GIGABYTE G1.Killer Sniper 5 Intel Z87 Motherboard Review

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GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 Intel Z87 Motherboard

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

For years GIGABYTE has been among the best of the best when it comes to motherboards and other computer components. Today we will have the pleasure of looking at one of their flagship products, the G1.Killer Sniper 5 motherboard. The G1.Sniper 5 is a beast of a board, both in features and size. Before we delve to far into the features, it’s certainly worth mentioning that the G1.Sniper 5, like it’s predecessors carries a pretty steep price tag. Right now you can find the GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 for as little as $339.99 shipped after a $50 rebate, it’s a hefty price tag but keep in mind this board should be among the best of them!

As mentioned above, the GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 is packed with features so you’re getting quite a bit for your money. For starters, while not the most exciting features of the Sniper 5, at the heart of the board is the latest Intel Z87 chipset and LGA1150 socket. This means that we need to use the latest Intel ‘Haswell’ processors like the Intel Core i7-4770K we use in our test bench. Though if you wanted to, you could use any of the Intel processors in the LGA1150 package on the Sniper 5 motherboard, but using a sub-$100 processor on a $339.99 motherboard seems a bit wrong to me, but to each their own. Since the GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 is using the latest Intel Z87 chipset, that means all the bells and whistles that are part of the chipset are available to use. Some of the features included with the Intel Z87 chipset include six SATA III 6Gbps ports, native SuperSpeed USB 3.0 at both the I/O panel and front panel, PCIe x16 Gen 3 slots, dual channel memory, and a host of power saving features on the board.

Much of what I have mentioned so far is available on just about all of the Intel Z87 motherboards out there. The GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 begins to separate itself from the crowd when we delve deeper into the more GIGABYTE specific features for enthusiasts. Looking at the photo of the Sniper 5 above, one of the most notable features that stands out like a crotch rocket at Sturgis is the expansion slots. The Intel Z87 chipset supports only 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes, in order to supply enough PCIe x16 lanes for the ability to run four graphics cards in SLI and CrossFireX GIGABYTE employed a PLX technology PEX8747 chip.

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 Block Diagram

The PEX8747 adds an additional PCIe lanes to the primary two PCIe x16 slots allowing them both to run at x16 when populated. A more traditional board without a PLX chip allows two cards to only run at x8 when both slots are in use. If you’re choosing to run 3-4 graphics cards on the GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 the primary PCIe x16 slots share their lanes with the remaining two slots for a x8,x8,x8,x8 configuration.

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 Dual Heatsink

If you’re the kind of computer enthusiast building a custom rig with an enthusiast level board like the GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5, water cooling certainly isn’t out of the question for you. If you’re going pedal to the metal with your build with a full blown custom water cooling loop, the Sniper 5 is ready to rock. The heatsink assembly over the PWM circuitry is already set-up with a water block integrated into the design! If you’re not looking to water cool no worries, the assembly works well without the water as well.

One of the features that GIGABYTE has really been excited about is the ability to ‘hear’ your opponents before you can see them in game. GIGABYTE prides themselves on the audio quality of their G1.Killer series of motherboards. To keep up the quality, GIGABYTE is utilizing a Creative Sound Core3D audio processor. The Sound Core3d audio processor is a multi-core sound and voice processor that offers high performance sound processing. To add to the quality of the Sound Core3D the Sniper 5 as well as all GIGABYTE 8 Series G1.Killer motherboards include the SoundBlaster with SBX ProStudio suite. On the hardware end, GIGABYTE is using all high quality parts including Nichicon high end audio capacitors front headphone amplifier, and an audio noise guard. The Audio Noise Guard is a path on the PCB around the audio components that doesn’t have any traces running through it. This helps insulate the audio components from the EMI from the rest of the board.

GIGABYTE Amp-Up Audio

GIGABYTE has recently designed their top-tier boards with the ability to swap out one of the audio components. The GIGABYTE AMP-UP Audio socket gives the audiophile computer enthusiast the ability to swap out the onboard operational amplifier (OP-AMP). Doing this can bring a whole new level of audio customization to your gaming experience. The G1.Sniper 5 motherboard includes two separate OP-AMPs as well as the IC extractor needed to swap them out.

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 Intel Z87 LGA1150 Motherboard Specifications
CPU 
  • Support for Intel Core i7 processors/Intel Core i5 processors/Intel Core i3 processors/Intel Pentium processors/Intel Celeron processors in the LGA1150 package
  • L3 cache varies with CPU  
Chipset 
  • Intel Z87 Express Chipset 
Memory 
  • 4 x 1.5V DDR3 DIMM sockets supporting up to 32 GB of system memory
  • Dual channel memory architecture
  • Support for DDR3 3000(O.C.) / 2933(O.C.) / 2800(O.C.) / 2666(O.C.) / 2600(O.C.) / 2500(O.C.) / 2400(O.C.) / 2200(O.C.) / 2133(O.C.) / 2000(O.C.) / 1866(O.C.) / 1800(O.C.) / 1600 / 1333 MHz memory modules
  • Support for non-ECC memory modules
  • Support for Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) memory modules  
Onboard Graphics 

Integrated Graphics Processor:

  • 2 x HDMI ports, supporting a maximum resolution of 4096×2160
  • 1 x DisplayPort, supporting a maximum resolution of 3840×2160
  • Maximum shared memory of 1 GB  
Audio 
  • Creative Sound Core 3D chip
  • Support for Sound Blaster Recon3Di
  • High Definition Audio
  • 2/5.1-channel
  • Support for S/PDIF Out  
LAN 
  • 1 x Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2201 chip (10/100/1000 Mbit) (LAN1)
  • 1 x Intel GbE LAN phy (10/100/1000 Mbit) (LAN2) 
Wireless Communication module 
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, supporting 2.4/5 GHz Dual-Band
  • Bluetooth 4.0, 3.0+HS, 2.1+EDR  
Expansion Slots 
  • 2 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x16 (PCIEX16_1, PCIEX16_2)  
  • 2 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x8 (PCIEX8_1, PCIEX8_2)
  • 3 x PCI Express x1 slots
Multi-Graphics Technology 
  • Support for 4-Way/3-Way/2-Way AMD CrossFire/NVIDIA SLI technology 
Storage Interface 

Chipset:

  • 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (SATA3 0~5) supporting up to 6 SATA 6Gb/s devices
  • Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10

Marvell 88SE9230 chip:

  • 4 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (GSATA3 6~9) supporting up to 4 SATA 6Gb/s devices
  • Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, and RAID 10  
USB 

Chipset:

  • Up to 2 USB 3.0/2.0 ports (available through the internal USB header)
  • Up to 6 USB 2.0/1.1 ports (2 ports on the back panel, 4 ports available through the internal USB headers)

Chipset + 2 Renesas uPD720210 USB 3.0 Hubs:

  • Up to 8 USB 3.0/2.0 ports (6 ports on the back panel, 2 ports available through the internal USB header)  
Internal I/O Connectors 
  • 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
  • 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
  • 1 x PCIe power connector
  • 10 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
  • 1 x CPU fan header
  • 7 x system fan headers
  • 1 x water cooling fan header (CPU_OPT)
  • 1 x front panel header
  • 1 x front panel audio header
  • 2 x USB 3.0/2.0 headers
  • 2 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
  • 1 x Clear CMOS jumper
  • 1 x heatsink LED power connector
  • 1 x heatsink fan connector
  • 1 x power button
  • 1 x reset button
  • 1 x Clear CMOS button
  • 2 x BIOS switches
  • Voltage measurement points  
Back Panel Connectors 
  • 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port
  • 2 x HDMI ports
  • 1 x DisplayPort
  • 1 x coaxial S/PDIF Out connector
  • 1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
  • 6 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
  • 2 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
  • 2 x RJ-45 ports
  • 5 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out, Rear Speaker Out, Line In/Mic In, Line Out, Headphone/Speaker Out)  
I/O Controller 
  • iTE I/O Controller Chip 
H/W Monitoring 
  • System voltage detection
  • CPU/System/PCH temperature detection
  • CPU/CPU_OPT/System fan speed detection
  • CPU/System overheating warning
  • CPU/CPU_OPT/System fan fail warning
  • CPU/CPU_OPT/System fan speed control 
BIOS 
  • 2 x 128 Mbit flash
  • Use of licensed AMI EFI BIOS
  • Support for DualBIOS
  • PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.0, SM BIOS 2.6, ACPI 2.0a  
Unique Features 
  • Support for Q-Flash
  • Support for Xpress Install
  • Support for APP Center
  • @BIOS
    • EasyTune
    • EZ Setup
    • ON/OFF Charge2
    • USB Blocker  
Bundle Software 
  • Norton Internet Security (OEM version)
  • Intel Rapid Start Technology
  • Intel Smart Connect Technology
  • Intel Smart Response Technology  
Operating System 
  • Support for Windows 8/7 
Form Factor 
  • E-ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 26.4cm 

 

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  • David Calloway

    This review seems to be between the Giga. G1. Sniper 5 and the ECS Z87H3-A2X, not sure how the Asus Z87 Pro made it to the party but whatever…. comments kind of miss matched with benchmarks graphs.