There is a new type of Gigabit Ethernet port making its appearance on some high-end motherboards and dedicated gaming NICs. Perhaps you have seen it since it sometimes has the style of a red network port. It is called the Killer E2200 Intelligent Networking Platform, and it is incompatible with Linux kernels lower than 3.10.
I recently had the opportunity to test a motherboard containing the Killer E2205, but while networking worked fine with Windows 7, Linux support was kicked to the curb.
But all is not lost! The E2200 series is supported with Linux kernel 3.10 and higher.
Step 1. Upgrade to kernel 3.10+
No need to fiddle with driver hacks on older kernels. Support was added for the E2200 in kernel 3.10, so I upgraded Linux Mint 15 to kernel 3.10.9, and Linux automatically recognized the E2200.
The latest Ubuntu-based kernels can be downloaded from http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/. Be sure to download the amd64 or i386 kernel set for your amd64 or i386 platform. Place all three kernel files in one directory by themselves and run,
sudo dpkg -i *.deb sudo upgrade-grub
The sudo upgrade-grub part is not necessary if the output shows that GRUB has been updated during the kernel upgrade.
Step 2. Reboot
You must restart your system so the new Linux kernel will take effect.
Linux Mint 15 installs kernel 3.8.0 by default, but that kernel version does not recognize the E2205 port. After upgrading to kernel 3.10.9 and rebooting, Linux Mint 15 automatically recognized the E2205 and tried to connect to the LAN. Excellent!
Is E2200 Networking Any Better?
Honestly, I cannot see any difference in performance between the E2205 and a regular gigabit network port other than the added inconvenience of being an additional proprietary standard incompatible with older Linux kernels.
The E2200 platform touts improved performance, but so far, in everyday real-world usage, it functions like any other Gigabit Ethernet port–even in Windows 7. This might be because the 3.10 kernel only supports basic functionality or maybe the E2200 series requires specialized drivers that are (currently) only available for Windows. Perhaps it is because I did not test the board in a high-demand LAN party environment? Maybe I am not looking in the right place for the performance increase?
So far, the E2200 platform seems to be more of a marketing gimmick that is noticeable in select circumstances than an immediately apparent upgrade with an obvious WOW-factor.
From my usage, I really cannot tell what makes the E2200 platform special, but it works and it works well like a good gigabit network port should. With kernel 3.10, the E2205 port is just as fast as a standard gigabit port, and no problems have been encountered.
Also, the red port looks good for those who enjoy color-coordinated their system units.