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Gigabyte G1.Sniper Z87 Motherboard Review

Automatic CPU Overclocking:

Auto-OC-1 Auto-OC-2 Auto-OC-3 Auto-OC-4 Auto-OC-5

Built into the G1.Sniper Z87 motherboard’s UEFI is a parameter called ‘Performance Upgrade’. This seems to be Gigabyte’s version of automated overclocking.

Users are free to select from five profiles which are named ‘20%’, ‘40%’, ‘60%’, ‘80%’, and ‘100%’. Oddly enough, the number values mean nothing. The profile names do little more than confuse a user away from applying the profile in fear for their chip’s life – 100% would be a huge overclock.

We recording the profile settings to be configured as follows:

  • 20% gives a CPU frequency of 4.30GHz with a VCore of 1.40V and DRAM speed of 1600MHz.
  • 40% gives a CPU frequency of 4.40GHz with a VCore of 1.40V and DRAM speed of 1600MHz.
  • 60% gives a CPU frequency of 4.50GHz with a VCore of 1.40V and DRAM speed of 1866MHz.
  • 80% gives a CPU frequency of 4.60GHz with a VCore of 1.355V and DRAM speed of 1866MHz.
  • 100% gives a CPU frequency of 4.70GHz with a VCore of 1.42V and DRAM speed of 2133MHz.

As is clear, all of the profiles use high voltage levels which will demand a very potent CPU cooler. We feel that the three lowest-speed profiles are very badly optimised. 1.40V for a frequency of 4.30GHz, 4.40GHz, or 4.50GHz is far higher than what is necessary and results in CPU temperatures which are borderline unstable with a Corsair H100i. We would not use any of those three profiles for 24/7 usage as 1.40V is higher than we would want our chip to use for extended periods of time.

The ‘80%’ 4.60GHz profile uses some well-thought settings. Unfortunately, 4.6GHz is higher than many processors are capable of reaching, ours included. The G1.Sniper Z87 applied a 1.42V VCore for the ‘100%’ 4.70GHz option which, again, is higher than we would recommend for safe usage over extended time periods.

Given the bad decisions made when applying settings to the ‘Performance Upgrade’ profiles, users wanting an automated overclocking option are forced to rely upon the ‘CPU Up’ setting. Unfortunately, this option is also programmed badly, with a VCore of 1.40V being applied to each profile, even the sub-4.50GHz options.

To say that we are unimpressed by Gigabyte’s attempts at providing automated overclocking options would be an understatement. Luckily for Gigabyte, a large proportion of the G1.Sniper Z87 board’s target audience is likely to be capable of applying a stable overclock to their system, negating the reliance upon the poor automated options.

Manual CPU Overclocking:

To test the Gigabyte G1.Sniper Z87 motherboard’s CPU overclocking potential, we first increased the CPU VCore to 1.325V, Cache voltage (called RING voltage) to 1.275V, and CPU Input Voltage (called VRIN) to 1.900V. The Uncore ratio was set to 39x and LLC was set to ‘Auto’.

Manual-OC-main Manual-OC-voltages

Overclocking our 4770K to 4.50GHz was a simple task, once navigation of the BIOS had been practised. Gigabyte’s slider options made increasing voltage levels a simple task.

Hitting 4.50GHz on our 4770K was as easy as applying the settings listed above and selecting a 45x core ratio. We didn’t have to mess around with offset voltages or any other irritating settings; the G1.Sniper Z87 was happy to take our inputs and return a 4.50GHz overclock.

4500MHz manual-oc-valid

Gigabyte’s ‘Auto’ LLC setting provided excellent results, keeping our chip within 1mV of what we applied via the UEFI BIOS. This is an excellent level of accuracy.

We pushed for stability at 4.6GHz, but as has been the case for every other Z87 motherboard that we have tested with our 4770K, a BSOD would quickly ruin our attempts.

Our 4.5GHz overclock validation can be viewed here.

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