Is everyone ready for the yet to be released Steamroller core Kaveri APUs?
Well until the release this review is being done with a A10-6800K and we are all well aware of these APU's.
This review will be a work in progress since I have no Kaveri yet.Let's take a look at some of the features before we dig into the G1.Sniper A88XGIGABYTE AMP-UP Audio:
Redefining Motherboard Audio
GIGABYTE AMP-UP Audio combines a range of unique features and technologies that are designed to give
audio enthusiasts and PC gamers more control over their motherboard audio than ever before.USB DAC-UP
Featuring a gold plated USB 2.0 port, GIGABYTE USB DAC-UP provides clean,
noise-free power delivery to your Digital-to-Analog Converter.
DACs can be sensitive to fluctuations in power from the other USB ports,
which is why GIGABYTE USB DAC-UP takes advantage of an isolated power source that minimizes
potential fluctuations and ensures the best audio experience possible.
GIGABYTE USB DAC-UP also allows the port to be configured in BIOS for enthusiast system configurations
which do not require USB power to the DAC. This makes it suitable for high-end audio enthusiasts building
extreme fidelity audio systems.Gain Boost
To further optimize the audio experience provided by the onboard OP-Amp,
GIGABYTE motherboards also debut Gain Boost.
Gain Boost provides onboard switches to select between 2.5x and 6x amplification modes depending on output device.
Most OP-Amps are capable of providing a high-gain audio output that is ideal for high-end headphones and speakers
that have higher impedance headroom.
Gain Boost allows users to switch between 6x and x2.5 amplification modes depending on the speakers or headphones being used.Upgradable Onboard OP-Amp
GIGABYTE motherboards are the world’s first to feature an onboard operational amplifier (OP-Amp).
OP-Amps are commonly found in high-end audio equipment and offer not only amplification of the audio signal, but a superior audio experience generally.
The motherboard’s OP-Amp is mounted on a socket which allows users to physically switch out and try different
OP-Amps which offer distinct and nuanced properties that make the audio clearer, punchier and more life-like.
Additional OP-Amps can be purchased separately to further expand audio capabilities.Audio Noise Guard
To help protect and insulate the the Realtek ALC898 audio processor and onboard amplifiers from electrostatic interference (ESD),
the GIGABYTE G1.Sniper A88X motherboard features an audio noise guard that essentially separates the board’s sensitive analog audio components from
potential ESD pollution at the PCB level. LED trace path lighting illuminates to show the separation of the PCB layers.Nichicon Pro Audio Caps
The GIGABYTE G1.Sniper A88X motherboard uses the highest quality Nichicon MUSE ES series audio capacitors at each channel layout.
These professional audio capacitors deliver the highest quality sound resolution and sound expansion to create the most realistic sound effects for
professional gamers.Gold Audio Plated Hardware
The GIGABYTE G1.Sniper A88X motherboard uses top quality gold plated hardware for improved connectivity and long lasting durability for the
USB DAC-UP port and audio connectors. Gold has superb signal conductivity and will not tarnish over extended periods of use.
The Realtek ALC898 audio processor is also shielded by a gold-plated cover which eliminates electrostatic interference.Frequency response + 0.01 dB
Frequency response - 0.04 dB
Noise level 92.9 dB
Dynamic range 92.8 dB
Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) 0.0800%
Intermodulation Distortion (IMD) + Noise 0.012%
Stereo crosstalk 91.8 dB
IMD+N (Swept frequency) 0.016%
GIGABYTE G1.Sniper A88X: Ready for Kaveri on AMD Socket FM2+
The GIGABYTE G1.Sniper A88X motherboard features the new FM2+ APU socket, and is designed to get the most from forthcoming ‘Kaveri’ AMD APUs,
while preserving compatibility for current AMD FM2 ‘Trinity’ and ‘Richland’ APUs.
FM2+ AMD APUs offer native support for 8 GT/s PCI Express gen 3.0 as well as DX11.1 support, integrating the high performance ‘Steamroller’ core.
AMD socket FM2+ APUs also offer native support for 4K resolution displays on HDMI and DisplayPort.Specifications & Features
Before we take a detailed look at the G1.Sniper A88X, let’s take a look at this motherboard's specifications, which can be found here
AMD A series processors
AMD Athlon™ series processors
(Please refer "CPU Support List" for more information.)
1. 4 x 1.5V DDR3 DIMM sockets supporting up to 64 GB of system memory
2. Dual channel memory architecture
3. Support for DDR3 2133/1866/1600/1333 MHz memory modules
4. Support for AMD Memory Profile (AMP)/Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) memory modules
* Due to a Windows 32-bit operating system limitation, when more than 4 GB of physical memory is installed,
the actual memory size displayed will be less than the size of the physical memory installed.
* The maximum 64 GB of system memory can be supported using 16 GB (or above) memory modules.
GIGABYTE will update the memory support list on the official website when the memory modules are available on the market.
(Please refer "Memory Support List" for more information.)
APU with integrated AMD Radeon™ HD 8000/7000 series graphics:
* To use the onboard graphics port, you must install an AMD APU with integrated graphics.
1. 1 x D-Sub port, supporting a maximum resolution of 1920x1200
2. 1 x DVI-D port, supporting a maximum resolution of 2560x1600
* Support for 2560x1600 resolution requires both a monitor and cable that support Dual Link DVI.
* The DVI-D port does not support D-Sub connection by adapter.
3. 1 x HDMI port, supporting a maximum resolution of 4096x2160
* The resolution of 4096x2160 can be supported when using an FM2+ APU; the maximum resolution supported is 1920x1200 when using an FM2 APU.
* Support for HDMI 1.4a version.
4. Maximum shared memory of 2 GB
1. Realtek ALC898 codec
2. High Definition Audio
4. Support for S/PDIF Out
LAN: Realtek® GbE LAN chip (10/100/1000 Mbit)
1. 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x16 (PCIEX16)
(The PCIEX16 slot conforms to PCI Express 3.0 standard.)
* To support PCI Express 3.0, you must install an FM2+ APU.
2. 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x4 (PCIEX4)
3. 3 x PCI Express x1 slots
(The PCIEX4 and PCI Express x1 slots conform to PCI Express 2.0 standard.)
4. 2 x PCI slots
1. Support for AMD Dual Graphics technology
* Only A series APUs support AMD Dual Graphics.
1. 8 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
2. Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10, and JBOD
1. 4 USB 3.0/2.0 ports (2 ports on the back panel, 2 ports available through the internal USB header)
2. 9 USB 2.0/1.1 ports (5 ports on the back panel, 4 ports available through the internal USB headers)
Internal I/O Connectors:
1. 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
2. 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
3. 8 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
4. 1 x APU fan header
5. 3 x system fan headers
6. 1 x front panel header
7. 1 x front panel audio header
8. 1 x S/PDIF Out header
9. 1 x USB 3.0/2.0 header
10. 2 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
11. 1 x serial port header
12. 1 x Clear CMOS jumper
13. 1 x Trusted Platform Module (TPM) header
14. 2 x gain control switches
Back Panel Connectors:
1. 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port
2. 1 x D-Sub port
3. 1 x DVI-D port
4. 1 x HDMI port
5. 2 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
6. 5 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
7. 1 x RJ-45 port
8. 1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
9. 5 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out, Rear Speaker Out, Line In, Line Out, Mic In)
I/O Controller: iTE I/O Controller Chip
1. System voltage detection
2. APU/System temperature detection
3. APU/System fan speed detection
4. APU overheating warning
5. APU/System fan fail warning
6. APU/System fan speed control
* Whether the fan speed control function is supported will depend on the cooler you install.
1. 2 x 64 Mbit flash
2. Use of licensed AMI EFI BIOS
3. Support for DualBIOS™
4. PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.0, SM BIOS 2.6, ACPI 2.0a
1. Support for @BIOS
2. Support for Q-Flash
3. Support for Xpress Install
4. Support for EasyTune
* Available functions in EasyTune may differ by motherboard model.
5. Support for Smart Recovery 2
6. Support for ON/OFF Charge
1. Norton® Internet Security (OEM version)
1. Support for Windows 8.1/8/7 32-bit/64-bit
* If you plan to install Windows 8.1, please download the latest drivers from GIGABYTE's website.
2. Support for Windows XP 32-bit
* To support Windows XP 32-bit, you must install an AMD FM2 Trinity APU.
Form Factor: ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 22.5cm
** Note ** This motherboard is not a standard ATX size. Please pay special attention when mounting inside a case.Packaging & Accessories:Let's take a Closer Look at the G1.Sniper A88X.Cooling:
As we can see with the stock cooler it's a typical Gigabyte design. Screws holding it down and from the pictures you can see there is very good contact made.Digital Power Delivery:
4+2 phase VRM design with heatsink
NTMFS4C06N and NTMFS4C10N Power Mosfets
30 Volt and 69 Amps on the 4C06N and 30 Volt and 46 Amps on the 4C10N
•Low RDS(on) to Minimize Conduction Losses
•Low Capacitance to Minimize Driver Losses
•Optimized Gate Charge to Minimize Switching Losses
•These Devices are Pb-Free and are RoHS CompliantISL6377
The ISL6377 is fully compliant with AMD Fusion™ SVI 2.0 and
provides a complete solution for microprocessor and graphics
processor core power. The ISL6377 controller supports two
Voltage Regulators (VRs) with three integrated gate drivers and
three optional external drivers for maximum flexibility. The Core
VR can be configured for 4-, 3-, 2-, or 1-phase operation while the
Northbridge VR supports 2- or 1-phase configurations. The two
VRs share a serial control bus to communicate with the AMD CPU
and achieve lower cost and smaller board area compared with twp-chip solutions.RTL8111F
The Realtek RTL8111F Gigabit Ethernet controller combines a triple-speed IEEE 802.3 compliant Media Access Controller (MAC)
with a triple-speed Ethernet transceiver, PCI Express bus controller, and embedded memory.IT8620E
COM ports and LPT, PS / 2 interface and functions of the system monitor is supported by the Multi I / O ITE IT8620E.TI GD75232
Texas Instruments serial port IC.Richtek RT8288A
The RT8288A is a synchronous step-down regulator with
an internal power MOSFET. It achieves 4A of continuous
output current over a wide input supply range with excellent
load and line regulation. Current mode operation provides
fast transient response and eases loop stabilization.TI TP65130
The TPS65130/1 is dual-output dc-dc converter generating a positive output voltage up to 15 V and a negative output voltage down to –15 V
with output currents in a 200 mA range in typical applications, depending on input voltage to output voltage ratio.UEFI
The UEFI on the G1.Sniper A88X is what we consider Classic Mode from the Intel lineup. To me I honestly like this layout and format of the UEFI.
As I usually use the keyboard to navigate around and not the mouse. I do hope that we see a different UEFI with the implementation of Kaveri APUs.
I'll save everyone from looking at 20 images of the Classic Mode UEFI since we all know what it looks like.. SetupMotherboard - G1.Sniper A88X
APU - A10-6800K
Cooling - Thermaltake NiC C4 Air Cooler
Memory - Team Group TXD34096M2400HC9N-L 9-11-11-28
Power - Antec HCP-1200
GPU - HD 8670D
SSD - Crucial M4 64GB
OS - Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 x64Overclocking results:For testing with the A10-6800K on this G1.Sniper A88X cpuz seems to have a major issue reading vcore and APU speeds.
I've contacted CPUID and provided all needed documents to see if there can be a fix applied. As for now ET6 reads APU speeds and voltages correctly.
You'll notice with some of these images the issues I had run into, I hope a fix is allpied before Kaveri APUs are released.
**** Notice **** CPUID sent me an email to inform me the issue was fixed.Cinebench StockCinebench OCSuper Pi StockSuper Pi OCPiFast StockPiFast OCwPrime 32M StockwPrime 32M OC3DMark Vantage Stock3DMark Vantage OCucbench 2011 OCPower Consumption:Note - All testing done with NO discrete GPU added.Final Thoughts:
There are a few things about this G1.Sniper A88X that kind of made me step back and think about what I was looking at when it came to the layout.
Why did Gigabyte decide against a standard ATX layout?. If this was a standard ATX board the vertical sata ports could have been moved to
Their typical location and maybe a DEBUG LED and Buttons could have been added to where the vertical sata ports are now. I can see why they
Decided to go this way though, cutting costs to make the motherboard a certain price point to fit the Gaming standpoint and not an overclocking standpoint.
Gigabyte seemed to put it all out on the line with the Audio setup and less on the normal stuff with DEBUG LED / Buttons.
As many will see the F2A88X-UP4 will have the All IR Digital 8+2-phase Power design while this motherboard is lacking with a less robust power delivery.
But the overall design, features and price point make this a fantastic motherboard for a gamer on a budget.
Everything I tested on this motherboard just plain works and worked well. Getting 5GHz on a NiC C4 was a walk in the park and almost to easy.
Honestly considering everything I checked out with this G1.Sniper A88X made me step back and consider my options for a new daily setup.
I didn't go in depth with the audio mainly because I'm not an audiophile and didn't have a DAC to hook up to test.I hope to get a chance to test a little more on the audio aspects soon as now I have found my new daily motherboard.Pros
- Solid performance.
- Clean green and black design with nice heat sink colors.
- DVI and HDMI
- Decent manual overclocking ability
- Limited automatic overclocking.
- User friendly UEFI BIOS / Classic Mode.
- Excellent audio design with OP-AMPCons
- No Debug LED
- NO SLI Support
- No power or reset buttons
- Not a standard ATX sized motherboard
- Lack of information or documents on audio systemSpecial Thanks to: