During CES 2011 we had the opportunity to attend the elaborate launch party for GIGABYTE's latest product line, the G1-Killer motherboard series - a whole line of motherboards designed from the ground up to cater to gamers. Consisting of three models dubbed G1.Assassin, G1.Sniper and G1.Guerilla, this new series is based on the high-end LGA1366 platform, with Intel's proven X58 Express chipset at its core. While this platform might seem a little long in the tooth, it still features the best possible multi-threaded performance and
multi-GPU capabilities and is not likely to be replaced before January 2012.
While a lot of PC hardware is labelled as "designed for gamers", what distinguishes this new motherboard series from past models is something that GIGABYTE describes as 'Super Sight, Super Hearing, Super Speed, Super Shield'. First and foremost, this is highlighted by the inclusion of dedicated gaming-oriented hardware in the form of the onboard Bigfoot Killer E2100 network processing unit (NPU) and/or Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi digital audio processor. Those are just the big additions though since G1-Killer boards have a plethora of other unique elements such as a front audio headphone amplifier, Nichicon MUSE audio capacitors, a hardware auto-overclocking button, Smart Fan pin headers, and of course the eye-catching black/lime green theme and Locked & Loaded heatpipe design. There are a few other interesting bits, but we will touch on those throughout the review.
Today, we are reviewing the flagship model, the ambitious G1.Assassin. Priced at around $480CDN, this is a high-end motherboard if there ever was one. GIGABYTE has outfitted this large XL-ATX form factor model with both the Bigfoot Killer E2100 NPU and Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi digital audio processor, which supports EAX 5.0, Dolby Digital Live, DTS Connect, and DTS Neo: PC. Complementing the audio portion are also a front audio headphone amplifier, which can power up to 150 Ohm headphones, and the aforementioned Nichicon audio-class capacitors which are touted to deliver the highest quality sound.
When it comes to connectivity, there are two SATA 6GB/s ports, six SATA 3GB/s ports, up to eight USB 2.0 ports, up to eight USB 3.0 ports, and powered eSATA port. Expansion slot wise there are an impressive four mechanical PCI-E x16 slots, with support for 4-way CrossFireX and 3-way SLI. Rounding off the specifications are a 16-phase power design with the latest generation Driver MOSFETs, an impressive cooling system, five Smart Fan heaters with individual thermal sensors, Quick Boost button that allows for an automatic one-button system overclock, support for 3TB+ hard drives, and the usual string of GIGABYTE-specific features like On/Off charge, USB 3x power, Smart6, Ultra Durable 3 design, and Dynamic Energy Saver 2. Basically, it's fully featured, packed to the rafters, stuffed to the gills, and any other cliché you can think of that indicates an overabundance of stuff.