GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 Z87 Motherboard Review
Overclocking and Conclusion
To give a feel for the G1.Sniper 5 motherboard overclocking performance capabilities, we attempted to push the board to known CPU-supported performance parameters with minimal tweaking. I was able to get the board running stable for over 4hrs at a 4.67GHz CPU speed, a 1780MHz memory speed, and a 4.01GHz ring bus speed at a 167MHz base clock. System stability was tested running the AIDA64 stability test in conjunction with FurMark running at 1280x1024 resolution and 2x MSAA in stress test mode.
Note that this is is meant only as a quick preview of the board's performance potential. With more time to tweak the settings to a greater extent, pushing to a higher base clock and ring bus speed may have been achievable, in addition to an overnight stability run without issue.
The G1.Sniper 5 performs as well as it looks. GIGABYTE did a superb job with the board's design, as illustrated by it stock clock and overclocked-based performance. Performance-wise, it has more than earned its place among the other flagship Z87-based motherboards.
As of October 11, the GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 motherboard was available at Newegg.com for $329.99 after $50 mail-in rebate. The board was also available from other retailers such as Amazon.com for $329.99 after $50 mail-in rebate with Prime shipping and TigerDirect.com for $369.99 after $50 mail-in rebate.
Before continuing with our final thoughts on the G1.Sniper 5, we would like to take this opportunity to give our friends at GIGABYTE a hearty “Thank You” for allowing us the opportunity to review such a high quality solution. With the G1.Sniper 5, GIGABYTE took their motherboard design prowess to an entirely new level. They took their Z87X-OC Force design and tweaked it to appeal to the high-end gamer crowd. It starts with the green, black, and chrome board colors, highlighted by the glowing logo eyes in the chipset cooler and the green board under-lighting. The larger E-ATX form factor gives the board breathing room to house all the required features without sacrificing on port placement or spacing. The integrated cooling offers enough variety to appeal to any user as well offering active air cooling or liquid cooling for the more hard-core enthusiasts. The icing on the cake for the board's design is the included sound hardware. GIGABYTE integrated a SoundBlaster chipset along with high-end audio capacitors and a header for upgrading the OP-AMP used for rear panel-based audio output processing. The G1.Sniper 5's performance meshes well with its design with the board offering top-notch performance under all operational circumstances.
The only issues of note could be considered more of an oddity in the board's design. For a high-end board designed for both LN2 and water cooling enthusiasts, it was an odd choice to go with integrated barbs on the VRMs sinks. Users are locked in to using 3/8 inch inner diameter tubing with the integrated barbs, small for most enthusiast custom water-based builds. A more flexible solution would have been to allow the user to choose their barb size by integrating G1/4 ports instead of fixed barbs. Additionally, the heat pipe cooling the PCI-Express bridge chip and Z87 chipset is physically separated from the fan cooled/liguid cooled VRM heat sink. In testing, the chipset heat pipe put out significantly more heat than the board's VRMs and would have benefited if directly included in the VRM cooling loop.
- Stock performance
- Overclocking potential
- Full 16 digital power phases dedicated to the CPU
- CMOS battery placement
- Board layout and design
- Accessible PCI-Express x1 slot with multiple PCI-Express x16 slots filled
- UEFI BIOS design and usability
- Motherboard manual information on base features
- 16 digital power phases just for the CPU
- Dual GigE NICs
- BIOS HD resolution mode
- Quality and configurability of integrated sound solution
- Chipset heat sink and under-board LED lighting
- Non-removable water barbs
- Use of 3/8" water barbs
- Lack of detail in manual on esoteric features