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G1.Sniper A88X Review & Info

 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-27-2013, 08:01 PM - Thread Starter
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G1.SNIPER A88X



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 A88X

GIGABYTE 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
http://www.gigabyte.us/products/product-page.aspx?pid=4683#ov

APU:
FM2+ Socket:
AMD A series processors
AMD Athlon™ series processors
(Please refer "CPU Support List" for more information.)

Chipset:AMD A88X

Memory:
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.)

Onboard Graphics:
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

Audio:
1. Realtek ALC898 codec
2. High Definition Audio
3. 2/4/5.1/7.1-channel
4. Support for S/PDIF Out

LAN: Realtek® GbE LAN chip (10/100/1000 Mbit)

Expansion Slots:
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

Multi-Graphics Technology:
1. Support for AMD Dual Graphics technology
* Only A series APUs support AMD Dual Graphics.

Storage Interface:
1. 8 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
2. Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10, and JBOD

USB:
Chipset:
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

H/W Monitoring:
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.

BIOS:
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

Unique Features:
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

Bundle Software:
1. Norton® Internet Security (OEM version)
2. cFosSpeed

Operating System:
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 Compliant

ISL6377



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.. smile.gif

Setup

Motherboard - 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 x64






Overclocking 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 Stock


Cinebench OC


Super Pi Stock


Super Pi OC


PiFast Stock


PiFast OC


wPrime 32M Stock


wPrime 32M OC


3DMark Vantage Stock


3DMark Vantage OC


ucbench 2011 OC


Power 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-AMP

Cons
- Layout
- No Debug LED
- NO SLI Support
- No power or reset buttons
- Not a standard ATX sized motherboard
- Lack of information or documents on audio system


Special Thanks to:
Overclock.net
Gigabyte
Hwbot
Mikecdm
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-27-2013, 08:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Reserved for Kaveri / LN2
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-27-2013, 08:14 PM
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I can't wait for Kaveri! applaud.gif



Good review,Mr. Cuztoms! thumb.gif
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-27-2013, 08:21 PM - Thread Starter
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I agree... A88X boards look amazing and I'm sure Kaveri is going to offer a ton over Richland.. So, i'm waiting like everyone else.
I got 230L of LN2 coming in 2 weeks, I just wish I could get a Kaveri sample when I have LN2.. mad.gif
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-28-2013, 12:17 PM
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Good stuff dave, got those pictures down to a tee now mate.

Twitter @el_gappo @Overclocknet

Redhat: "The datasheet is clear so its pretty hard to read without an overhead projector"
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-28-2013, 02:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Good stuff dave, got those pictures down to a tee now mate.

Thank you sir... and yes the pictures I've been doing have come along well.. I just need a new Dimastech, something less reflective.
This chrome one is going to get powder coated soon.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-28-2013, 02:47 PM
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enjoyed the review thumb.gif mines waiting on a chip

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-05-2013, 06:57 PM
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Nice Board! I would and have gone with The Asrock FM2A88X Extreme6+ board though! Cannot go wrong with either one in my opinion.

Sys #2,: A10-7700K @ 4.6Ghz, ASRock FM2A88X Extreme6+( FM2+) ,4gb GSkill Ripjaws @2133Mhz, Corsair 300R, Samsung P2770 HD-1080p, R7 250, Crucial C300 64GB Boot + Samsung F3 500Gb, NOCTUA NH-D14, Antec 620C Neo


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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-05-2013, 09:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Nice Board! I would and have gone with The Asrock FM2A88X Extreme6+ board though! Cannot go wrong with either one in my opinion.

The lineup from Gigabyte and ASRock are sure looking good. I haven't heard a lot on the Asus boards thus far and I'm sure they got something up their sleeves for a itx or a ROG board.. As Kaveri gets closer I'm sure there are going to be a good selection of flavors out there. As for a nice daily machine I've switched my idea from Intel to a A88X For sure..
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-11-2013, 10:00 AM
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4+2 phase only... why oh why??? redface.gif


even so, I got my eyes on these... biggrin.gif
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