Although Intel made its mainstream LGA1156 (Socket H) platform obsolete with the introduction of the Sandy Bridge processors in January, the LGA1366 (X58) has remained the company's flagship since its consumer debut in November 2008. There's no denying that the Z68 chipset has gotten some wind out of the sails of the X58, but the almost outdated socket is still the only way enthusiasts can get their hands on a six-core Core i7 processor.
X58 not only offers exclusive support for hexa-core processors, but is also better suited for multi-GPU configurations. Without the help of Nvidia's NF200 chip, only two graphics cards can run in an x8 / x8 setup on Intel's new Z68 and P67 motherboards. For these reasons Gigabyte originally released its elite G1 killer boards (G1 Guerrilla, G1 Sniper and G1 Assasin) for LGA1366.
This naturally led to inquiries about LGA1155 versions of the Gigabyte premium boards, as the newer platform supports Sandy Bridge, namely the Core i5-2600K and i7-2600K CPUs. To meet this demand, Gigabyte released the G1.Sniper2, an enthusiastic board based on the Z68 chipset that is a fusion of the Intel H67 and P67 chipsets with the company's SRT hybrid storage technology.
At $ 360, the G1.Sniper 2 is $ 50 cheaper than the original G1.Sniper. Even so, it's a lonely area in the Z68 market, as few products can charge this high a price. The Asus Maximus IV Extreme-Z is one of the few boards in this price range, fetching $ 360 at Newegg, while Gigabyte's own Z68X-UD7-B3 costs $ 350 and is one of the best-equipped boards on the market applies.
Like Asus' ROG motherboards, Gigabyte's G1.Killer series is aimed at hardcore users by integrating additional hardware such as a dedicated sound chip from Creative and a network controller from Bigfoot Networks. Those extras are backed up by a hefty, matte black military theme (note the magazine-style heat sink) that is sure to draw gamers in. These subtleties make the G1.Sniper2 one of the most expensive Z68 motherboards on the market, which begs the question: Are you getting your money's worth?