Ultimate X79? Five £230+ LGA 2011 Motherboards, Reviewed

Gigabyte G1.Assassin2

Evidence that Gigabyte listens to gamers is found throughout its Assassin motherboards, beginning with the usual, “Give us a stripped-down overclocking board with plenty of slots to mount our high-end NICs and audio cards.” But wait. Aren’t those network and audio jacks we see?

With SLI potentially consuming a bunch of slots, Gigabyte improved upon the concept suggested by those requests (which go back as far as any of us can remember) by placing the high-end NIC and audio processor on-board. Here we find a Killer NIC E2100, complete with cache, along with the full hardware set of Creative’s 64 MB X-Fi Titanium HD.

The best memory latencies are usually accessible by placing only a single module on each memory channel, so Gigabyte docks the board to a mere four slots. The only thing really missing from making this the ultimate gaming-only platform is the absence of four-way CrossFireX or SLI support. But Gigabyte had to put that audio and network hardware somewhere. And besides, there's always that pistol-shaped chipset heat sink to admire.

Gigabyte finally listened to a few editors too, placing a BIOS selector switch on the I/O panel right below its automatic-overclocking OC button. Hidden beneath both of those is a rear-panel CLR_CMOS button.

Fewer connectors leave the G1.Assassin2 with fewer potential layout issues, and the board should fit nearly any ATX case designed for forward-facing SATA cables. Gigabyte paid special attention to the USB 3.0 header by moving it above the graphics cards—where its competitors usually place it—to avoid a repeat of past criticisms.

Yet, just when some might have thought this to be a perfect layout for gaming systems, Gigabyte throws in an added feature that can’t be used in conjunction with most three-way graphics builds. Its Bluetooth/Wi-Fi PCIe card requires a x1 slot that’s usually covered up by the heat sinks of high-performance graphics cards. The space that might have hosted a x1 slot non-obtrusively is filled by the Killer E2100 NIC, and x16 slot spacing issues that could cause the top card to run “hot” add to a package that’s best-completed with only two cards installed.

The G1.Assassin2’s installation kit includes CrossFire, SLI, and three-way SLI bridges, along with four SATA cables, the Wi-Fi kit, and a sheet-metal USB 3.0 drive bay adapter.

Create a new thread in the UK Article comments forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
Comment from the forums
    Your comment
  • AndrewJacksonZA

    I think you're missing four tests that motherboards of thiscalibre price range might be used for: dual-SLI, dual-Crossfire, triple-SLI and triple-Crossfire using 590s and 6990s. Why am I suggesting this when you have GFX benchmarks at other places? To see the differences between each motherboard's implementation.

    Or am I not fully understanding how SLI and Crossfire are implemented?
  • CryptorX
    It all may seem pretty cool by now, after all this is the new high end platform... yeah right... the 1336 platform also seemed pretty cool when it came out, i spent a whole fortune upgrading to it, my triple channel ram kit alone cost me 210€, i was pretty sure i was investing in a "future proof" platform (upgradable for at least three years), that future was 5 months until it was discontinued... never again! That said, either this new socket drops prices drastically or AMD gets a new customer.
  • hipflask

    This issue is on more x79 boards. Gigabytes failing I.C's has just highlighted a problem that toms and everyone else that reviewed these boards should have known or found before end users started having throttling issues and failed boards.
    Brings the whole question of impartiality to mind