Gigabyte intros G1-Killer motherboard series

CES — Gigabyte has been teasing a new line of motherboards for a little while now. At the Consumer Electronics Show, the company finally lifted the curtain on its baby, the G1-Killer series. Built explicitly for gamers, the Killer series is a departure from Gigabyte’s norm on several fronts, including how the motherboards were developed. Gigabyte’s engineers and board designers usually define a motherboard’s feature set. With the Killer series, Gigabyte asked gamers to conjure up their ultimate motherboard and then put its engineers and designers to work on making that board a reality. The end result is, well, a little surreal.

The monster pictured above is the G1.Assasin, the flagship model in a family that also includes Sniper and Guerrilla offerings. As you can see, subtlety has been thrown out the window. The onboard heatsinks have been modeled after firearm components, and there’s even a faux bullet poking out of the magazine that cools the south bridge.

Fortunately, there’s more to the Killer series than a military theme. In addition to all the goodness one might expect from a high-end Gigabyte motherboard, such as Ultra Durable 3 components, a fancy power delivery system for the CPU, and dual BIOS chips, the Killer boards sport a number of entirely new enhancements. On the networking front, they incorporate Bigfoot’s Killer NIC E2100—the same networking controller that recently popped up on a VisionTek graphics card. The Killer NIC makes a lot more sense on a motherboard, and not just because its name is a perfect match. Users will be able to tap Bigfoot’s network management software to ensure that BitTorrent downloads and other network traffic don’t steal bandwidth from online multiplayer games.

Two of the three Killer motherboard models also feature Creative X-Fi audio. Unlike some onboard X-Fi implementations, these use the CA20K2 audio processor that features honest-to-goodness hardware acceleration for positional 3D audio. Gigabyte even pairs the X-Fi with a dedicated X-RAM memory chip.

In a bid to improve output quality, the Killer series’ integrated audio uses fancy Nichion Muse ES and MW capacitors. Each of the output channels, including the front-panel headphone connector, gets its own amplifier chip. If you’d rather get your audio from a digital output, all three members of the Killer series can encode Dolby Digital Live and DTS Connect bitstreams. The lone Killer model that doesn’t feature an X-Fi audio processor performs DDL and DTS encoding via Creative software running on top of a Realtek codec chip.

Surprisingly, the Killer series looks like it could have pretty decent fan speed controls. In addition to the CPU fan, there are four fan headers on the board. Each is tied to its own temperature sensor. Gigabyte is promising robust fan speed controls via its EasyTune Windows software and through the BIOS.

One might expect the Killer series to be primed for Intel’s new Sandy Bridge CPUs, but these boards are equipped with LGA1366 sockets and X58 chipsets. The X58 is Intel’s only chipset capable of powering a pair of graphics cards in a full-lane dual-x16 PCI Express configuration. It’s also the only one that can drive four graphics cards in a quad-x8 config, and the G1.Assassin takes full advantage with four physical x16 slots. Without an Nvidia NF200 chip, the board’s SLI support is limited to three-way configs. You can run up to four Radeons in CrossFireX, though.

To accommodate four graphics cards, the Assassin uses an XL-ATX form factor that’s larger than your average motherboard. The Sniper and Guerrilla models are limited to three slots, and they have fewer USB 3.0 ports and CPU power phases than the Assassin. All three boards feature a new Marvell 6Gbps Serial ATA controller tied to several PCIe lanes stemming from the X58’s north bridge, so you won’t be stuck with the ICH10R’s 3Gbps SATA ports.

Gigabyte is still putting the finishing touches on the Killer series, and it hasn’t set prices just yet. These are premium offerings, so they won’t be cheap. They may not be X58-only for long, either. Gigabyte says it’s looking into adding a Sandy Bridge model to the Killer lineup, and it can’t come soon enough.

Comments closed
    • Walkintarget
    • 9 years ago

    No AMD option .. crap. I have a black/green build that needs a newer board and a PII 965 B.E. just waiting for a board using this exact color scheme. Looks like it won’t be this board 🙁

    Not even an AM3+ ??

    • Kent_dieGo
    • 9 years ago

    With Sandy Bridge coming out I thought the socket LGA1366/X58 platform was dead. Looks like a nice board but seems like they are year late with this. I hope they have a G1-Killer series based on the Z68 chip set ready to come out soon.

    • d0g_p00p
    • 9 years ago

    No blurb about how the Killer NIC also comes with 1GB onboard RAM? What a NIC needs RAM for is beyond me

      • UberGerbil
      • 9 years ago

      You can install [url=http://www.bigfootnetworks.com/Support/index.php?_m=downloads&_a=view&parentcategoryid=3&pcid=0&nav=0<]programs that run on the NIC[/url<], using its processor and RAM. You can debate the utility of this feature, but that's what the RAM is for.

    • herothezero
    • 9 years ago

    Hideous color scheme and tacky heatsink motif (sadly, Asian design generally lacks aesthetic appeal), but I like the Killer NIC integration, and “Good Enough” naysayers aside, the X-Fi implementation is a nice touch.

    • Duck
    • 9 years ago

    By gamers, they mean 10 year old boys with rich parents?

    • shank15217
    • 9 years ago

    Sandy bridge shoots it self in the foot with the integrated PCI-e controller (just like annandale). Its a high end cpu with very limited I/O options. Making a high end board with Sandy Bridge is an oxymoron. High end platforms need flexible and large bandwidth not unlike a server platform. Socket 1366 was good platform and X58 chipset deserves a replacement. AMD has a really strong opening if they can release their desktop bulldozer with 880FX/990FX (most advanced, highest bandwidth desktop chipset in the market right now). At the super high end, pci-e bandwidth matters and connectivity options matter even more so than raw cpu speed.

      • UberGerbil
      • 9 years ago

      The X58/socket 1366 replacement is coming, with 6 and 8 core chips to plug into it, later this year. The “really strong opening” isn’t going to be open for very long; unless AMD ships something in the next six months they’re not going to be able to take advantage of it. Of course they’ll still be able to compete on a value basis with bulldozer, but that’s not going to help their profitability much.

        • Kent_dieGo
        • 9 years ago

        Yes LGA-2011 is coming soon for high end. Quad channel RAM. 1366 is dead:
        [url<]http://www.semiaccurate.com/2011/01/09/first-lga-2011-consumer-board-details-appear/[/url<]

    • Decelerate
    • 9 years ago

    I want an mATX version

    • SomeOtherGeek
    • 9 years ago

    Wow! That is a busy board. Notice the fan wire coming out of the NB heat sink? Just wow.

    I love the color scheme too! Hotness. Think they will make for for the LGA 2011?

      • PopcornMachine
      • 9 years ago

      Does that mean there’s a little fan in there ?

        • anotherengineer
        • 9 years ago

        I don’t know if the dual 8-pin headers and the 4-pin molex header will be enough power for the mobo to handle more than 1 fan 😉

        lol

        • SomeOtherGeek
        • 9 years ago

        Yes, that is what I’m wondering. And will it be nice and quiet or a screamer?

        • swaaye
        • 9 years ago

        I’m thinking it powers some goofy LEDs.

      • d0g_p00p
      • 9 years ago

      ProTip: That’s not a fan

    • albundy
    • 9 years ago

    whats the point of the x-fi chip? +.01 fps? creative needs a new gimick.

      • Meadows
      • 9 years ago

      Gamers care about 2 fps, and anyway, it gives decent sound compared to an old Realtek codec.
      That’s not to say that digital Realtek isn’t good enough for Joe Average, before Lord Krogoth chimes in, but I would never pick it over an equally integrated X-Fi.

        • swaaye
        • 9 years ago

        I think the Realtek chips can be excellent too if they just put enough effort into the analog circuitry. I have a notebook with the cleanest Realtek HD that I’ve ever heard (even through headphones). If you combine that with the Creative X-Fi MB software you get just about all of the features of these full-on X-Fi chips.

      • Rakhmaninov3
      • 9 years ago

      If this board didn’t have any audio this good, I’d def go with a discrete sound card, but X-Fi is good enough to not have to bother; I think it’s more about convenience than anything else.

    • CheetoPet
    • 9 years ago

    Lose the horribly tacky south bridge & it actually looks like a decent board. Still trying to fathom exactly who they are attempting to cater towards here with that crap. When TR does a review they’d better have Gi-Joe’s posing on the board or I will be highly disappointed.

      • Rakhmaninov3
      • 9 years ago

      Oh come on, the firearm components are hilarious. I’m sure they’ll be coming out with a Boring Old Man version soon enough.

    • morphine
    • 9 years ago

    So, summing it up:

    – “Gamers” want many PCIe x16 slots, even though there’s not enough bandwidth to go around for all of them. MOAR SLOTS!!
    – “Gamers” want X-Fi cards (with RAM!), even though it’s been quite a number of years since soundcards made an appreciable difference to overal speed.

    I’ll concede the Killer NIC since that at least does [i<]something[/i<].

      • PixelArmy
      • 9 years ago

      [quote=”morphine”<]"Gamers" want many PCIe x16 slots, even though there's not enough bandwidth to go around for all of them. MOAR SLOTS!![/quote<] True, but it does add some flexibility as to where you put everything... maybe some extra space for cooling purposes.

      • bthylafh
      • 9 years ago

      To summarize it further, gamers want e-peen.

      • Farting Bob
      • 9 years ago

      It says something terrible when the killer NIC chip is one of the plus points on a feature list.

        • Meadows
        • 9 years ago

        I disagree.

    • internetsandman
    • 9 years ago

    Not sure what everyones complaining about. Black with hints of green is probably one of the better schemes out there. Really, it’s not much different than black and blue, and considering I actually prefer green, I’d love to get my hands on one of these. I’m not sure why everyone’s saying it’s so ugly

      • Shobai
      • 9 years ago

      Have to agree, black/green is probably the best combo I’ve seen to date. I didn’t mind the old Abit schemes, with black/red and black/blue, but I reckon green works the best.

      • Rakhmaninov3
      • 9 years ago

      I like the black and green, and I think the firearm component theme is just a funny touch, made me laugh out loud; it’s comically badass.

    • mcforce0208
    • 9 years ago

    I like these mobos to be honest, colour and layout. I would seriously be eying one of these babies out if they were P67.

    • Meadows
    • 9 years ago

    Such a crowded PCB. Ridiculous.
    Poor engineers.

    • pedro
    • 9 years ago

    Wake me up when companies stop making these atrocious mobos.

    • Mystic-G
    • 9 years ago

    Incoming first ever ballistics report due to a motherboard.

    • Tibba
    • 9 years ago

    The terrists called, they want their 7.62×39 round back. Will North America get a version with a .223 mag? LOL

      • ReAp3r-G
      • 9 years ago

      And then replace with with a 5.56×45 NATO round? XD

        • nico1982
        • 9 years ago

        The one in the pics looks like a STANAG-compliant magazine already, and the proportions of the cartridge are that of 5.56×45 mm NATO. Still, it is the ugliest heatsink I have ever seen…

      • bthylafh
      • 9 years ago

      I’m pretty sure that’s 5.56×45 – see how small and pointy the bullet is?

    • cybot_x1024
    • 9 years ago

    i hope they dont go with that fugly green on sandybridge mobos

    • ChangWang
    • 9 years ago

    Heh, they will probably want $400-500+ for it and will wonder why it won’t sell well to “gamers”

    • Voldenuit
    • 9 years ago

    Fugly. Butt-fugly.

    • NarwhaleAu
    • 9 years ago

    Butt ugly with a creative audio chip? You sure this was designed by gamers? …I’m starting to think my next mainboard is going to be an Asus after all.

      • KikassAssassin
      • 9 years ago

      It doesn’t say it was designed by intelligent gamers.

        • Pizzapotamus
        • 9 years ago

        They’ve made [url=http://simpsons.wikia.com/wiki/The_Homer<]The Homer[/url<]

    • adam1378
    • 9 years ago

    2006 called and Nvidia wants their color scheme back.

    • ClickClick5
    • 9 years ago

    With many nice things built in, the board looks ok.
    Even the laughable “clip” southbridge heatsink.

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