Monday, 16 January 2012 22:26

Gigabyte at CES 2012... the Z77 makes its Debut

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_MG_7313CES 2012; Las Vegas, Nevada – We had the chance to visit the Gigabyte booth and take a look at what they have to offer. Gigabyte has not always been a serious contender in the motherboard (or GPU) market, but starting about 5 years ago they took a long hard look at what they were doing and made some impressive changes. So with that in mind let’s take a look at what Gigabyte has to offer the market in 2012.

We kicked off our suite visit on the motherboard side of the house. The first few systems we took a look at are already on the market (like the X79-UD3 and UD5 and of course the G1.Assassin2). These were on display in a couple of nice cases. The UD3 had Gigabyte’s 3D BIOS displayed on it. It was cool, but it was not the real reason we were there.

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What came up next was Gigabyte’s Z77 based boards; these are what we really came to see. There was the G1.Sniper3 and the G1.Sniper M3. These were followed up by the UD5H and UD3H. These boards are not finalized and there are some things that might change between these images and the final product. In fact we were told that the Z77 boards will most likely ship with Thunberbolt ports, so they really have to change in the end.  One of the boards that really caught our eye was the G1.Snaper.M2. This is MicroATX board that still has room for crossfire or SLI along with the Creative Labs X-Fi sound card built in. If they can keep the cost reasonable it should do quite well in the market.

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From the GPU side of the house all they had to show off was their non-reference 7970 card. The problem here is that it is not ready for the market and even supply of the reference cards is slim. We still hope to be able to take a look at one of these once they do finally get out in public hands.
The last side of the Gigabyte suite we looked into was the notebook and mobile system side. Here we saw Gigabyte’s 10.1 S1081 tablet, this Atom based slate has a large 2.5-Inch drive (up to 500GB) it has a very responsive multi-touch screen more than enough connectivity.  One of the big selling features of the S1081 is a docking station. This, all on its own adds quite a bit of value to this sub-$800.00 slate.

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The next notebook we saw had an interesting feature in that it uses Lucid’s VirtuGPU to allow you to take advantage of a GeForce GT440 GPU in the docking station, but without the need for an extra monitor.  No word on when this will hit the market in the US though.  

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After that display was the T1132N, this three-in-one was shown at CES 2011 but features a few improvements including moving to an Intel Core i5 CPU.

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Gigabyte had more to show off including what they described as a gaming notebook sitting right next to another convertible laptop.  We have asked about these and Gigabyte says that they should hit the US soon, the problem is that this is a market that is already filled with some pretty recognizable names like; Dell, HP, Apple and even Asus. To get a foot hold Gigabyte will need to pull something special out of their hats.

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