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Gigabyte G1.Sniper 5 (Z87) Motherboard Review

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System builders and overclockers will be pleased with the optimal placement of the Power/Reset buttons, voltage probe points and PORT-80 diagnostic LED, unobstructed and near the edge of the board. A pair of switches (near the DIMM slot) controls dual-BIOS selection and failover behaviour.

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A large hybrid heatpipe/waterblock covers the VRMs, with a small 40mm fan providing active airflow in that area.

The G1.Sniper 5’s very, very over-engineered CPU VRM department includes sixteen 60A inductors, 60A rated IR3550 PowerIRstages and a 8-phase IR3563B digital PWM capable of 2MHz switching, augmented by a IR3599 doubler… all these best in class arsenal just to service Haswell which consumes around 130W under the typical 4.5GHz air/water overclock. Only sub-zero cooling enthusiasts like Gigabyte’s very own HiCookie can really put it through its paces.

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Moving on to the UEFI BIOS department, we’re pleased to see that Gigabyte has ditched the “3D Touch BIOS” fail-bloat design of old and replaced it with a functional interface which even has native 1080p widescreen support. Navigating through the menus with keyboard or mouse was snappy and the options were well labelled. A conventional fall-back GUI is also accessible by hitting F2 key.

After some hours of experimentation, we concluded that the AUTO parameters for the iR PWM and Haswell FIVR were fairly aggressive already and most air/water users only need to just raise vCore and change the CPU multiplier for the typical 4.5GHz Haswell (1.2-1.25v) overclock. Alternatively, one could just use the provided factory OC presets.

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At time of writing (with BIOS F7), we had difficulty getting Samsung-based memory kits to work reliably in dual channel (same ones worked on on Asus/MSI Z87 boards). Meanwhile, Hynix/PSC based generic or XMP modules worked flawlessly. Somebody at Gigabyte ought to look into this.

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The old and obtuse ET6 software suite which has been around for the previous few generations has been replaced by the all-new Easytune, which has the tunables and monitoring values arranged coherently in one window. Due to chipset limitation, memory timing values are read-only and we were also sometimes prompted to reboot the system after making some changes.

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Overall, my impression of the Gigabyte G1.Sniper 5 is that it is a fairly competent motherboard – I’m just not convinced that it should command a fairly pricey US$369.99 (NewEgg) / SGD$749 (Cybermind) with its rough edges, especially when you can get the average decent Z87 motherboard for half its pricetag.

8-5

Lennard Seah
Why can't I have sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads

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