GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 3 Motherboard Review

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 3
by Rob Williams on May 3, 2013 in Motherboards

The motherboard market is loaded with options targeted squarely at overclockers and the general enthusiast, but finding a board – much less an entire series – dedicated to gamers is difficult. GIGABYTE realized that back in 2011, and thus its G1 series was born. In this article, we’re taking a look at the company’s current Z77 offering, the G1.Sniper 3.

A Look at the Software

I mentioned on the previous page that I hate to keep comparing GIGABYTE’s board here to ASUS’ that we took a look at a couple of weeks ago, but it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to avoid. As mentioned in that article, we’ve begun looking at where we need to improve with our motherboard reviews, and lately, that has to include software and a deeper look at features. Years ago, hardware vendor-produced software was minimal, but today, even GPU vendors have begun conjuring up their own creations.

It’s because of this deeper look that I’m beginning to see the limitations with some competitor boards. While ASUS offers a superb suite of tools (all confined to “Ai Suite”), GIGABYTE offers a strikingly minimal package in comparison. The company could tout things like @BIOS, ON/OFF charge and EZ Setup all it wants, but those are utilities we’d expect to see, not tools that people might actually use on a regular basis.

With the G1.Sniper 3, I could only find three programs worth talking about, and one of them isn’t GIGABYTE’s, but rather Qualcomm’s, for its Killer Ethernet (a product I recently discredited, which makes GIGABYTE’s recent addition of an Intel NIC not all-too-surprising).

The “Killer Network Manager” is rather minimal in design. You’re able to add profiles to optimize your net, and also enable logging for both your network and CPU usage. Apart from that, there’s really not too much to do here. The card is meant to “just work”, and for that I think it’s great. I’ve personally had bad luck with previous offerings, but hopefully I’m in the minority.

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 3 Software

GIGABYTE’s Windows overclocking solution comes in the form of EasyTune6, a solution that really doesn’t look too different from what we’ve seen a couple of years ago. It features a simple CPU-Z-esque interface where you can quickly choose between a couple of preset overclock intensities. Just because these are listed here, it doesn’t mean that they’re stable – so prepare to further tweak after-the-fact (this is common; if overclocking software doesn’t make a PC go unstable, it’s probably not thorough enough).

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 3 Software

The other sections allow you to take care of that fine-tuning. Overall, not too bad a piece of software, but its fan options are minimal – the bare minimum, really.

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 3 Software GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 3 Software

Wrapping up the software package is “3D Power”, which mainly consists of options like load line calibration, over-voltage protection, PWM frequencies and phase control. While the functionality here is fair, what makes the software cumbersome is GIGABYTE’sĀ insistenceĀ on a “3D” interface. Upon loading the app, you must wait for a spinning cube to stop, and once out of a section, you have to wait for it to settle again. I can’t imagine anyone over the age of 8 being impressed by this design, and for those who just want to get something done, it’s frustrating.

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 3 Software

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 3 Software GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 3 Software

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 3 Software

Unfortunately, GIGABYTE’s software package hasn’t “wowed” me, especially after seeing what ASUS’ Ai Suite currently packs in. It’s for this reason that I’m really quite anxious for the 4th-gen Core launch, because with ASUS focusing so hard on software now, it seems inevitable that the other vendors are going to follow suit. And I hope so. I used to immediately discredit motherboard software and usually never even opened it. But when it’s implemented and designed well, it can become a great motherboard feature.

  • agooddecision

    Poor choice of audio chip from Gigabyte. The Sound Core 3D is nothing more than a rebadged low-end codec that only supports 5.1 (no 7.1 support) and has mediocre specs and performance.

    I would honestly much rather have a Realtek ALC898. The 898 chip is better featured and with a quality implementation can easily outperform Creative’s latest pile’o’crap. Heck even the budget-minded Gigabyte GA-X79-UD3 has an 898 with very good quality components and a 110dB SnR. Beat that Creative or give up.

    It also doesn’t hurt that Realtek’s drivers nowadays are much better than Creatives. But when has Creative ever been any good at software?

    • Rob Williams

      It’s kind of sad that decisions like these are made just because a board tends to look better with the Creative name attached to it (to some, I guess). It’s like when some board vendors bundled fake X-Fi solutions – which were regular audio solutions with a couple of X-Fi software layers on top of it.

      Those who really care about audio are unlikely to use ANY onboard solution, unless it’s a genuine X-Fi card (I think ASUS had a solution like this).

      • agooddecision

        Yes, you are right on this, the board has the Creative name attached to it because Creative still sells. It seems even a low quality ‘flagship’ product can’t kill Creative!

        Meanwhile excellent sound cards like the Asus Xonar HDAV are discontinued due to a lack of sales.