In our recent group test of 37 Haswell motherboards, the gamer-oriented Gigabyte G1.Sniper 5 walked away with the highest honour - the Gold Award. Gigabyte has now sent us the Micro ATX version, called the Gigabyte G1.Sniper M5. We compared it to the 37 motherboards we tested earlier.
You can clearly see that the Gigabyte G1.Sniper M5 is related to the G1.Sniper 5, and aside from being smaller, it's also significantly cheaper. The XL-ATX Sniper 5 costs an average of £368, but the M5 version only costs £165, which is less than half.
Gigabyte fortunately hasn't left out any of the special gamer features. The black and army green colour scheme and the skull logo leave no doubt that this is part of Gigabyte's gaming product line.
The same Z87 chipset is used, which is the most deluxe Haswell chipset series. Next to the Socket 1150 processor socket there are four DDR3 DIMM slots. There are fewer expansion slots of course. Here you get three PCI-Express x16 slots. The first and third share the 16 PCI-Express 3.0 lanes from the processor, so the board supports 2-way SLI or Crossfire configurations. The middle x16 slot only gets four lanes from the south bridge so it's more limited for what you can put there.
There's also a PCI-Express x1 slot. It doesn't have the special PLX chip found on the larger G1.Sniper 5 for 4-way SLI. Leaving that one out was a good money-saving method.
The board only has the six Serial ATA 600 ports from the Z87 chipset. There are no extra storage controllers. You get six USB 3.0 (four on the back) and six USB 2.0 ports.
The G1.Sniper M5 has managed to keep the Creative Sound Core3D sound card and Sound Blaster 3Di drivers - that's an excellent sound card both in terms of features and quality. You can read the rest of Gigabyte G1.Sniper M5 preview on Hardware.info.