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GIGABYTE G1.Sniper Z87 (Intel Z87) Motherboard Review - The Gamer's Choice?

We get our first taste of the G1.Sniper from GIGABYTE. Let's see what this Intel Z87 based motherboard is capable of doing in our tests.

@ShawnBakerTW
Published Thu, Feb 6 2014 2:26 PM CST   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 7:00 PM CST
Rating: 92%Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Introduction and Package

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper Z87 (Intel Z87) Motherboard Review - The Gamer's Choice? 02 | TweakTown.com
VIEW GALLERY - 39 IMAGES

Recently, we've had a chance to take a look at a pair of GIGABYTE motherboards that really cater to two different markets. If you're into the overclocking side of things, the GIGABYTE Z87X-OC Force we looked at in the middle of January could be a fantastic option for you.

If that's a little bit too much for you though, and you're looking for something a little more basic and cheaper, then the Thunderbolt wielding GIGABYTE Z87Z-UD5TH might be a better option.

Today, we've got something a little bit different with the GIGABYTE G1.Sniper Z87, which is aimed more at the gamer market. It's also the first motherboard we've looked at which uses the GIGABYTE AMP-UP Audio technology that we got to preview towards the middle of last year. If you haven't had the chance to look at that article, and want to know more about it, then we highly recommend you take a look. However, we'll talk about it again when we take a closer look at this motherboard.

There's not a whole lot more that needs to be said about what exactly we're dealing with today. So, with that said, we can move forward and get straight into looking at the GIGABYTE G1.Sniper Z87 package.

Package

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper Z87 (Intel Z87) Motherboard Review - The Gamer's Choice? 03 | TweakTown.com

Taking a look at the front of the box, you can see the board is part of the G1 Killer series, which of course is targeted towards gamers. You can see the model and the fact that it's based on the Z87 chipset quite clearly. Across the bottom you can see some of the major features, and the majority of them are of course focused on the audio extras. Along with that though, you can also see mention of Killer E2200 Networking, and Black Solid Capacitors.

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Turning the box over, you can see a picture of the board and a lot of the major features are covered again, albeit in a bit more detail this time. You can again see that the majority of the features are related to audio, with the AMP-UP feature, Sound Core 3D with Gold Plated Shielding, High End Audio Capacitors, Gain Switches, Audio Noise Card, Gold Plated Connectors for the Audio Jacks, and the Coaxial Connector, along with the DisplayPort and HDMI connector. We'll take a closer look at some of the other major features when we look at the board on the next page.

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper Z87 (Intel Z87) Motherboard Review - The Gamer's Choice? 05 | TweakTown.com

When it comes to the bundle, there's not a whole lot going on. You can see there's really not much outside of the normal additions, which include paperwork, Driver CD, four SATA cables, SLI Bridge, and an I/O shield to round things off. You can see instead of GIGABYTE throwing a whole lot into the bundle, based on the box images above, most of the effort has gone into the board itself.

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper Z87 Motherboard

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper Z87 (Intel Z87) Motherboard Review - The Gamer's Choice? 06 | TweakTown.com

Taking a look at the board for the first time, you can see the Matte Black PCB, which we think always looks fantastic, along with green and black highlights throughout the board. Let's move in a bit closer though, to see just what exactly we're dealing with here today.

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Taking a look at the expansion side of things, you can see we've got two older legacy PCI slots, along with three PCIe x1 slots, and two PCIe x16 slots. If just the top x16 slot is used, then your video card will be of course running at x16. If you opt for SLI or CrossFire, then both cards will instead run at x8.

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GIGABYTE G1.Sniper Z87 (Intel Z87) Motherboard Review - The Gamer's Choice? 09 | TweakTown.com

Staying around the expansion slot area, we can take a closer look at the audio features that are offered here. Towards the bottom corner of the board you can see our Sound Core 3D chip, which has Gold Plated Shielding. Heading slightly higher, you can see our onboard AMP, which is interchangeable, and next to that you can see two Gain Switches. If you want to learn more about the AMP-UP technology, which really impressed us, then we highly recommend that you look at our preview of the technology.

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Moving to the bottom of the board, it's a fairly standard affair down here. We've got the normal line up of fan and system headers, along with our main front panel one in the right corner.

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Turning the corner, you can see we've got six SATA ports. All six are SATA III 6GB/s ports, and run off the Intel Z87 chipset. You can see in this case GIGABYTE has opted to leave off any extra SATA ports. Considering the focus of the motherboard being gaming, the inclusion of just the six parts all running off of the Intel chipset should be more than enough for anyone.

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Heading to the top of the board, you can see our four DIMM slots, which support up to 32 GB of DDR3 with speeds ranging from 1333MHz DDR to 3000MHz DDR via overclocking. Here you can also see our main 24 Pin ATX power connector alongside a USB 3.0 header to the left. On the right side, you can see a large power switch, LED Debug reader, and a pair of buttons that clear the CMOS and reset the system.

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GIGABYTE G1.Sniper Z87 (Intel Z87) Motherboard Review - The Gamer's Choice? 14 | TweakTown.com

Taking a look at the CPU area, you can see we've got a very clean setup with a simple, but nice looking heat sink design. You can see our Black Solid Capacitors around the CPU area, and in the usual corner we've got our 8-Pin CPU power connector.

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We finally finish up with our I/O side of things, which is actually fairly basic from connector side of things. We've got a pair of USB 2.0 ports above our Combo PS2 port. We've got a bunch of gold plated connectors, which we mentioned earlier, including Coaxial, HDMI, DisplayPort, USB Low Noise Power Digital to Analog Convertor, along with five auxiliary jacks on the far right. Here we've also got a Optical port, which sits to the right of four USB 3.0 ports, and a single Gigabit Networking port, which as we mentioned before runs off of the Killer E2200 chip.

BIOS

Heading into the BIOS, you can see (like we've seen from other recent reviews) we've got the HD version of the updated UEFI BIOS. Compared to the other two GIGABYTE motherboards we've looked at, the color scheme is different as it represents the particular board.

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper Z87 (Intel Z87) Motherboard Review - The Gamer's Choice? 16 | TweakTown.com
GIGABYTE G1.Sniper Z87 (Intel Z87) Motherboard Review - The Gamer's Choice? 17 | TweakTown.com

In this case we've got a green color set, which goes with the G1 Killer line. As always, if you're going to head into the BIOS, chances are you'll be hanging around the Home and Performance section, which brings with it all of our overclocking options.

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GIGABYTE G1.Sniper Z87 (Intel Z87) Motherboard Review - The Gamer's Choice? 20 | TweakTown.com
GIGABYTE G1.Sniper Z87 (Intel Z87) Motherboard Review - The Gamer's Choice? 21 | TweakTown.com
GIGABYTE G1.Sniper Z87 (Intel Z87) Motherboard Review - The Gamer's Choice? 22 | TweakTown.com

Moving away from the two main areas you'll probably find yourself spending time in, you can see all of the standard options are on offer as we move throughout the other tabs. We won't go into any more detail because thanks to the images above, we get a great idea of just what exactly is on offer.

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper Z87 (Intel Z87) Motherboard Review - The Gamer's Choice? 23 | TweakTown.com

If you're not a fan of the new BIOS design, you can press F2 and head into the more classic mode. As we've mentioned in the last few reviews though, the latest version of the UEFI BIOS from GIGABYTE is really fantastic, and we find ourselves doing all of our overclocking in the default mode these days. The fact that you can also run it in HD is an added bonus.

Benchmarks - Test System Setup and Overclocking

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper Z87 (Intel Z87) Motherboard Review - The Gamer's Choice? 99 | TweakTown.com

We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, ASUS, MSI, Western Digital, MemoRight and Corsair.

Looking above, you can see the standard setup when it comes to our test bed. We won't cover it since it's already shown in great detail above. Instead, we'll get into the boards that you'll be seeing in our graphs today.

Alongside the GIGABYTE G1.Sniper Z87, which will be running at both stock and overclocked, we've also got the recently looked at Z87X-UD5TH, and Z87X-OC Force from GIGABYTE. Also on the Z87 side of things, we've included the Z87 OC FORMULA from ASRock.

We finally finish off our graphs with the Z77 based MSI Z77A-GD65 Gaming, and GIGABYTE X78S-UP5-Wi-Fi. Before we get into the performance side of things, we need to quickly cover what's going on with the overclocking.

Heading into the BIOS, we adjusted to a 50x Multiplier in the hopes that we might finally be able to get 5GHz stable out of our CPU. Like so many times before, we have no issue getting into Windows; once we try to do anything we're greeted with a BSOD. Heading back into the BIOS, we move to a 49x divider, which brings us in at 4.9GHz.

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper Z87 (Intel Z87) Motherboard Review - The Gamer's Choice? 01 | TweakTown.com

With the 49x divider working no problem, we head back into the BISO and mess around with both the voltages and the BCLK a little more. In the end, we managed to get a slight BCLK bump of .52, which brings our final clock speed in at 4925MHz, or 4.925GHz as shown in our graphs here today. This is a few MHz up on what we normally achieve, and just a strong overclock overall. Performance should be good as always.

CPU Benchmarks

HyperPi 0.99

Version and / or Patch Used: 0.99

Developer Homepage: www.virgilioborges.com.br

Product Homepage: www.virgilioborges.com.br

Download It Here

HyperPi is a front end for SuperPi that allows for multiple concurrent instances of SuperPi to be run on each core recognized by the system. It is very dependent on CPU to memory to HDD speed. The faster these components, the faster it is able to figure out the number Pi to the selected length.

For our testing, we use the 32M run. This means that each of the four physical and four logical cores for the i7 and the four physical cores of the i5, are trying to calculate the number Pi out to 32 million decimal places. Each "run" is a comparative to ensure accuracy, and any stability or performance issues in the loop mentioned above will cause errors in calculation.

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper Z87 (Intel Z87) Motherboard Review - The Gamer's Choice? 30 | TweakTown.com

AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.00.1035BETA

Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

Product Homepage: http://www.AIDA64.com

Buy It Here

Replacing Everest in our labs is AIDA64. This new testing suite is from the core development team from Lavalys, and continues that tradition. The guys have thrown in better support for multithreaded CPUs, as well as full 64 bit support. We use this to test memory and HDDs for now, but may find ourselves opening this up to other areas of the motherboard.

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper Z87 (Intel Z87) Motherboard Review - The Gamer's Choice? 31 | TweakTown.com
GIGABYTE G1.Sniper Z87 (Intel Z87) Motherboard Review - The Gamer's Choice? 32 | TweakTown.com

Out of the box, the Hyper Pi time and AIDA 64 numbers are fairly standard, with little difference being seen between our different Z87 motherboards.

Overclocking (as always) brings a strong boost in performance in both areas, and you can see our Hyper Pi time comes down to the mid ten minute mark.

System Benchmarks

PCMark 7

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.04

Developer Homepage: http://www.pcmark.com

Product Homepage: http://www.pcmark.com

Buy It Here

PCMark 7 includes a range of tests that give different views of your system's performance. In the Advanced Edition, you can choose which tests to run. The common use and hardware component tests are unavailable in the Basic Edition.

Overall system performance is measured by the PCMark test. This is the only test that returns an official PCMark score. The Lightweight test measures the system capabilities of entry-level systems and mobility platforms unable to run the PCMark test, but it does not generate a PCMark score. Common use performance is measured by the scenario tests - Entertainment, Creativity, and Production - each of which results in a scenario score. Hardware component performance is measured by the hardware tests - Computation and Storage - each of which results in a hardware score.

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MediaEspresso

Version and / or Patch Used: 6.5

Developer Homepage: http://www.cyberlink.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.cyberlink.com/products/mediaespresso/overview_en_AU.html?fileName=overview&r=1

Buy It Here

MediaEspresso is a blazing fast media universal converter that can transcode your videos, photos, and music files, and output them to a huge range of portable devices, including mobile phones, portable media players, and even game consoles. With technologies like Smart Detect, Direct Sync, and CyberLink's TrueTheater video enhancements, you can not only forget about complicated format, resolution, and output settings, but your converted file will come out the other side looking better than when it went in!

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper Z87 (Intel Z87) Motherboard Review - The Gamer's Choice? 34 | TweakTown.com

Out of the box, PCMark 7 performance is about where you'd expect it to be, while MediaEspresso sits in the middle of our Z87 offerings, as we see about 90 seconds of fluctuation from our slowest to fastest board.

Overclocking brings an excellent boost in performance in both areas, but you see a real-world improvement to our encode time under Media Espresso as we sneak in just under the 15 minute mark.

USB 2.0 and 3.0 Benchmarks

AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.70.1400

Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

Product Homepage: http://www.AIDA64.com

Buy It Here

Replacing Everest in our labs is AIDA64. This new testing suite is from the core development team from Lavalys, and continues that tradition. The guys have thrown in better support for multithreaded CPUs, as well as full 64 bit support. We use this to test memory and HDDs for now, but may find ourselves opening this up to other areas of the motherboard.

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper Z87 (Intel Z87) Motherboard Review - The Gamer's Choice? 35 | TweakTown.com
GIGABYTE G1.Sniper Z87 (Intel Z87) Motherboard Review - The Gamer's Choice? 36 | TweakTown.com

Looking at both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 performance, you can really see no difference between our setups here.

SSD Benchmarks

AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.70.1400

Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

Product Homepage: http://www.AIDA64.com

Buy It Here

Replacing Everest in our labs is AIDA64. This new testing suite is from the core development team from Lavalys, and continues that tradition. The guys have thrown in better support for multithreaded CPUs, as well as full 64 bit support. We use this to test memory and HDDs for now, but may find ourselves opening this up to other areas of the motherboard.

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper Z87 (Intel Z87) Motherboard Review - The Gamer's Choice? 37 | TweakTown.com

HD Tune Pro

Version and / or Patch Used: 4.61

Developer Homepage: http://www.hdtune.com

Product Homepage: http://www.hdtune.com

Buy It Here

HD Tune Pro gives us accurate read, write, and access time results, and for the last couple of years, it has been gaining popularity amongst reviewers. It is now considered a must-have application for storage device testing.

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AIDA 64 numbers see strong SSD performance out of the GIGABYTE G1.Sniper Z87. You can see we manage to be slightly ahead of the average numbers in all areas.

HD Tune Pro numbers also look pretty good, with solid average and maximum numbers being seen. The minimum number sits in that 190 MB/s range like a couple of our other Z87 boards.

Memory Benchmarks

AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.00.1035BETA

Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

Product Homepage: http://www.AIDA64.com

Buy It Here

Replacing Everest in our labs is AIDA64. This new testing suite is from the core development team from Lavalys, and continues that tradition. The guys have thrown in better support for multithreaded CPUs, as well as full 64 bit support. We use this to test memory and HDDs for now, but may find ourselves opening this up to other areas of the motherboard.

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Memory performance is fairly standard looking, and in typical fashion, you can see that overclocking brings nothing extra to the table, with nothing more than a bit of fluctuation being seen.

Gaming Benchmarks

3DMark 11

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0

Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com

Product Homepage: http://www.3dmark.com/3dmark11/

Buy It Here

3DMark 11 is the latest version of the world's most popular benchmark. Designed to measure your PC's gaming performance, 3DMark 11 makes extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11 including tessellation, compute shaders, and multi-threading. Trusted by gamers worldwide to give accurate and unbiased results, 3DMark 11 is the best way to consistently and reliably test DirectX 11 under game-like loads.

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Metro 2033

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.4a-games.com//

Product Homepage: http://www.thqnordic.com/

Metro 2033 is an action-oriented video game with a combination of survival horror and first-person shooter elements. The game is based on the novel "Metro 2033," by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. It was developed by 4A Games in Ukraine, and released on March 2010 for Microsoft Windows, and Xbox 360.[3] In March 2006, 4A Games announced a partnership with Glukhovsky to collaborate on the game.[4] The game was announced at the 2009 Games Convention in Leipzig;[5] a first trailer came along with the announcement.[6] A sequel titled "Metro: Last Light" was announced.

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Gaming performance is very typical, with the performance of the G1.Sniper Z87 from GIGABYTE really lining up with our other motherboards.

Overclocking brings with a slight boost to performance in the lower resolutions, but apart from that, little change is seen between all of the results.

Temperature and Power

Power Consumption

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Power draw levels on the G1.Sniper 87 are slightly up compared to a lot of the boards here. At stock, you can see the numbers fall more in line with the Z87X-OC Force, which draws a bit more power at both idle and load.

Overclocking brings an increase in numbers as you'd expect; overall though, they're not too high. Any quality power supply would deal with this kind of setup.

Core Temperature

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper Z87 (Intel Z87) Motherboard Review - The Gamer's Choice? 43 | TweakTown.com

At stock, you can see the G1.Sniper Z87 runs a little warmer than our other GIGABYTE offerings, but cooler than the ASRock at both idle and load. Looking at our overclocked numbers, you can see that the idle number jumps just slightly.

The load number one though, does jump significantly, coming in at 92c. We've still got a bit of room to move, but at this number you'd probably prefer to shave a few MHz off the clock, and drop the load temperature by a strong 10c+.

Pricing, Availability and Final Thoughts

At the time of writing, the GIGABYTE G1.Sniper Z87 is going to set you back a little over the $170 mark, which is probably cheaper than you'd think. Considering the Z87-UD5TH comes in at around the mid $200 mark, and the Z87-OC Force can be seen for over $400, the G1.Sniper Z87 price is really quite impressive.

What I really love about the G1.Sniper Z87 is it's really designed and built with purpose. It's aimed for a certain market, in this case gamers, and it makes sure it caters to them without adding unnecessary extras that are just going to add to the price. We don't have a ton of extra USB 3.0 ports, support for four Video Cards, extra SATA ports, and other frivols extras that gamers don't need or want. We don't have a bundle full of unnecessary items either, which also helps keep price down. The smaller box also means that more can fit in a carton, which also brings the average cost down.

The G1.Sniper Z87 brings the features that are important. Excellent quality audio via the Sound Core 3D chip, fantastic networking via the Killer E2200 chip, and enough expansion slots that will support everything your typical gamer will throw at it. In the end, you have a product that is designed for its target audience, and because it lacks all the extras you don't need, it comes in at an extremely attractive price point.

If you're a gamer and you want a board that comes in at a really strong price point, while offering great audio and networking, two features that are clearly important, then the G1.Sniper Z87 really is a fantastic option. Outside of that though, the overclocking side of things is just as strong as most other boards on the market.

On the other hand, if you're looking for something that supports more video cards, hard drives, Thunderbolt, or other similar features, then it's not the best option. In this case we would recommend other GIGABYTE options that we've looked at recently instead.

With a clear target at the gamer, the G1.Sniper Z87 is the perfect product for someone who doesn't want to spend a fortune, and wants a motherboard that focuses on the features that they want. At this price point, the G1.Sniper Z87 is extremely feature rich, and offers fantastic performance. This is a great option for the right user.

PRICING: You can find the GIGABYTE G1.Sniper Z87 for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.

United States: The GIGABYTE G1.Sniper Z87 retails for $174.99 at Amazon.

Canada: The GIGABYTE G1.Sniper Z87 retails for $271.47 at Amazon Canada.

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Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

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