Gigabyte G1.Sniper2 Z68 Motherboard Review

Layout and Features

Like the other motherboards in the G1.Sniper/Guerilla/Assasin family, the G1.Sniper2 sports a black PCB with gunmetal black and neon green accents--a striking color palette, although we wonder at the usefulness of a Sniper wearing neon green. (It just seems a little counterproductive. We digress.) The heatsinks evoke gun barrels, and there’s a banana clip with a bullet peeking out of the top for extra intimidation. One of the gun barrels has a quintet of neon green lights.

Also like most Gigabyte boards you’ll see, there are no physical buttons on the G1.Sniper2, which is a little odd for a higher-end board of this type.

There are heatsinks galore around the CPU socket, but they didn’t in any way interfere with our sizable CPU heatsink. For that matter, even with a big dual-fan heatsink sitting on top, we were able to fairly easily get to all the fan and power connectors.

Next to the CPU socket are four memory slots, which are conveniently color-coded in black and neon green so you can easily tell where to put your first pair of DIMMs. The PCI-E slots are spaced so that there’s ample room for two PCI-E x16 cards (which will operate at x8 each) in an SLI or CrossFireX setup.

The back panel features seven USB 2.0/1.1 ports and two USB 3.0 ports, an eSATA/USB Combo connector, an optical S/PDIF Out connector, an HDMI port, a PS/2 port, five audio jacks including line in/mic in and line out, and a gigabit LAN port powered by the Bigfoot Killer E2100 chip. (Note that the G1.Sniper2 supports a total of eighteen USB ports between the chipset and a pair of Etron EJ168 chips.)

Gigabyte definitely worked to bake in strong audio capabilities to this board. It features Creative Soundblaster Digital Audio Processor (20K2), X-Fi Xtreme Fidelity, and EAX Advanced HD 5.0, along with a built-in front audio headphone amplifier.

There are many included utilities and software with this motherboard, which are all available on the driver disk. Some of the more notable utilities include EasyTune 6, for adjusting a variety of settings from the OS; Gigabyte EZ Smart Response, which provides an easier way to configure Intel’s SRT; Cloud OC, which lets you overclock your machine via the Internet; 3TB HDD unlock, which does what it sounds like it does for larger hard drives; and Smart 6, which gives you control over a variety of settings in the OS environment. If Smart 6 sounds a lot like EasyTune 6, it’s because they are indeed a lot alike.

Gigabyte's bundled software also includes TouchBIOS, which lets you adjust BIOS settings from the OS (more on that later) and LucidLogix Virtu technology. The G1.Sniper2 also includes support for PCI-E Gen 3.

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