87a vrz MSI X79A GD65 8D Motherboard Pictured

Here are some of the first pictures of MSI X79A-GD65 8D, the company's second-to-best socket LGA2011 offering, which will feature in the first wave of Sandy Bridge-E compatible motherboards. The marker "8D" brings back some old memories. It literally stands for "eight DIMMs", and was first used on the P45-8D "Memory Lover", a board that featured four each of DDR3 and DDR2 slots. On the X79A-GD65 8D, however, it refers to two DDR3 DIMMs per channel, to take advantage of the quad-channel IMC of Sandy Bridge-E. Let's put this one under the looking glass.

Here are some of the first pictures of MSI X79A-GD65 8D, the company's second-to-best socket LGA2011 offering, which will feature in the first wave of Sandy Bridge-E compatible motherboards. The marker "8D" brings back some old memories. It literally stands for "eight DIMMs", and was first used on the P45-8D "Memory Lover", a board that featured four each of DDR3 and DDR2 slots. On the X79A-GD65 8D, however, it refers to two DDR3 DIMMs per channel, to take advantage of the quad-channel IMC of Sandy Bridge-E. Let's put this one under the looking glass.

87b vrz MSI X79A GD65 8D Motherboard Pictured

The MSI X79A-GD65 8D is a socket LGA2011 HEDT (high-end desktop) platform offering by MSI, based on the Intel X79 chipset. The landscape photograph shows just how the board is bursting with features. The LOTES-made LGA2011 socket is powered by what appears to be a 5+2 phase VRM configuration, which makes use of solid-state choles and POSCAP capacitors. DIMM slots are arranged in two sets of four slots, on either sides of the socket. Each of the two sets has wiring for two of the four DDR3 memory channels of the Sandy Bridge-E processor. The memory is powered by a 4-phase VRM. 

87c vrz MSI X79A GD65 8D Motherboard Pictured

Expansion slots include five PCI-Express x16, of which two are PCI-Express 3.0 x16 capable, four are PCI-Express 3.0 x8 capable (depends on the way they're populated), and one is PCI-Express 2.0 x4 capable (wired to the X79 PCH). A PCI-Express 2.0 x1 makes itself comfortable in the middle. Storage options includes four each of SATA 6 Gb/s and SATA 3 Gb/s. There are no eSATA ports. 

87a vrz MSI X79A GD65 8D Motherboard Pictured

Connectivity options are fairly standard. There's 8+2 channel HD audio with optical and coaxial SPDIF outputs, one gigabit Ethernet connection, FireWire, and four USB 3.0 ports (two on the rear panel, two by internal header), a few USB 2.0 ports, and the PS/2 combo connector. 

The board supports 4-way SLI and CrossFireX, and quite a few overclocking options packed into the UEFI configuration utility. There are MSI exclusives such as OC Genie II.