Gigabyte’s G1.Sniper 2 gets semi-official
Although Gigabyte has as yet to officially launch its new Z68 based G1-series motherboard, the company has settled on the final product name which will apparently be G1.Sniper 2, whereas earlier the board was simply known as the GA-Z68-Gaming. Gigabyte doesn't appear to have changed much since Computex, at least not anything that jumps out at us.
Pictures of the final board appeared on Gigabyte's motherboard divisions facebook page literally minutes ago and although these pictures might not be super-high resolution, they're still good enough for us to get a good idea of what's coming. One minor change we noticed was the addition of a copper shield around the audio capacitors, something that wasn't present on boards shown at Computex.
Gigabyte has also made what appear to be some minor cosmetic changes, like removing the writing on the chipset heatsink, which by the way had the wrong model name on it anyhow. The rear I/O has changed slightly with the eSATA port being turned into an eSATAp (powered eSATA/USB combo) port.
The board sports a Killer NIC E2100 as well as a proper X-Fi audio chip with dedicated memory. It also has a pair of x16 PCI Express slots in a dual x8 setup, two PCI Express x1 slots and two PCI slots. You also get two additional SATA 6Gbps ports to the two from the Intel chipset and a total of seven internal SATA ports. Pin headers cater for two front USB 3.0 ports and six USB 2.0 ports as well as a serial port.
Around the back you get a PS/2 port, seven USB 2.0 ports, the aforementioned eSATAp, two USB 3.0 ports, an Ethernet port wired to the Killer NIC, 7.1-channel audio jacks and optical S/PDIF and an HDMI port for some switchable graphics action. Finally there's also an overclock button here for easy overclocking.
This brings us to the one question that has yet to be answered, how much will the G1.Sniper 2 cost? Well, we'd expect it to fall into the same price range as the Z68X-UD7, possibly coming in at slightly more, as the Killer NIC and X-Fi audio chip are most likely more costly than an nForce 200 chip. That said, the G1.Sniper 2 has a simpler PWM design, different USB 3.0 host controllers, no VLI USB 3.0 hubs and no dedicated eSATA controller which might make up for the difference. We're just going to have to wait and see where the board ends up, but it's not going to be cheap, that's for sure.