Gigabyte Z77 G.1 Sniper 3
Ivy Bridge brings a slew of new technology and increased performance to the table: PCIE 3.0, USB 3.0, higher bandwidth and overall better performance than its older brother Sandy Bridge. The Z77 chipset addresses all these advances and companies like Gigabyte will have to continue to innovate to compete, and we see that happening here with the Gigabyte G1. Sniper 3. There is much to boast with the Sniper 3.
Gigabyte’s target market here with the G1. Sniper 3 is certainly the gaming enthusiast. Other motherboards that target this segment are the ASUS Sabertooth and the ASRock Fatal1ty boards. Aesthetically speaking, the Sabertooth is very limited for those looking past Battlefield 3 or Call of Duty themed systems.Gigabyte separates themselves with the black monochromatic look mixed with green slots, which is very different than the typical red-and-black we see dominant today. The branding with the skull with a Green Beret cap is pretty slick and we like this look and appeal over the competitors as your case and hardware choices blend best with this combination
The parts and accessories Gigabyte includes are very good. There are plenty of SATA cables, front panel USB tray, and Wi-Fi expansion card amongst other goodies. The Wi-Fi expansion card is a very welcomed inclusion as now all your devices can be connected to your home system. This should be standard protocol on all motherboards in our opinion these days.
Gigabyte improves the UEFI BIOS from past generations and has matured. There are more robust overclocking adjustments, namely in Load Line Calibration (LLC) and Memory Voltage Parameters. The BIOS is easy to navigate but on a side note, Gigabyte may have put too much thought in the BIOS. There were too many pages to navigate for overclocking. We saw the LLC adjustments on one page, the voltage adjustments on the other and the actual overclocking multiplier and BCLCK on a third page. The Motherboard Intellegent Tweaker should have most of these on one page in our opinion but we may be nit picking a bit here. Also, EasyTune 6 has not matured at all with the Sniper 3. Setting the three pre-set overclocks provided instability but they were easily massaged. We also would like to note, setting ET6 to its overclock settings requires a reboot and we have seen other overclocking software work off the actual motherboard not requiring a reboot so maybe next release will improve on ET6.
Performance and overclocking is very critical in the gaming segment and Gigabyte has done very well here. Overclocking took us over 4.7GHz with our Intel Core i7 3770K and this equals the high of our processor. Granted, Ivy Bridge runs hot and we are sure there was more left in the tank but the 3D Tri-Gate transistors took our temperatures pretty darn high. Ivy Bridge is limited due to heat but we were happy with the results. Gigabyte also uses a PLX chip on the Sniper and it increases the lanes which is very important when multi-tasking and when the lanes get filled. Couple Ivy Bridge with the Sniper 3 and you have increased bandwidth and better performance.
The few niggles we pointed out are not terribly detrimental, as the motherboard performed very well and comes with a boatload of features. As for pricing, the G1. Sniper 3 retails for about $280, which puts it at the top tier of the market for similar enthusiast-classed motherboards. If you want a premium Z77 board for Ivy Bridge power, then the Gigabyte Z77 G.1 Sniper 3 is a very strong option.
Gigabyte Z77 G.1 Sniper 3