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MSI Z68A-GD80 Intel Motherboard E-mail
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Written by David Ramsey   
Thursday, 02 June 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
MSI Z68A-GD80 Intel Motherboard
The Intel Z68 Express Chipset
Closer Look: MSI Z68A-GD80
Closer Look Continued
Motherboard Testing Methodology
AIDA64 Extreme Edition Tests
CINEBENCH R11.5 Benchmarks
PassMark Performance Test
Media Encoding Benchmarks
SPECviewperf 11 Tests
Street Fighter IV and Blender
Z68A-GD80 Overclocking
Z68 Motherboard Final Thoughts
MSI Z68A-GD80 Conclusion


Like other Z68-based motherboards, MSI's Z68A-GD80 has a fancy new graphical BIOS. The main screen is divided into five sections: Green Power, Utilities, Overclocking, Games, and Settings. You can navigate the BIOS using your mouse or the arrow keys on your keyboard. MSI doesn't use a color change or highlight to indicate your current selection; instead, the icon's contents animate with spinning gears, wiggling controllers, bouncing meter needles and the like.


The sections break down like this:

  • Green Power: Settings for CPU power phase control, C1E support, the power phase LEDs on the motherboard (enable or disable), and a couple of other power-related settings.
  • Utilities: There's some useful stuff here, like a memory test, a live BIOS update over the Internet, and hard disk backup. You can also choose a background image for your boot screen.
  • Overclocking: All the CPU and memory timings and voltages you'd ever need are right here.
  • Games: Honestly? I have no idea. The manual says I can pick "several games" from a menu. When I select it, though, I'm prompted to insert a "UEFI Game Disk". Which I don't have.
  • Settings: Everything else you'd normally expect to see in a BIOS.

The Settings section is one you'll want to dive into the first time you turn on the board, because MSI has set the default mode for the SATA ports as IDE, and you probably would much rather it be AHCI. After selecting "Settings", click the "Advanced" button and then go to the "Integrated Peripherals" section to set the SATA mode. Restoring the default BIOS settings after an overclock failure will also reset the SATA ports to IDE, so if your system fails to boot after a reset, check this setting.


The Overclocking section, as I mentioned, has everything you need. All settings are made by selecting choices from pop-up menus, so you never have to type in settings directly.


MSI thoughtfully warns you (as you can see in the upper right of this image) never to set the CPU voltage beyond 1.4 volts...but the BIOS will let you if you want to ignore this advice. Which I do for this review, if only slightly. Now, let's dive into the testing!



# still oddresere 2011-06-02 10:03
i don't get it why intel limit pci-e lanes. amd don't (good for them).
Yes, the crown is blue. but the halo seems red.
And it's funny this vertu DON'T manage multi GPU. THAT could be a real deal. if it'll work smooth, which still don't, even in single GPU.
As you said, let's trust the near future.
another interesting thing is the layout identical MSI-ASUS. fortunately, i agree with the choice.
Anyway, a review i've read it with pleasure.
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# oops!resere 2011-06-02 10:06
its vIrtu, not vErtu (glossy gsm :P)
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# LINUXThe Techno Alien 2011-06-04 05:59
I guess the OC software won't work under Linux, eh?
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# RE: LINUXDavid Ramsey 2011-06-04 08:24
MSU's Control Center software is Windows-only, but the OC Genie button and manual overclocking through the BIOS will work for any operating system.
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# Errors on page 3?Sam 2011-06-06 04:21
The FireWire port looks like the 6 pin 400Mb/s not the 800. Also, what is DVI-S referring to, looks like a DVI-I port to me.
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# RE: Errors on page 3?David Ramsey 2011-06-06 10:00
My bad. The 1394 port is indeed 400Mb/s, and the "DVI-S" is a typo. Both have been corrected. BTW, although MSI uses a dual-link connector, the DVI port is only single-link.
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