The suspense has been building for months, but finally we have a first hand look at the new Z77 chipset offerings from Gigabyte. While Intel’s newest line of CPUs have yet to receive an official release date (at least not to our knowledge), manufacturers cannot hold back from showing off these new boards.
Gigabyte provided a guided tour of their Z77 products, which include the G1.Sniper 3, G1.Sniper M3 (mATX), GA-Z77X-UD5H, GA-Z77X-UD3H, and GA-B75M-D3H. The M3 represents the first Sniper series board in an mATX form factor, while the D3H was tagged as a business class machine – the D3H, in light of only base components is very forgettable in this product lineup, and would have perhaps been best kicked under the table for our audience. More noteably, the small form factor Sniper board is a first from Gigabyte while users are likely well accustomed to what to generally expect in regards to quality and performance in the UD5 and UD3 boards from Gigabyte. Evaluations regarding their design and functionality will be detailed in full when final design review samples are delivered.
What does the enthusiast audience want to know about these boards? Pictures are below, but here’s a bullet list to keep this punchy until the reviews land with full details.
- The videos and/or pictures you can currently see here or from other sites are not final product. The motherboard heatsinks pictured appear more traditional on the Sniper series than the expected aggressive styling we have seen previously. When we asked Gigabyte directly, it was implied we could see a return to the bullet styling on the final product. At a minimum, color will be modified from the current pictured samples.
- Onboard power, reset, clear CMOS buttons, and debug LEDs for the UD3, UD5, and G1.Sniper 3 (the mATX version drops these features due to space limitations)
- Easily accessible voltage contacts for multimeter readings
- Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2201 NIC on the G1.Sniper 3 (formerly known as Bigfoot Networks, acquired by Qualcomm Atheros)
- Subzero cooling enthusiasts may take note of traditional caps fairly close to the socket – these aren’t much of a problem, but in our experience their presence requires attention when insulating compared to obstruction free socket areas.
- Specific claims of no cold bug were mentioned on the platform in reference to testing by Hicookie, however this should be taken with a grain of salt for the general public. Experience tells us engineering samples may be cold bug free, while cold bugs may be present in production product.
- Soundcore 3D sound by Creative, Intel Dual LAN options on certain models
- 4 way SLI on the G1.Sniper 3
- When specifically asked, it is our current understanding that there is no OC class enthusiast board currently in planning for impending production, like the X58A-OC enthusiast targetted board. Internal changes with Raymond Tseng who oversees R&D for Gigabyte were mentioned lending a focus on pending evaluation of sales, marketing, and engineering goals to deliver ideal products. Gigabyte seemed careful to not say an OC board is off the table, but as we understood their comment, there are no firm plans or current timeline to deliver that class of product currently.
Onto the main event, pictures of the boards: