Gigabyte G1 Sniper M3 Performance Review
I borrowed an IB Core i5 3570k (specs here) to test out its performance on the Gigabyte G1 Sniper M3 board I have. As soon as I’ve plugged the processor to the motherboard and started up the computer. The detection is automatic and the board detected the processor as an Ivy Bridge processor and immediately overclocked it to its maximum of 3.8GHz (note I am running on a stock Core i3 cooling fan which is the only thing I have spare to cool it at the moment). Temperature is kept at 50 degrees Celsius (note it’s quite normal for an Ivy Bridge to run this hot, articles are posted around the net that inform us of a hotter processor than Sandy Bridge) at peak it runs around at 70 to 80 with the cooler running on max. I am running this on the Release Preview of Windows 8 (as of this time, it is currently in production, scheduled to be release in 2 weeks time).
Here are the CPU-Z Details I got:
Benchmarking, I got some of the games to work in Windows 8. Right now, playing Battlefield 3 on Windows 8 release preview will result in running it offline (and I mean offline, no internet) to trigger the Campaign mode directly, as the Battlelog site suffers some bugs with the plug-ins that need to be installed. Another title would be Modern Warfare 3 (FPS glitch was found in my version and fixed), and Medal of Honor 2010. I’m comparing this one with my Core i7 950 processor overclocked to 3.4GHz (it’s maximum) and using the same video card and OS.
Specs for test machine and Test:
Intel Core i5 3570k @ 3.8GHz
Gigabyte G1 Sniper M3 Z77
G.Skill DDRIII 1333 4GBx2
Seagate 320GB HDD
Asus 560GTX 1GB
Thermaltake LitePower 500W
Battlefield 3 (High Settings, 1920×1080, Vsync off)
Core i5 3570k: 47fps average
Core i7 950: 43fps average
Medal of Honor (Maximum Settings, 1920×1080, Vsync on)
Core i5 3570k: 60fps average
Core i7 950: 59fps average
Modern Warfare 3 (Maximum Settings. 1920×1080, Vsync off)
Core i5 3570k: 170fps average (max 220fps)
Core i7 950: 120fps average (max 160fps)
And there you have it, the newer Intel series trounces the first generation. The difference between the 2nd and 3rd would lie on the processor manufacturing size and some improvements on the transistors to increase the efficiency. 2nd gen and 3rd gen Intel Core processors run on the same socket 1155 so one can use a 2nd Gen processor provided it is supported.
Drivers… they need to be updated for Windows 8
Now onto Windows 8 compatibility with the motherboard’s collection of drivers. Based on what I found out, majority of them are not compatible as the drivers are Intel’s releases they block my progress in installation due to incomplete requirements. However some drivers did permit me to install like the LAN, Creative Recon, IGP, Smart Connect and Virtu MVP driver. Though whenever I restart the PC, the Recon driver gets messed up and breaks the sound coming out of my computer. And while the Virtu MVP driver is running, video card switching doesn’t work. Luckily there are Microsoft Drivers that work seamlessly with the motherboard enabling its use. The bundled Gigabyte apps are working, though in a limited capacity as some of the Intel drivers that suppose to work with it aren’t installed. On the bright side however, Windows 7 has full driver support when I switched to it. It’s just a matter of time to wait for updated drivers to appear for Windows 8.
While I got the Recon 3D working for a bit, the sound’s quite amazing even on 2.1 channel speakers, better sounds would result if a 5.1 channel speaker system would be used of course.
Smaller, Faster, more Energy Efficient, these are improvements made on the latest Intel Processors and Gigabyte Motherboards. Priced competitively Php 8340.00 locally, it’s worth the investment for those building a high quality gaming machine without breaking the bank over some other brands’ mATX gaming boards. It carries a full suite of features and functions found in bigger boards, and while the SLI has been downgraded from its bigger sibling (from 4 way to 2 way), it doesn’t impact much as the newer NVIDIA video cards are able to produce higher FPS than what I’ve been using in this test. The board sips power while managing to pull out increased performance, even while using a power hungry GPU (560GTX) it didn’t shutdown due to overloading the Power Supply, this would probably happen to my Core i7 machine if it were using the same power supply on it. The IGP of the Core i5 is a neat back-up graphics card if in case the primary discrete card goes down. I managed to still clock around 130fps (max) on Modern Warfare 3, it’s quite an improvement from the previous generation.
While there’s a slight driver issue with Windows 8 but still workable with the Microsoft driver set, there’ll be updated drivers in time for the release. And if you’re a Battlefield 3 gamer, I would recommend holding onto Windows 7 for a bit, until EA and DICE release a new plug in for IE10.