Gigabyte really went all out with the weapon-themed G1.Assassin board, but for folks who don’t know: It’s a motherboard, not a weapon. Repeat: not a weapon.
And just in case someone thought you could somehow slap the magazine-shaped heatsink into your M4A1 and start rocking the happy switch, you can’t. Gigabyte says as much with a warning label on the end of the heatsink/magazine: “Heatsink: Not a weapon. Cannot be assembled as a weapon.”
Big and bold, the X58 takes the kitchen sink approach to motherboards.
One thing is for sure: The G1.Assassin might very well be the most stacked and packed X58 motherboard available today. Three factors lead us to this conclusion: The board follows the not-quite-homologated XL-ATX size and measures a whopping 13.58x10.35 inches; it features a real Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi 20K2 chip; and it’s the first board we know of that uses an onboard Bigfoot Networks Killer NIC E2100.
The eyebrow raiser is, of course, the Killer NIC E2100. The card promises lower ping times and higher frame rates but its ability to live up to that promise has never been universally agreed upon. While some reviewers have said it can cough up extra frames and lower pings, others (including Maximum PC) have maintained that the difference hasn’t been worth the price of admission.
That’s also what a lot of gamers are saying about Creative’s X-Fi cards these days. Once a must-have for any serious gamer, today many PC builders forego an add-on soundcard for the free onboard variety.
Straight out of a James Bond movie, the G1.Assassin “barrel” actually helps keep the voltage regulators cool.
That’s where the G1.Assassin gets really interesting, though. If you are theoretically getting an X-Fi Titanium, which is worth about $99, and the Killer NIC E2100 (worth about $90), that should make the board a steal, right? Well, here’s the dig. The G1.Assassin tips the scales at $530, which makes it the priciest X58 board we know of.
To be fair, you are still getting a lot for your money with the G1.Assassin (assuming, of course, that you had your heart set on buying the Killer NIC and X-Fi). Besides the X-Fi and Bigfoot chips, Gigabyte gives you eight USB 3.0 ports (four with header) by way of an NEC/VIA controller/hub combo and SATA 6Gb/s by way of a Marvell 9128 chip. There’s no love for eSATA, but few will likely miss it.
One other feature glaringly missing from the G1.Assassin is support for four-way SLI. The board features four x16 physical slots, which can be configured to support SLI, tri-SLI, CrossFireX, or quad CrossFireX. Why no four-way SLI? That’s likely because Gigabyte didn’t include Nvidia’s nForce 200 chips, which would have driven the cost up even more.
Do not insert this in your carbine and expect it to work.
In performance, it’s a wash. As always, performance margins are rarely a deciding factor (although the Intel DX58SO2 board represents well here). It’s about features. If you intend to build an all-out, over-the-top X58 system, the G1.Assassin isn’t a bad pick. Just know that you also need to buy an XL-ATX case for it. If that’s a turn-off, the G1.Sniper is the same board but on standard ATX and lacking support for four GPUs. You should also know that LGA1366 is a dead man walking at this point.
So, while we give Gigabyte props for going hog-wild crazy, a lot of people are going to question if the timing of it is right or not.