∼70%
MSI GT76 Killer AX1650x
MSI GT76 Titan DT 10SGS
1279 (982min - 1390max) MBit/s ∼54%
Average of class Gaming
  (294 - 1645, n=170, last 2 years)
1022 MBit/s ∼43%
Amazon Basics ASIX AX88179
Honor Magicbook
949 (475min - 955max) MBit/s ∼40%
Anker A8302
Honor Magicbook
947 (472min - 954max) MBit/s ∼40%
Dell DA200
Honor Magicbook
946 (473min - 954max) MBit/s ∼40%
010020030040050060070080090010001100120013001400150016001700180019002000210022002300118723732373237323732373237223732373237223732372237423722373237323732373237323732373237323732373237323732373237323732372949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949475949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949454904904902900900902907909904902900899899899901903902901898902907908904908909908907902900118723732373237323732373237223732373237223732372237423722373237323732373237323732373237323732373237323732373237323732372949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949475949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949949454904904902900900902907909904902900899899899901903902901898902907908904908909908907902900118723722372236423732370237523692373237123712369237023762367237223712368237023772372236723742372236923692370237723692370473949947945950946950947932951947947944949947947950942954944949944947944937946937938949947472954942948947950947947950945953947944946950947949943949945952943950945944948948937934952475946951946954942953953946947953944955951944952951942955948946951949952946952947950948953Tooltip
Killer E3100U Killer E3100U; iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10; iperf 3.1.3: Ø2333 (1187-2374)
Dell DA200 Dell DA200; iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10; iperf 3.1.3: Ø949 (949-949)
Anker A8302 Anker A8302; iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10; iperf 3.1.3: Ø933 (475-949)
Amazon Basics ASIX AX88179 Amazon Basics ASIX AX88179; iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10; iperf 3.1.3: Ø888 (454-909)
Killer E3100U Killer E3100U; iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10; iperf 3.1.3: Ø2332 (1187-2377)
Dell DA200 Dell DA200; iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10; iperf 3.1.3: Ø930 (473-954)
Anker A8302 Anker A8302; iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10; iperf 3.1.3: Ø931 (472-954)
Amazon Basics ASIX AX88179 Amazon Basics ASIX AX88179; iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10; iperf 3.1.3: Ø933 (475-955)

Power consumption

Power consumption may be the last thing one would think of while purchasing an Ethernet to USB adapter, but every percent of the battery counts while on the move. We tested power draws of all of the USB adapters both in idle and under load. Power draws were tested with both the MacBook Pro 16 and the Honor MagicBook and are summarized in the table below.

Do note that USB devices draw power as per need so there may be minor differences in voltage (and thereby, power) readings. We had issues in running the Amazon AX88179 and the Dell DA200 hubs in macOS, so we recommended considering load readings under Windows for these devices.

Overall, we find the Killer 2.5G Adapter to be very economical in terms of power draws under idle and load conditions across both macOS and Windows laptops.

Parameter Killer 2.5G Amazon AX88179 Anker Premium A8302 Dell DA200 USB-C Hub
Idle w/o cable (MBP16) 0.20 0.20 1.63 1.25 (MagicBook)
Load (MBP 16) 0.51 - 2.09 -
Idle with cable (MagicBook) 0.80 0.65 1.9 1.5
Load (MagicBook) 0.80 0.70 1.94 1.6

All measurements are in W

Temperature

We found the Killer 2.5G Ethernet Adapter to be quite a cool customer despite offering peak performance. We measured the temperatures under idle and load conditions using a Fluke infrared thermometer and a FLIR thermal camera.

At an ambient temperature of 23 °C, we found the Killer 2.5G to measure 27.6 °C in idle and about 30.4 °C under long load phases running into several hours with the MacBook Pro 16, making for safe and comfortable usage.

Killer 2.5G Ethernet Adapter - temperature in idle.
Killer 2.5G Ethernet Adapter - temperature in idle.
Killer 2.5G Ethernet Adapter - temperature under load.
Killer 2.5G Ethernet Adapter - temperature under load.

Conclusion

The shrinking chassis profiles of modern ultrabooks means a loss of port selection, particularly the Ethernet port. While USB 3.1 Type-C and Thunderbolt 3/4 offer great expandability and Ethernet, most USB and Thunderbolt docks on the market are limited to Gigabit speeds and lack any form of network packet prioritization.

Killer aims to alleviate these issues with the 2.5G Ethernet to USB-C Adapter. This adapter is designed to offer the maximum bandwidth for gamers and power users, who prefer the low latency of Ethernet over Wi-Fi. Apart from offering maximum raw throughput, the Killer 2.5G adapter offers the full suite of Killer software enhancements including the acclaimed Killer Prioritization Engine, GameFast, Killer Extreme Game Mode, Killer Intelligence Engine, and DoubleShot Pro. All these functions can be intuitively managed via the Killer Control Center 2.0 app.

In our testing, we saw the Killer 2.5G living up to its throughput claims in iperf3 transmit and receive tests. We also observed that the device consumes power economically and operates coolly under load, which is great for mobile users.

With the Killer 2.5 Ethernet USB-C Adapter, you are not merely adding an Ethernet port to your laptop. Rather, you are getting a complete package that offers intelligent data prioritization with low-latency and high throughput to help you make the best use of available bandwidth for work and entertainment.

Buy the Killer 2.5G Ethernet to USB-C Adapter to Amazon


Intel | Move Data Faster
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam - Managing Editor - 1344 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2012
Though a cell and molecular biologist by training, I have been drawn towards computers from a very young age ever since I got my first PC in 1998. My passion for technology grew quite exponentially with the times, and it has been an incredible experience from being a much solicited source for tech advice and troubleshooting among family and friends to joining Notebookcheck in 2017 as a professional tech journalist. Now, I am a Lead Editor at Notebookcheck covering news and reviews encompassing a wide gamut of the technology landscape for Indian and global audiences. When I am not hunting for the next big story or taking complex measurements for reviews, you can find me unwinding to a nice read, listening to some soulful music, or trying out a new game.
contact me via: @Geeky_Vaidy
Please share our article, every link counts!
> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Contact > The Killer 2.5G Ethernet to USB-C Adapter offers blazing fast connectivity and intelligent networking for gamers and power users on the move
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam (Update: 2021-04- 2)