Gigabyte G1.Sniper M3 LGA 1155 Micro ATX Motherboard Review
Features, Motherboard Layout, Included Accessories
Motherboard Features (taken from Gigabyte's website)
GIGABYTE 3D Power: Digital Voltage, Frequency and Phase Control
Utilizing an Digital controller array, GIGABYTE's 3D Power features precise Auto Voltage Compensation to deliver a steady flow of power to the system, no matter the loading. With digital controllers for the CPU (Vcore), users can make real-time adjustments with the exclusive GIGABYTE 3D Power Utility, that include settings such as OVP (Over Voltage Protection), Load-line Calibration and on-the-fly PWM frequency adjustment.
GIGABYTE 3D BIOS
The revolutionary GIGABYTE 3D BIOS application is based on GIGABYTE UEFI DualBIOS™ technology and is available to consumers in two exclusive modes of interaction, providing enthusiast and mainstream users with a choice of unique and powerful graphical interfaces.
UEFI DualBIOS™ Technology
At the heart of this exciting 3D BIOS technology is a pair of physical BIOS ROMs containing GIGABYTE's exclusive in-house designed UEFI BIOS technology. With a superior graphical interface capable of 32-bit color imaging and fluid user-friendly mouse navigation, UEFI DualBIOS™ makes BIOS configuration a new and exciting experience for novice and experienced users alike. UEFI BIOS also brings native support for large hard drives on 64-bit operating systems.
Advanced mode provides a more comprehensive UEFI BIOS environment that is designed specifically for overclockers and power users who want maximum control over their PC's hardware. GIGABTYE's signature M.I.T. tuning technology can be found alongside fully configurable parameters for GIGABTE's all new digital 3D Power engine. In short, advanced mode combines the signature GIGABYTE BIOS expertise you've come to expect, wrapped a slick, new and optimized graphical UEFI interface.
2-way CrossFireX™ and 2-way SLI™ Support
The ability to see clearly through the fog of war can often tip the balance between the winning or losing force. That is why GIGABYTE has equipped the G1.Sniper M3 motherboard to offer utmost graphics flexibility and upgradeability. With multiple GPU support, GIGABYTE G1.Sniper M3 motherboard delivers maximum FPS (Frames Per Second), allowing gamers to see more clearly, aim faster, and move more quickly.
Onboard Creative Sound Core3D™ quad-core audio processor
Revolutionary Sound Core3D Audio and Voice chipset accelerates THX TruStudio Pro and CrystalVoice processing effects, drastically improving your gaming experience with faster frame rates, more immersive gaming audio, and crystal clear voice communication.
Enhanced Built-in Visuals
With updated and improved processor graphics and multimedia, 3rd generation Intel® Core™ processors offer you the best possible media and entertainment experience. Native support for multiple digital displays, plus DirectX 11 capable graphics, Intel® Quick Sync Video 2.0 and Intel® HD Graphics 4000/2500 ensure you can enjoy new levels of 3D gaming and HD content manipulation.
This is my first hands-on experience with the G1.Sniper M3 motherboard and my first board review from Gigabyte's G1-Killer series. I'm captivated by the board's neon green and matte black color scheme and I think it would compliment a flashy case mod that uses similar colors. I've always been fond of micro ATX form factor motherboards and this board supports Intel's latest Ivy Bridge processors, but also previous generations of LGA 1155 CPUs. This is important to note because you can still use your older i5-2500K and save up for a higher-performance i7-3770K. The board's overall layout is organized very well, but I'm a little disappointed with the amount of SATA ports offered because the Z77 chipset can support four SATA 3GB/s and two SATA 6GB/s ports and I only see five being utilized.
The back of the PCB itself doesn't have any specific features to discuss so let's move on to the rest of the motherboard's features and offerings.
The back panel contains a host of graphics and interface options like a PS/2 keybaord and mouse combo port, D-Sub, DVI-D, HDMI, DisplayPort, eSATA 3GB/s port, two USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 ports, Intel Gigabit LAN jack, optical S/PDIF out connecotr, and five audio jacks. The DVI-D and HDMI ports support resolutions up to 1920x1080, but the DisplayPort maxes out at 2560x1600. These integrated graphics options are all managed and controlled by the Z77 chipset. Users should also note that this motherboard supports Virtu Universal MVP, which combines the performance of the Z77's integrated graphics with the performance of any installed AMD or NVIDIA graphics card.
Gigabyte prides itself on catering to PC gamers who like to push the envelope, and the three PCI Express x16 slots will definitely do the trick. While two PCI Express slots are rated at x16, the last slot can only support x8. The board can support dual CrossFireX or SLI graphics configurations that run at 16x16x8 respectively. Gigabyte also included a PCI Express x1 slot to give users more expansion options. The photo above also shows the location of the board's USB 2.0 and 3.0 headers, front panel audio header, and Trusted Platform Module connector.
The color-coded front panel headers are easy to use and read and I prefer this method over pulling out the user manual to know what each header is for. The photo above also shows the location of one of the three-pin fan power connectors and SATA 3GB/s ports.
The right side of the G1.Sniper M3 includes two SATA 3GB and two SATA 6GB/s ports managed by the Z77 chipset. These SATA ports support up to RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10, but performance will vary if users try to mix SATA 3GB/s and 6GB/s devices in their RAID configurations.
The G1.Sniper M3 supports up to 32GBs of 1.5v, DDR3 1066, 1333, or 1600Mhz dual channel memory. These supported memory ratings are a bit on the low end because of the Z77 chipset's limitations.
There's plenty of real estate around the G1.Sniper M3's CPU socket for third party heatsinks and liquid CPU coolers. The board has a minimal amount of low-profile heatsinks covering its power components and chipset too. The only possible issue may arise when users install a large air-cooled heatsink and taller memory modules because we've seen clearance issues with these components recently on several boards we've tested.
Gigabyte bundled six SATA data cables with the Sniper.G1 M3 motherboard. This is more than adequate for users who like to add multiple optical drives, hard drives, and solid state drives to their PCs.
The I/O backplate is clearly marked to help users identify what each port is used for. It also matched the black color scheme of the motherboard. Gigabyte also added an NVIDIA SLI bridge to connect two NVIDIA graphics cards to use in an SLI configuration.
Lastly, Gigabyte included a detailed user manual, multilingual installation guide, and a driver DVD that also includes additional third-party software.