Gigabyte G1.Sniper 2 Z68 Motherboard Review

Author: Eldonko
Date: September 5, 2011
Product Name: Gigabyte G1.Sniper 2
Part Number: GA-G1.Sniper2
Warranty: 3 Years
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Included Software

The first item in the Gigabyte software suite is the utility that an overclocker will use the most: EasyTune6. This is a very powerful tool and allows tweaking and monitoring of just about anything you will need. The first tab contains frequency, motherboard, and CPU information such as CPU clock, base clock, board model number, BIOS version, voltage, as well as details on the CPU itself. Tab 2 contains your memory information such as part number and SPD info.

Tab 3 is your tuner which controls frequencies and voltages. An overclocker will go straight to the advanced area and adjust BCLK and memory dividers under Frequency and while the CPU multiplier can be controlled through the Ratio subsection.

Also within the Tuner section is a voltage tab. Here you can control every voltage the Sniper 2 has to offer within an OS environment. This can be very useful if you are on the edge of a stable overclock and you want to try a slight bump in voltage to achieve stability.

Moving to tab 4, the video card overclocking options are available. There is a limitation here though: if you are running SLI, only the first card is available to overclock with ET6.

Under tab 5, smart fan options are available. Here you can set up your fan speeds according to your desired temperatures. Meanwhile, the sixth tab houses the hardware monitor which charts CPU, RAM and power rails as well as fan speeds and temperatures.

The next Gigabyte utility we will go through is SMART 6. SMART 6 contains six utilities in one which can save a userís time when installing drivers and utilities. Contained in the SMART 6 combo pack are SMART QuickBoot, SMART QuickBoost, SMART Recovery 2, SMART DualBIOS, SMART Recorder, and SMART TimeLock.

First up in the SMART 6 suite is the SMART QuickBoot. This utility does exactly what its name suggests: it speeds speeds up the system boot-up process and shortens the waiting time before entering the operating system. By setting the BIOS to only run through the start up hardware scan once, up to 5 seconds can be saved on the BIOS boot time alone. OS QuickBoot allows you to power down your PC into Suspend Mode (S3) and Hibernate Mode (S4) at the same time which is like putting your PC to sleep, allowing you to maintain your data, while at the same time, saving energy.

SMART Recovery 2 is a backup utility for system settings, applications, documents, photos, music, videos, etc. and allows users to retrieve their data, even if it has been deleted.

Smart DualBIOS can store certain bits of data directly to the BIOS chip, so even if your hard drive fails and you have to reinstall the OS, the data will still be accessible. In order to accomplish this, the BIOS chip's onboard memory has been increased to 32MB to allow for extra storage space. Using SMART DualBIOS you can store up to 12 passwords along with a short description, making it much easier to manage passwords.

SMART Recorder monitors and records activity on your system such as the time when you turn off or on your PC as well as when any large amounts of data have been copied from your PC. Using this utility, you can always know if someone else has accessed your PC without your knowledge.

Smart TimeLock is used for resource scheduling, allowing only certain access times. This is a great tool for parents who want to limit their childrenís PC usage. You can allocate certain hours per day or specific times of the day that your PC can be used. Have a child staying up all night gaming or want to limit daily PC use? This is for you.

Gigabyteís AutoGreen technology is a handy utility that automatically puts your PC into power savings mode when your Bluetooth mobile phone is out of the PCís range.

Gigabyte's Dynamic Energy Saver 2 (DES2) utility uses a proprietary hardware and software design to considerably enhance PC systemís energy efficiency, reduce power consumption and deliver optimized auto-phase-switching for the CPU, Memory, Chipset, VGA, HDD and even fans. Basically you just install the utility, and enable DES2 and save yourself some power.

@BIOS is a Windows-based BIOS flash utility which makes flashing your BIOS a quick and easy task and allows for updating BIOS from the Gigabyte server, updating BIOS from a file, and saving BIOS backups.

LucidLogix Virtu GPU Virtualization utility, common with many Z68 boards allows users to dynamically switch between the built-in CPU graphics and their high-end, 3D discrete graphics cards. This is ideal for gamers who require high-resolution gaming and still want to enjoy the built-in media features of 2nd generation Intel processors.

Also on the Sniper 2 install disk you will find a utility called the Download Center. Using this, users can quickly and easily check if drivers and utilities are up to date without having to manually go through each one on the Gigabyte website. Although Gigabyte doesnít really advertise this tool, we have to say that we love it.

Exclusive to G1-Killer series boards, the G1.Sniper 2 features an onboard Creative Soundblaster X-Fi Digital Audio Processor (20K2) with X-Fi Xtreme Fidelity and EAX AHD 5.0 Technologies. In order to configure the audio settings the Creative Audio Control Panel has been included and has three modes: Audio Creation Mode, Entertainment Mode, and Game Mode. It also includes an AutoMode Switcher which automatically selects the appropriate mode for the task.

Since the Sniper 2 includes an onboard Bigfoot Killer E2100 Game Networking Platform, Bigfoot Networks Killer Network Manager has been bundled as well. This shows the health and performance of your online gaming experience and houses controls to optimize bandwidth, framerates, and ping as well as monitor many statistics relating to the network connection.

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