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MSI X79A-GD65 (8D) LGA 2011 ATX Motherboard Review

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Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: MSI

Introduction and Features

Introduction

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My first Sandy Bridge-E motherboard review of 2012 showcases the talents of Intel's latest i7-3820 3.6GHz quad-core processor and MSI's X79A-GD65 (8D) ATX motherboard. The enhancements included in the LGA 2011 platform combined with MSI's unique optimizations to the board's overclocking, gaming, and power management capabilities should make for an exciting testing experience.

 

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MSI currently has six motherboards that support the LGA 2011 socket and the X79A-GD65 (8D) is considered one of their higher-end offerings at $289.99. This board targets users who want to take advantage of three PCI-E x16 slots for AMD CrossfireX or NVIDIA SLI configurations. It also gives users the ability to use up to two SATA 6GB/s and four SATA 3GB/s devices courtesy of the X79 chipset. MSI also used a second ASMedia controller to add two more SATA 6GB/s ports to the board. All of these SATA3 ports support Intel's Rapid Storage Technology, but the SATA3 devices managed by the X79 chipset can only handle RAID 0 and 1 versus the ASMedia chip that handles RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10.

Continue reading our review of the MSI X79A-GD65 (8D) Motherboard!!

 

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MSI keeps upping the ante with each new motherboard and their line of LGA 2011 boards gives PC builders more power management and overclocking options via MSI's DrMOS II and OC Genie II technologies. These applications have matured with each new CPU platform, and we will evaluate how they help improve power effiency and provide "instant" overclocking options to users. We will also give our thoughts on MSI's ClickBIOS II that gives users access to the BIOS though traditional methods and from the Windows desktop.

 

Motherboard Features

Military Class III

MSI mainboards maintains the commitment to product stability and reliability by introducing Military Class III components! In addition to the use of Hi-c CAP, SFC, and Solid CAP, MSI now incorporates DrMOS II, the next-generation DrMOS that provides an integrated Double Thermal Protection to maximize the lifespan of components. All Military Class III components have passed MIL-STD-810G certification, making MSI's Military Class III components synonymous with premium quality and ultimate stability.

World’s 1st PCI Express Gen 3 mainboard brand

With ultra-high 32GB/s transfer bandwidth, PCI Express Gen 3 provides a 2X faster transfer rate than the previous generation, this delivers amazing capabilities for true next generation extreme gaming.

World’s 1st UEFI and software graphical user interface

MSI ClickBIOS II provides a consistent user interface both in the UEFI BIOS and in Windows, it provides the most convenient way for users to control system settings and supports touchscreen control.

Gaming Optimized

Increasing the thickness of the gold-plated layer in the 2-in-1 PS2 and optimized USB ports to 30um to meet the demand of professional gamers. Besides enhancing mouse sensitivity in games, these improved interfaces deliver a longer lifespan and better stability of connectors and total solution for e-sports mouse control in UEFI BIOS.

THX TruStudio PRO

THX is a trade mark of a high-end audio/visual reproduction standard for movies, home theaters, computer speakers and other audio devices. THX Certified Audio products are designed to let users experience movies & videos as live show. The true sound effect can make high definition video more powerful.

Super Charger

Mobile consumer appliances are getting more and more attention in current day fast moving life style, with smart phones and tablets almost becoming a fashion accessory. However, many ordinary personal computers cannot charge some of these devices, making it difficult to stay connected.  The MSI Super Charger is a Windows resident program capable of revising the power supply mode of your USB port to become more powerful. Once your phone or tablet is connected to your USB port, the Super Charger sends a signal to initiate its charging circuit, making it a really smart and convenient charging solution for mobile computing needs.

 

USB 3.0

Compared to the 480Mbps provided by traditional USB 2.0, the all-new USB 3.0's 5Gb/s offers 10 times the transfer bandwidth, so transferring a Blu-ray movie takes less than one minute. MSI also has implemented a front panel USB 3.0 port, making the use of an external USB 3.0 device even more convenient.

 

SATA 6Gb/s 

SATA 6Gb/s provides double the bandwidth of traditional SATA 3Gb/s, and increases the data transfer rate between your mainboard and internal storage devices, such as 7200RPM HDDs, 10000RPM HDDs and SSDs. It’s also the current trend for upcoming high-speed internal storage devices to to break the existing bottleneck of a PC’s performance.

Lossless 24-bit/192KHz HD Audio

Onboard PC audio gets better! MSI is the first to implement the most high-end HD Audio codecs available. Don’t be fooled by other inferior audio solutions onboard (sometimes you can’t even find the driver!) Only MSI offers the Loss-less 24-bit/192KHz HD Audio function with an incredible 109 SNR dB value to provide the most clear & vivid HD audio quality and support 7.1 channels surround sound playback with a 2-channel independent stereo output (multiple streaming) through the front panel 3.5 inch phone jack.

Winki 3

Winki 3 is a free Linux-based O/S which is based on the Linux core. With an ultra-fast  booting speed and a multi-language interface, the built-in Winki 3 provides an easy-to-use internet environment that includes the most popular functions such as internet surfing, web mail, instant messaging, picture browsing, and more. It's the most practical way to be online in the shortest time.

 

APS (Active Phase Switching)

Active Phase Switching, APS, technology is an intelligent design that helps to save energy on MSI’s mainboards. The underlying idea is to switch off the power supply as soon as no electricity is needed, and when the system needs more resources again, APS will automatically adjust electricity supply accordingly. APS will automatically detect your processor’s loading at any given time and save energy accordingly. This is only possible by means of a very advanced power controlling technology. Other than software-based solutions, APS technology stands out from MSI's own research. The specially developed IC chip can operate automatically depending on the demands of the power supply, which is to reduce the total power usage. 

M-Flash

Compared to common mainboard which need extra BIOS chips, MSI’s M-Flash has a double advantage which doesn’t need extra components and secondly, all your BIOS data will be saved in the USB drive. The stored data does not only have backup and upgrade function, moreover it can also be seen as a portable BIOS chip which is actually able to boot up your PC.

 

USB Safeguard

USB Safeguard can prevent mainboards and USB devices from being damaged by short-circuit and ESD (Electro-Static Discharge) with Anti-ESD chips built-into the mainboards. Additionally, the safeguard can protect against such dangers multiple times, and greatly improves product lifespan.

Live Update 5

MSI Live Update 5 is a powerful and useful application for updating the latest BIOS and Drivers, saving you time and lowers the risk of updating. End-users can install and run the Live Update 5 software on their computers with the companion CD or downloading the app from the MSI website.

AMD CrossFireX

AMD CrossFireX™ is the ultimate multi-GPU performance gaming platform. Enabling game-dominatig power, AMD CrossFireX technology enables two or more discrete graphics processors to work together to improve graphics performance. AMD CrossFireX technology allows you to expand your system’s graphics capabilities. It allows you the ability to scale your system’s graphics horsepower as you need it, supporting up to four AMD Radeon™ HD graphics cards, making it the most scalable gaming platform ever. With an AMD CrossFireX gaming technology, the traditional graphics limitation exists no more, allowing you to enjoy higher performance as well as visual experience.

NVIDIA SLI

SLI technology allows using multiple Nvidia graphics cards in a single computer system with a mainboard equipped with an nForce SLI MCP. Users need an a mainboard with two PCI-Express 16x graphics slots and two matching GeForce graphics cards which are "SLI Ready". Most NVIDIA's PCI-Express graphics cards starting from the 6600 GPU can enjoy the benefits of SLI.

 

3TB+ Infinity

3TB+ Infinity is not only breaking through the limit of traditional BIOS, but also enhancing the utilization of hard drives efficiently. In addition to supporting the latest 3TB hard drives, MSI 3TB+ Infinity technology can use the 3TB hard drive as boot disk when installing a 64-bit operating system. Compared to competitors, MSI 3TB+ Infinity is an industry-leading technology which substantially presents an advantage of development and application in the future.

March 6, 2012 | 11:24 PM - Posted by amythompson (not verified)

The one thing the X79A-GD65 (8D) has going for it is the number of DIMM slots you have. Of course 8 DIMMS can give you a huge workable memory footprint of 32GB for not much money now days. The MSI X79A-GD65 (8D) costs $290.00 at Newegg. Other enthusiast set motherboards start around the $250 mark.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0064LW8UY/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=...

March 7, 2012 | 11:54 AM - Posted by AMDScooter

Nice review, thanks! These look to be great boards and MSI continues to pump out quality product. That said a few things really disappoint me on the new Intel IB chipset lineup that are in no way unique to this board. The most disappointing to me is the lack of native SATA3 ports.

: - Supports two SATAIII ports (SATA1~2) by X79

Really Intel? Still only 2 ports? Lacking is too kind a word IMHO. This is supposed to be an enthusiast chipset yet it has no more native SATA3 ports than the "old" P67 based board I'm currently running. So as an enthusiast the only way I get SATA3 speeds with more than 2 SSD's in a RAID0 is an aftermarket solution taking up an expansion slot.

Aside from that I'm really impressed by the temps you achieved on air with that OC. 4.6Ghz~1.5v and only 50c on air with a 125TDP cpu HT enabled? That's the best I've seen to date. I cant keep my 2500K 4.6Ghz~1.3v that cool using a H70 under load. You guys testing in a walk in freezer? ;)

Anyway thanks for the review. All I have to do now is find a reason to justify an upgrade with the boss. I don't think upgradeitis is gonna cut it this time around.

April 10, 2013 | 05:21 AM - Posted by Rajan (not verified)

I recently bought the MSI x79A GD45 8D . I installed the components, and switched on. Unfortunately the computer kept on restarting every couple of seconds. I couldn't even get into the BIOS

October 3, 2013 | 04:50 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

You have to reset the cmos at the back of the pc ;)

December 15, 2013 | 06:16 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I have recently bought one of these unfortunately when I turn it on I get no display. There is a dubug code FF on the board.

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