GIGABYTE recently announced two boards for midrange systems—the G1.Sniper Z5S and G1.Sniper Z5—to expand the G1-Killer lineup. Both the Z5S and Z5 come with many of the features you’ll find on the upper echelon G1-Killer series motherboards, such as Killer E2200 networking and GIGABYTE AMP-UP Audio. Here, we’ll take a look at everything you’ll get with the Z87-based G1.Sniper Z5S.
Game audio remains a priority with the G1.Sniper Z5S. It’s built with a Realtek ALC1150 HD audio codec that supports up to 10 audio channels. We like that the board’s two front panel audio channels can deliver an 115dB signal-to-noise ratio for crisp analog output. You can also switch out OPAmps (operational amplifiers) to make subtle changes to the board’s audio output. For instance, you could install an OP-Amp that’s designed to provide cleaner audio, more hard-hitting bass, or increased dynamic range. GIGABYTE makes the process simple, too. All you’ll need to do is pull out the existing OP-Amp and install the new one by aligning the notches and pressing the chip into the socket.
GIGABYTE even goes the extra mile to maintain the integrity of the G1.Sniper Z5S’s audio signals. The board’s integrated audio components are protected with a noise guard that separates the analog audio components from any EMI noise from the rest of the PCB. We also like that the G1.Sniper Z5S traces the noise guard path with a green LED light, so you can actually see the separation of the PCB layers. This motherboard also utilizes studio-class Nichicon MUSE MW series bipolar audio capacitors.
To reduce lag, the G1.Sniper Z5S comes with a Killer E2200 Ethernet controller from Qualcomm Atheros.
You can manually prioritize traffic with the Killer E2200, but you may not have to. The Killer E2200’s Advanced Stream Detect technology automatically identifies and prioritizes network traffic for applications that most need highspeed access. If you prefer to do it yourself, just open the Killer Network Manager, and you can increase or decrease the bandwidth each application uses. You can also block an application from network access.
Graphics capabilities are a prime concern for any gamer’s motherboard, and the G1.Sniper Z5S doesn’t disappoint here, either. It offers three PCI-E x16 3.0 slots that can support up to 2-way SLI or CrossFire. In 2-way SLI and CrossFire, the top two PCI-E x16 slots will run at x8 speed. Four PCI-E x1 slots are provided for other add-in cards.
The G1.Sniper Z5S is also no slouch with memory. It can support up to 32GB of DDR3-3000. You can
utilize preset memory configurations for modules that support Intel’s XMP profiles.
The G1.Sniper Z5S is a capable overclocker, thanks to GIGABYTE’s Ultra Durable 4 Plus technology, which consists of all solid capacitors and low RDS(on) MOSFETs that are rated for use with higher temperatures.
The design helps to ensure stability and a long life span. Many of the connectivity options on the G1.Sniper Z5S are what you’d find on the stock Z87 chipset. There are six 6Gbps SATA ports, six USB 3.0 ports (four on the rear panel, two available via internal header), and seven USB 2.0 ports (three on rear panel, four available via two internal headers).
We tested the G1.Sniper with an Intel Core i7-4770K running at stock clocks, a GIGABYTE GV-N760OC-4GD, and 8GB of ADATA XPG V1.0 DDR3-1866. In Metro: Last Light, we topped 30fps at 2,560 x 1,600 with all settings on high. Our test system produced even better results in Aliens vs. Predator, with 32.9fps at the highest quality. We ran 3DMark Professional’s Fire Strike Extreme test and saw an overall score of 3057, highlighted by a Physics score of 11057. The Memory Bandwidth results of 21.45GBps and 21.74GBps in SiSoftware Sandra 2014 are nice numbers for the 1,866MHz memory in our test rig.
The G1.Sniper Z5S provides you with a variety of tools to help get the most out of your videogames. We especially liked the motherboard’s high-end audio and bandwidth control options. Builders on a budget will be happy to know that they too can now hire the services of a G1-Killer.
Specs:Form Factor: ATX; Max memory: 32GB (DDR3-1600; Max OC: DDR3-3000); Slots: 3 PCI-E 3.0 x16; 4 PCI-E x1; Storage: 6 6Gbps SATA; Rear I/O: 1
HDMI, 1 DVI-D, 1 VGA, 4 USB 3.0, 3 USB 2.0, 1 PS/2, 1 Ethernet, 1 coaxial S/PDIF out, 1 optical S/PDIF out, audio I/O; Warranty: 3 years
Test system specs:Processor: Intel Core i7-4770K; GPU: GIGABYTE GV-N760OC-4GD; RAM: 8GB ADATA XPG V1.0 DDR3-1866; Storage: 128GB Crucial
RealSSD C300; OS: Windows 8 Enterprise (64-bit)