Gigabyte's G1.Sniper2 is an awesome motherboard that delivers the kind of performance and features gamers and overclockers dream about. However, as is often the case, this fine specimen doesn't come cheaply. As of writing, the G1.Sniper2 is fetching $360 on Newegg, which is $10 over Gigabyte's suggested retail price and a tad higher than the Z68X-UD7-B3 -- a board that is arguably the G1.Sniper2's biggest competitor.
Not only is the Z68X-UD7-B3 a tad cheaper, but it delivers similar performance and overclocking abilities with a more practical configuration in our opinion. For a $360 motherboard, the G1.Sniper2's spec sheet seems underwhelming with a single Ethernet connection, four USB 3.0 ports, one eSATA port and a standard PCI Express expansion slot setup.
Naturally, it forgoes those features for components that might be more appealing to a certain audience: Bigfoot Networks' Killer E2100 network controller and Creative's Sound Blaster X-Fi Digital audio processor. Although we believe the Sound Blaster chip is a semi-worthy addition to the G1.Sniper2, the Killer E2100 seems like a load of nonsense to us.
I'm not going to debate the merits of Bigfoot Networks' NIC and frankly, I don't see how you could with little real-world data to support the company's claims. I'm equally satisfied with the Gigabit Ethernet Realtek RTL8111E controllers found on the Z68X-UD7-B3.
It's worth noting that I'm not much of an audiophile so the Creative Sound Blaster is wasted on me and again, I'm just as happy with the Realtek ALC889. Although I can understand why others would value the inclusion of this high-end audio solution as it can bring a new dynamic to gaming, someone spending $360 on a motherboard would probably opt for dedicated expansion card if they truly cared about their machine's audio. Not only would you gain more performance and functionality out of a discrete sound card, but you could install it in your next machine.
Circling back to my original argument, when you remove those extras, the Gigabyte Z68X-UD7-B3 seems to be twice the motherboard and it's available for $10 less. You get twice as many USB 3.0 ports, dual Gigabit network ports, more onboard SATA ports, more PCI Express bandwidth for graphics cards thanks to the NF200 bridge chip, Firewire support, and arguably a better power phase design. With that in mind, we find it hard to recommend the G1.Sniper2.
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