Gigabyte Z68 G1.Sniper 2 Review

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Gigabyte Z68 G1.Sniper 2 Review

Introduction

Throughout the history of PC Hardware there have been various changes that have improved the overall usability of Personal Computers.

From the invention of DIMMs through the Plug and Play revolution it's become easier and easier to work with hardware. However, like many things about computers just because the hardware was the same it didn't mean that the results were. Even with the X58/AM3 Platform there is a lot of tweaking and fiddling in the BIOS to do before you could extract the maximum performance and stability out of your rig.

SandyBridge pretty much eliminated all that. The chipset had reached such a peak that, barring slight variances, it almost doesn't matter what motherboard you choose to use as the BIOS is dead simple to use and the reliability of the performance so easy to gauge. Whilst this is great for the average user it's a bit of a pain for both us, as we haven't got as many tools to play with to extract the maximum performance, and also for the motherboard manufacturers. If a bottom of the range motherboard can give similar performance to a top line one, then who would buy the top line ones? A rethink was needed and it's led to the major difference between a low-end and a high-end mobo being the bells and whistles that are supplied.

Bells and Whistles were most definitely evident in the Gigabyte G1.Assassin X58 motherboard we reviewed recently, and now we have its Z68 brother, the Gigabyte G1.Sniper 2. Replete with more additional technology than you can shake a stick at it's most definitely aimed  at the premium end of the marketplace. Does it deliver enough to separate it from the pack?

Technical Specifications

There are three major upgrades on the Sniper 2 when compared to most Z68 motherboards. Firstly the PCIe x16 slot is marked as compliant with PCI Express 3.0 specifications. Secondly it comes with a Creative Soundcard built in, rather than the standard ALC889 Realtek audio. And finally we have the inclusion of the Bigfoot Killer NIC, for all your low-ping gaming needs.

CPU
  1. Support for Intel® Core™ i7 processors/Intel® Core™ i5 processors/ Intel® Core™ i3 processors/Intel® Pentium® processors/Intel® Celeron® processors in the LGA1155 package
 
Chipset
  1. Intel® Z68 Express Chipset
Memory
  1. 4 x 1.5V DDR3 DIMM sockets supporting up to 32 GB of system memory
    * Due to Windows 32-bit operating system limitation, when more than 4 GB of physical memory is installed, the actual memory size displayed will be less than 4 GB.
  2. Dual channel memory architecture
  3. Support for DDR3 2133/1866/1600/1333/1066 MHz memory modules
  4. Support for non-ECC memory modules
  5. Support for Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) memory modules
Onboard GraphicsIntegrated in the Chipset:
  1. 1 x HDMI port, supporting a maximum resolution of 1920x1200
Audio
  1. 1 x Creative CA20K2 chip
  2. Support for Dolby® Digital Live and DTS™ Connect
  3. Support for X-Fi Xtreme Fidelity® and EAX® Advanced HD™ 5.0 technologies
  4. High Definition Audio
  5. 2/4/5.1/7.1-channel
  6. Support for S/PDIF Out
LAN
  1. 1 x Bigfoot Killer E2100 chip (10/100/1000 Mbit)
Expansion Slots
  1. 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x16 (PCIEX16)
    * For optimum performance, if only one PCI Express graphics card is to be installed, be sure to install it in the PCIEX16 slot.
  2. 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x8 (PCIEX8)
    * The PCIEX8 slot shares bandwidth with the PCIEX16 slot. When the PCIEX8 slot is populated, the PCIEX16 slot will operate at up to x8 mode.
  3. 2 x PCI Express x1 slots
    (All PCI Express slots conform to PCI Express 2.0 standard.)
  4. 2 x PCI slots
Multi-Graphics Technology
  1. Support for AMD CrossFireX™/NVIDIA SLI technology
    * The PCIEX16 slot operates at up to x8 mode when AMD CrossFireX™/NVIDIA SLI is enabled.
Storage Interface1 x Marvell 88SE9172 chip:
  1. 2 x SATA 6Gb/s connector (GSATA3_6, GSATA3_7) supporting up to 2 SATA 6Gb/s devices
  2. Support for RAID 0 and RAID 1
Chipset:
  1. 2 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (SATA3_0, SATA3_1) supporting up to 2 SATA 6Gb/s devices
  2. 3 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors (SATA2_2~SATA2_4) supporting up to 3 SATA 3Gb/s devices
  3. 1 x eSATA 3Gb/s connector (eSATA/USB Combo connector) on the back panel supporting up to 1 SATA 3Gb/s device
  4. Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10
    * When a RAID set is built across the SATA 6Gb/s and SATA 3Gb/s channels, the system performance of the RAID set may vary depending on the devices being connected.
USBChipset:
  1. Up to 14 USB 2.0/1.1 ports (8 ports on the back panel, including 1 eSATA/USB Combo connector, 6 ports available through the internal USB headers)
2 x Etron EJ168 chips:
  1. Up to 4 USB 3.0/2.0 ports (2 ports on the back panel, 2 ports available through the internal USB header)
Internal I/O Connectors
  1. 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
  2. 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
  3. 4 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
  4. 3 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors
  5. 1 x CPU fan header
  6. 4 x system fan headers
  7. 1 x front panel header
  8. 1 x front panel audio header
  9. 1 x S/PDIF Out header
  10. 3 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
  11. 1 x USB 3.0/2.0 header
  12. 1 x serial port header
  13. 1 x Trusted Platform Module (TPM) header
  14. 1 x clearing CMOS jumper
  15. 1 x heatsink LED power connector
  16. 1 x CPU overclocking button header
Back Panel Connectors
  1. 7 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
  2. 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port
  3. 1 x CPU overclocking button
  4. 1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
  5. 1 x eSATA/USB Combo connector
  6. 1 x HDMI port
  7. 2 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
  8. 1 x RJ-45 port
  9. 5 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out, Rear Speaker Out, Side Speaker Out, Line In/Mic In, Line Out)
I/O Controller
  1. iTE IT8728 chip
H/W Monitoring
  1. System voltage detection
  2. CPU/System temperature detection
  3. CPU/System fan speed detection
  4. CPU overheating warning
  5. CPU/System fan fail warning
  6. CPU/System fan speed control
BIOS
  1. 2 x 32 Mbit flash
  2. Use of licensed AWARD BIOS
  3. Support for DualBIOS™
  4. PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.0, SM BIOS 2.4, ACPI 1.0b
Unique Features
  1. Support for @BIOS
  2. Support for Q-Flash
  3. Support for Xpress BIOS Rescue
  4. Support for Download Center
  5. Support for Xpress Install
  6. Support for Xpress Recovery2
  7. Support for EasyTune
  8. Support for Dynamic Energy Saver™ 2
  9. Support for Smart 6™
  10. Support for Auto Green
  11. Support for eXtreme Hard Drive (X.H.D)
  12. Support for ON/OFF Charge
  13. Support for Cloud OC
  14. Support for 3TB+ Unlock
  15. Support for TouchBIOS
  16. Support for Q-Share
Bundle Software
  1. Norton Internet Security (OEM version)
  2. Intel® Smart Response Technology
  3. LucidLogix Virtu (Make sure the monitor cable has been connected to the integrated graphics port on the back panel)
Operating System
  1. Support for Microsoft® Windows 7/Vista/XP
Form Factor
  1. ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 26.4cm

 

We've a lot to get through, so let's crack on.

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Most Recent Comments

17-08-2011, 07:26:37

tinytomlogan
Today we're taking a look at the follow-up to the very popular X58 Assassin Motherboard, the Z68 G1.Sniper 2.



Continue Reading

17-08-2011, 08:05:28

dugdiamond
ouch - expensive!!! 250-270 and i would have been impressed

17-08-2011, 08:29:09

SieB
I really hope that the price of this board will come down and that it is priced so high because it is being marketed as being PCI-E 3 and Ivy Bridge native and that retailers are just charging extra to cash in on it.

The thing is now that we know that all Gigabyte boards are PCI-E 3 compatible with just a simple BIOS update, then that makes the UD7 the better and cheaper board. Ok, so it may not have the sound card and the NIC chip but these have been proven to be not that much of a improvement over standard ones at a lower price anyway, so is it really worth paying the extra for them? No, in my opinion anyway.

It is a good board and it does look good and perform very well but the price is just to high

17-08-2011, 08:42:00

| raVen |
Good motherboard but TOOOO expensive!

17-08-2011, 10:44:16

badtaylorx
awwww....no shots of the "this is not a real gun" sticker??? Tell me yer gonna use it as a case vadge!!!

17-08-2011, 10:49:19

CrissTM
As usual v nice review.

Nice looking Board, me like so much

OOPS ... about the price

19-08-2011, 07:26:39

StreekG
Quote:
Originally Posted by badtaylorx View Post

awwww....no shots of the "this is not a real gun" sticker??? Tell me yer gonna use it as a case vadge!!!
You don't stick it on yourself. Its on there from the beginning.

19-08-2011, 18:40:25

sday03
I like the LEDs in the heatsink! I think more boards should incorporate that.

20-08-2011, 22:59:50

Cold
If only tech wasn't outdated so fast. It sucks spending a load on building a top of the range rig, making it look all smart then 3-6 months later its outdated.

Love the board, the price, not so much.

22-08-2011, 10:28:20

Montysaurus
Good review but Ouch on the price! Why are they still sticking old technology on the board with a price like this there should be no USB 2 and Sata 2! I definitely wont be buying any new M/Board until the legacy kit is replaced with up-to-date gear its not like it isnt backwards compatible!

28-08-2011, 10:16:10

Stl Drifter
Newegg.com has it in stock right now for $319.99 U.S. dollars!

01-09-2011, 06:54:15

yassarikhan786
Nice review. The price has come way down from before, which makes it all the more impressive now.

04-10-2011, 20:42:50

CocaCola
Really nice board. Kind of reminds me of the DFI look, without the weapons theme.

Gigabyte should make a Z68 or P67 board with the orange layout like the X58A OC board.
Reply
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