Gigabyte has been producing G1-Killer branded motherboards for every platform since X58, targeted at gamers and power users. Is the feature-packed Sniper 5 worth the considerable premium over regular Z87 motherboards?
In a nutshell, yes and no, depending on your specific requirements.
One thing that immediately stands out when you look at the board is the four green PCIe x16 slots, which uses a PLX switch like the Asus Maximus VI Extreme to enable up to 4-way GPU operation on the regular Haswell platform. I don’t know why anyone would build such a rig with Haswell except for the purposes of competitive benchmarking, since it would most certainly be bottlenecked by the CPU/memory subsystem and additional PCIe latencies induced by lane switching – the X79 high end desktop platform is more purpose-built for this.
There is also green LED backlighting under the motherboard which should look spectacular inside a windowed case.
Glancing at the rear I/O panel, we see the usual plethora of ports, with the connectors carrying analog signals getting the gold-plated treatment to prevent oxidation, which is a nice touch. The board designers also ditched the the legacy display options, deploying two full-sized HDMI and one DisplayPort to enable IGP triple monitor outputs.
Considering the premium positioning of the motherboard, we were tad disappointed not to see the inclusion of Thunderbolt here.
An Atheros based 802.11N/Bluetooth 4.0 wireless expansion card is also bundled with the package, together with a 2×2 antenna.