Introduction, The Box & What's Inside
Back during CES we were given the chance to see the launch of a very exciting product. This was the G1 Killer series. From the beginning of the event you could pretty much tell this was going to be something a little different from the norm. Whether it was the pretend military dress or the little leaks about the product that I had heard, I was really looking forward to see this one.
Now a month or so later, we actually have one of these boards in the lab. It is an impressive sight to see and one that we are happy to give you a little teaser on. This is the G1 Assassin, an X58 based monster with multiple USB 3.0 ports, SATA 3.0 ports, a true audio card by Creative built right onto the board and a Killer Nic to add to the fun.
So let's take a quick look at the new GIGABYTE G1 Assassin before we put this monster on the test bench.
Package and Contents
The G1 Assassin comes in a nice box that looks like an ammo can. Granted, a very flat ammo can made from cardboard. But the effect is still there and one that gives you the right impression. This is a first person shooter oriented motherboard.
The "back" of the ammo can that the G1 Assassin comes in has some more detailed information and a nice picture of the board.
Following the now almost annoying tradition of putting one box inside the other (and then another), we find first a camouflaged box then two inside that which contain what you are really looking for.
Inside the box we find some...well.... nice stuff, and a decent layer of cheese as well. The nice items are the things like the three-way SLI bridge, the multiple Crossfire/SLI bridges, and the front break-out box complete with e-SATA, QuickBoost button and USB 3.0 ports.
The Motherboard & Expectations
Ok, we are not going to do a full walk around, but let's take a look at some of the impressive features here on the board. The board is a mixture of green and black and looks quite sharp. The cooling has been formed to look like the weaver combat system accessories. This adds to the already over powering military motif.
But with all that aside, there are some very important items we want to talk about here. One of the first is the power to the board. Like many other high-end gaming and overclocking motherboards, the G1 Assassin uses two 8-pin aux power connectors to make sure everything has plenty of power.
Pulling off a small half turn, we find one of the things that makes this board stand out; there is a KillerNic E2100 Network Processor built right onto the board. KillerNic have a small name for themselves by taking what is really not much more than a QoS processor and making it work for gamers. This product has evolved with hardware and software updates and we cannot wait to see what it can do for online gaming once we power this thing up.
After that we find a healthy array of slots to drop in plenty of GPUs. Plus, we find a rather impressive item. You see what looks like some old fashioned paper caps? - Well, these are anything but. What you have here is a full Creative Labs audio card (complete with its own memory) built right onto the G1 Assassin. Now that is something that I have never seen before. This is WAY beyond a simple audio CODEC - We have a real audio processor and accompanying hardware right here.
The I/O ports are surprisingly mundane after everything else we see on the G1 Assassin, but they are worth looking at anyway.
After our initial time with the G1 Assassin we are very intrigued to say the least. We have some concerns as well. How is GIGABYTE going to balance the requirement of all of the extra hardware that has been added to the board? What will SLI or Crossfire do to performance?
We aim to find out as we prepare our 980X to drop onto the G1 Assassin in the next few days. It is going to be an interesting one no matter what the results, that is for sure. We will be sure to put some extra time in on this one and perhaps even develop a new test or two to be sure we are covering all the bases.
Still, this could signal a new direction in motherboard manufacturing. After all, we have said for a while now that the boards are so close that something is needed to really set them apart.
Well, to wrap things up here I won't use a tacky pun about ammunition or a shootout. I will just say that what we have in our lab from GIGABYTE could be the beginning of something very different.
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