In early 2011 Gigabyte introduced a new series of mainboards under the name of G1-Killer. Targeted at gamers, it featured a distinct military design style, an extended set of accessories and, most importantly, software and hardware solutions from Creative Technology and Bigfoot Networks.
The LGA1366 platform was the top of the line back then, so the first models in the G1-Killer series were based on the Intel X58 Express chipset and we took the G1.Sniper for reviewing. When the LGA1155 platform was announced, the G1-Killer series was appropriately extended and we wrote our review of the G1.Sniper 2 which was based on the Intel Z68 Express chipset. And now that the LGA1155 platform is especially interesting due to the recent arrival of new CPUs and chipsets, we can expect more G1.Killers from Gigabyte. Indeed, there are two new mainboards available in the series. Both are based on the Intel Z77 Express chipset and one of them is designed in the microATX form-factor (Gigabyte G1.Sniper M3).
The latter is of course interesting for its combination of compact size and huge functionality, but this review is going to be concerned with the full-size Gigabyte G1.Sniper 3.
Packaging and Accessories
The G1.Sniper 3 is shipped in a large cardboard box with handle which is designed consistently with earlier G1.Killer products. It looks like a rusted container with ammunition belts.
You can find a picture of the mainboard and a brief description of its features and capabilities on the back of the box which seems to have been shot through with bullets.
There’s another cardboard box inside the external wrapper. And inside it, there are two separate packages, with the mainboard and accessories. In fact, the G1.Sniper 3 box is so large not because the mainboard is enlarged to the dimensions of the E-ATX form-factor but just because the packaging is so meticulous and the accessories are so numerous:
- Six SATA cables with metal connector locks, half with L-shaped locks and another half with straight ones;
- A flexible bridge for AMD 2-Way CrossFireX graphics configurations;
- A flexible bridge for Nvidia 2-Way SLI graphics configurations;
- A hard bridge for Nvidia 3-Way SLI graphics configurations;
- A hard bridge for Nvidia 4-Way SLI graphics configurations;
- W-Fi/Bluetooth kit;
- Gigabyte GC-WB300D PCI-E Wi-Fi/Bluetooth card;
- Two Wi-Fi antennas;
- USB 2.0 cable;
- Small poster with assembly instructions;
- DVD-disk with software and drivers;
- I/O Shield for the back panel;
- A module with two USB 3.0 ports for the 3-inch bay of the system case;
- A kit including a bracket and cables providing two eSATA ports for the back panel;
- User manual;
- Brief installation guide in different languages;
- DVD disk with software and drivers;
- Large double-sided poster for G1-Killer series mainboards;
- A set of decals with the series logotypes, bullets and bullet holes;
- “Gigabyte” logo sticker for the system case.
The most notable difference from the accessories of Gigabyte’s ordinary mainboards is the Gigabyte GC-WB300D Wi-Fi/Bluetooth card. It can be purchased as an individual product, but here it is bundled as an accessory. Based on a mini PCI Express card Atheros AR5B22, it is a dual-band (2.4 and 5 GHz) Wi-Fi adapter that supports IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n and is combined with a Bluetooth 4.0 adapter.
We can also see a lot of connectors for graphics cards among the accessories. The I/O shield has a soft springy padding instead of conventional metallic tabs on its back, just like the Q-Shields that have long been included with ASUS mainboards.