Gigabyte G1.Sniper M3 Intel Z77 Express LGA 1155 Preview 14

Gigabyte G1.Sniper M3 Intel Z77 Express LGA 1155 Preview Review

The Board - A Closer Look »

The Board - Layout

Quite a few people asked for mATX G1.Killer products, so Gigabyte listened. The G1.Sniper M3, clad in black and green like previous G1.Sniper products, features a pretty simple layout that includes support for multiple GPUs from both AMD and NVIDIA. The rear of the board is pretty basic, with few things marring the matte black surface.

The socket area of the G1.Sniper M3 is pretty open as well with the VRM heatsink only covering a portion of the VRM MOSFETs. The cooler is a stylized finned heatsink in matte black that sits pretty low on the board's surface, barely extending beyond the Intel Z77 Express PCH's PCB.

There are three physical x16 PCIe slots, two of which are PCIe 3.0 compliant, while the third is just PCIe 3.0-based. The upper and lower x16 slots are connected to the CPU with the upper one switching from an electrical PCIe 3.0 x16 link to a PCIe 3.0 x8 link when both the upper and lower slots are populated. There are four DIMM slots that together support up to 32 GB of DDR3 memory in dual channel mode. By default, the Intel 3rd Generation Core i5/i7 CPUs only support 1600 MHz memory speeds, but the G1.Sniper M3 does offer the ability to run much higher memory speeds, although how high is dependant on whether you've installed a Sandy Bridge CPU or Ivy Bridge CPU. Likewise, the middle physical PCIe x16 slot, with a PCIe 2.0 x4 electrical link, is only functional if you've installed an Ivy Bridge CPU.

There are are four SATA ports found on the right board edge, with the two white ports supporting SATA 6 Gb/s while the black ports are just SATA 3 Gb/s. The Intel Z77 Express PCH can offer 4 SATA 3 Gb/s ports along with two SATA 6 Gb/s ports, and the G1.Sniper M3 does make use of them all, although they are not found here. One of the remaining two is found on the rear I/O panel, shown in the second image above, where we also find four different display connectors, a bunch of USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports, and audio connections. It's also nice to see a PS/2 keyboard/mouse port, great for users of keyboards that support N-Key rollover.

The bottom edge of the board has the internal audio header for case front panel audio ports, a TPM port, as well as several USB 2.0 headers. Next to the front panel ON/OFF pin block we find the sixth SATA 3 Gb/s port, where it might interfere with dual-slot videocards installed in the lower slot, if a right-angled SATA connector is not used. Fortunately, there is both a blue and black cable right-angled cable for just that, in the box, so Gigabyte's got you covered either way you decide to use the board.
Next Page »The Board - A Closer Look