Gigabyte G1.Sniper 2 Z68 Motherboard Review
A few months back, we saw Gigabyte take a huge step towards catering to the specific needs of gamers with three new LGA1366 X58 boards, the G1.Assassin, the G1.Sniper, and the G1.Guerrilla. With the success of these boards, the natural generational progression kicked into gear and the G1 series made the jump to the LGA 1155 platforms with the G1.Sniper2.
The G1.Sniper2 is a Z68 chipset board so in addition to having features we saw with the 1366 boards, it also things like Switchable Graphics and Intel’s SSD caching technology. This board is also as “future proof” as possible since it supports 22nm Ivy Bridge CPUs along with the PCI-E 3.0 capabilities included with upcoming GPUs. With this support, buyers that may want to upgrade in 2012 will simply have to buy a new CPU and pop it into the board for full functionality.
Priced at $360, the board is in a category with other flagship products such as the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme, MSI Big Bang Marshall, or Gigabyte’s UD7. The key difference is instead of having an NF200 chip and a top of the line VRM the G1.Sniper2 is built for gamers with an onboard Creative Soundblaster X-Fi Digital Audio Processor (20K2) and an onboard Bigfoot Networks Killer E2100 Game Networking Platform. Having a built in sound card and NIC saves gamers money on purchasing standalone cards. Unfortunately, this also means you are paying for built-in features without having a blank canvas for your own component choices. In addition to the soundcard and NIC, the board has multi-display support with 2-way SLI and CrossFireX, which basically covers everything a gamer would need.
One of the most pertinent questions about the G1 series has always been their target market. The “gamer” badge has been slapped onto and endless string of products, many of which fail to deliver what today’s gaming market wants: a well priced, fully featured device that will give them an edge over the competition. From the outside looking in, Gigabyte could have done just that.
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