Hands-on with Gigabyte’s New 8-Series Motherboards
Whenever Intel introduces a new chipset, you can always count on Gigabyte to deliver the goods. With Intel launching its new 8-series chipset alongside its new 4th generation Core processors, Gigabyte has once again released a cornucopia of motherboards, which will cater to everyone from mainstream users to gamers and even overclocking enthusiasts. Earlier, we have already detailed some of new features that these 8 series motherboards will have and so here’s a more in-depth look at four of these new boards.
Ultra Durable 5 Plus
New to Gigabyte’s 8-series motherboard is Ultra Durable 5 Plus technology. Gigabyte has been implementing its Ultra Durable technology on its motherboards for years and the basic premise is to improve overall power efficiency, thermal characteristics and stability through the use of better quality capacitors, core chokes and MOSFETs.
Ultra Durable 5 Plus technology is an incremental step-up from last year’s Ultra Durable 5 and most notably features newly designed chipset heatsinks that employ a mix of active, passive and even liquid-colling; Durable black solid capacitors that have been rated for 10,000 hours of operation at temperatures of up to 105 degrees Celsius; and up to 10 USB 3.0 ports for unparalleled connectivity options. That aside, it also features many of implementations seen last year with the introduction of Ultra Durable 5 such as PWM controllers and PowIRstage ICs from International Recifier.
G1 Killer 8-Series Motherboards
For gaming enthusiasts, the motherboard to look out for is the G1. Sniper 5. Like its predecessor the G1. Sniper 3, the G1. Sniper 5 is a massive E-ATX board packed with features that will delight gamers and enthusiasts alike. For starters, the board features Gigabyte’s new Ultra Durable 5 Plus technology, which means all the niceties mentioned earlier. The G1. Sniper 5 also benefits from a new heatsink design that can be cooled passively, actively or liquid-cooled. This is thanks to liquid tube connectors at the ends of the heatsink, which makes it easy for users to install a liquid-cooling system. And it goes without saying that the new G1. Sniper 5 motherboard supports up to 4-way CrossFireX or SLI configurations.
For gamers who spend a lot of time playing online, the G1. Sniper 5 will also be equipped with the Atheros Killer E2200 Ethernet chip which helps ensure the lowest latency possible, giving users the edge when playing online.
Additionally, it also featured upgraded audio features in what Gigabyte calls the “Audio Zone”. This zone, which contains all the crucial audio components is guarded by Gigabyte’s "Audio Noise Guard", which separates the board’s sensitive analog audio components from potential noise pollution from the other motherboard components. This happens at the PCB level. On top of this, the on-board Creative Sound Blaster Core3D processor is shielded with a custom gold-plated cover. Finally, the G1. Sniper 5 also has swappable op-amps, and Gigabyte has thoughtfully bundled an additional op-amp and a DIY kit for users to swap the op-amps themselves.
For gamers who want something a little more compact, they can the G1 Killer series also features a micro-ATX board called the G1. Sniper M5. This smaller board lacks some features due to its space constraints, so it only offers up to 2-way CrossFireX or SLI and has lesser SATA and USB 3.0 ports. However, it still features the Audio Zone with Creative Sound Blaster Core3D processor, swappable op-amps, and Killer Technology Ethernet connectivity.
8-Series Overclocking Motherboards
With the new 8-series chipset and fourth generation Intel Core processors, Gigabyte is reviving its OC line of boards for overclockers. The two boards in this lineup are the Z87X-OC Force and Z87X-OC, and both were specifically designed with features that would be advantageous to overclockers. These boards feature Ultra Durable 5 Plus technology, which means the highest quality PWM controllers and PowIRstage ICs from International Recifier for the most stable power delivery. These boards were also specifically designed to be used in an open testbed environment and as such comes with unique design features such as OC Brace, a specially designed brace to help secure graphics cards.
There’s also a host of easy to use buttons and switches called OC Touch that enables users to do overclocking-specific tasks such as manually raising CPU ratios instantly without going into the BIOS and a Direct to Bios (DTB) button that makes the system automatically go into BIOS without having to hit the Del key repeatedly after rebooting.
Some of the features unique to Gigabyte’s new OC motherboards are:
OC Ignition - Powers fans and drives without powering the CPU. Overclockers might find this feature useful if they want to check their liquid-cooling setups for leaks, or if they want to keep the fans going to reduce build up of moisture when using liquid nitrogen.
OC PCIe Switch - This lets users turn their PCIe lane on or off. This means users need not physically remove their graphics card
OC Peg - This lets users add additional power to their PCIe slots using either a SATA power connector or typical 6-pin PCIe power connector, which could help in handy for graphics card overclocking. On top of this, the flagship Z87X-OC has a single PCIe x 16 slot that bypasses the onboard PLX chip and goes directly to the CPU, thus ensuring the best graphics performance.
OC Trigger - Instantly switch between extremely high or low frequencies. Useful if overclockers want to safely boot their systems and then turn to high frequencies for overclocking.