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MSI Z87A-GD65 Gaming Motherboard Review

Posted June 27, 2013 by Kenny in CPU & Motherboards







Total Score


Price at time of Review: $187.99 on Newegg.com


Great Aesthetic Appeal, Overclocking Stability, Feature Rich Software


The rear panel VGA connector may be a waste, but this is a minor gripe.
At the price of $187.99 the MSI Z87A-GD65 Gaming Edition Motherboard is both aesthetically pleasing and a rock solid performer.
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by Kenny
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8 Series Chipset


With a new processor, comes a new chipset. With the Haswell platform, Intel has developed five desktop chipsets to meet the demands of various enthusiasts, from budget builders to high-end gamers and more. We have the following: B85, H87, Q85, Q87 and finally the Z87 chipset which we will be taking a look at today.

Let’s take a look at some comparaison charts for the previous 7 series chipset vs. today’s 8 series chipset.


Taking a look at the two side by side, you will first notice a couple of differences immediately. First is its new I/O Port flexibility. We see that the 8 series chipset will support 6 native USB 3.0 ports vs. the previous four. It also supports up to six native SATA 6Gbps ports.

To give you a better idea of what the Z87 chipset looks like, let’s take a look at Intel’s break down grid.


Breaking down the grid, the Z87 didn’t change a whole lot. It still has most if the same previous controllers in place as the Z87. The z87 also still supports PCIe 3.0 lanes for great multi-graphics card support like Crossfire and SLI. What this breaks down to is the PCIe 3.0 (generation 3) lanes are able to provide 32GB/s of bandwidth. With the new developments in today’s graphics cards, we can definitely see the increased need of PCIe 3.0.

However, graphics isn’t the only arena to join in on the available PCIe bandwidth as we are starting to see the expansion of PCIe add-on cards and storage devices. Compared to the previous generation, the lanes are now capable of handling 1GB/s per lane, so PCIe 3.0 at x16, can handle up to 16GB/s of bandwidth for add on devices.

Breaking it down to the USB channels, you can clearly see that the USB 3.0 channels are now supported by the Intel chipset. This was a nice change to see for users and manufacturers, because it can now support up to 6x USB 3.0 natively.

Before we continue, we also have some of Intel’s lesser performance chipset charts available. Please take a look below:

Please click on tab for content:

B85 Chipset


H87 Chipset


Q85 Chipset


Q87 Chipset

Now let’s take a look at Haswell.



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    One quick question. MPower or Gamer (color scheme aside)?


      Hi Stephen,

      When it comes to the MPower, there are allot other factors that can come into play. The MPower does have a beefy Power Phase compared to the Gaming which will be better for overclock, however the gaming still does great as it is… also the MPower has the built in Wifi and Bluetooth. And that is just to name a few of the items, What I would do it take a look at the MPower and see if you will use all of its features. If not, the gaming edition will probably suit your needs. IMO, the gaming edition board will suite 90% of users today and comes with a great price.

      Hope that helps.


        Thanks for taking the time to answer my question. I’m torn between theses series and the ASUS brand (their software adds a lot of value IMHO). 5 years ago I’d go Gigabyte and call it a day.


          Hi Stephen,

          No Problem, I can understand what you mean. The software package that is included now a days can play a role into purchasing decisions.

          I would say, over the last few years, MSI has done a great job in revamping its design and software. I currently own (on a personal level) 5 MSI Boards for both Intel and AMD platforms. Infact, my MSI AMD APU board has been one of the best I have used.

          I currently still own 2 Z77 GD65 boards and both are running my gaming systems without issues. So hope that helps you with your buying decision.

          Asus is also a great company, so I wouldn’t discount them all together, but I would compare the features and software vs pricing and see what comes out on top for you.


        How important would you say on-board WiFi is? This is really the crunch point for me. Do I pay an extra $60 to get the MPower, when the only additional feature I am likely to use is on-board WiFi?

        At the moment I am using a WiFi set up and do play online games.


          The Wifi on the Mpower board worked great with no issues during our testing, Wheater its’s worth it will depend on if you have the space to add on a wifi card you need with the GD65 Gaming.

          If Wifi is important factor for you, then the Mpower board will suit your needs better. Most Decent Wifi cards now a days will cost upwards of $50+, so having one on board with that little cost and getting a better motherboard is a no brainier.


    what about the G45? Any discernible differences between the two? If yes, is the GD65 worth the higher price?


      We haven’t reviewed the G45, however based on my comparisons they are rather similar with a few extra SATA ports on the GD65 and some of the onboard power and OC genue features. Otherwise, they are pretty much the same board. So unless you need the extra SATA ports and want the OC Genie Feature button, I would assume they are close in performance.


    question would you suggest or recommend this motherboard for gaming or not? if yes would you suggest a spec for gaming with this board.. thanks


      This is def. a great gaming motherboard. I can def. see allot of people using this with the i5 4670k and a couple of high end graphics cards. The GTX770 Gaming card or GTX760 will be a great match esp for the price.


    Love this board, lots of nice features. Post codes, Power/reboot buttons, OC genie button and 2 setting switch, dual bios.
    Overclocking is a breeze with this board, got G.Skill (2x8gb 1600Mhz 1.5v) to 2400 1.605v just by changing the frequency and the voltage, the board handled everything else, same goes with the CPU.

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