Gigabyte has been on a hot streak lately to produce some of the nicest motherboards targeted at gamers. The Initial Killer/Sniper series has shown a completely new style from Gigabyte, a series that steps away from that baby blue color, towards a matte black PCB, a 'gun' theme, quality components and nifty extra's like a high-end Ethernet controller and even an integrated SoundBlaster X-Fi soundcard.
With the release of Intel's Z68 chipset, there obviously was a new opportunity to get that chipset a Sniper treatment as well. So the design team pretty much cherry picked all good stuff from the X58 series, and transformed it into the product we'll test today.
The Intel Z68 chipset. A chipset that has the full feature set of BOTH the H67 and P67 chipsets and then it also has a little surprise in store.
With the Z68 Intel also introduces Intel Smart Response Technology, which allows you to use an SSD to cache a large volume HDD, it's a bit of a hybrid mode, a symbiosis of the two to gain on static storage performance. Next to that most Z68 motherboards will get the ability to switch in-between the processor IGP and a dedicated graphics card. That means you could use the Sandy Bridge IGP for seriously fast transcoding, yet once you want to play a game, your dedicated graphics card will kick in.
So today a closer look at the technology, and of course we'll review a unit. The Z68 motherboard tested, reviewed and spanked comes from Gigabyte. We'll test their G1.Sniper2 motherboard. Armed with the latest gadgets, features and that Z68 chipset it will make that thing down under tickle just a little.
Superior looks, great performance, nice overclockability and then in addition to it, all extra's as SATA 6G controllers, USB 3.0. Also the BigFoot KillerNIC has been integrated into this motherboard, and... Realtek audio? No Sir -- it's been kicked out. There's actually a fully fledged Creative Labs X-Fi (20K2) DSP mounted onto the motherboard to bring better audio capability into your PC. All in all it's a very impressive motherboard not only features wise, yet also in terms of sheer design. Much like the initial X58 G1-Killer, the motherboard as tested today actually brings back memories of the early X58 motherboards from eVGA - styling wise - with the black PCB and the green colored PCIe slots. And considering these are good memories... heck have a look yourself, meet the Gigabyte G1 Sniper gaming edition motherboard as the design is a sheer class on its own.
Have a peek at the motherboard, and then let's head onwards into the review.
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