Gigabyte G1.Sniper Z87 Review
Gigabyte G1.Sniper Z87
Intel Core i7-4770K
Club3D HD7970 Royal Ace
Corsair Vengeance Pro 2400MHz
Corsair Neutron GTX
Windows 7 x64
In keeping with a range of motherboards these days, Gigabyte give you the option in the BIOS to overclock your CPU automatically, rather than fight with the manual overclocking. Of course as with any automatic option there is always a price to pay in terms of the quality of the overclock and the voltages necessary to reach that point. The first two, 40% and 60%, use decent voltages to get a good boost. So if you're absolutely determined not to overclock yourself, this is a good choice. Its also worth pointing out these tools in the BIOS are actually preset overclocking options, this is actually VERY difficult to do with the Haswell range due to their being such a difference in the overclocking ability of the CPU's. So these settings are there to help a huge range of people rather than being perfect for the CPU you actually fit.
As you move up to the 80% mark the voltages quickly get silly. With some serious cooling you could possibly run this, but we'd definitely not recommend it, its worth making very clear for those of you knew to overclocking though some of the Haswell K series CPU's will actually require these kind of volts for this overclock due to their being such differences in the yields this generation #siliconelottery. What Gigabyte are having to do is give settings that will work for a very wide range of CPU's there for this voltage like with our CPU could be massively over volting your processor for what it may actually require to run that overclock. Most motherboards with auto overclocking features will always run a much higher voltage than required if you get your hands dirty and do it manually though, as demonstrated in the last picture at the bottom of the page.
Moving on to what is possible when you put the effort in and do the overclocking yourself? Well the G1 Sniper completely caught us unaware on this one, when we first heard about the boards price and specification we all thought 4.6GHz would be a pretty good clock for the board. It just so happened we booted first time at 4.6, shut down and reset to 4.8 and that was stable, few more tweaks later we had our CPU's maximum clock running at 4.9GHz and just 1.26v in the bios. The screenshot says 1.58v but it never moves from that, even with no 'Load Line Calibration' (LLC) setting in the bios it remains rock solid. SO the G1 Sniper has maxed our CPU out to the same levels as all the other boards we have tested, so we can confirm that cut price does not mean cut back overclocking!
This just proves what we have said since the beginning, CPU efficiency has moved on so much you dont need a top end board to get the most from it with Haswell. Most of the difference between boards are the extras on the board like networking, SATA ports and USB ports then more critical things like PCI-E slot layout and aesthetics. A good way to put it is most boards perform very similarly but it just depends if you want icing on the top or you have big pockets and want icing AND a cherry!