This is only a review of the audio capabilities of the Gigabyte G1 Sniper 5 motherboard based on the Intel Z87 chipset.
Unfortunately, our sample board has memory compatibility and intermittent instability issues irrespective of the kits we’ve paired it with and the settings/XMP profiles. It made things worse when Gigabyte India refused to provide another replacement for the chip and/or the motherboard to verify/confirm the issue on the actual sample. Sadly the time was wasted on this motherboard, but on the bright side I was able to test the audio capabilities. G1 Sniper 5 emphasizes on the audio aspect, so it makes sense to at least cover a part of it. Mind you that we’ve also updated the bios of the motherboard as well (F7 version at the time of writing) but unfortunately that did not have any effect on the stability of the motherboard.
So we will be only publishing the audio part of the review as this motherboard has a Core 3D quad core sound processor from Creative along with Creatives entire audio software stack from their Recon 3D sound cards.
Also included is a headphone amplifier capable of driving almost any headphone on the market and in a first they make use of swappable OPAMPs on an onboard solution to further tweak the sound. OPAMP swapping is reserved only for Creatives highest sound card – the Creative Zxr.
|Wireless Communication module||
* The PCIEX8_1 slot shares bandwidth with the PCIEX16_1 slot and the PCIEX8_2 slot with PCIEX16_2. The PCIEX16_1/PCIEX16_2 slot will operate at up to x8 mode when the PCIEX8_1/PCIEX8_2 is populated.
|Multi-Graphics Technology||Support for 4-Way/3-Way/2-Way AMD CrossFire™/NVIDIA® SLI™ technology|
Marvell® 88SE9230 chip:
|Internal I/O Connectors||
* Available applications in APP Center may differ by motherboard model. Supported functions of each application may also differ depending on motherboard specifications.
|Operating System||Support for Windows 8/7|
|Form Factor||E-ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 26.4cm|
At the heart of the motherboard’s built in audio solution is the Creative Recon 3D chip. The Recon 3D chip is a quad core solution and is expected to handle all the audio related processing.
However Creative Soundblaster solutions have been renowned for their software bundles and their Recon 3D and Z series cards come with a variety of software to tweak the sound including enhancements like Scout (which enhances the sound of footsteps to make it easier for gamers who play FPS games), Crystal Voice (enhancements for microphones including converting your voice into a male or female and vice versa along with many other options). So when you purchase the Gigabyte G1 Sniper 5 motherboard you not only get the Creative Recon 3D chip but also their audio stack with the plethora of tweaks available.
That said, these enhancements will be appreciated more by gamers and less by music lovers as some of the effects make songs sound unnatural.
Coming to the overall sound, it matches the abilities of the Recon 3D sound card I tested earlier.
So for all intents and purposes its as good as the discrete audio solution from Creative.
However there is the added advantage of OPAMP swapping to further tweak the sound. I had a few additional OPAMPs around to test the board but frankly the differences in sound were very minute even on a good quality speaker system and so OPAMP swapping isn’t that useful in the case of this board.
So to conclude the audio section of the Gigabyte G1 sniper M5 board passes muster but its flaky support for different memory kits is a big drawback.