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MSI Z77A-GD65 Gaming Motherboard Review

Posted May 2, 2013 by Kenny in CPU & Motherboards







Total Score


Price at time of Review: $179.99 on Newegg


Great Aesthetic Appeal, Overclocking Stability, Feature Rich Software


The rear panel VGA connector may be a waste, but this is a minor gripe.
For an inexpensive price, this board brings great value and performance. It also adds great aesthetic appeal, making it an easy top-tier choice.
Discuss in the Forum
by Kenny
Full Article
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Z77 Chipset

Intel’s development follows their “tick-tock” strategy; that is, one swing represents a new architecture, and the next focuses on process improvements. This development cycle is about 2 years each, so here we are in 2013 with Ivy Bridge (Tick). With the launch of Socket 1155 came the H67 and P67 chipsets, H67 was geared to the budget-oriented consumer, with onboard graphics and no overclocking abilities. P67, on the other hand, employed only discrete graphics but came with high performance overclocking capabilities. Each had pros and cons, and users were essentially forced to make a choice when going with a new hotrod Sandy Bridge processor. The launch of the Z68 chipset changed that approach, as users can now benefit from the best of both worlds. The simple explanation is the Z68 is a hybrid of both H67 and P67, bringing onboard graphics and high performance overclocking in a single package. Intel launched the Z68 Gen.3 chipset and these motherboards are compatible with both Ivy Bridge and Sandy Bridge with a BIOS flash. The Z68 Gen.3 features PCIE 3.0 with one exception: Ivy Bridge operates with PCIE 3.0 but Sandy Bridge works at 2.0

Here we are today, the Z77 chipset is here. Actually, Intel has 3 chipset controller hubs, the Z77, the Z75 and the H77. The major differences between the 3 chipsets are few. The Z77 boasts more PCI slots while the Z75 sacrifices Intel Smart Response Technology (SSD Caching) and the H77 has no overclocking ability (Just as the H67). Here are the chipset features of each:

Now, as far as Z77 vs Z68 goes, let’s start with the most noticeable difference. The PCIE lanes can be split into different configurations, 16 x 1/ 2 x8 or x8/ x4, x4. This configuration is only available on the Z77 as the Z75 breaks them into 1 x 16x and 2 x 8x all with PCIE 3.0. The Z77 chipset also supports 3 independent displays along with 4 USB 3.0 ports and 10 USB 2.0 ports. The Z68 chipset had no USB 3.0 support but boasted fourteen USB 2.0 ports. Both chipsets run dual channel and another noticeable upgrade is that memory native speed increased from 1333MHz to 1600MHz.

Here is the Z77 chipset block layout:

And, here is the comparison of the Z68 chipset block layout:

Let’s take a look at Ivy Bridge next to better understand where this board is coming from, and what it means for those looking to upgrade.


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    Eric H

    Looks like a really killer motherboard. Awesome review Kenny.


    So which one would you choose? The GD65 Gaming or the MPower? Both reviews were very strong. Why would I choose one over the other?


      Hey Jeffrey,

      Thank you for reading the review. While both motherboards you mentioned are great options, to be honest, it comes down to what features you are going to be able to take advantage of. Both boards are capable of handing some nice overclocking, while the MPower is targeted more towards the overclock crowd the GD65 Gaming is also a strong contender in that arena. The GD65 does have some unique features like the Killer LAN port which allows you to optimize your internet traffic towards applications you will be using and the MPower features are also great.

      I would put the 2 side by side and see which one has more features you will use and take advantage of. Also, if you are concerned with any aesthetics, pick the one that will suit what your looking to do. At the end of the day, both boards are very good.

      If it were me, I personally like the GD65 Gaming more, due to a couple of reasons. 1. I am primary a gamer, so the gaming properties within the GD65 Gaming suits my needs more, not only that, but I prefer the aesthetics of the GD65 Gaming more then the MPower. Now only that, the GD65 is slightly cheaper with a great feature packed package. So unless you need all the the features the MPower has, I say the GD65 is great for the avg. user and I would use the money you saved toward other items such a better graphics card or a SSD to boost performance overall.



        Really helpful answer. I’ve been looking for this type of review and comments to choose between both cards.

        Awesome job, thank you !

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