Articles: Mainboards

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Besides ordinary mainboards, Gigabyte has been producing specialized models for overclockers and gamers for the last few years. So when you see a huge product package that looks like a rusty ammo box with bullet marks, you should know it is a G1-Killer series mainboard from Gigabyte. Gigabyte’s regular products feature a blue color scheme whereas overclocker-targeted models are aggressively orange. Gaming mainboards from Gigabyte are mostly colored a camouflage green. Well, the packaging, logos and colors are just exterior markings whereas the fundamental distinguishing feature of the G1-Killer series is their hardware and software components from Creative Technology and Bigfoot Networks. The former company is quite a well-known one while the latter had become so prominent that it was purchased by Qualcomm Atheros to keep on developing its projects under a new signboard.

You may have read our review of the LGA1366 mainboard Gigabyte G1.Sniper which was based on the Intel X58 Express chipset. Then, the G1-Killer series was expanded with the G1.Sniper 2 (LGA1155, Intel Z68 Express) and G1.Sniper 3 (LGA1155, Intel Z77 Express). The number 4 has negative associations in the East, which must be the reason why the next model in the series, based on the Intel Z87 chipset and designed for LGA1150 processors, is named Gigabyte G1.Sniper 5. In our today’s review we will take a look at its features and capabilities, noting where it differs from its predecessors and similar LGA1150 models from other brands. We’ll test it at its default settings, overclock it and measure its power consumption and performance.

Packaging and Accessories

The G1.Sniper 5 product box is large and robust, yet it is now quite a conventional cardboard package instead of the rusty ammo box.

You can find a large picture of the mainboard on the back of the packaging with key features indicated as in the illustration below.

Although the box has no flap, the mainboard is additionally packed into a transparent plastic case inside. Below it, there are its numerous accessories:

  • Six Serial ATA 6 Gbit/s cables with metallic locks, three with straight and three with L-shaped connectors
  • Flexible bridge to connect two graphics cards in 2-way SLI mode
  • Flexible bridge to connect two graphics cards in 2-way CrossFireX mode
  • Stiff bridge to connect three graphics cards in 3-way SLI mode
  • Stiff bridge to connect four graphics cards in 4-way SLI mode
  • Wi-Fi/Bluetooth package which includes:
    • Gigabyte GC-WB300D PCIe Wi-Fi/Bluetooth card
    • Wi-Fi antenna
    • USB 2.0 cable
    • User manual
    • DVD with software and drivers
  • I/O Shield
  • Additional module with two USB 3.0 ports designed for a 3.5-inch bay, with mounting screws
  • Gigabyte OP-AMP Upgrade Kit
  • User manual
  • Brochure with brief installation instructions in several languages
  • DVD with software and drivers
  • Gigabyte sticker

We are already familiar with the Wi-Fi/Bluetooth kit bundled with Gigabyte's top-end mainboards except that the antenna is different here. The kit includes a PCIe x1 card Gigabyte GC-WB300D which is based on a mini PCIe card Atheros AR5B22. It supports Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n at data-transfer speeds up to 300 Mbps over 2.4 and 5 GHz frequency bands and also provides Bluetooth compatibility (4.0, 3.0+HS or 2.1+EDR). The purpose of most of the accessories is clear but you may wonder what the Gigabyte OP-AMP Upgrade Kit does. We will talk about it in the next section of our review.

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