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MSI Z68A-GD80 Intel Motherboard E-mail
Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards
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
Z68A-GD80 UEFI BIOS
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

Motherboard Testing Methodology

To test this board, I compared it against a P67-based ASUS P8P67 and a Z68-based ASUS P8Z68-V Pro. The Intel Core i7 2600K processor, DDR3 1333 memory, video card, and other components were the same in all tests...only the motherboards changed.

msi_z68a_gd80_rot4.jpg

P67 Test System

  • Motherboard: ASUS P8P67 (BIOS 0905)
  • Processor: Intel Core i7 2600K
  • System Memory: 2x2G G.SKILL DDR3 1333Mhz 9-9-9-24
  • Disk Drive: Western Digital Raptor 300 WD30 00HLFS-01G6U1
  • Operating System: Windows 7 x64 Home Premium with SP1
  • Graphics adapter: AMD Radeon 6850

Z68 Test Systems

  • Motherboard: ASUS P8Z68-V Pro (BIOS 8801)
  • Motherboard: MSI Z68A-GD80 (BIOS 1.23.1108)
  • Processor: Intel Core i7 2600K
  • System Memory: 2x2G G.SKILL DDR3 1333Mhz 9-9-9-24
  • Disk Drive: Western Digital Raptor 300 WD30 00HLFS-01G6U1
  • Operating System: Windows 7 x64 Home Premium with SP1
  • Graphics adapter: Intel HD Graphics 3000 / AMD Radeon 6850
  • CPU Cooler: Thermalright Silver Arrow

Benchmark Applications

  • AIDA64 Extreme Edition v1.60
  • CINEBENCH R11.5
  • PassMark Performance Test v7.0
  • Handbrake 0.95
  • x264 HD Benchmark 3.19
  • Blender
  • SPECviewPerf 11
  • Street Fighter IV Benchmark

The biggest selling point of the Z68 chipset is that you can now fully utilize the Sandy Bridge integrated GPU. Like the ASUS P8Z68-V Pro motherboard, the MSI Z68A-GD80 includes Lucid's "Virtu" software to enable automatic switching between a discrete graphics card and the integrated GPU (or "iGPU"). Benchmark Reviews examined Lucid Virtu Graphics Virtualization Technology in detail in this article. For this review I'll run the benchmarks on the MSI Z68A-GD80 in four different configurations:

  1. Stock clock speeds using integrated GPU
  2. OC Genie clock speeds (4.2GHz, with an overclocked iGPU as well)
  3. The best clock speeds I can reach "by hand" (4.94GHz, stock-clocked GPU)
  4. Stock clock speeds, but with a Radeon HD6850 video card in Virtu "i-Mode".
lucid_virtu.jpg

Virtu's i-Mode should allow the graphics processing power of the Radeon HD6850 video card to kick in when it's needed, while saving power by idling the card and using the 2600K's integrated GPU when it's not.



 

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