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 4096x2160
  • 1 x DisplayPort, supporting a maximum resolution of 3840x2160
  • 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 

 

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 Retail Packaging

GIGABYTE G1.Killer Sniper 5 Retail Packaging

From a personal stand point, I prefer packaging that focus's on the product and not some flashy packaging that doesn't tell you what you're getting but is only designed to catch your eye. In the case of the GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 Intel Z87 motherboard, the package focus's on the product while still maintaining an eye catching package. It may not have the flashy computer generated model waving her sword around, but if you're in a retail store you're still likely to at least pick this board up. On the front of the packaging the G1.Sniper 5 name stands out like a sore thumb against the black background. Above the name we can catch a  glimpse of the heatsink assembly, and a couple of things are immediately noticeable, but I'll let you ponder on that until the next page when we break down the board layout and features.

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 Retail Packaging

The back of the packaging for the GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 has no shortage of marketing text! At the center of the package we have an image of the board and surrounding the board GIGABYTE breaks down the features for us.

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 Retail Packaging

Opening up the outer shell of the GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 packaging we can slide the heavier duty internal packaging. This box is much stronger and designed to prevent damage during the hazards of shipping.

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 Retail Packaging

Opening up the lid for the interior box we can see our first mostly unobstructed view of the G1.Sniper 5 in all its glory.

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 Retail Bundle

Removing the box containing the board we can find the bundle that accompanies the GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 is separated and secured within the compartments below.

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 Layout

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

I'm not normally one for bright and shiny colors like we see on the GIGABYTE G1.Sniper, but I'll admit that it's grown on me. Overall I like the look of the G1.Sniper 5 and even the bright green looks good.

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

Starting out in the area below the Intel LGA1150 socket, there are a number of noteworthy features here. First off, the GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 supports dual channel memory at speeds up to 3000MHz (O.C.) and down to 1333MHz. If you wanted to max out the memory capabilities of the Sniper 5 mobo, you would need to fill each of the four DIMM slots with 8GB modules for a total of 32GB. Just below the DIMM slots is a pair of dip switches, SB, and BIOS_SW. The SB dip switch will enable or disable the single or dual BIOS modes while the BIOS_SW will bounce you between the main BIOS and the backup BIOS. To the left of the BIOS switches is the first of two internal SuperSpeed USB 3.0 headers, we will see the other shortly. Working our way in from the corner of the PCB is a set of three onboard switches, a reset switch, power switch and a clear CMOS switch. Continuing past the switches is a pair of 3pin system fan headers and the debug LED display.

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

The GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 has no shortage of SATA connectivity on board, there is a total of 10 SATA III 6GB/s ports. Six of the SATA III ports are native to the Intel Z87 chipset while the remaining four are from a marvell 88SE9230 SATA III controller which is capable of RAID 1,0, & 10. The Intel Z87 SATA III ports are capable of the same with the addition of RAID 5. To the right of the SATA ports is a SATA power connector, while it may look like it is for the SATA ports, it is actually for the expansion slots. When running more than two graphics cards, you are putting a lot of demand on the motherboard power system, this can alleviate some of that demand by supplying extra power to the PCIe x16 slots. Running up the edge of the Sniper 5 we can see a system fan header, front panel pin out, the second internal SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports, another system fan header, and finally the first of the two internal USB 2.0 headers.

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

Continuing down the edge of the PCB, we have the second internal USB 2.0 header, a pair of system fan headers, and the front panel audio. There's no shortage of expansion slots on the GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5, there is a total of four PCIe X16 slots, PCIEX16_1 and PCIEX16_2 will both run at full x16 bandwidth when utilizing only two graphics cards, these two slots share their bandwidth with the remaining two PCIe x16 slots and all will run at x8 if they are all being used. In addition to the four PCIe x16 slots, the G1.Sniper 5 packs an additional three PCIe x1 slots.

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

Taking a little bit closer look at the leading edge of the GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5, we can see the line that separates the onboard audio components from the rest of the PCB. By doing this GIGABYTE can help reduce the electrical interference to the Sound Blaster audio components.

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

The heatsink on the GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 can be run as is, using only the fan, or it can integrated directly into a custom water cooling loop.

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

The Intel LGA1150 socket on the GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 features 15u gold plated pins within the socket. This will give the socket great conductivity and life span.

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

The I/O panel on the GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 is pretty typical by today's standards. The Sniper 5 is equipped with six SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, a single PS/2 port, dual HDMI, DisplayPort, optical & coaxial SPDIF out, Dual GIGABIT Ethernet, and five 3.5mm audio jacks.

The Legit Reviews Test System

Before we look at the numbers, let's take a brief look at the test system that was used. All testing was done on a fresh install of Windows 8 Enterprise 64-bit and benchmarks were completed on the desktop with no other software programs running. We completely overhauled our test setup for the Intel Core i7-4770K processor launch, so we are starting over from scratch when it comes to testing everything. For this review will be comparing Intel Z77, Intel Z87 and AMD FM2 platforms. These platforms are aimed at mainstream users and all feature integrated graphics, so it will be interesting to see how the systems compare. We understand that there is a significant price difference between some of the processors we will be testing, but the platforms are targeted to the same consumer group.

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 Test System

Here is a quick look at the CPU-Z information for our main test system that we'll be doing the testing on.

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 System Settings

The Intel Z87 platform that we used to test the Intel 1150 processors was running the GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 and was running the latest BIOS version F7 that came out on 8/05/2013. The Corsair Dominator Platnium 8GB 2133MHz memory kit was set to XMP 1.3 memory profile settings, which is 1.5v and 9-11-10-27 2T memory timings at 2133MHz. The Corsair Neutron GTX 240GB SSD uses 19nm NAND and was using M310 firmware.

z87-pro-system-settings-2

The Intel HD Graphics 4600 that from the Intel Core i7-4770K

Intel LGA1150 Test Platform

Component

Brand/Model

Live Pricing

Processor

Intel Core i7-4770K

Motherboard

GIGABYTE Z87X-OC Force Click Here

Memory

8GB Donimator 2133MHz Click Here

Video Card

ASUS GeForce GTX670 DirectCU II Click Here

Hard Drive

Corsair Neutron GTX 240GB SSD

Click Here

Cooling

Corsair H100i

Click Here

Keyboard

Corsair K90

Click Here

Mouse

Corsair M95

Click Here

Power Supply

Corsair AX860i

Click Here

Operating System

Windows 8 64-Bit

Click Here

Futuremark 3DMark

3Dmark Fire Strike Benchmark Results - For high performance gaming PCs

Use Fire Strike to test the performance of dedicated gaming PCs, or use the Fire Strike Extreme preset for high-end systems with multiple GPUs. Fire Strike uses a multi-threaded DirectX 11 engine to test DirectX 11 hardware.

3DMark Fire Strike

 

Fire Strike Benchmark Results:

Futuremark 3DMark Firestrike Benchmark Results

Benchmark Results: In Futuremark 3DMark Firestrike the overall scores of the GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 and the ECS system were only a single point apart. The G1.Sniper 5 scored 5997 3DMarks while the ECS was at 5998 3DMarks. The ECS Z87H3-A2X had a slightly higher graphics sub-score while the GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 pulled away in the physics score.

SiSoftware Sandra 2013

Sisoftware Sandra 2011 SP5

The Sisoftware Sandra 2012 SP3 benchmark utility just came out a few weeks ago and we have started to include it in our benchmarking. Sandra 2012 comes with support for Virtualisation (Virtual PC/Server, Hyper-V, VMware) and GPGPU (OpenCL, DirectX 11 DirectCompute), but today we will be using the program to look at memory and CPU performance!

SiSoftware Sandra Memory Bandwidth Benchmark Results

Benchmark Results: The memory bandwidth performance differences between the GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 and the ECS Z87H3-A2X were negligible. Though the G1.Sniper 5 was a hair above the ECS board with a bandwidth of 28.13 GB/s on the Integer Memory bandwidth and 28.17 GB/s on the Float Memory bandwidth compared to 28.07GB/s and 28.17.

Bioshock Infinite

BioShock Infinite is a first-person shooter video game developed by Irrational Games, and published by 2K Games. BioShock Infinite is the third installment in the BioShock series, and though it is not part of the storyline of previous BioShock games, it does feature similar gameplay concepts and themes. BioShock Infinite uses a Modified Unreal Engine 3 game engine and was released worldwide on March 26, 2013.

Bioshock Infinite

We tested BioShock Infinite with the Ultra game settings.

Bioshock Infinite Benchmark Results

Benchmark Results:The GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 was able to average 86.98 frames per second at 1920x1080 and 126.5 frames per second at 1280x1024. This is a bit slower than the ECS board averages of 127.85 fps & 88.01 fps, but still a very solid performance.

Hitman: Absolution

Hitman: Absolution is an action-adventure stealth DirecX 11 video game developed by IO Interactive and published by Square Enix. It is the fifth entry in the Hitman game series, and runs on IO Interactive's proprietary Glacier 2 game engine. This game title uses the Glacier 2 game engine and was released on November 20th, 2012.

hitmanabsolution_550.

We benchmarked Hitman: Absolution with Ultra Settings.

Hitman Absolution Benchmark Results

Benchmark Results: The GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 is once again a hair behind the ECS Z87H3-A2X. The Sniper 5 Z87 motherboard averaged 30.47 frames per second at 1920x1080 and 42.5 frames per second at 1280x1024 while the ECS Z87 motherboard averaged 43.63 fps and 30.93 fps respectively.

Metro Last Light

Metro: Last Light is a first-person shooter video game developed by Ukrainian studio 4A Games and published by Deep Silver. The game is set in a post-apocalyptic world and features action-oriented gameplay with a combination of survival horror elements. It uses the 4A Game engine and was released in May 2013.

Metro: Last Light

Metro Last Light was benchmarked with Ultra settings

Metro Last Light Benchmark Results

Benchmark Results: The GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 had a solid performance in Metro: Last Light with an average of 46.62 frames per second at 1920x1080 and 61.92 frames per second at 1280x1024.

Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider

On March 5th, 2013 Square Enix released Tomb Raider, billed as a reboot of the franchise. In Tomb Raider, the player is confronted with a much younger Lara Croft who is shipwrecked and finds herself stranded on a mysterious island rife with danger, both natural and human. In contrast to the earlier games Croft is portrayed as vulnerable, acting out of necessity, desperation and sheer survival rather than for a greater cause or personal gain.

Tomb Raider Settings

The game has been built on Crystal Dynamics's game engine called the "Crystal Engine" and the graphics look fantastic. AMD and Crystal Dyanmic's worked on a new technology called TressFX Hair, which AMD describes as “the world’s first in-game implementation of a real-time, per-strand hair physics system” for this game title. We set the image quality to ultimate for benchmarking, but we disabled TressFX Hair under the advanced tab to be fair to NVIDIA graphics cards that don't support the feature.

Tomb Raider Benchmark Results

Benchmark Results: The GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 averaged 83.23 frames per second at 1920x1080 and 113.53 frames per second at 1280x1024, once again trailing the ECS Z87H3-A2X.

Sleeping Dogs

Sleeping Dogs PC game
Sleeping Dogs is a 2012 open world action-adventure video game developed by United Front Games in conjunction with Square Enix London Studios and published by Square Enix. The game was released on August 14, 2012, for Microsoft Windows. The game uses the Havok physics engine.

Sleeping Dogs Benchmark Results

Benchmark Results: Sleeping dogs was damn near a dead heat for the GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 and the ECS Z87H3-A2X. At 1280x1024 both boards averaged 67.5 frames per second and at 1920x1080 the ECS averaged 44.4 frames per second while the Sniper 5 trailed at 44.3 frames per second.

Intel Z87 SATA III 6Gbps Performance Testing

CrystalDiskMark is a small benchmark utility for drives and enables rapid measurement of sequential and random read/write speeds. Note that CDM only supports Native Command Queuing (NCQ) with a queue depth of 32 (as noted) for the last listed benchmark score. This can skew some results in favor of controllers that also do not support NCQ.

ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero Motherboard SATA III Performance

The SATA III 6Gbps performance testing was completed using a Corsair Force GT 240Gb SATA III 6Gbps SSD.

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 SATA Performance

Benchmark Results: The ECS Z87H3-A2X brought it's A game in the SATA III Performance testing. The ECS motherboard averaged 529.1MB/s sequential read and 440.0MB/s sequential write. This is more than 6.6% faster than the ASUS Z87-Pro in the read test and 1.5% faster write. The 4k Write was impressive at 126.7MB/s, 22% faster than the ASUS counterpart.

HD Tune Pro 4.01 is an extended version of HD Tune which includes many new features such as write benchmark, secure erasing, AAM setting, folder usage view, disk monitor, command line parameters and file benchmark.

Intel Z87 HD Tune Pro 5.50 Write Benchmark Results

ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero Motherboard SATA III Performance

Intel Z87 HD Tune Pro 5.50 Read Benchmark Results

ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero Motherboard SATA III Performance

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 SATA Performance

Benchmark Results: The ECS Z87H3-A2X Extreme continued to dominate in HD Tune with an average read of 439.9MB/s compared to the average read of the ASUS Z87-Pro read of 356.5MB/s!

Intel Z87 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Performance Testing

Thermaltake BlackX 5G SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Dock

There are a number of different Super Speed USB 3.0 host controllers out there. In order to know which ones perform the best we run a series of tests that will put the controller through the ringer and see how it comes out on the other side. Each of our motherboards uses a different Super Speed USB 3.0 controller and you can find the below.

CrystalDiskMark is a small benchmark utility for drives and enables rapid measurement of sequential and random read/write speeds. Note that CDM only supports Native Command Queuing (NCQ) with a queue depth of 32 (as noted) for the last listed benchmark score. This can skew some results in favor of controllers that also do not support NCQ.

MSI Z77A-GD65 Gaming Series Motherboard SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Performance

Testing of the USB3 was done using the "Thermaltake BlacX 5G Hard Drive Docking Station . The drive used was an Corsair Force GT 240Gb SSD.

 

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 USB 3.0 Performance

Benchmark Results: The ECS Z87H3-A2X Extreme SuperSpeed USB 3.0 performance wasn't as dominating as the SATA III performance, but it wasn't far off from the ASUS Z87-Pro. The Z87H3-A2X Extreme had a sequential read of 409.1MB/s, not quite up to the ASUS Z87-Pro speed of 421.2MB/s, but still solid. The ECS Z87H3-A2X sequential write was a little further back with a performance of 345.3MB/s compared to the ASUS performance of 373.6MB/s.

HD Tune Pro 5.00 is an extended version of HD Tune which includes many new features such as write benchmark, secure erasing, AAM setting, folder usage view, disk monitor, command line parameters and file benchmark.

Intel Z77 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 HD Tune 5.50 Read Benchmark Results

MSI Z77A-GD65 Gaming Series Motherboard SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Performance

Intel Z77 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 HD Tune 5.50 Write Benchmark Results

MSI Z77A-GD65 Gaming Series Motherboard SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Performance

Testing of the USB3 was done using the "Thermaltake BlacX 5G Hard Drive Docking Station . The drive used was an Corsair Force GT 240Gb SSD.

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 USB 3.0 Performance

Benchmark Results: HD Tune looks like a wash between the ECS Z87H3-A2X and the ASUS Z87-Pro. There is no discernible difference between their performances.

Rightmark Audio Analyzer

RightMark Audio Analyzer

 The RightMark Audio Analyzer suite is designed for testing quality of analog and digital paths of any audio devices, be it a sound card, an MP3 player, a consumer CD/DVD player or an acoustic set. The results are obtained by playing and recording test signals passed through the tested audio path by means of frequency analysis algorithms. The latest version of RightMark Audio Analyzer can be found here.

 RightMark Audio Analyzer Results

 

Rightmark Audio Analyzer Comparison Chart

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 Rightmark Audio Analyzer Test Results

The GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 has an overall performance rating of 'Very Good' according to Rightmark Audio Analyzer. Many of the subscores were at either Very good or Excellent, the only one that isn't at that level is the THD + Noise, dB (A) which is sitting at average.

System Power Consumption

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 System Power Consumption

The GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 Intel Z87 motherboard is a bit of a power hungry beast it seems. In each of our three tests it pulled more than our other systems, despite the identical configuration as the ECS Z87H3-A2X. Sitting at idle the Sniper 5 was pulling 73 Watts, 9 Watts more than the ECS board. Under a full load in the Aida64 system stability test it was pulling 18 Watts more and running 3DMark Firestrike the Sniper 5 pulled a peak of 245 Watts, 6 more than the ECS board.

Overclocking

Overclocking greatly varies due to what hardware is being used and who is doing the overclocking. Always remember that no two pieces of hardware will perform the same, so our results will differ from what you might be able to get.

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 CPUz 

The Intel Core i7 4770K runs at a non-turbo speed of 3.5GHz and turbo will ramp the processor up to as high as 3.9GHz under a lightly threaded load as we can see above. Since we are using a K series processor which has an unlocked multiplier we will be able to increase the default x35 multiplier to achieve our overclock today. This is the easiest way to overclock K series processors and should provide us with some great speeds.

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 Overclocked CPUz

We were easily able to take our Intel Core i7-4770K 'Haswell' Processor to 4.8GHz with the GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5. The only settings we had to tweak within the BIOS was the CPU multiplier and the CPU VCore. Our particular processor requires very little voltage increases and is happy at 4.8GHz with a vCore in the realm of 1.29 Volts.

As always we tried to break past 4.8GHz, but we were unsuccessful. If we added much more voltage we would run into a heat issue, and without the voltage we just weren't stable at all.

The GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 Intel Z87 motherboard has the ability to create a performance upgrade from within the BIOS. You can increase the performance by 20%, 40%, 60%, 80%, or 100%. We wanted to give this a go, so we set the performance upgrade to 60% and rebooted the system.

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 Performance Upgrade

Once we successfully booted the G1.Sniper 5 into Windows we fired up CPUz and AIDA64 system stability test to see exactly where we were at. The Intel Core i7 4770K was set to 4.5GHz and the vCore was set to 1.385. The high vCore caused our processor to throttle back the performace due to the heat generated. Not all processors run at such a low vCore as our sample so the vCore may be needed by yours, my advice is to keep an eye on the CPU temperatures whenever you're overclocking.

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 Performance Upgrade 20%

I tried to back the performance upgrade to 20%, but the vCore remained virtually unchanged. Since the vCore was still sitting at 1.38 Volts, our processor was still hitting the thermal limits and beginning to throttle down.

Final Thoughts & Conclusion

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

With a street price of $339.99 shipped the GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 isn't a board for the feint of heart. The GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 is a board that is geared for those looking for all the features offered without worrying about the price tag. If you're in that category of looking for the a board without worrying about price, the Sniper 5 is a great choice. If you are concerned about price, and the GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 has the features you're looking for, I'm confident that it will be worth it if you have to save a little longer.

There isn't much that the GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 doesn't offer. Between the ability to run a Quad-GPU setup, Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2201 NIC, Intel GbE LAN, integrated water cooling, Creative Sound Core3D audio, 10 SATA III 6Gbps ports, and well just about anything you can think of, the GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 is certainly a very well endowed motherboard.

I was a little surprised to see the graphics performance was a hair lower than the ECS Z87 board we had recently tested. Though we are only talking 1-2% difference, I suspect that the reason for that is the PLX chip used for additional PCIe Gen 3 lanes. Since the PLX chip has started being used, boards that have used it have consistently seen a minor hit in the single card graphics performance. It's never been something that will effect the overall experience of the system, but certainly something to consider if you're only going to be running a single GPU setup. Despite the slight hit it takes in single card performance, the PLX chip makes up for it in multi-GPU configurations with the added PCIe express lanes.

When it came time to overclock our Intel Core i7 4770K, the GIGABYTE G1.Sniper was a breeze to work with. We gave the the performance upgrade settings a go, and while they worked, the CPU vCore was a little to high for our 4770K. Our i7-4770K will comfortably run 4.7-4.8GHz on 1.29 Volts on the vCore. The Performance Upgrade options were pumping nearly 1.4 Volts to the vCore. It's known that not all processors will run at a vCore as low a this one so the higher voltage may be necessary

Dropping nearly $350 on a motherboard can be a little nerve racking if you've had to save your pennies as I do. While motherboard failures are few and hopefully far between, they can and do happen. If it does happen to the GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5, you're covered for 3 years. While it may be a pain to pull your board to send back if it does happen to fail, at least there is some peace of mind knowing that you aren't out the purchase price of the Sniper 5!

LR Recommended Award

Legit Bottom Line: If you're looking for a great board with all the bells and whistles, the GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 Intel Z87 motherboard should be at the top of your short list!