by Rob Williams on May 21, 2012 in Intel Motherboards
If you’re a gamer looking to build a high-end multi-GPU PC, GIGABYTE’s X79 G1.Assassin 2 deserves a look. Built from the ground up for gamers, it features onboard Creative X-Fi audio and Killer NIC solutions, supports three GPUs, has a proper EFI and sports aesthetics that perfectly complement the goals of the board.
As mentioned in the intro, this review is much shorter than our usual, as the board was destined to go right into our GPU test rig (and we don’t have performance comparisons at the current time). Instead, this was meant to be a quick look so that we could talk about the board and what we like about it.
We’ve been using this board in our GPU test rig for just a couple of weeks, but it’s been on-the-go for most of that time. It’s not just being used for our graphics card content, but also our hard drive content (we love killing two birds with one stone, where able), and in all of the testing done so far, our experiences have been excellent.
After all of the usage so far, there’s just one issue I encountered. A couple of days after the rig was built, I booted the machine up and saw a BIOS error; somehow the main BIOS corrupted itself (if it even really did), so it had to restore itself from the backup. This required me to re-configure all of the settings in the EFI, as this corruption also purged the profile I created. Since this occurrence, the problem has not crept up again, so I believe it to be a one-off issue.
Something I am not personally super-keen on is overclocking, but this board does seem to have what it takes to get your Core i7 to the level you want it. I’ve successfully OCed the CPU stable to 4.5GHz, though I am confident it can go higher. For the sake of ultimate stability, we’ve stuck to 4.2GHz, which it has been running at this entire time. To achieve this we simply increased the ratio to 42 and then the CPU voltage to 1.350v. We also used our memory’s XMP profile which clocks it to DDR3-2133.
Regarding the Creative X-Fi audio, I admit that I am a lot more impressed with it than I expected to be. It’s without question the best “onboard” audio solution I’ve encountered, and I am sure most gamers would be thrilled with what it offers. The downside is the clunky software, but that’s an issue outside of GIGABYTE’s control.
The Killer NIC is also a nice touch. I wasn’t able to do specific tests with that, but with the online gaming I did indulge in, it performed just as I hoped. I’m not sure I’d vouch for it being much better than a regular add-in card, but it’s certainly better than most onboard solutions (especially Realtek, which I’ve had issues with on two previous motherboards). For gamers, the real highlight here is that the NIC is tuned specifically for you, so you don’t need to worry about fiddling with settings yourself. Just do a bandwidth test and let the Killer software take over.
All-in-all, the Assassin 2 is a fantastic motherboard for high-end gamers – especially those who are interested in multi-GPU setups.
GIGABYTE G1.Assassin 2
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