GIGABYTE G1.SNIPER2 Intel Z68 Motherboard ReviewWed, Sep 14, 2011 - 12:00 AM
Final Thoughts and Conclusion
The GIGABYTE G1.SNIPER2 is the latest iteration of the the G1 Killer series motherboards. Since it’s the latest version of the GIGABYTE line, it has been improved. Perhaps improved isn’t the exact term to be used since the X58 versions were great boards to start. The GIGABYTE G1.SNIPER2 has undergone a number of changes to keep up with the times. Though many of the features on the SNIPER2 are the same as the original G1 Killer series. These are the features that separate the G1 line from the rest of the pack. One thing that hasn’t changed is the price point. Taking a look at Newegg.com the GIGABYTE G1.SNIPER2 is the highest price Intel Z68 motherboard they have. Coming in with a price tag of $359.99 plus $10.02 shipping, the SNIPER2 isn’t for the feint of heart or those on a tight budget. To be fair to the price, the features packed in to the G1.SNIPER2 do justify the price.
The features packed into the GIGABYTE G1.SNIPER2 will eliminate the need for many of the dedicated cards that are installed into many of the systems out there. Of the features packed into the GIGABYTE G1.SNIPER2, two of them stand out. The first of the stand out features is the network card. The GIGABYTE G1.SNIPER2 doesn’t use the traditional Realtek NIC or Intel NIC that we have seen on most of the motherboards that have come across the Legit Reviews test bench in recent memory. Instead the G1.SNIPER2 uses a discrete level network interface card from Bigfoot Networks integrated directly onto the PCB. The Bigfoot Networks Killer E2100 NIC features a dedicated NPU (Network Processing Unit) with 1GB of dedicated DDR2 memory. The second of two features that stands out on the GIGABYTE G1.SNIPER2 is the audio. The SNIPER 2 takes advantage of a Creative Soundblaster X-Fi Digiatl Audio Processor (20K2). The CA20K2 features X-Fi Extreme Fidelity and EAX AHD technologies. I played with the audio and it sounded great to me, though by no means am I an audiophile.
The performance of the GIGABYTE G1.SNIPER2 didn’t fail to impress. The gaming performance of the G1.SNIPER2 was right on par with our other Intel Z68 boards like the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z. In fact, most of the gaming benchmarks the GIGABYTE G1.SNIPER2 was able to take the top spot on the charts. Performance margins on motherboards are tight, so every little bit helps. Whenever a motherboard crosses the test bench, one of the first things that I want to know is how well will it overclock? The good news is, the GIGABYTE G1.SNIPER2 definitely has some great overclocking potential. Simply leaving all of our settings I was able to increase the multiplier to x45. This brought our Intel Core i5 2500K to 4500MHz which is a 36% overclock! We also wanted to play with the Quick Boost option on the front access control panel. Simply depressing the Quick Boost button, the G1.SNIPER2 automatically increased the multiplier to x41. This isn’t as drastic of an overclock, though it is an on the fly overclock. It’s also a safe level of overclocking, last thing anyone wants is a smoking processor from an auto overclock. Of course that isn’t the only way we overclocked the Intel 2500K and SNIPER2, you’ll have to check out that page for the full run down.
Once again the GIGABYTE G1.SNIPER2 can be purchased for $359.99 plus $10.02 shipping. It may carry the highest price tag of the Intel Z68 motherboards, it’s also the only one with discrete level cards for network and audio performance integrated into the board. When you invest that kind of money into a motherboard, peace of mind about the quality of the product is always a nice thing to have. While GIGABYTE uses only top quality parts on all of their boards, there is always a chance for failure. If that were to happen GIGABYTE has their motherboards backed by a three year warranty.
Legit Bottom Line: The GIGABYTE G1.SNIPER2 Intel X58 motherboard has the features that many purchase additional expansion cards for. If you are looking for a great performing motherboard, and are planning on picking up a discrete NIC and sound card, the GIGABYTE G1.SNIPER2 is a great option that doesn’t need the additional hardware.