P1020250 MSI X79A GD65 Motherboard Review

It's only been a few days since the launch of Intel's long awaited, if not knee trembling exciting Sandy Bridge-E platform. Already there are a plethora of X79 motherboards competing for the attention and the cash of PC enthusiasts. Today we take a look at the MSI X79A-GD65, a mid range board targeting the budget conscious users.

Introduction

IMG 17141 MSI X79A GD65 Motherboard Review

It's only been a few days since the launch of Intel's long awaited, if not knee trembling exciting Sandy Bridge-E platform. Already there are a plethora of X79 motherboards competing for the attention and the cash of PC enthusiasts. Today we take a look at the MSI X79A-GD65, a mid range board targeting the budget conscious users.

Before we dive into the MSI board, it's well worth taking a look at our articles here and here covering the platform itself.

Like all other Sandy Bridge-E boards, the X79A-GD65 uses the X79 'Patsburg' chipset, supporting second generation Core i7 processors  for the LGA2011 socket. The model we'll be reviewing is the four dimm version. MSI also has an eight dimm version of the GD65 available.

Below is a general overview of the X79 platform. The increased number of PCIe lanes and quad channel memory support are the major distinguishing features over the mainstream P67/Z68 platforms.

Intel SNB E LLPT PressDeck Page 21 MSI X79A GD65 Motherboard Review

Specifications of the MSI X79A-GD65

CPU Support

Supports 2nd Generation Intel® Core i7 processors in LGA2011 package

Chipset

Intel® X79 Chipset
Memory - Supports four unbuffered DIMM of 1.5 Volt DDR3 1066/1333/1600/1800*/2133*/2400* (OC) DRAM, 64GB Max
- Supports Quad channel mode
Expansion Slots • 3 PCI Express gen3 x16 slots
- PCI_E1 & PCI_E4 support up to PCIE x16 speed
- PCI_E6 supports up to PCIE x8 speed
• 2 PCI Express gen2 x16 slots
- PCI_E2 & PCI_E5 support up to PCIE x1 speed
• 1 PCIE x1 slot
On-Board SATA

SATAII controller integrated in Intel® X79 chipset
- Up to 3Gb/s transfer speed.
- Supports four SATAII ports (SATA3~6) by X79

SATAIII controller integrated in Intel® X79 chipset
- Up to 6Gb/s transfer speed.
- Supports two SATAIII ports (SATA1~2) by X79

SATAIII controller integrated in ASMedia® ASM 1061 chipset
- Up to 6Gb/s transfer speed.
- Supports two SATAIII ports (SATA7~8)

RAID
- SATA• The mainboard BIOS provides "Plug & Play" BIOS which detects the peripheral devices and expansion cards of the board automatically.
• The mainboard provides a Desktop Management Interface(DMI) function which records your mainboard specifications.1~2 ports support Intel Rapid Storage Technology enterprise (AHCI / RAID 0/1) by Intel X79
- SATA3~6 ports support Intel Rapid Storage Technology enterprise (AHCI / RAID 0/1/5/10) by Intel X79

USB 3.0 • 1 USB 3.0 internal connector by NEC® D720200
• 2 USB 3.0 rear I/O ports by NEC® D720200
Audio • Chipset integrated by Realtek® ALC892
- Flexible 8-channel audio with jack sensing
- Compliant with Azalia 1.0 Spec
- Meet Microsoft Vista Premium spec
LAN • Supports one PCI Express LAN 10/100/1000 Fast Ethernet by Realtek 8111E.
 IEEE1394 / FireWire VIA® VT6315N chipset
- Supports up to two 1394 ports. (Rear panel x1, pinheader x1)
- Transfer rate is up to 400Mbps.
Internal I/O Connectors - ATX 24-Pin power connector
- 8-pin ATX 12V power connector 
- CPU x 1 / System x 4 FAN connectors
- Front panel audio connector
- Front panel connector
- 1 x chasis intrusion connector
- 2 x USB 2.0 connectors
- 1 x USB 3.0 connectors
- 4 x Serial ATAII connectors
- 4 x Serial ATAIII connectors
- 1 x IEEE1394 connector
- 1 x Clear CMOS jumper
- 1 x TPM module connector
- 1 x Power button
- 1 x OC Genie button
- 2 x Direct OC buttons
- 1 x Multi BIOS switch
- 1 x Voice Genie connector
- 1 x MultiConnect Panel connector
- 1 x Voltage Checkpoint connector
Back Panel I/O Ports - 1 x PS/2 Mouse/Keyboard port
- 1 x Clear CMOS button
- 1 x Coaxial SPDIF port
- 1 x Optical SPDIF port
- 1 x IEEE1394 port
- 1 x RJ45 LAN Jack
- 8 x USB 2.0 ports
- 2 x USB 3.0 ports
- 1 x 6 in 1 audio jack
BIOS • The mainboard BIOS provides "Plug & Play" BIOS which detects the peripheral devices and expansion cards of the board automatically.
• The mainboard provides a Desktop Management Interface(DMI) function which records your mainboard specifications.
Dimensions • 30.5cm(L) x 24.4cm(W) ATX Form Factor