GIGABYTE G1.Sniper A88X Review

👤by Tony Le Bourne Comments 📅05-02-14
Closer Look

Power delivery

Surrounding the APU socket, we find a pair of 4pin pwm fan headers, the power delivery system that features some decent sized MOSFET cooling and an 8pin ATX socket.

Memory slots

There are 4x memory slots that can support up to 64GB of memory. The G1.Sniper A88X also supports AMP 2400 and X.M.P. on the right, just above the memory slots, you can find the CPU fan header as well as an additional fan header to the side. In this area we also find the obligatory 24pin ATX connector and the neo-obligatory USB 3.0 front panel header.

SATA area

The bottom right hand corner of the motherboard seems fairly bare, though we do have 8x SATA ports arranged in a cringe-worthy fashion. At least there are two at a right angle. Moving on, the chipset is covered by a large heatsink that should be very capable of dealing with any heat, and in the background we find the dual BIOS chips next to the CMOS battery.

Expansion slot layout

This board has 3x PCIe x1, 1x PCIe 3.0 x16, 1x PCIe x4 (physical x16) and 2x legacy PCI slots. Having a two slot space in between the two PCIex16 slots will give good spacing for anyone who would like to use multiple graphics cards. However, considering this is a gaming motherboard, you would want to note that this does not support SLI.

Along the bottom edge, from the left, there is an isolated front panel audio header, S/PDIF and COM headers, a TPM (Trusted Module Platform) header and a pair of USB 2.0 headers.

Audio section

The G1.Sniper A88X sports some impressive audio circuitry and is part of GIGABYTE'S AMP UP range. What this means is, this motherboard has a removable 'op amp' socket and is bundled with a Ti OPA2134PA op amp, which can be swapped for any op amp of your choice, or GIGABYTE sell an AMP UP pack which has a selection of op amps and tools to change them. This allows for a pair on board gain switches to boost the signal for high impedance headphones or speakers. A downside to all this fancy circuitry is that, unlike the ASRock and ASUS motherboards we have looked at recently, GIGABYTE are using the older Realtek ALC898 audio codec, over the latest, considered to be the best yet, ALC1150.

At the rear we have a universal PS2, 4x USB 2.0, 2x 'lightning proof' USB 3.0, gigabit lan (controlled by a RTL111F chip, no KILLER for AMD). For video output, HDMI, DVI and D-sub (VGA), foregoing the quad monitor capability of the Kaveri APUs. Continuing on to audio I/O, we have 5x gold plated 3.5mm jacks for 7.1 surround and microphone, optical out, and a 'DAC UP' port, which is a normal functioning, USB 2.0 port, that has a dedicated power delivery system specifically designed to be used with external DACs.

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