G1.Sniper Mid-Range Expansion: GIGABYTE Launch Z5S and Z5by Ian Cutress on January 3, 2014 6:45 PM EST
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All the main motherboard manufacturers now have three distinct classes of motherboard to sell to the common home-build end user: the channel range, the overclocking range and the gaming range. GIGABYTE color codes their models such that the channel range is blue/black, the overclocking range is orange/black, and the gaming range is green/black. The gaming range from GIGABYTE has seen an explosion in terms of models available recently – initially for a couple of generations it was one or two models, but in 2013 we had the following:
- G1.Sniper 5 ($380)
- G1.Sniper M5 ($203)
- G1.Sniper Z87 ($170)
- G1.Sniper B5 ($100)
- G1.Sniper 3 (our review)
- G1.Sniper M3 (our review)
- G1.Sniper A88X ($110)
GIGABYTE is a very market focused motherboard manufacturer, often designing product to match specific requests in various regions. To this end, over the course of the CES weekend we have the two first new 2014 G1.Sniper motherboards being released on the Z87 platform, aimed more at the mid-range gamer: the G1.Sniper Z5S and the G1.Sniper Z5.
Some of the 2013 innovations on the G1.Sniper range include the upgradable OP-AMP feature that lets audio enthusiasts change the operational amplifier to cater their music tastes better, AMP-UP which uses the high end Realtek ALC1150 codec in a tuned and configured environment (EM shield, filter caps, PCB separation of digital and analog signals), USB DAC-UP which provides clean USB power to one USB port to minimize potential fluctuations when using a USB DAC, and Gain Boost to adjust amplification modes depending on the output device. GIGABYTE wraps this up with a Killer network interface to optimize gaming traffic by bypassing the Windows Network Stack.
The G1.Sniper Z5S will be released first, with the Z5 in a few weeks. The Z5S will have most of the features listed above, and use the Z87 chipset in an x8/x4/x4 configuration for tri-CFX compatible setups or in x8/x8 for two-way SLI, along with AMP-UP, OP-AMP, USB DAC-UP, a Killer NIC, and GIGABYTE’s updated BIOS/Software package for Z87.
As these are mid-range motherboards, we have the six SATA 6 Gbps from the PCH and six USB 3.0 ports rather than additional controllers: the main selling point here is a basic motherboard improved through the Sniper series features. The main difference between the Z5S and the Z5 will be only two-way CrossFire on the Z5, with also fewer VRMs in the power delivery and the SATA ports at the bottom of the board rather than in the right-angled fashion we usually see. With these specifications they seem straddle the G1.Sniper Z87, which has more VRMs than the Z5 but the same two-way GPU layout than the Z5, as well as more gold plated connectors on the rear IO.
We are waiting for release dates and prices for both models, but we are told the Z5S will be on sale first. We have the G1.Sniper Z87, the middle one of the three, in for review in due course. Stay tuned for that!
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just4U - Saturday, January 4, 2014 - linkI was thinking the same thing.. Occasionally every company makes a board people don't really like as it's riddled with problems. That includes some of Asus ROG series boards.
I actually look at both the sniper and the rog boards because of the inclusion of higher end sound and Ethernet solutions.. (also occasionally better onboard controllers..) For me that's what makes both lines a winner.
IanCutress - Monday, January 6, 2014 - link1. Aesthetics are personal opinions. You don't like it, then you don't like it, but seems unfair to chastise those that do.
2. The BIOS system on both ASUS and GIGABYTE has vastly improved since P35. Both BIOSes allow a full range of voltage control. Some users prefer absolute adjustment, others prefer offsets (what you mention), and for companies to recommend overclocks it is easier to speak in offsets when you don't know what the VID of a CPU is.
3. Using discrete GPU audio is the minority. Such a large investment in onboard audio is usually due to customer requests. If you want a motherboard with low quality audio go for it, but chances are high end boards are going to have high end audio.
4. So for OC performance you used a synthetic, which is stereotypically littered with extreme overclocking results on liquid nitrogen cooling? A benchmark which requires heavy multithreaded performance when GB hasn't released an X79 refresh for Ivy Bridge? Makes sense...
5. You confuse self importance: yes some gamers are overclockers. But not all overclockers are gamers - extreme overclockers (those going for records which litter your fourth point) are using exotic cooling who require motherboards stripped down to the bare essentials. This is why there is a separation in markets. So while you overclock, it sounds like you are not an extreme overclocker, especially if you use your overclock 24/7. Extreme overclocking is ultimately the best use case for overclocking based motherboards. To call out gamers who do not overclock as 'serious gamers' ('A serious gamer will overclock') is utter bull - you can be a serious gamer on pretty sub-standard kit. And what exactly is a serious gamer? Are you the defining standard? Rattles a bit of posing here.
As others have said, you've used an old product to complain about a modern product. We gave the Z87X-OC an award at AnandTech, it was a great board for a great price, and I've never known a Gigabyte board since Sandy Bridge to lag behind any other board by a serious amount in our 24/7 overclock testing. Guess what, we have data to back it up.
Jay77 - Saturday, January 4, 2014 - linkAt least one of the boards doesn't have any pci slots. Unfortunately, it's much more likely that I'll use a x2 or x4 pcie slot than ever will 3-way Crossfire.
just4U - Saturday, January 4, 2014 - linka serious gamer will game... and couldn't be bothered with overclocking.
EasterEEL - Sunday, January 5, 2014 - linkSo good you posted twice! I love the lime green/black colour scheme, looks great in my water cooled CM690 nvidia edition case with Avexir Venom Series memory.
Nothing wrong with the Gigabyte Z87 M5 motherboard BOIS and it over-clocks absolutely fine. My 3D Mark 11 seems to be right up there. With Haswell the CPU over-clock delta is far more important than the motherboard.
Kompost - Sunday, January 5, 2014 - link"G1.Sniper range include the upgradable OP-AMP feature that lets audio enthusiasts change the operational amplifier to cater their music tastes better"
This is so idiotic it's not even funny. Change of a single opamp in the signal path is hard to even measure, much less hear.
vladdt - Sunday, February 23, 2014 - linkI am owner of Z77 Gigabyte G1 Sniper M3 - and I VERY DISAPOINTED of this board! Actually - mostly of Gigbyte itself. Gigabyte support is horrible. They have F9 BIOS for this board, stable but pretty old. This is first version of UEFI BIOS, without secure boot, fast boot and many others features for Windows 8.0-8.1. They have F10 BIOS, witch support many new things, but this BIOS - in permanent beta stage. Last update was 2013-03! I'ts unstable! On F9 my computer correctly wake up from sleep, on F10 - hanged permanently. And this is "top gamers" motherboard! Looks like Gigabyte position is: "You are bought Z77 long ago? Loosers! Throw out your motherboard and buy a new one!"