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Gigabyte G1.Sniper A88X Review: FM2+ for the Enthusiast?

Author: Josh Walrath
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: Gigabyte

Test Setup and Errata

It was a bit of a challenge to test out this motherboard as I have had so few FM2 based products through the lab.  We also must think about how potential performance differences exist between these boards when running the older Richland APUs (such as the A10-6800K) and the brand new Kaveri (A10-7850K).  Because those products are based on different architectures (Piledriver vs. Steamroller), the BIOS with these new boards may or may not be optimized for one architecture over the other.

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I decided to compare this board against the older Gigabyte F2A85X-UP4 which is an FM2 part based on the slightly older A85X chipset.  Since it is FM2, Kaveri based parts cannot run on this board.  I used the A10-6800K for the basis of the tests being run, and I also used that processor on the G1.Sniper A88X.  Finally I used the A10-7850K on the G1.Sniper, which is really the recommended combination for this board.  The A88X chip is based on the A85X to a great degree, but small changes have been made to potentially improve performance and featureset.

I am still using Win7 SP1 for testing, but that is likely to change within the next few reviews.  Win 8.1 does have a lot of extra performance under the hood when it comes to things like network speed and I/O transactions. 

The A10-6800K ran the memory at DDR-3 1866 speeds while the A10-7850K enables the use of DDR-3 2133 speeds.

 

Components

AMD A10-6800K or AMD A10-7850K

2 x 4 GB AMD Radeon DDR-3 2133 Memory

WD Caviar 1 TB Black HD OS Drive

Samsung 840 Pro 256 GB SSD (SATA 6G and USB 3.0 Tests)

Sharkoon USB 3.0 SATA 6G Dock

Lite-On BD-ROM

Coolermaster CM 690 II Advanced Case

Corsair TX-750W Power Supply

Win7 Pro

AMD Catalyst 14.3 Drivers

June 16, 2014 | 08:12 AM - Posted by JohnGR

Isn't it one of the first FM2+ boards that came out? I think it is about 10 months old.

And the funny thing about motherboard prices for the AMD platform is that using a search engine here in Greece, Sniper is the 5th most expensive model out of 27 with the "A88X" in their model name, costing 98 euros.

Using the term Sniper in the same search engine I can see that the FM2+ board is the cheapest of all "Sniper" boards available. All the others are for Intel. You can buy a B85 for 2 more euros than the FM2+ board, but after that it gets really ugly, with prices jumping from 147 to 375 euros.

June 16, 2014 | 08:43 AM - Posted by Josh Walrath

Yup, it is one of the first FM2+ boards to have come out last year.  If there was one problem that users complained quite a bit about, it is that Gigabyte shipped a lot of these boards without Kaveri APU support in the BIOS.  So, it has been problematic for some to update the BIOS as they don't have access to an older Richland based APU to do so.

This Sniper board is not nearly as high end as the other Sniper boards from Gigabyte.  Agian, price is the primary concern for these manufacturers when it comes to the FM2+ socket.

June 16, 2014 | 11:47 AM - Posted by Jeremytroid

Have you checked out the GA-F2A88X-UP4? It's one of the most expensive FM2+ boards out there at 109.99 USD. Just above the Sniper and a tad below an MSI Gaming series board.

It addresses many of the concerns you had about the Sniper. The GA-F2A88X-UP4 has a IR Digital 6+2 Power Phase design and only one "front" facing SATA port. All others are the normal angled style. It's rear video IO also includes a DisplayPort connection in addition to the others.

The only downgrade I can see compared to the Sniper is a much weaker RealTek audio chipset.

I'm probably going to use this in a build I'm doing in the next few months, but I'd like to hear your thoughts if you have any experience with it!

June 16, 2014 | 02:06 PM - Posted by Josh Walrath

I have not had the chance to work with this board yet, but the spec's do make it a bit beefier in terms of overclocking/performance than the Sniper.  At least with audio, you can always add a card if you don't like that particular implementation.  Good looking board!

June 17, 2014 | 09:34 AM - Posted by madhatter256 (not verified)

Can this handle 4k gaming?

June 17, 2014 | 09:46 AM - Posted by Josh Walrath

Only if you use an add-in, high end graphics card.

June 22, 2014 | 05:09 AM - Posted by hoxlund

Bought this board first and tried pairing it with 4x8gb G.skill Trident X ddr 2400 memory. would not run all 4 sticks at 2400 no matter what bios settings i did.

Sold it and bought the MSI a88x-g45 gaming. Runs all 32GB at ddr 2400.

Computer build - https://imgur.com/a/4DwZz

I also was forced to buy a x2-340 cpu just to flash my gigabyte. kinda sucked but hey it was VERY cheap.

June 26, 2014 | 08:32 AM - Posted by Josh Walrath

Good looking build!  I am working on the A88X G45 review now, and it is a really nice board for the price.  Nice looking build you have there!  I just hope that more HSA applications get released and support for it ratchets up.  I am running that MSI board with a last gen GTX 580 Lightning card... it seems to run well with both the AMD graphics part enabled as well as the GTX 580.  I probably should do some OpenCL testing with both running...

September 14, 2014 | 05:00 PM - Posted by Motee (not verified)

Greetings to all,
I recently bought G1.Sniper A88X (rev. 3.0 motherboard and was thinking of using the AMD A10-7850K or another APU from the fm2+ Kaveri line. My question after some research is, will I be able to update the bios with an fm2+ apu on this board, or will I have to get an fm2 apu for the bios update? Really wanted one of those Kaveri apu's to have the board function with the lastest technology it can handle. Any suggestions?

Best Regards
Motee

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