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GIGABYTE G1.Sniper A88X Motherboard Review

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper A88X Motherboard Review

January 8, 2014 3:21 am0 comments

Sniper motherboards from GIGABYTE are designed for high-end gaming computers and until the release of the GIGABYTE G1.Sniper A88X, for AMD FM2+ sockets, they were compatible only with Intel processors. Now, gamers have more options to chose from, especially if they want to take full advantage of the integrated AMD GPUs, often superior than the Intel ones (though dedicated graphics cards are obviously the vital component of a gaming PC).

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper A88XMotherboards with FM2+ sockets are compatible with AMD Trinity and Richland APUs, and they will also be compatible with the next generation, the AMD Kaveri, set to be released during the first months of 2014 and designed with 28nm technology. Therefore, they’re superior to the FM2 motherboards since they are –and will be- compatible with more devices.

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper A88X

The G1.Sniper, with ATX size (30.5 x 22.5 cm), comes with the latest AMD chipset, the A88X (superior to its predecessor, the A85X) and also includes a main slot with support for PCI Express 3.0. It’s design is also very gamer-like, very robust and with details in black, silver and green, and it comes with excellent options when it comes to upgrading and customizing: two PCI slots, three PCI Express x1 Gen 2.0 slots, one PCI Express x4 Gen 2.0 and one PCI Express x16 Gen 3.0, though you can only take full advantage of the latter if you use a Kaveri APU. When connecting graphics cards, the GIGABYTE G.1 Sniper A88X supports CrossFire and Dual Graphics from AMD (but not NVIDIA SLI), and can handle three monitors simultaneously.

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper A88X

When it comes to internal connections, it has eight SATA (all of them at 6 Gbps) and three USB (two 2.0 and one 3.0/2.0), while the four RAM slots support up to 64 GB at 2400 MHz (2133 MHz if you’re not over clocking). On the rear panel, you’ll find 7 USB ports (two of them 3.0), HDMI, DVI and VGA ports, PS/2 port for keyboard and mouse, five audio minijacks, S/PDIF optical output and one RJ-45 port, so everything’s covered (except maybe DisplayPort).

BIOS and Heat sink

GIGABYTE uses the same UEFI interface you can find in the motherboards with the Intel Z77 chipset, which are capable of over clocking (for the CPU and memory) and very intuitive and easy to use. Also, thanks to the DualBIOS support, you can switch between one and the other in case something unexpected happens. Meanwhile, the Xpress Install feature makes configuring your PC incredibly easy, since it downloads and installs the latest drivers automatically.

As for the heat sink, the G1.Sniper A88X features GIGABYTE Ultra Durable 4 Plus technology, which translates into a passive heat sink that concentrates in the most important parts of the motherboard

Excellent sound quality

But among all these features, audio quality and capabilities deserve a special place thanks to the Realtek ALC898 chip with gold-plated Nichicon capacitors (which protects against certain interferences thanks to its conductivity), integrated OP-Amp professional amplifier and Gain Boost technology to switch between two amplifying modes on the go (2.5x and 6x) so the device adapts to your speakers and headset, no matter which one you use. It also features a DAC-UP USB port, so it’s completely silent, and even the audio minijacks are gold-plated, which shows even the smallest details have been carefully taken care of.

Conclusions

To test the performance of the G1.Sniper A88X, we analyzed it along with an AMD A10 6700 processor (with Richland architecture), 8 GB of DDR3 RAM at 1600 GHz (distributed in two 4 GB modules of the XLR8 series by PNY), a Samsung 500 GB SATA 600 hard drive and an AMD Radeon HD 8670D graphics card. PCMark 7 gave it a score of 4085 points, which is already high, and will surely be even better once we can get our hands on the new AMD Kaveri processors.

Therefore, it’s one of the best AMD motherboards when it comes to price-performance ratio and you can find it for around 100 Euros. Its performance is way below the Sniper series’, designed for Intel, which is much better for serious hardcore gamers, but considering the price and features of this board, it can be an excellent choice for some users.

Its sound quality and features, excellent heat sink, vast and versatile connectivity options and support for the upcoming AMD Kaveri make it an excellent board, not to mention its DualBIOS system and Ultra Durable 4 components.

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