MSI X79A-GD65 (8D) LGA 2011 ATX Motherboard Review
Power Consumption and Conclusion
Power management is becoming an increasingly critical feature for many home and business users who want to save a few bucks on their energy bills but keep their system performance as high as possible. These X79-based motherboards gave us steady power performance under idle and load conditions over a 24-hour period, which is very encouraging for users looking to upgrade to the LGA 2011 platform.
MSI continues to mature as a motherboard vendor and the MSI X79A-GD65 (8D) seems to be one of the most stable and feature-rich boards I've tested in recent years. Most of the credit may go to the Intel Sandy Bridge-E platform combined with the X79 chipset that gave us consistent performance results throughout our benchmarks and overclocking tests. I was pleasantly surprised by how MSI's Click BIOS II technology worked under the normal BIOS and Windows GUI. It was very fluent and optimized for a Windows environment, which is something I can't say about other Windows-based applications from other vendors. Many of these applications are very laggy, unrefined, and not intuitive to use. Kudos to MSI for taking the time to get it right with the OC Genie II and Click BIOS II technologies.
The motherboard as a whole has unique features and options than typically reserved for higher-end motherboards in the $400-$500 range. The ability to use triple PCI-E 3.0 graphics cards in CrossfireX or SLI is an important option for enthusiasts looking to create high-definition gaming systems with multi-monitor, 3D setups to run games at higher resolutions with no lag. The option of using multiple solid state drives at SATA 6GB/s in RAID 0 also seems to be a popular upgrade that is certainly a possibility with the X79A-GD65 (8D).
As of Mar. 4, the MSI X79A-GD65 (8D) motherboard was available at Newegg.com for $279.99 with $8.50 shipping. Consumers can also purchase this product at Amazon.com for $289.99 with free shipping as well.
We'd like to thank MSI for providing the X79A-GD65 (8D) motherboard for our review today. This is my first review of an X79-based motherboard and it showcased how vendors are incorporating the LGA 2011 socket and X79 chipset into their products. The availability of SATA3 ports, RAID options, and additional PCI-E 3.0 lanes will entice many enthuasists to upgrade their graphics workstations and high-definition gaming systems to Intel's latest platforms.
There is always a steep price with upgrading to the newest processors and motherboards, and this is where the X79A-GD65 (8D) may have difficulties against other competitively-priced offerings from Gigabyte and ASUS. Users with deep pockets won't blink an eye at dropping $300 on a motherboard, but combine that with purchasing quad-channel memory and an i7-3820 and the entire upgrade could cost close to $800 for only three components.
However, if you didn't make the jump to Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge, the latest Sandy Bridge-E motherboards like the X79A-GD65 (8D) have unique features for power users looking for high-end performance features at high-end prices. PC Perspective gives the MSI X79A-GD65 (8D) its Gold Award for its unique overclocking options, triple PCI-E 3.0 support, and bundled software package.
- Triple PCI Express 3.0 slots with SLI/CrossfireX support
- Excellent on-board overclocking utility
- UEFI BIOS with Windows GUI
- Expensive for mid-range users