Even after two years the X58 chipset is still rocking, though slowly getting outdated, hence the ODMs keep adding stuff to the motherboard to keep it up-to snuff and interesting. The symbiosis there works out really well. The X58 is fast, flexible and appreciated a nice overclock. Then Gigabyte restyled and added much features like the KillerNIC, X-Fi DSP, USB 3.0 and SATA 6G. It's merely a small handful of the extra features, but certainly are very prominent ones.
Our overall experience with the Gigabyte G1 Sniper gaming edition motherboard was very peasant. The benefits of the older X58 chipset is that BIOS wise everything already was tweaked to the maximum. So you pop in a processor and just know you'll have maximum compatibility and maximum performance.
That is also a little drawback with that, any X58 motherboard will offer you good baseline performance and overclockability similar to what this board offers. So what I am saying is that performance wise you will not achieve much different results compared to other X58 motherboards. However features wise you will gain much more. The USB 3.0 ports, SATA 6G, the really cool design, the optimized BIOS (no uEFI though), SLI support up-to three cards and audio as well as BigFoot's Killer NPU.
Now we stated it many times already, BigFoot's Killer NPU means absolutely nothing to us as latency is found in-between your network router towards the server you play on, not your internal network. Sure you can do a little LAN traffic shaping and speed up gaming packets, but once you pass that router and the data-packets enter cyber-space... it just does not matter. If we ping a connection from Europe towards USA, there's not a thing that can improve the Ping times compared to a good Intel or Realtek NIC and the BigFoot Killer NPU. But we'll say this though, it is a high-speed quality NIC and it certainly wont bother you to use it anyway. We love the little software suite as well.
Audio then, now I know that Creative Labs drivers are a bit of a discussion topic here on the forums, personally I never have issues with them and really do like their audio solutions. As such I was pleasantly surprised by the Creative Labs X-Fi (20K2) DSP mounted into the motherboard. Really you get truly excellent multi-channel audio quality compared to the typical Realtek codec standards. Next to that it brings along will EAX (5.0) and OpenAL with it. Next to that you get the software suite including the Crystallizer and Environmental Audio Extension 5.0, these are all kick ass features for a motherboard integrated audio solution. Dolby Digital Live and DTS Connect are supported as well as a Built-in Front Audio Headphone Amplifier.
Not that Realtek bad or anything, but I like the integration of this audio solution is simply 10x better than Realteks offering. The X-Fi solution wins hands down in features and quality.
Pricing then, well its steep but okay, here in the Netherlands the first prices have gone live and they indicate prices as low as 360 EUR. Now I'm not debating that's a lot of money, but do realize what you are buying, the added features on this motherboard are huge.
As always we do have to point you to Sandy bridge Core i7 2600K with P67 as well, even with the Core i7 965 used in today's review, the 2500 and 2600K processors offer just so ridiculous much perf on the P67 that you will scratch behind your head every now and then. Making CPU/Mobo combo's like shown today much more difficult to explain.
Those that would like to go for a 6-core Intel Core i7 processor and need a X58 motherboard, well .. if your budget allows, why the heck not. The Gigabyte G1.Sniper offers stunning looks, great performance and feature set that is flabbergasting. Very nice, and as such very much recommended if it suits your budget, a Guru3D top pick.
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