The G1.Sniper B5 is an affordable Haswell motherboard in Gigabyte's gaming line. Partially due to the fact it uses the Intel B85 chipset, Gigabyte was able to keep the price below £100. But were they able to keep the gaming DNA intact?
We've tested a number of Gigabyte G1.Sniper motherboards in recent months. There was the G1.Sniper 5, very expensive and with about every single feature a gamer could want. The Micro ATX G1.Sniper M5 made a good impression, it was smaller but kept the important gaming components such as the Creative Sound Core 3D audio chip and the KillerNic network card. More recently Gigabyte came out with the G1.Sniper A88X, an AMD Socket FM2+ board that's only slightly more expensive than the one we're looking at today. The G1.Sniper B5, like the first two we just mentioned, is equipped with a Socket 1150 processor socket which makes it suitable for Intel Haswell processors.
The G1.Sniper B5 is based on the Intel B85 chipset, the entry-level chipset for the 4th generation Intel Core processors. It's not as advanced as the Z87 chipset used in the G1.Sniper 5 and M5. Officially you can't use the B85 to overclock K processors, but Gigabyte and other manufacturers have found a way around the limitation.
A bigger difference is that it only has two instead of six SATA 600 ports. The four SATA 300 ports remain. If you only have one or two SSDs that's fine, as optical drives and hard drives are fine on SATA300. There are also two USB 3.0 ports less. Here you can find more information about the different Haswell chipsets. Most importantly, the B85 is much cheaper than the Z87.
The board has four DDR3 DIMM slots and two PCI-Express x16 slots. The 6 PCI-Express 3.0 lanes from the CPU go to the first slot, and second one has four lanes from the south bridge. This means it's not very well suited for two graphics cards, and SLI isn't even supported officially. There are also two PCI-Express x1 and two PCI slots. You can read rest of the Gigabyte G1.Sniper B5 preview on Hardware.info.