When hardware enthusiasts look to build a gaming rig they often look at the upper high-end for their product selection. This isn't because they need it or will use all the features but, because those systems offer the most in terms of power and expandability it is the logical choice. In this review we looked at the Gigabyte G1 Killer Sniper Z87 gaming motherboard which is not the top of the line but rather a reasonable version that anyone could buy.
Motherboard layout is rather conservative and doesn't deviate much from a normal retail motherboard like the GA-Z87X-UD4H. There are two 16x PCI Express expansion slots and both use bandwidth earmarked for graphics cards. While this configuration will support dual card SLI/Crossfire we suspect the majority of users will opt for a single high-end graphics card and leave the rest of the slots unpopulated.
To build a good gaming system you need two basic things, Good Video and Good Audio. When used together they can create a totally immersive gaming experience that is almost equal across any gaming platform. To create a good audio ambiance Gigabyte has included the new audio system called Amp Up which is based on a pluggable IC called an OP-Amp. By replacing the OP-Amp module you can tune the audio profile to match your preferences and do so with little to no system resources. Our benchmark results didn’t illustrate that very well and we suspect the drivers or design required a little more power to run.
Overclocking the Sniper Z87 was rather straight forward and similar to overclocking any of the Ultra Durable Z87X motherboards. The new UEFI Dashboard now is fully viewable instead of being limited to the 1080p variants. Mouse support has also improved in the UEFI which we suspect is a by-product of the new monitor scaling. In this review we ran the board up to 4.5Ghz which is a very easy overclock that doesn’t require a ton of voltage or produce excessive heat.
Your mileage will likely be different however, given the market segment for the Sniper Z87 it would be our recommendation to pick up a 3.5Ghz Core i3 or Core i5 and spend your savings on a really good graphics card. Not only will you get better game performance but you will have a processor that is cost matched to the motherboard.
Onboard Hardware Audio Solution
Excellent Color Scheme
Standard ATX Motherboard Size
Thicker and Stronger PCB
Matte Black Finish
Improved UEFI Support
Would like to have more than four fan headers
No DVI on I/O panel