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MSI Z68A-GD80 G3 LGA 1155 ATX Motherboard Review

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Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: MSI

Introduction and Features

Introduction

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Courtesy of MSI

Micro-Star International, better known as MSI, has been busy little bees in 2011 to fend off fierce competition from ASUS, Gigabyte and other motherboard vendors. This year's launch of the Z68 chipset from Intel combined the capabilities and features from the H67 and P67 chipsets, and MSI capitalized on this when they joined forces with LucidLogix to include their Virtu technology in their latest Z68A-GD80 motherboard. Lucid's Virtu tech provides users with switchable graphics, which allows users to enjoy both graphics power of integrated GPU and discrete GPU.

 

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Courtesy of MSI

MSI also used the Z68A-GD80 as their first motherboard to support PCI Express 3.0, which boosts 32GB/s of transfer bandwidth and makes this mobo a bit more future proof for users looking for their next hardware upgrade. MSI also upgraded their BIOS system to ClickBIOS II, which  provides a consistent user interface both in the UEFI BIOS and in Windows. Users can control their system settings directly from Windows and the GUI also supports touchscreen controls.

Continue reading our review of the MSI Z68A-GD80 G3 motherboard!!

 

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Courtesy of MSI

MSI also brought a host of other key features to the Z68A-GD80 like enhancing their one-click overclocking utility dubbed OC Genie II and developed several other applications for power management, instant web browsing, and updating BIOS versions and hardware/software drivers.

 

Features

Here's a compiled list of key features that are available with the Z68A-GD80 to help users get the most out of this $200 motherboard.

  • Military Class II components: Top quality & stability
  • OC Genie II: Auto OC to boost performance in 1 sec
  • ClickBIOS: Easy-to-use UEFI BIOS interface
  • Super Charger: fast charge iPad/iPhone/smartphone
  • THX TruStudio PRO: delivers the fullest audio experience
  • Supports USB 3.0 & SATA 6Gb/s

Let's take a look at the Z68A-GD80's overall specifications and what the new board looks like out of its retail packaging!

October 14, 2011 | 08:19 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Nice board and all. But it's $240 compared to $180 I paid for a P67A-GD65 7 months ago.

Surely the Virtu folks want to get paid, and Intel probably charges a bit extra for a Z68 compared to the P67, but as the consumer I don't ask *why*, I just see the price tag.

The board is not $60 faster. If one really needs the Z68 features, well then this is a great choice. I just think the pricing isn't good for the level of performance.

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October 14, 2011 | 09:00 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

That $240 price (at least, in the US) is for the B3 version, which is being replaced by the G3 reviewed here. I'm not sure why the price is higher, unless it's due to odd supply/demand.

The Z68A-GD80 G3 is around $220 from most resellers, but MSI also has the Z68A-GD65 G3 for people who are in the sub-$200 range; it is priced around $180 and is still an enthusiast class board.

Currently, I'm running a Gigabyte board. However, I am interested in seeing what MSI has up their sleeve with their upcoming X79 and 7-series chipset boards. I've had some good boards from them in the past, and it looks like they are making improvements to their Gen-1 UEFI BIOS with ClickBIOS II, which is very welcome.

October 14, 2011 | 10:46 AM - Posted by drbaltazar (not verified)

i tend to suggest to user to stick to intel when they get intel cpu

November 30, 2011 | 03:16 PM - Posted by Jeremy Hellstrom

you do know Intel makes the chipsets but doesn't actually make motherboards anymore?

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