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Onboard Audio Component Overview: Gigabyte G1 Sniper 5

  1. Introduction
  2. Specifications and Images
  3. Audio Performance Analysis and Conclusion
  4. View All

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.

CPU
  • Support for Intel® Core™ i7 processors/Intel® Core™ i5 processors/Intel® Core™ i3 processors/Intel® Pentium® processors/Intel® Celeron® processors in the LGA1150 package
Chipset
  • Intel® Z87 Express Chipset
Memory
  • 4x 1.5V DDR3 DIMM sockets supporting up to 32 GB of system memory
  • Dual channel memory architecture
  • Support for DDR3 3000(O.C.) / 2933(O.C.) / 2800(O.C.) / 2666(O.C.) / 2600(O.C.) / 2500(O.C.) / 2400(O.C.) / 2200(O.C.) / 2133(O.C.) / 2000(O.C.) / 1866(O.C.) / 1800(O.C.) / 1600 / 1333 MHz memory modules
  • Support for non-ECC memory modules
  • Support for Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) memory modules
Onboard Graphics
  • Integrated Graphics Processor:
  • 2 x HDMI ports, supporting a maximum resolution of 4096×2160
    * Support for HDMI 1.4a version.
  • 1 x DisplayPort, supporting a maximum resolution of 3840×2160
    * Support for DisplayPort 1.2 version.
  • Maximum shared memory of 1 GB
Audio
  • Creative® Sound Core 3D chip
  • Support for Sound Blaster Recon3Di
  • High Definition Audio
  • 2/5.1-channel
  • Support for S/PDIF Out
LAN
  • 1x Qualcomm® Atheros Killer E2201 chip (10/100/1000 Mbit) (LAN1)
  • 1x Intel® GbE LAN phy (10/100/1000 Mbit) (LAN2)
    * Teaming is not supported.
Wireless Communication module
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, supporting 2.4/5 GHz Dual-Band
  • Bluetooth 4.0, 3.0+HS, 2.1+EDR
Expansion Slots
  • 2 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x16 (PCIEX16_1, PCIEX16_2)
  • 2 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x8 (PCIEX8_1, PCIEX8_2)

* 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.
(The PCIEX16 and PCIEX8 slots conform to PCI Express 3.0 standard.)

  • 3 x PCI Express x1 slots
    (All PCI Express x1 slots conform to PCI Express 2.0 standard.)
Multi-Graphics Technology Support for 4-Way/3-Way/2-Way AMD CrossFire™/NVIDIA® SLI™ technology
Storage Interface Chipset:

  • 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (SATA3 0~5) supporting up to 6 SATA 6Gb/s devices
  • Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10

Marvell® 88SE9230 chip:

  • 4 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (GSATA3 6~9) supporting up to 4 SATA 6Gb/s devices
  • Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, and RAID 10
USB Chipset:
  • Up to 2 USB 3.0/2.0 ports (available through the internal USB header)
  • Up to 6 USB 2.0/1.1 ports (2 ports on the back panel, 4 ports available through the internal USB headers)
  • Chipset + 2 Renesas® uPD720210 USB 3.0 Hubs:
  • Up to 8 USB 3.0/2.0 ports (6 ports on the back panel, 2 ports available through the internal USB header)
Internal I/O Connectors
  • 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
  • 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
  • 1 x PCIe power connector
  • 10 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
  • 1 x CPU fan header
  • 7 x system fan headers
  • 1 x water cooling fan header (CPU_OPT)
  • 1 x front panel header
  • 1 x front panel audio header
  • 2 x USB 3.0/2.0 headers
  • 2 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
  • 1 x Clear CMOS jumper
  • 1 x heatsink LED power connector
  • 1 x heatsink fan connector
  • 1 x power button
  • 1 x reset button
  • 1 x Clear CMOS button
  • 2 x BIOS switches
  • Voltage measurement points
  • Back Panel Connectors
  • 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port
  • 2 x HDMI ports
  • 1 x DisplayPort
  • 1 x coaxial S/PDIF Out connector
  • 1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
  • 6 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
  • 2 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
  • 2 x RJ-45 ports
  • 5 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out, Rear Speaker Out, Line In/Mic In, Line Out, Headphone/Speaker Out)
I/O Controller
  • iTE® I/O Controller Chip
  • H/W Monitoring
  • System voltage detection
  • CPU/System/PCH temperature detection
  • CPU/CPU_OPT/System fan speed detection
  • CPU/System overheating warning
  • CPU/CPU_OPT/System fan fail warning
  • CPU/CPU_OPT/System fan speed control
    * Whether the fan speed control function is supported will depend on the cooler you install.
BIOS
  • 2 x 128 Mbit flash
  • Use of licensed AMI EFI BIOS
  • Support for DualBIOS™
  • PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.0, SM BIOS 2.6, ACPI 2.0a
Unique Features
  • Support for Q-Flash
  • Support for Xpress Install
  • Support for APP Center

* Available applications in APP Center may differ by motherboard model. Supported functions of each application may also differ depending on motherboard specifications.

  • @BIOS
  • EasyTune
  • EZ Setup
  • ON/OFF Charge2
  • USB Blocker
Bundle Software
  • Norton Internet Security (OEM version)
  • Intel® Rapid Start Technology
  • Intel® Smart Connect Technology
  • Intel® Smart Response Technology
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.

One comment

  1. if a brand like gigabyte can’t replace a motherboard for india’s leading review site, then how can they not do it for customers??

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