Gigabyte G1.Assassin ReviewGeekspeak411 - June 16, 2011
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My first full look at the G1.Assassin left me rather speechless. First off, I really like the color scheme as it is reminiscent of an old favorite of mine, the eVGA 790i Ultra as kind of seen here. Gigabyte really went above and beyond here though as they took the military gaming theme all the way with some hilariously extravagant heatspreaders shaped like rifle heatsinks up top and one shaped like an ammo clip on the bootom. Gigabyte felt it had to put a legitimate disclaimer at the bottom reading: “Heat sink: Not a weapon. Cannot be assembled as a firearm.” That’s awesome. Beyond the heatsink, Gigabyte has successfully coupled some of the most legitimate hardware options you can find on the market today, and it shows. This is a huge motherboard considering its monstrous XL-ATX dimensions, but beyond that, it’s packed! Fitting a fully featured hardware Creative X-Fi sound card and a Killer E2100 network card on to the board itself is not an easy task but Gigabyte pulls it off with one of the most sophisticated motherboard layouts I have ever seen.
The CPU area of the board is chock full of toys and utilities. The socket is a standard LGA 1366 LOTES socket with towering heatsinks sprouting up around it keeping the dual 8-Phase power system cooled off. Right next to the socket is the I/O panel which is packed with connections to the order of two PS/2 ports for legacy keyboards and mice, a SPDIF port, dual USB 2.0 ports, 2 dual USB 3.0 Ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port with another dual USB 2.0 port, and an audio hub containing five stereo 3.5mm plugs, and an optical port.
Moving down the board, another reason why this board must be XL-ATX is revealed. Four full PCI-E 2.0 slots, each double spaced, allowing for an insane amount of configurability and versatility when building a custom rig around this board. In addition, there are two more PCI-E 1x slots and a legacy PCI port to completely round out an ideal user experience. Supplanting the insane power requirements needed for a Multi-GPU graphics configuration are two 4-Pin Molex connections. Racing around the bottom corner I’ve got audio headers, a Molex port, a 4-pin fan header, two external USB 3.0 headers, two external USB 2.0 headers, front panel headers and a 4-pin fan header along the bottom edge. Continuing on up the right side of the board, the BIOS battery is mounted. Following the battery are two SATA 6.0 Gbps ports, six SATA 3.0 Gbps ports, a 4-pin fan header, a 24-Pin ATX power connector and a plethora of LED indicators showing off all kinds of information such as clock speeds, temperatures, loads and more. This board will probably look like a Christmas tree when it’s all overclocked and benchmarking. Finally, along the top edge sits a 4-pin CPU fan header as well as dual 8-pin CPU power connections, although only one is needed for less than extraordinary operating conditions.
Next up under the spotlight is the crazy heatsink configuration. Consisting of large heatspreaders interlinked via heatpipes, there are three primary sinks, as well as a low profile "ammo clip resembling piece" over the southbridge. They are comprised of a completely metal construction and feel to be of very high quality. The IOH speader has five LEDs that simply act as ‘running lights’ to add to the board’s flair. Here at OCC, we void the warranty so you don’t have to! I went ahead and removed the heatsinks to get a closer look at both the heatsinks and the board itself and was very pleased to find a high quality thermal compound on the heatsinks. Even better than that was that the amount applied was just about perfect. This shows Gigabyte’s skill at producing high quality products from drawing table to retail shelf.
With the heatsinks out of the way, I want to show each of the different primary chips and features found on the board. First off, the hardware for the Creative X-Fi audio system is squeezed in right in front of the PCI-E slots with its own fully independent processor and RAM. Next up is the Killer E2100 Network card which also has its own processor and RAM to offload all network processing and optimization from the Windows stack. In between those two sits the USB 3.0 controller, fat, happy and made in Japan. The dual BIOS chips are positioned directly behind the PCI-E 2.0 slots, sandwiched between the slots and the southbridge heatsink.
Beautiful, let’s move on.