Power Consumption and Quality Control
The increased power consumption is expected given that the board is slightly bigger in design and contains more components necessary for improving system performance and the overall gaming user experience. In the end, DIY users won't mind the slight consumption. No one buys a gaming motherboard to save a few watts. There are other options on the market if that is your goal.
The G1-Killer Sniper 5 was tested both with and without an OP amp installed during gaming. Probably most importantly, we didn't hear any noise at all in the GIGABYTE presentation but I wanted to rule out any conspiracies that might point to the demo being a hand picked board. Headset and speaker performance was examined as well, and we tried to be as objective as possible. But first, the objective benchmarks using RMAA.
RMAA reveals that with and without the amp, the board produces very healthy, noise free audio. Frequencies are very good without any stereo crosstalk so there shouldn't be any squeaks in your ears. Testing the audio with the amp installed using powered and regular headsets (Corsair Vengeance 1500 and 2000, Plantronics Gaming Rig, Thermaltake Shock, Asus Orion and Vulcan) and speakers (Logitech Z906) were very telling. The amp output really maxes out each headset and speaker with very loud, rich audio. Your games will rock and so will your music and movies.
The GIGABYTE G1-Killer Sniper 5 is something of an experience somewhere between that of a beautiful musical sonnet and a shot fired from 1,000 yards. It's designed to be an epic gaming motherboard that should enhance the gamer experience yet it seems to be capable of much more. While the Creative audio processor provides an improved gaming experience, it's the new OP AMP (AMP UP) that gives the Sniper 5 an impressive gaming voice. All kinds of video game genres enjoy enhanced volume allowing gamers to hear and experience sounds in games they probably never knew were there. High definition movies and music will share the same experience. Just tweak and tune til your heart's content with swappable OP AMPs.
Overall performance is equally great. The Sniper 5 proved to be a stable gaming platform as well as a solid foundation for users who may just need something for both productive computing as well. The platform overclocked quite well even supporting its full range of automatic overclocking settings up to 4.7GHz. However, the board can manage more as long as you have very good CPU cooling. That said, you should take care when cooling your CPU with frequencies 4.5GHz and over. Users do not need to water cool the VREG heat sinks around the CPU to achieve similar results, but good ventilation is a must and the many software controlled fan headers are definitely an asset.
Currently, the GIGABYTE G1-Killer Sniper 5 can be found for around $399.99 US from various online retailers. While that is on the upper end for Z87 boards, remember that this is a high performance motherboard with exemplary audio, overclocking, LAN as well as WiFi connectivity. The extras will come in very handy if you want the premium gaming experience and that experience is truly EPIC. But even if you love music or consume a lot of content, the audio on this board alone is worth the price of admission and that's one of the many reasons why this board deserves a RARE Editors' Choice Award.
- OP AMP enriched audio
- Gaming audio experience
- Network management
- Overclocks as well as Haswell allows
- Stable, solid platform
- Plenty of connectivity
- Fan control and plenty of fan headers
- Premium price required
Overall Rating: 9.5 / 10.0
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