Gigabyte G1.Sniper 3 Review
Any review that we do, because of the nature of hardware testing, tends to be largely focussed upon the performance of the component in question. Maybe it comes with a nod towards the price and design, but this is a business that places a heavy emphasis on the final numbers above all else so, barring something exceptional, how much we enjoyed testing it doesn't often crop up. With the G1.Sniper 3 this focus upon performance is as large as ever, but we also need to draw your attention to the ease of our experience.
Starting with the design, and with such a clear theme as we've seen from the Sniper range it's a good place to start, it's all rather disappointing if we're honest. The packaging leads us to expect the same gun/rifle themed design as we've seen before, but the heatsinks are now exactly the same as we'd find on any other motherboard. It's gone from being a motherboard that was instantly recognisable, to a generic one that happens to be green. Maybe the difficulty of shipping something that looked like a gun around the world caused too many problems, but even still it's a shame that a design which was so very different, ends up looking so very similar.
However, this is the only disappointing thing about the whole package. The actual layout of the board is fantastic, with plentiful connection options, lots of fan headers, and a wealth of displays, probe points and the like. Everything is very clearly labelled and exactly where you'd expect it to be. It's a joy to work with. The 3D BIOS continues this trend of providing an exceptionally user-friendly experience. If you're new to BIOS tweaking the 3D display is clear and easy to follow, and yet if you want to tweak a near infinite array of things you can do that too. This is made even easier because the labels in the BIOS are clear and even if you don't know where to find a certain option you just need to read and be reassured that if you want Loadline Calibration, that's exactly what it will be called.
Performance is yet another box ticked. Overclocking the Sniper 3 was a breeze. There was no need to tweak a near-infinite array of settings to obtain a stable overclock, and my goodness was the overclock stable. The Sniper 3 didn't have any headroom manually adjusted and yet still could give us a 5GHz overclock, and a bulletproof 4.8GHz one. Not only were the overclock results excellent, but the stock results were streets ahead of anything we've seen so far. The only thing to always remember is auto settings can also mean its over volting areas far to much so for the extreme end of the spectrum its always safer to manually set as many volts as possible. If you don't know, get in the forums, ask and learn.
The only flies in the ointment are the slight one about the vanilla design, and more importantly the big price-tag. We're big fans of getting great value for money here at OC3D, and will always prefer a decent performance/price combination over a wallet-emptying sledgehammer, but the Sniper 3 is leagues ahead of the other Z77s we've tested.
To keep with the Sniper theme, it's an instakill headshot. A great looking motherboard, with fantastic performance, a true joy to actually use, more accessories than you could hope to utilise and a bombproof BIOS. It can be everything from a simple stock runner all the way up to a sub-zero overclocking beast and we love it. The Gigabyte G1.Sniper 3 is a bona fide, unquestionable, Gold award winner. Fantastic.