What's new
  • Please do not post any links until you have 3 posts as they will automatically be rejected to prevent SPAM. Many words are also blocked due to being used in SPAM Messages. Thanks!

GIGABYTE G1.Assassin G1-Killer LGA1366 Motherboard Review

Status
Not open for further replies.

MAC

Associate Review Editor
Joined
Nov 8, 2006
Messages
1,086
Location
Montreal
During CES 2011 we had the opportunity to attend the elaborate launch party for GIGABYTE's latest product line, the G1-Killer motherboard series - a whole line of motherboards designed from the ground up to cater to gamers. Consisting of three models dubbed G1.Assassin, G1.Sniper and G1.Guerilla, this new series is based on the high-end LGA1366 platform, with Intel's proven X58 Express chipset at its core. While this platform might seem a little long in the tooth, it still features the best possible multi-threaded performance and multi-GPU capabilities and is not likely to be replaced before January 2012.

While a lot of PC hardware is labelled as "designed for gamers", what distinguishes this new motherboard series from past models is something that GIGABYTE describes as 'Super Sight, Super Hearing, Super Speed, Super Shield'. First and foremost, this is highlighted by the inclusion of dedicated gaming-oriented hardware in the form of the onboard Bigfoot Killer E2100 network processing unit (NPU) and/or Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi digital audio processor. Those are just the big additions though since G1-Killer boards have a plethora of other unique elements such as a front audio headphone amplifier, Nichicon MUSE audio capacitors, a hardware auto-overclocking button, Smart Fan pin headers, and of course the eye-catching black/lime green theme and Locked & Loaded heatpipe design. There are a few other interesting bits, but we will touch on those throughout the review.

Today, we are reviewing the flagship model, the ambitious G1.Assassin. Priced at around $480CDN, this is a high-end motherboard if there ever was one. GIGABYTE has outfitted this large XL-ATX form factor model with both the Bigfoot Killer E2100 NPU and Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi digital audio processor, which supports EAX 5.0, Dolby Digital Live, DTS Connect, and DTS Neo: PC. Complementing the audio portion are also a front audio headphone amplifier, which can power up to 150 Ohm headphones, and the aforementioned Nichicon audio-class capacitors which are touted to deliver the highest quality sound.

When it comes to connectivity, there are two SATA 6GB/s ports, six SATA 3GB/s ports, up to eight USB 2.0 ports, up to eight USB 3.0 ports, and powered eSATA port. Expansion slot wise there are an impressive four mechanical PCI-E x16 slots, with support for 4-way CrossFireX and 3-way SLI. Rounding off the specifications are a 16-phase power design with the latest generation Driver MOSFETs, an impressive cooling system, five Smart Fan heaters with individual thermal sensors, Quick Boost button that allows for an automatic one-button system overclock, support for 3TB+ hard drives, and the usual string of GIGABYTE-specific features like On/Off charge, USB 3x power, Smart6, Ultra Durable 3 design, and Dynamic Energy Saver 2. Basically, it's fully featured, packed to the rafters, stuffed to the gills, and any other cliché you can think of that indicates an overabundance of stuff.

G1_Assassin_2.jpg
 
Last edited by a moderator:

MAC

Associate Review Editor
Joined
Nov 8, 2006
Messages
1,086
Location
Montreal
Chipset & Specifications

Chipset & Specifications



G1_Assassin_3.jpg


As a necessary companion to the Core i7 processors, Intel released the X58 Tylersburg northbridge, now known as the IO Hub (IOH). This reclassification has occurred because of the fact that the memory controller has been integrated into the processor itself. As a result, the IO Hub is now solely responsible for implementing PCI Express lanes and linking to the I/O Controller Hub (ICH) southbridge. Since the front side bus is no more, the X58 communicates with the processor via the new high-speed QuickPath Interface (QPI), and it is connected to the southbridge (ICH) via the traditional Direct Media Interface (DMI). The southbridge is the venerable ICH10R that was first introduced with P45 Express chipset, and it supports six SATA II ports, AHCI, and Matrix RAID technology.

The X58 features 36 PCI-Express 2.0 lanes, which signifies that it supports two proper PCI-E x16 slots. However, depending on the motherboard manufacturer's design, those 36 PCI-E 2.0 lanes can also be utilized in a triple PCI-E x16 (x16/x8/x8) and/or quad PCI-E x16 (x8/x8/x8/x8) configuration. The G1.Assassin that we are reviewing today supports up to 4-way CrossFireX and 3-way SLI. For those who are curious, 4-way SLI would have required an NVIDIA NF200 PCI-E bridge chip, which would have added cost, heat, and latency to this model, so we can do without it.

Officially, Intel's specifications list DDR3-1066 as the highest supported memory speed on the Bloomfield/X58 platform. However, all motherboard manufacturers have marketed their models as DDR3-1600 capable, and Gigabyte have certified the G1.Assassin for up to DDR3-2200.

Now that we have examined some of the specifications inherent to the new platform, let's see what kind of motherboard Gigabyte have built around this new chipset:

G1_Assassin_4.jpg
 

MAC

Associate Review Editor
Joined
Nov 8, 2006
Messages
1,086
Location
Montreal
Package & Accessories

Package & Accessories


Now that we have gone over the G1.Assassin’s chipset and its extensive specifications, it is time to take a look at the packaging and the included accessories. At almost $500, this model is at the very high-end of the motherboard market, so we expect to see a nice selection of accessories.

Let's check it out:


G1_Assassin_5th.jpg
G1_Assassin_6th.jpg

G1_Assassin_7th.jpg
G1_Assassin_8th.jpg

Click on image to enlarge

As you can see, GIGABYTE designed the G1-Killer series packaging to look like a WW2-style military ammo box, a rusty one at that. The handle that adorns most upper-end GB packaging definitely helps sell the look. The already cool packaging gets a further boost by the the undeniably eye-catching G1-Killer logo. The only real issue with this packaging is that it’s huge, with measurements of 16” x 16” x 5.5”, and a pain to store for the length of the warranty period (3 years).


G1_Assassin_9th.jpg
G1_Assassin_10th.jpg

G1_Assassin_11th.jpg
G1_Assassin_12th.jpg

G1_Assassin_13th.jpg
G1_Assassin_14th.jpg

Click on image to enlarge

Once you open the outside packaging, you are greeted with an inner box featuring a
camouflage print. Inside that box is another two separate sections, the top half contains the motherboard while the bottom half has all the accessories.


G1_Assassin_15th.jpg
G1_Assassin_16th.jpg

G1_Assassin_17th.gif
G1_Assassin_18th.gif

G1_Assassin_19th.jpg
G1_Assassin_20th.jpg

Click on image to enlarge

Accessories wise, the G1.Assassin comes with a user manual, installation guidebook, driver DVD, G1-Killer I/O shield, four SATA 6Gb/s cables, 2-way SLI bridge connector, 3-way SLI bridge connector, and 2-way CrossFireX bridge connector. Last but not least is the 5.25" Front Access Control Panel with two USB 3.0 ports, one powered eSATA/USB combo port, and the Quick Boost auto-overclocking button. All in all, it's a good selection but we were hoping for a bit more in terms of value-added items.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

MAC

Associate Review Editor
Joined
Nov 8, 2006
Messages
1,086
Location
Montreal
A Closer Look at the G1.Assassin

A Closer Look at the G1.Assassin



G1_Assassin_21.jpg

Although it may not look it at first glance, the G1.Assassin is significantly larger than the standard ATX form factor. This motherboard measures 13.6" long by 10.3" wide, easily surpassing the 12" x 9.6" ATX spec, and thus gets slapped with the new and unofficial XL-ATX label. This is noteworthy because obviously many cases don't have that extra clearance needed to accommodate this motherboard, so definitely do your homework before buying one.

On the layout front, the G1.Assassin is as perfect as it gets. The 24-pin ATX power connector, the angled SATA ports, the fan headers, the USB headers, and one of the molex power connectors are all right on the edge of the board where they should be. The two 8-pin CPU power connectors are not sandwiched between the MOSFET heatsink and the back of the rear I/O panel, there is good amount of clearance which makes our fingers happy. On any other motherboard we might bring up the issue that if you install a second graphics card in the third mechanical PCI-E x16 slot (which is actually the second ‘proper’ electrical x16 slot), then you end blocking the one PCI slot. However, since PCI slots are nowadays basically only used for sound cards, and the G1.Assassin has a terrific onboard audio solution, this is essentially a non-issue.

G1_Assassin_22th.jpg
G1_Assassin_23th.jpg

Click on image to enlarge

Taken as a whole, this motherboard has a very clean and large CPU socket area, which makes it a joy to work with and ensures compatibility with any cooling option you can possibly want.

When it comes to supplying juice to the processor, this motherboard features a 16-phase power design, plus an additional 4 phases for the Uncore. While 16 phases might not seem like much when compared to a previous model like the X58A-UD7, this PWM features the very latest Driver MOSFETs, also known as DrMOS, which have better electrical performance, are much more efficient, and run cooler. You truthfully only need 6 to 8 phases on these motherboards, even when doing heavy air or water-cooled overclocking, but the benefit of having this more robust power design is that the load gets spread across many phases, resulting in lower temperatures and potentially greater reliability as well.

Another neat little feature is that there are LEDs to the top-right of the socket, which alert you in case of CPU overvoltage and high CPU temperatures.

G1_Assassin_24th.jpg
G1_Assassin_25th.jpg
G1_Assassin_26th.jpg

Click on image to enlarge

The MOSFET heatsinks were supposedly designed to resemble the M203 grenade launcher, which is an attachment to the M16 and M4 assault rifles. Whether the design is a success lies in the eye of the beholder, but either way they are eye-catching. While these heatsinks don’t have a lot of fin area for airflow to pass through, they do have a fair bit of mass which does help absorb a lot of heat. Whether they actually cool well is something that we will test in a later part of this review.

While GIGABYTE has added two 8-pin CPU connectors to this motherboard, the need for them is somewhat debatable given the fact that this is not really a model designed for hardcore overclocking. Having said that, if you have a power supply that features two 8-pin connectors it doesn’t hurt to use them.

G1_Assassin_27th.jpg
G1_Assassin_30th.jpg

Click on image to enlarge

The IOH/Northbridge heatsink is another unique design element. It was designed to look like the foregrip of the aforementioned M4 rifle, and it does except when viewed from the side, which reveals its very odd shape. This heatsink does feature five bright green LEDs, which do add some bling to the overall effect.

The X58 IOH chipset itself is fed by its own more than capable 2-phase power design. GIGABYTE have added overvoltage LEDs for this component as well, but they can be quite difficult to see if you have a graphics card installed in the first PCI-E x16 slot.

G1_Assassin_31th.jpg
G1_Assassin_34th.jpg

G1_Assassin_33th.jpg
G1_Assassin_34ath.jpg

Click on image to enlarge

The black and lime green memory slots have the same spacing as we have seen on all other six slot motherboards, which is to say that you will not want to use any memory modules with abnormally thick heatspreaders. This motherboard supports 24GB of system memory, and it has been certified as DDR3-2200 capable with a 6GB kit. GIGABYTE has outfitted this model with a two-phase power design for the memory, which is the norm. We can also see the perfectly located 24-pin ATX power connector.

As you can see, there is a whole bunch of LEDs around the memory slots. There are CPU phase LEDs, which only work used Dynamic Energy Saver 2 is installed, DDR overvoltage LEDs, DDR phase LEDs, and northbridge phase LEDs. This all helps users get a good indication of how their system is running, if they care of course.

G1_Assassin_35th.jpg
G1_Assassin_37th.jpg

Click on image to enlarge

Continuing the weapon theme, the southbridge heatsink is in the shape of AK47 magazine, and is even
adorned by a bullet. Hilariously, GIGABYTE had to print a warning on the heatsink, just to ensure that stupid people don't have any crazy ideas.

G1_Assassin_38th.jpg
G1_Assassin_39th.jpg

Click on image to enlarge

The six black SATA 3Gb/s ports come from the ICH10R southbridge and support RAID 0/1/5/10. However, the two white ports are SATA 6Gb/s and come from the new Marvell SE9182 controller. This BIOS-less controller supports RAID 0/1, can use up to two PCI-E x1 lanes, and performs almost as well as the native SATA 6Gb/s interface found on the new Intel P67 PCH chipset and is a great chip to integrate on an X58 motherboard.

G1_Assassin_40th.jpg
G1_Assassin_41th.jpg

Click on image to enlarge

The bottom-right corner of the motherboard is home to the user-friendly colour-coded front panel header. The USB header with the red marking supports GIGABYTE’s On/Off Charge technology, which allows you to charge your mobile devices even when the PC is turned off. The Clear CMOS jumper is quite difficult to find since it is not where the labeling is. You have to carefully follow a thin white line which sort of leads to the jumper to the right of the mounting hole. Also, there is no jumper cap to be found, so users can’t clear the CMOS useless they have one lying around or use a metal object to bridge the pins, an unnerving proposition for most users. What this tells us is that GIGABYTE is extremely confident in their motherboard’s auto-recovery capabilities, but a jumper cap would have been nice nevertheless.

The “OC_Button” header is where you plug in one of the cables for the 5.25" Front Access Control Panel, which has the Quick Boost auto-overclocking button. As most GIGABYTE motherboards do, this G1-Killer series model features two soldered BIOS chips, preventing a BIOS-related issue from causing your system any downtime.

G1_Assassin_42th.jpg
G1_Assassin_43th.jpg

Click on image to enlarge

This motherboard features two internal USB 3.0 headers, which can provide users with up to 4 extra ports. This is all thanks to the increasingly popular VLI VL810 4-port USB 3.0 hub controller. One of those headers can and/or should be used by the aforementioned 5.25" Front Access Control Panel in order to power its two front ports. Once accessories using this type of header make it to the market, users will also be able to add two additional USB 3.0 ports to the front of their system.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

MAC

Associate Review Editor
Joined
Nov 8, 2006
Messages
1,086
Location
Montreal
A Closer Look at the G1.Assassin pt.2

A Closer Look at the G1.Assassin pt.2


G1_Assassin_44th.jpg
G1_Assassin_45th.jpg

Click on image to enlarge

The G1.Assassin is one of the few X58 motherboards with four physical PCI-E 2.0 x16 slots, and is one of the even fewer models that can actually fit four dual-slot graphics cards.

In a dual graphics card configuration, the first and third PCI-E x16 slots will operate at the full x16 speed (x16/x16). When three graphics cards are installed, either the first or third x16 slot will run at x16, while the other two will operate at x8 (x16/x8/x8). If four graphics cards are installed, all four PCI-E x16 slots will operate at x8 (x8/x8/x8/x8). GIGABYTE has certified this motherboard for 4-way CrossFireX and 3-way SLI. There is no quad SLI since this model doesn't feature an NVIDIA NF200 chip. This might seem like a negative but it is a blessing in disguise since that PCI-E bridge chip adds latency, a 1-3% performance penalty, and a not inconsiderable amount of extra heat as well.

If you do end up setting up a triple or quad graphics card system, you should definitely make use of the two PCI-E 12V power connectors in order to ensure that PCI-E slots get the power that they require for such a power-hungry configuration.

G1_Assassin_46th.jpg
G1_Assassin_47th.jpg

Click on image to enlarge

Here we have the G1.Assassin’s strongest attribute: the onboard audio. GIGABYTE has really outdone themselves here, since every part of the audio subsystem has been well thought out and is graced with high quality components. This is obviously important since you need quality components at every stage of the process in order to achieve optimal sound quality.

First and foremost, we have the terrific Creative CA20K2 audio processor. This RISC-based processor supports 24-bit digital audio, up to 128 simultaneous channels (think individual sounds), and even sports a ridiculous 384 KHz sample rate. By comparison, Blu-ray's only feature 24bit/192kHz audio. As you would expect, this Creative-based gaming audio solution supports OpenAL and EAX 5.0, as well as a suite of X-Fi technologies like the X-Fi Crystalizer and X-Fi CMSS 3D. For those that have an eye towards the home theater, there is also support for Dolby Digital Live and DTS Connect.

This is exactly the same chip that Creative use on their high-end Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium series sound cards. However, whereas those sound cards only have up to 64MB of onboard memory, this motherboard has 128MB. This onboard memory is used by the audio processor to cache and store uncompressed audio, which reduces the need for on-the-fly decompression of the audio data, and thus ultimately reduces CPU utilization and improves frame rates.

Now it's time to take a peek at all the individual components that make up this high-end audio solution. Among the most noticeable elements is the row of stubby audiophile-grade Nichicon 33uF 16v MW series capacitors. All the audio channels go through these capacitors, and while we are not going to get into specifics, the end result is that the audio has a more natural tone and superior resolution.

G1_Assassin_48th.jpg
G1_Assassin_49th.jpg

Click on image to enlarge

To the lower-left of the Creative chip is this busy little area. The Wolfson WM8775 is a 24-bit 96 KHz 4-channel analog-to-digital converter (ADC), it turns the analog signals from line-in microphone inputs into digital sound. The STMicroelectronics MC33078 is the built-in front audio headphone amplifier, which can provide a wider range of sounds, crisper detail, less distortion if you have some adequately competent headphones. The AKM 53588ET is a 24-bit 96 KHz analog-to-digital converter, also for the front panel header inputs. The Texas Instruments LC245A IC is responsible for the S/PDIF digital output on the rear I/O panel. The STMicroelectronics C4558 is one of the three low-noise amplifiers, capable of driving up to 150 Ohms, which are connected to the center/subwoofer, side speaker, rear speaker outputs.

G1_Assassin_50th.jpg
G1_Assassin_51th.jpg

Click on image to enlarge

A bit out of the picture, below this group of Schottky rectifiers, is the single-phase power design that was implemented just for this audio solution.

Here we have one of the aforementioned C4558 amplifiers beside the larger New Japan Radio 4556A amplifier. This latter amp is connected to the rear line out, which is used for the front speaker output, and is is capable of driving 150 Ohm loads.

G1_Assassin_52th.jpg
G1_Assassin_53th.jpg

Click on image to enlarge

The Cirrus Logic CS4382ACOZ is an 8-channel 24-bit Digital-to-Analog (DAC) converter, which can output 114dB along all 8 channels at a very high 192 KHz. This chip is responsible for converting the digital bits into crisp, clean, and continuous analog for your headphones and speakers. The audio passes through this very important chip before heading to the amplifiers, capacitors, and then the outputs.

The tall green capacitors are the audiophile-grade Nichicon 33uF 16v ES series capacitors. These bi-polarized electrolytic capacitors might feature an ‘old design’, but they are specially designed for audio equipment. They are not cheap components by any means, and it shows that GIGABYTE did their homework and didn't skimp out on the quality of any of the components in the audio subsystem.

G1_Assassin_54th.jpg
G1_Assassin_55th.jpg

Click on image to enlarge

The Bigfoot Killer E2100 network processing unit (NPU) is a dedicated network co-processor that runs at 400Mhz, features its own 1GB of DDR2 memory, and uses a PCI-E x1 lane. It is designed to offload network processing from the CPU, in order to lower CPU utilization, as well as shape and control traffic in order to ensure the best possible network/online gaming experience via lower latency. It does this through the Game Networking DNA software that cleverly bypasses the usual Windows network stack, which is not really optimized for game-type data. Does it work? Well we test that out in a later section.

The Spansion IC is merely an 8MB flash chip that allows for driver and firmware updates to the E2100 NPU.

G1_Assassin_56th.jpg
G1_Assassin_58th.jpg
G1_Assassin_57th.jpg

Click on image to enlarge

The NEC/Renesas D720200AF1 is a very widely used USB 3.0 controller responsible for two of the four USB 3.0 ports on the rear I/O panel. The aforementioned VLI VL810 USB 3.0 controller provides the other two ports. Now to be honest, we aren't sure why GIGABYTE has outfitted this motherboard with a Marvell 88E118R PCI-E Gigabit controller. Common sense would dictate that it is a backup controller just in case of incompatibilities with the E2100 NPU, but there are no separate drivers for it, yet.

G1_Assassin_59.jpg

On the rear I/O panel, we have a PS/2 keyboard port, a PS/2 mouse ports, a coaxial S/PDIF port, two USB 2.0 ports, four USB 3.0 ports, a Gigabit LAN port, two additional USB 2.0 ports, six audio jacks, and an optical S/PDIFport.

G1_Assassin_60th.jpg
G1_Assassin_61th.jpg

G1_Assassin_62th.jpg
G1_Assassin_63th.jpg

Click on image to enlarge

On its back, the G1.Assassin has a number of screws holding in place the elaborate cooling system. As you can see, there are also a number of naked MOSFETS on the back of the motherboard. The four Vishay SiC769CD DrMOS's combine with the twelve on the top surface to make the 16-phase power design. The other four regular MOSFETS are one-half of the 4-phase Uncore VRM.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

MAC

Associate Review Editor
Joined
Nov 8, 2006
Messages
1,086
Location
Montreal
Hardware Installation

Hardware Installation


In the Hardware Installation section we examine how major components fit on the motherboard, and whether there are any serious issues that may affect installation and general functionality. Specifically, we are interested in determining whether there is adequate clearance in all critical areas.

G1_Assassin_64th.jpg
G1_Assassin_65th.jpg
G1_Assassin_66th.jpg

Click on image to enlarge

The G1.Assassin’s cooling system is sufficiently spaced-out and low-profile so that it shouldn’t cause any clearance issues with most large CPU coolers.

G1_Assassin_67th.jpg
G1_Assassin_68th.jpg

G1_Assassin_69th.jpg
G1_Assassin_70th.jpg

Click on image to enlarge

When installed in the traditional North-South orientation, the fan clips from our Prolimatech Mega Shadow did prevent the installation of memory modules with tall heatspreaders in the first memory slot. However, if we removed the fan clip, the memory modules fit perfectly and actually held the fan in place. It is definitely not an ideal solution, but it does work. The best idea is simply to use the black memory slots or get modules that are the standard height.

G1_Assassin_71th.jpg
G1_Assassin_72th.jpg
G1_Assassin_73th.jpg

Click on image to enlarge

Thanks to the expansion slot layout, there is a huge gap between the memory clips and the back of the graphics card, so there are no issues when installing/removing memory modules. The 24-pin ATX power connector and the 8-pin CPU power connector are both ideally placed, so that makes assembling and disassembling the system just a tad easier.

G1_Assassin_74th.jpg
G1_Assassin_75th.jpg

G1_Assassin_76th.jpg
G1_Assassin_77th.jpg

G1_Assassin_78th.jpg
G1_Assassin_79th.jpg

Click on image to enlarge

Frankly, thanks to the awesome layout, no matter what graphics cards configuration you choose it will work perfectly.

G1_Assassin_80th.jpg
G1_Assassin_81th.jpg

Click on image to enlarge

If you install a dual-slot graphics card in the fourth PCI-E x16 slot you will obviously be restricting access to the front panel audio header, front panel header, and various USB 2.0/3.0 headers. By the way, the graphics card will overhang the motherboard, so keep that in mind if you have a case that already has very little clearance due to the motherboard’s large XL-ATX form factor.

G1_Assassin_82.jpg

The eight 90-degree SATA ports are obviously accessible no matter how many graphics cards are installed.

G1_Assassin_83th.jpg
G1_Assassin_84th.jpg

Click on image to enlarge

The mounting bracket of our Prolimatech Mega Shadow came pretty close to the Uncore MOSFETs on the back of the motherboard, so keep that in mind if your CPU cooler has an unusually large mounting bracket.
 

MAC

Associate Review Editor
Joined
Nov 8, 2006
Messages
1,086
Location
Montreal
BIOS Rundown

BIOS Rundown



The G1-Killer series motherboards have a traditional Award BIOS, but GIGABYTE have spruced it up a bit by adding some EFI technology in order to properly support 3TB+ hard drives. This is version F2 of the G1.Assassin’s BIOS, and since it is a very high-end motherboard, we do expect a very option-rich and user-friendly experience.

G1_Assassin_85th.jpg
G1_Assassin_86th.jpg

Click on image to enlarge

The G1-Killer series motherboards have a cool splash screen, but you will obviously want to disable it if you want to shave a few seconds off the boot time.

G1_Assassin_87th.jpg
G1_Assassin_88th.jpg

Click on image to enlarge

Recently, GIGABYTE revamped the MB Intelligent Tweaker (M.I.T.) section and broke it down into five main sub-menus. This is where enthusiasts should expect to spend 99% of their BIOS time. First and foremost, we have M.I.T Current Status sub-menu which contains a brief overview of all the system frequencies, memory sizes and timings.

G1_Assassin_89th.gif
G1_Assassin_90th.jpg

G1_Assassin_91th.jpg
G1_Assassin_92th.gif

G1_Assassin_93th.jpg
G1_Assassin_94th.jpg

G1_Assassin_95th.jpg
G1_Assassin_96th.gif

G1_Assassin_97th.jpg
G1_Assassin_98th.jpg

G1_Assassin_99th.gif
G1_Assassin_100th.gif

Click on image to enlarge

When you open the Advanced Frequency Settings sub-menu, you are greeted with all the essential system clock control options that a serious overclocker needs: CPU & memory multiplier, BLCK, UCLK (Uncore), QPI Link, PCI-E, etc.

The Advanced CPU Core Features sub-menu is where you can enable or disable the various CPU-specific settings like Turbo Boost, C1E, C-STATE, Thermal Monitor, and Enhanced SpeedStep (EIST).

G1_Assassin_101th.jpg
G1_Assassin_102th.jpg

G1_Assassin_103th.jpg
G1_Assassin_104th.jpg

G1_Assassin_105th.jpg
G1_Assassin_106th.jpg

G1_Assassin_107th.gif
G1_Assassin_108th.gif

Click on image to enlarge

As its name suggests, the Advanced Memory Settings section is where you will find all the memory-related settings. Within this section you can select the memory multiplier, change the performance profile, enter the memory and QPI (VTT/Uncore) voltages, and obviously tweak the memory timings. Each memory channel has its own section, within which you can alter the primary and secondary timings. It had just about every memory setting that an enthusiast or overclock will need to fine-tune their memory modules.

G1_Assassin_109th.jpg
G1_Assassin_110th.jpg

G1_Assassin_111th.gif
G1_Assassin_112th.gif

G1_Assassin_114th.gif
G1_Assassin_113th.jpg

Click on image to enlarge

The Advanced Voltage Settings is where you can enable or disable Load-Line Control (LLC), and more importantly, where you can control up to 16(!) system voltages. They all feature drop-down menus, but you can also manually enter your desired voltage which is a big time saver for most.
 

MAC

Associate Review Editor
Joined
Nov 8, 2006
Messages
1,086
Location
Montreal
BIOS Rundown pt.2

BIOS Rundown pt.2



G1_Assassin_115th.jpg
G1_Assassin_116th.jpg

Click on image to enlarge

The Miscellaneous Settings section is where you can enable or disable the CPU’s Virtualization Technology.

The Standard CMOS Features section displays all the connected storage devices some basic system memory information, and of course the date and time.

G1_Assassin_117th.jpg
G1_Assassin_118th.jpg

G1_Assassin_119th.jpg
G1_Assassin_120th.jpg

G1_Assassin_121th.jpg
G1_Assassin_122th.jpg

Click on image to enlarge

The Advanced BIOS Features is where you can select the boot device priority, enable/disable the full screen logo, and also saving the BIOS image to a hard drive.

G1_Assassin_123th.gif
G1_Assassin_124th.jpg

Click on image to enlarge

The Integrated Peripherals section is where you can enable or disable all of the various onboard devices (RAID & SATA 6Gb/s controllers, audio, USB 2.0, USB 3.0, eSATA, GbE LAN, etc).

The Power Management Setup section contains the power management settings linked to the power-saving sleep modes, it also allows you to enable/disable the new EuP standard.

G1_Assassin_125th.gif
G1_Assassin_126th.jpg

Click on image to enlarge

As on most motherboards, the PC Health Status section is a slight disappointment since there is insufficient voltages and temperatures readouts. On a motherboard of this caliber there is no reason not to have all vital voltages available for scrutiny in the bios. However, there is some great control over the Smart Fan headers.

When you press on F11 you will get a pop-up screen allowing you to save your current settings to a BIOS profile. If you press F12, you can load one of the saved profiles.

G1_Assassin_127th.jpg
G1_Assassin_128th.jpg

Click on image to enlarge

This last screenshot is of the Q-Flash utility which is accessed via the F8 key. Since Q-Flash is built right into the BIOS and it can read files directly from a USB flash drive, making BIOS flashing a simple and quick procedure. However, this feature appears broken in recent GIGABYTE bioses, it simply will not recognize any of our numerous USB flash drive. (EDIT: Our mistake, the flash drive(s) must be formatted in the FAT16/32 file system in order to be supported by Q-Flash. All of our units were in the NTFS format, as most of yours likely are as well.)
 

MAC

Associate Review Editor
Joined
Nov 8, 2006
Messages
1,086
Location
Montreal
Included Software

Included Software



EasyTune6

EasyTune6 is a system management utility that displays system clock speeds, voltages, temperatures, and fan rotation but more importantly it allows users to overclock from within Windows. Anyone familiar with past EasyTune iterations knows that although this utility has always contained a fair bit of functionality, its ease of use left much to be desired. Thankfully Gigabyte went back to the drawing board and created a brand new EasyTune version from scratch. Let's check it out.

G1_Assassin_129th.jpg
G1_Assassin_130th.jpg

Click on image to enlarge

The CPU and Memory tabs provide basic component information and are somewhat reminiscent of the widely used CPU-Z utility.

G1_Assassin_131th.gif
G1_Assassin_132th.jpg

Click on image to enlarge

The Tuner section is really the only one that's important. First, it contains the Quick Boost feature, which allows automatic overclocking at the touch of a button. Simply pick the Quick Boost level that best suits your needs/courage, reboot the system, and voila! Overclock achieved.

If you click on Easy or Advanced mode, three additional tabs appear: frequency, ratio, voltage. The Frequency tab allows you to tweak the BCLK, memory, and PCI-E frequencies.
Within the Tuner section, the Ratio tab allows you to independently set the multiplier on every individual CPU core, even the 'virtual' logical cores...which is unnecessary to be honest.

The Voltage tab is arguably the most important one since it allows complete control over every voltage option that is found in the BIOS. This is a great tool to fine tune an overclock.

The Graphics tab can be used to manipulate your graphics card’s core/memory/shader clock speeds. Unlike past versions of ET6, this section no longer allows you to control the GPU fan, nor monitor the GPU temperature.

G1_Assassin_133th.gif
G1_Assassin_134th.gif

Click on image to enlarge

The Smart tab gives you access to the Smart Fan feature and its finely-tuned control over the 5 Smart Fan headers.


Dynamic Energy Saver 2

Now let's have a look at the brand new Dynamic Energy Saver (DES) 2 energy saving solution, which is one of Gigabyte’s most highly-publicized features.

G1_Assassin_135.gif

After first installing the DES2 software, we are greeted with a powered down control panel. This means all energy saving functions are turned off and disabled. Only when we click on the large logo to the right does the panel come to life and the power savings begin.

The software is pretty straightforward; we have our power savings meter in the top portion providing us with information about how much wattage was saved, a CPU Power meter showing real-time CPU power consumption, the power phase status displaying how many of the 16 CPU phases are being utilized, and a representation of which components are being manipulated by the DES2 software. Dynamic Energy Saver 2 works even when the system is overclocked, while other the other manufacturers solutions do not.


AutoGreen

G1_Assassin_136.jpg

In effect, the AutoGreen utility can help reduce energy consumption when you are away from your computer by putting the system into a low power state when it doesn't sense your bluetooth-enabled cell phone in the vicinity. Once again, since there is no bluetooth receiver included, we didn't get a chance to test out this feature.


@BIOS

G1_Assassin_137.jpg

This is GIGABYTE's Windows-based BIOS flashing utility. While we strongly recommend that you use the BIOS-based Q-Flash utility to do your flashing, @BIOS has never let us down yet.


Cloud OC

G1_Assassin_138.jpg

CloudOC is GIGABYTE’s unique remote monitoring and overclocking tool that utilizes an HTML-based interface, which means is that it can be used from any internet-enabled device. If you want to know more, click here to see the CloudOC demonstration that we witnessed during Computex 2010 in Taiwain.
 

MAC

Associate Review Editor
Joined
Nov 8, 2006
Messages
1,086
Location
Montreal
Included Software pt.2

Included Software pt.2



Smart 6


One of the keynote new technologies introduced by GIGABYTE at Computex 2010 was Smart 6, which is a collection of six user-friendly system management tools. In their own words, Smart 6 "allows you to speed up system performance, reduce boot-up time, manage a secure platform and recover previous system setting easily with a click of the mouse."

G1_Assassin_140.jpg

As you can see, Smart 6 has its own dock that allows quick access to the six SMART utilities.

G1_Assassin_141.jpg

Smart QuickBoot, as the name suggests, helps reduce boot-up time. This tool consists of BIOS QuickBoot and OS QuickBoot. BIOS Quick Boot allows your system bypass the time-consuming power-on self test (POST) procedure after three successful boots, if no changes are made to the BIOS or hardware configuration. The OS QuickBoot on the other hand makes the system go into an advanced S3 sleep mode upon exiting the operation system, and it permits a quick resume to full OS functionality.

G1_Assassin_142.jpg

Smart Recovery 2 is kind of like Windows Restore/Apple Time Capsule function, where you can roll-back system settings to a previous working status. Users can select just about any day, week, or month to roll-back from, without having had to manually tell the program to create a backup flag.

G1_Assassin_143.jpg

Now most GIGABYTE motherboards feature two physical BIOS ROMs, but with Smart DualBIOS this is the first time that important passwords and dates can be saved directly to the new 16MB BIOS chips (up from the previous 8MB). While this might seem like a security risk, the only way to access Smart DualBIOS is with a password. It is simply a secure way of storing the countless passwords that most people have nowadays.

G1_Assassin_144.jpg

Smart Recorder monitors and records system activities, such as when a system was turned on or off, and what data files were accessed or copied.

G1_Assassin_145.jpg

Smart TimeLock is a feature all kids will despise, as it allows parents the ability to schedule time limits for their children to use the PC. Parents can even make different usage time rules for weekdays and weekends.


Bigfoot Networks Killer Network Manager


G1_Assassin_146th.gif

Click on image to enlarge

The Bigfoot Networks Killer Network Manager is the software control interface for the E2100 NPU that is installed along with the drivers. This utility provides users with a lot of control and monitoring capabilities over every application that is accessing the network. It displays CPU usage, NPU usage, ICMP and UDP average ping, and the network utilization of every system process and program. This tool also allows you give priority to certain applications, and throttle or block others to free network resources for other applications. It is your one-stop tool for monitoring and controlling all network traffic.


Creative Software Suite



G1_Assassin_147.gif

While not strictly a separate piece of software, the Creative drivers do add a significant amount of options and settings to the Audio Control Panel. Within the control panel the most useful area is the Mode tab, which allows users to select between the Entertainment, Audio Creation, and Gaming modes. These are presets that enable or disable certain of the numerous settings and features in order to suit the specific audio task that users want to engage in, The sound output is substantially different between each mode.

G1_Assassin_148.gif

Depending on what mode you select, the Audio Console switch between radically different interfaces with unique settings and features for the user to tweak. The Audio Console is powerful piece of software in the right hands.

G1_Assassin_149.jpg

As stated directly on the application, the ALchemy tool allows for hardware accelerated audio in DirectSound3D games so that users can make use of EAX effects and 3D Audio in Vista or Windows 7.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top