Gigabyte Shows Off High-End Onboard Audio for Z87 G1-Sniper 5/M5 With Replaceable OP-Amps

Gigabyte has demonstrated its G1.Sniper 5 and G1.Sniper M5 motherboards, which are Z87 motherboards intended for Intel’s upcoming 4th generation processors. The motherboards have many high-end features, but Gigabyte put a lot of emphasis on the removable operational amplifiers that the motherboards feature for their onboard audio.

The onboard audio on the G1.Sniper 5 and G1.Sniper M5 motherboards is supported by a Creative Sound Core 3D chip, as we saw in an earlier teaser. The chip itself is covered in a gold-coated cover, and all the media-related connectors are also gold coated (2x HDMI, Coax, Displayport, and the analogue 7.1 audio ports). Taking a closer look at the motherboard reveals a green line that separates the audio dedicated part of the PCB from the rest of the motherboard, and in between, you find a small distance, likely to reduce interference. Supposedly, this green line is lit. As mentioned, the most emphasis is put on the replaceable op-amps, which allows the user to remove the stock operational amplifier and replace it with something that suits their needs more closely. While most users won't mind using the stock op-amp, Asus' Essence STX sound card showed us that there is a market for people who wish to replace the op-amps. The motherboards will even come with an upgrade kit for the op-amps which includes an LM4562NA op-amp and an IC extractor.

Beyond all this, the two motherboards carry a number of gaming-oriented features. The G1.Sniper 5 is a full-ATX motherboard that features four PCIe x16 3.0 slots, which can be wired as x16/-/x16/- or x16/-/x8/x8 or x8/x8/x16/- or x8/x8/x8/x8, all depending on how you install the graphics cards that you use. The PLX PEX8747 48-lane PCI-Express 3.0 bridge chip makes this possible. The G1.Sniper 5 is also the liquid cooled motherboard from Gigabyte that we saw earlier.

Then we have the G1.Killer M5, which is essentially a smaller brother of the G1.Sniper M5 in a micro-ATX system. It features two electrical PCIe x16 3.0 slots, but does not have the PCIe 3.0 bridge chip. Therefore, the user can install either a single graphics card that will run over 16 lanes, or two graphics cards that will each be fed eight lanes. It also has the AMP-UP audio with the Creative Sound Core 3D chip.

Images courtesy of TweakTown and HardwareHeaven.

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  • warezme
    Nice audio, now they just need a board version with 8 mem slots.
  • mousseng
    Hmm, seems motherboard manufacturers are stepping up their game in response to the increasing number of integrated components, maybe? I figured it'd be difficult to differentiate themselves more and more, but it appears they're doing fine for now. I'd really love to use this one in particular for a high-end gaming rig!
  • vmem
    make a version that's not black and green and I'll buy it... keep the current one, I know it's special in its own way, but honestly, unless you have an Nvidia fanboi themed PC, that board would look out of place with everything else...