Gigabyte made a series of excellent moves with the Sniper series. Good products just keep coming and it can be safely said that each and every one is among the best in its class. With G1.Sniper Z87, Gigabyte tried to accomplish that again. Did they make it?
IMG 9930 cover

Affordable Z87

As a motherboard that uses Intel’s Z87 controller logic, G1.Sniper represents a motherboard with the best chipset in the LGA1150 class. That means that this model will work with Intel Haswell processors, such as Core i7 4770K, Core i5 4670K, 4570K, etc. and that it will have a lot of additional capabilities that this chipset provides. On the other hand, this board has a great position in price range, because it has an ideal price to performance ratio. First of all, the board has full ATX dimensions. The manufacturer did the design in the traditional manner, meaning the board has black and green color scheme which make it really easy on the eyes.
IMG 9928
Around LGA1150 socket there’s a 8-phase power unit with enlarged coils, while MOSFET’s are passively cooled with stylish aluminium profiles. Right next to the CPU are four DIMM slots for DDR3 memory modules and next to them are Power, CLR CMOS, or rather, Reset buttons. Those buttons, along with POST screen, will be appreciated by enthusiasts who like to play with the board before inserting it into the chassis. As for the expansion slots, the first thing that’s noticeable are two large PCI-Express x16 slots, whose purpose is to house the video cards. Aside from them, there are three more PCI-Express x1 and two classic PCI slots which will be used and appreciated by the users who have older devices. A very striking detail is the separated audio section, which is lined by toxic-green illumination. This area contains Creative Core3D audio processor, along with BurrBrown OPAMP and special Nichion capacitors.

IMG 9929-s IMG 9933-s
IMG 9934-s IMG 9936-s

There’s also the headphones amplifier, as well as a separate USB on the back panel for all those who use USB DAC for their headphones. All in all, it perhaps isn’t an adequate replacement for serious sound cards, but it does present a better solution compared to the Realtek integrated solutions, and it’s noticeable even to casual users. Lastly, there are six SATA 6 Gbps connectors, which is more than enough for most users. The back panel is filled with connectors, as expected. There are four USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 connectors, five gilded audio connectors, along with coaxial and digital S/PDIF. There’s also a gigabyte LAN behind which is the Killer E2200 controller with fantastic performances. PS/2 isn’t left out, neither is the excellent choice of video outs, by which we mean, DisplayPort and HDMI.

Format ATX
Chipset Intel Z87
Memory 4 x DIMM DDR3 1333 - 3000 MHz (OC)
MultiGPU support CrossFireX, SLI
Expansion slots 2 x PCIe 2.0 x16, 3 x PCIe 2.0 x1, 2 x PCI
Audio Creative Sound Core 3D chip
Network Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2201
Internal connectors 2 x USB 3.0, 4 x USB 2.0, 6 x Fan,1 x 24pin power, ATX 12V power, Audio (Front panel)
Back panel PS/2, 3 x USB 2.0, 4 x USB 3.0, S/PDIF, Coaxial, 1 x LAN, 5 x 3.5mm audio, DisplayPort, HDMI
Price USD 158

Cinebench R11.5 x64
OpenGL [fps] 16.97
CPU [pts] 8.49
CPU Single Core [pts] 1.82
x264 HD Benchmark 4.0 (Pass1/Pass2) [fps] 191.9 / 48.1
x264 HD Benchmark 5.0 (Pass1/Pass2) [fps] 83.4 / 18.9
Blender v2.64 [s]** 151.2
AIDA 64 2.5 memory read / write / copy [MB/s] 25399 / 37362 / 30081
AIDA 64 2.5 memory latency [ns] ** 46.9
AES [GB/s] 3.4
TwoFish [MB/s] 682
Serpent [MB/s] 419
7-Zip 7.20 x64 comp. / decomp. [kB/s] 21882 / 256739
WinRar 5.00 Benchmark [KB/s] 9531
**Less is better
Test configuration: Core i7 4770K, 2 x 4 GB Kingston DDR3 2400 MHz, WD Blue 500 GB, Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit

Success, once again

IMG 9927
Gigabyte didn’t fail to deliver once more. The board is extremely competitive and has a few capabilities that surpass even what the competition offers. Gigabyte once again made the testing of motherboards fun, due to interesting additions such as Killer LAN and excellent integrated audio system. There’s also the fantastic UEFI which Gigabyte keeps making better and better and which can finally stand toe to toe with ASUS’s solutions. On top of it all, there’s the attractive design which will stand out in every chassis. There’s absolutely nothing that we’d change and can hardly think of a better solution in G1.Sniper Z87’s price range.