Excerpt: 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.
Conclusion: There are a lot of really nice features that the MSI Z68A-GD80 (G3) comes with: support for the next generation PCI-Express Gen 3.0 slot interface, 5 Year Warranty after registration, fast UEFI BIOS that’s both appealing easy to use, OC Genie II, and the Military Class II components all add value to this motherboard. In addition, it will support the next generation Ivy Bridge processors, and next generation graphics hardware.
Pros: 5 Year Warranty, Military Class II Components, PCI-E Gen 3 Support for the Future, Ivy Bridge Ready, Good Performance, OC Genie II, UEFI (GUI) BIOS, No Stability Issues, Good price vs. performance
Cons: SATA III performance on the Z68 chipset suffered for some reason, Front panel connectors might be confusing
Excerpt: The introduction of PCIe 3.0 has done almost what your normal new chipset would do when it comes to the motherboard market. We've seen companies start releasing a new flock of motherboards supporting PCIe 3.0. Unfortunately we're still yet to see anything really make use of it, but at least we're prepared for the next iteration of CPUs from Intel and GPUs from AMD who have hinted at PCIe 3.0, and hopefully NVIDIA too.
Conclusion: Although we strive to be as objective as possible, any review will reflect to some extent the perceptions and biases of the reviewer. Also, keep in mind that the computer market is very volatile, and that today's killer super product can easily become yesterday's also-ran as the market competition changes. Don't base a purchase decision solely on this review, but use it as part of your research.
Pros: Can use integrated Sandy Bridge video and a discrete video card, Intel Smart Response technology boosts disk performance, Military spec components and 10-phase power enable high and stable overclocks, Four SATA 6G and four USB 3.0 ports, OC Genie overclocking guarantees extra performance even for novices, Voltage measuring points and extra PCI-E power connector for the hard-core overclockers
Cons: BIOS defaults to IDE mode for SATA ports, Virtu software still has some rough edges, Can't run triple SLI or CrossFireX effectively due to lack of PCI-E lanes, Oddly slow iGPU performance, Only one PWM fan header
Conclusion: The board is topped off with Military Class components and solid Hi-c capacitors, super ferrite chokes and solid CAPs. The UEFI BIOS is very easy and intuitive to control, although not as nicely categorized as I would’ve preferred. The OC Genie II allows one button simple overclocking, which overclocked our Core i7-2600K from 3.4GHz up to 4.2GHz without me making any further changes in the BIOS.
Summary: Today we are going to talk about a mainboard that was designed very conveniently and correctly, supports all contemporary interfaces such as eSATA, USB 3.0, SATA 6 Gbps and IEEE1394 (FireWire), has all necessary Video outs. It does, however, suffer from a few issues during overclocking, although the produced results are quite exceptional.
Excerpt: It's been a long time since we've had a look at a board from MSI, but the release of a new chipset from Intel seems like the perfect time to look at one. Today we'll be looking at the MSI Z68A-GD80 which is one of the two Z68 boards MSI are currently listing on their website.
Conclusion: After years of playing the underdog, MSI has been working hard to become one of the premier motherboard vendors in North America. With the Z68A-GD80 G3, they’re off to a great start. This board was a particularly innovative solution for Sandy Bridge motherboards since was the first to market with certain features.
Pros: - Live Update 5 makes updating drivers and utilities painless, - Control Center includes memory timings, - OC Genie overclocks both CPU and memory, - Attractive UEFI BIOS featuring mouse and Windows support, - PCI-E 3.0 and Ivy Bridge ready, - HDMI and DVI-I outputs included, - Virtu, SSD caching, USB 3.0, SATA 6Gb/s included, - Military Certified VRM components, - 5 year warranty
Cons: - One of the more expensive Z68 options, - Latest official BIOS is fairly old and has some bugs, - Potential for issues with older 2133 memory kits, - Possible clearance issue with Marvell SATA port when running SLI
Excerpt: 23 Flares 23 Flares × MSI have been releasing a steady stream of well priced, performance oriented graphics cards and motherboards this year, and today we are looking at their Z68A-GD80-G3 which supports the next generation of PCI Express graphics cards.