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MSI P67A-GD65 LGA 1155 ATX Motherboard Review

Author: Steve Grever
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: MSI
Tagged:

Specifications, Layout, Included Extras

MSI P67A-GD65 Technical Specifications

http://us.msi.com/images/bg_td9cf.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; ">Socket 1155
http://us.msi.com/images/bg_td9cf.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; ">CPU (Max Support) Sandy Bridge
http://us.msi.com/images/bg_td9cf.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; ">AM3 CPU Ready N/A
http://us.msi.com/images/bg_td9cf.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; ">FSB / Hyper Transport Bus 100MHz
http://us.msi.com/images/bg_td9cf.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; ">Chipset Intel® P67
http://us.msi.com/images/bg_td9cf.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; ">DDR2 Memory N/A
http://us.msi.com/images/bg_td9cf.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; ">DDR3 Memory DDR3 1066/1333/1600*/2133*(OC)
http://us.msi.com/images/bg_td9cf.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; ">Memory Channel Dual
http://us.msi.com/images/bg_td9cf.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; ">DIMM Slots 4
http://us.msi.com/images/bg_td9cf.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; ">Max Memory (GB) 32
http://us.msi.com/images/bg_td9cf.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; ">PCI-Ex16 2
http://us.msi.com/images/bg_td9cf.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; ">PCI-E Gen 2.0 Gen2 (1x16, 1x8)
http://us.msi.com/images/bg_td9cf.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; ">PCE-Ex4 N/A
http://us.msi.com/images/bg_td9cf.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; ">PCI-Ex1 3
http://us.msi.com/images/bg_td9cf.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; ">PCI 2
http://us.msi.com/images/bg_td9cf.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; ">IDE N/A
http://us.msi.com/images/bg_td9cf.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; ">SATAIII 4
http://us.msi.com/images/bg_td9cf.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; ">SATAII 4
http://us.msi.com/images/bg_td9cf.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; ">RAID 0/1/5/10
http://us.msi.com/images/bg_td9cf.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; ">LAN 10/100/1000*1
http://us.msi.com/images/bg_td9cf.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; ">TPM 1
http://us.msi.com/images/bg_td9cf.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; ">USB 3.0 ports (Rear) 2
http://us.msi.com/images/bg_td9cf.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; ">USB 2.0 ports (Rear) 8
http://us.msi.com/images/bg_td9cf.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; ">Audio ports (Rear) 6+Coaxial/Optical SPDIF
http://us.msi.com/images/bg_td9cf.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; ">Serial ports (Rear) N/A
http://us.msi.com/images/bg_td9cf.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; ">Parallel ports (Rear) N/A
http://us.msi.com/images/bg_td9cf.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; ">1394 ports (Rear) 1
http://us.msi.com/images/bg_td9cf.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; ">eSATA 2
http://us.msi.com/images/bg_td9cf.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; ">Display Port N/A
http://us.msi.com/images/bg_td9cf.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; ">VGA N/A
http://us.msi.com/images/bg_td9cf.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; ">HDMI N/A
http://us.msi.com/images/bg_td9cf.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; ">DVI N/A
http://us.msi.com/images/bg_td9cf.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; ">VGA Share Memory (MB) N/A
http://us.msi.com/images/bg_td9cf.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; ">DirectX N/A
http://us.msi.com/images/bg_td9cf.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; ">Form Factor ATX
http://us.msi.com/images/bg_td9cf.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; ">DrMOS Y
http://us.msi.com/images/bg_td9cf.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; ">APS Y
http://us.msi.com/images/bg_td9cf.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; ">Sideport Memory N/A
http://us.msi.com/images/bg_td9cf.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; ">SLI Y
http://us.msi.com/images/bg_td9cf.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; ">3-way SLI N/A
http://us.msi.com/images/bg_td9cf.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; ">Hybrid SLI N/A
http://us.msi.com/images/bg_td9cf.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; ">CrossFire Y
http://us.msi.com/images/bg_td9cf.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; ">Hybrid CrossFire N/A
http://us.msi.com/images/bg_td9cf.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; ">D-LED2 N/A
http://us.msi.com/images/bg_td9cf.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; ">Green Power Genie N/A

 

Motherboard Layout

The P67A-GD65's retail packaging is gorgeously adorned with quality graphics highlighting the board's hardware features and one-second overclocking tool called OC Genie II. They also touted the four USB 3.0 and four SATA 6GB/s ports to ensure users having the latest data transfer capabilities available.

 

The back panel of the retail packaging goes more in-depth into the P67A-GD65's stability and quality features, OC Genie II, and USB 3.0/SATA 6GB/s, and custom software applications. Most of the data looks to be a repeat of what is available on the front panel, but goes a little deeper into how these features can impact system performance and reliability. 

 

After getting the board out of the packaging, we got our first look at the layout of the P67A-GD65. You'll notice that this board isn't the B3 version that fixes the SATA bug in earlier P67 boards this year. MSI kept the same blue and black color scheme and organized most of the headers for additional SATA, USB, firewire, and audio along the bottom of the motherboard. They also added three buttons for power, reset, and OC Genie II. The layout is pretty standard, but MSI did create V-Check points at the top-right of the board for enthusiasts to monitor voltages through a multimeter.

 

The back of the PCB isn't nothing to throw a party about, but we always show a photo of it so users get an idea of how large the aluminum back plate is behind the CPU socket.

 

The back I/O panel includes a host of features like eight USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, firewire, two eSATA ports, legacy PS/2 keyboard/mouse port, clear CMOS button, Gigabit LAN, and an optical and coaxial S/PDIF out connectors. It also supports 8-channel high definition audio on board so users should because to connect their 5.1 or 7.1 sound systems with ease.

 

MSI included two PCIe x16 slots, three PCIe x1 slots, and two legacy PCI slots that support 3.3v/5v PCI bus interface. The dual PCIe x16 slots support CrossfireX and SLI graphics card configurations.

 

The bottom of the motherboard includes an audio header, optional CD-in connector, and a special header to connect two extra USB 3.0 via a bracket that attaches to one of the PCI slots in the back of the case.  

 

Users can also add another firewire device and two more USB 2.0 ports with the headers above. They also added a TPM module connector shown above.

 

MSI included three buttons right on the PCB for power, reset, and OC Genie II. All three buttons have different color LEDs like green and blue.

 

The front panel header includes a small diagram to show users where to connect the power button, power LED, hard drive activity LED, and reset button.

 

MSI added a modest set of four SATA 3GB/s and four SATA 6GB/s ports to the P67A-GD65 that are controlled from Intel's P67 chipset and an extra Marvel 6GB/s controller.

 

Here's a close-up shot of the V-Check points for users to monitor the voltages of their core components during overclocking. Using these probe points is highly recommended over software-based solutions that have a larger margin of error over multimeters.

 

The P67A-GD65 supports up to 16GBs of dual channel DDR3 2133, 1600, 1333, and 1066 system memory. This amount of memory support is more than adequate for most user's needs whether they use their PCs for video editing, 3D animations, or other memory-intensive applications.

 

Lastly, the spacing of power components and cooling elements around the CPU socket is adequate enough to use a third-party air-cooled or water-cooled CPU heatsinks. Our readers will also be able to see the highly-conductive polymerized capacitors that are commonly used in laptops and satellites and other components.

 

Included Extras

MSI included several accessories to help users in their quest to build a good mid-range system like these four SATA data cables. Two of the cables have right-angle connectors, which work great with optical and hard drives.

 

The I/O back plate is well organized, matches the PCB's color scheme, and uses simple graphics to represent different the various ports available to users. MSI also threw in a SATA to Molex connector for legacy users.

 

One of my favorite accessories that MSI bundled with the P67A-GD65 is the USB 3.0 bracket above that gives users two more USB 3.0 ports for additional storage devices.

 

These quick connectors help PC builders connect different devices to the motherboard like the front panel buttons and USB 2.0/3.0 ports. I love seeing these quick connectors because users with larger fingers typically have a hard time pushing in the pins into the proper header for each front panel device.

 

They also added four V-Check cables so users can connect their multimeter directly to the PCB and monitor core component voltages. This is a remarkable feature that is usually reserved for higher-end motherboards.

 

Lastly, MSI didn't want to leave users hanging without any documentation to read so they threw in a basic user guide and software application guide.

 

They also added a quick installation guide and a driver CD to round out the accessories available with the P67A-GD65.

 

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