A while ago, I was in the market for a new Haswell-based computer system. One of the common problems I’ve always had is that plugging headphones directly into the onboard audio found on the motherboard (or linked to the front case panel) creates static noise, likely due to interference from other electrical components.
I had previously used the Gigabyte G1.Sniper M3 for a previous build, so when I heard the new Gigabyte G1.Sniper M5 had a feature called “Audio Noise Guard with Path Lighting,” I was excited to see if it was able to eliminate the static noise when plugging headphones directly into the onboard audio.
Here is how Gigabyte advertises this feature:
Audio Noise Guard with Path Lighting
To help protect and insulate the high fidelity Creative Sound Core3D™ audio processor and onboard amplifiers from electromagnetic interference (EMI), GIGABYTE G1-Killer motherboards feature an audio noise guard that essentially separates the board’s sensitive analog audio components from potential noise pollution at the PCB level. LED trace path lighting Illuminates to show the separation of the PCB layers.
Silence is Golden?
Sadly, the static noise is NOT eliminated by this feature on the G1.Sniper M5. I think there is a slight improvement over the M3 (or maybe it is a placebo effect), but it does not go away completely like it does when I use a separate sound card (such as the Creative Sound Blaster Z) or plug into my speakers instead.
For the time being, it seems motherboard manufacturer’s have yet to solve this issue. However, I have not tried the ASUS Supreme FX audio solution on their ROG series of motherboards, which I mean consider for future builds.