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Gigabyte G1.Sniper Z87: gaming motherboard with high-quality sound

11.12.2013, Jan Vítek, recenze
Gigabyte G1.Sniper Z87: gaming motherboard with high-quality sound
Hot news in the offer of motherboards by Gigabyte is G1.Sniper Z87, whose name indicates that it is for gamers. Nevertheless, this board provide us high-quality sound with the possibility of replacement of operating amplifiers and other advantages.
The company Gigabyte offers a number of motherboards with the Z87 chipset, from which we have chosen hot news, the model G1.Sniper Z87, which was only presented and launched in November. It is not a generally abundantly equipped board, as the recently tested model Gigabyte Z87X-UD5H. Instead of that, we have in front of us a specialized model designed for computer game sets that wants to offer high-quality configurable sound and an interesting network solution. Sniper is also significantly cheaper than UD5H.

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Specifications of Gigabyte G1.Sniper Z87
Support of Intel Haswell processors for LGA 1150 socket
Intel Z87 Express
4x DIMM for up to 32 GB DDR3 with max. clock time 3000 MHz (OC)
Support of Intel XMP and non-ECC modules
Graphic outputs
1x HDMI 1.4a (max. 4096 x 2160 @ 24 Hz, 2560 x 1600 @ 60 Hz)
1x DisplayPort 1.2 (max. 4096 x 2160 @ 24 Hz, 2560 x 1600 @ 60 Hz)
max. shared memory 1 GB
HD audio
processor Creative Sound Core 3D
support of Sound Blaster Recon3Di
2/5.1 channel
Support of S/PDIF output
Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2201 (10/100/1000 Mbit Ethernet)
2x PCI Express 3.0 x16 (configuration x16/-, x8/x8)
support 2-way AMD CrossFire/NVIDIA SLI
3x PCI Expres 2.0 x1
2x PCI
chipset: 6x SATA 6 Gbps (RAID 0/1/5/10)
6x USB 3.0 (4 on the rear panel) a 7x USB 2.0/1.1 (3 on the rear panel)
Other connectors
1x 24pin ATX power supply
1 x 8pin EPS power supply
1x power supply of CPU PWM cooler + 3x power supply to case ventilator fans
6x SATA 6 Gbps
1x connector for buttons and LED of the case
1x audio for the front I/O panel
1x USB 3.0 (header)
2x USB 2.0 (header)
1x serial port (header)
1x Clear CMOS
1x Power button
1x Reset button
1x Clear CMOS button
2x switches for BIOS
2x audio gain control buttons
Rear I/O panel
1x PS/2 for keyboard / mouse
1x HDMI 1.4a
1x DisplayPort 1.2
1x optical S/PDIF
1x coaxial S/PDIF
4x USB 3.0
3x USB 2.0/1.1
1x RJ-45 (Gb Ethernet)
5x 3.5mm audio
2x 64Mbit flash - Dual AMI EFI Bios
PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.0, SM BIOS 2.6, ACPI 2.0a
Other features
Support of Q-Flash, Xpress Install, APP Center (@BIOS, EasyTune, EZ Setup, USB Blocker, Smart TimeLock, Smart Recovery 2)
OS support
Windows 8.1 / 8 / 7
Support of Linux and older versions of Windows depends mainly on manufacturers of additional chips (Qualcomm, Creative)
Board format
ATX (305 x 233 mm)

If we compare the used chipset Intel Z87 with the previous model Intel Z77 for the processors Ivy Bridge.

Chipsets Intel Z87 and Z77
Code name
Lynx Point
Panther Point
Integrated graphics support
Max. USB 2.0 / 3.0
8 / 6
10 / 4
Max. SATA 2.0 / 3.0
0 / 6
4 / 2
Primary PCI Express
1× PCIe 3.0 ×16
2× PCIe 3.0 ×8
1× PCIe 3.0 ×8 + 2× PCIe 3.0 ×4
1× PCIe 3.0 ×16
2× PCIe 3.0 ×8
1× PCIe 3.0 ×8 + 2× PCIe 3.0 ×4
Secondary PCI Express
8× PCIe 2.0
8× PCIe 2.0
Intel Rapid Storage
Intel Smart Response
Intel Anti-Theft
Intel Smart Connect
Intel Rapid Start
Intel vPro
Maximum TDP
4.1 W
6.7 W
Production process
32 nm
65 nm

So, after the model Gigabyte Z87X-UD5H we have another board with the chipset Intel Z87 and the differences between this one and the older 7 Series version are not big, they mainly include the support of the SATA and USB interfaces, where the emphasis has shifted to newer versions. The diagram shows 14 USB 2.0 ports, whilst the specification states 8. But if we add the other six USB 3.0, which are naturally compatible with USB 2.0, the quantity fits. So, our motherboard G1.Sniper Z87 almost fully uses the USB ports offered by the Z87 chipset. It provides six ports USB 3.0, and just one from the available USB 2.0 ports is not at user's disposal.

At the same time, the motherboard offers all the supported ports SATA 6 Gbps and its slots PCI Express 3.0 x16 work in full configuration, that is, either as one slot with the full number of lines or two slots by eight lines each. The difference compared to the Z87X-UD5H model is that G1.Sniper Z87 uses, with respect to the offer of basic interfaces, rather just the possibilities of the chipset, which definitely is not to any harm. But one would miss, for example, an interface for Trusted Platform Module, or FireWire or two Ethernet interfaces. On the other hand, Sniper offers other advantages we will be focusing on in the third chapter.

In the case of the current generation, the chipset is still linked to the processor by means of the DMI 2.0 bus, support of DDR3L has been added but it still is 1600 MHz and 2 channels, and the Serial ATA interfaces still have the maximum of 6 ports but all versions are SATA 6 Gbps.

Gigabyte G1.Sniper Z87 - accessories and software
IDE cable
SATA cable
4× SATA (two angular)
SATA power adapter
SLI jumper
Documents etc.
Installation manual, user manual (brief version also in Czech), installation CD, sticker, label for rear I/O
controllers + software for audio
Norton Internet Security (OEM version)
Intel Rapid Start Technology
Intel Smart Connect Technology
Intel Smart Response Technology

Main advantages of the motherboard

  • technology Ultra Durable 4 Plus
  • replaceable operating amplifier
  • sound solution by Creative (Sound Core 3D)
  • network solution Killer E2200

Article in Czech: Gigabyte G1.Sniper Z87: herní deska s kvalitním zvukem