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MSI Z77A-GD65 LGA1155 Motherboard E-mail
Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards
Written by David Ramsey   
Saturday, 07 April 2012
Table of Contents: Page Index
MSI Z77A-GD65 LGA1155 Motherboard
Intel Z77 Express Chipset
Closer Look: MSI Z77 Motherboard
Z77A-GD65 Detailed Features
MSI ClickBIOS II and Control Center
Motherboard Testing Methodology
AIDA64 Extreme Edition Tests
PCMark Vantage Tests
CINEBENCH R11.5 Benchmarks
CPU-Dependent 3D Gaming
Media Encoding Benchmarks
SPECviewperf 11 Tests
SPECapc Lightwave
Blender and POV-Ray
Intel Native USB 3.0
Lucid Virtu MVP
Overclocking and Final Thoughts
MSI Z77A-GD65 Conclusion

Intel Z77 Express Chipset

The MSI Z77A-GD65 is the first motherboard Benchmark Reviews has tested with Intel's new Z77 Express desktop chipset. This chipset replaces the Z68-- itself less than a year old-- which in turn replaced the P67. All three chipsets are tied to the LGA 1155 socket and motherboards based on these chipsets can support either Sandy Bridge CPUs or "Intel third generation Core CPUs". P67 and Z68 motherboard will require a BIOS upgrade for the latter processors, and many vendors already have such updates available.

The diagram below shows the major features of the chipset. If you were expecting a major upgrade from Z68, you'll be disappointed.

msi_Z77a-gd65_chipset.jpg

The major new features are:

  • On-chip USB 3.0. Finally. The Z77 Express provides four USB 3.0 ports as well as 10 USB 2.0 ports; the Z68 supported 14 USB 2.0 ports
  • More versatile use of PCI-E slots. While Sandy Bridge processors are limited to 16x and 8x8 PCI-E lane configurations, with a "third generation Intel Core CPU", the Z77 supports an additional 8x8x4 configuration

...and that's pretty much it! There's native support for the forthcoming "third generation Intel Core CPUs", of course, but that feature's only a BIOS update away with the Z68. Disappointingly, Intel has not followed AMD's lead in making all of their SATA ports SATA 6Gb/s ports, and while some PCI-E lanes may be used for a Thunderbolt port, a separate Thunderbolt controller is required. The Z77A-GD65 does not have a Thunderbolt port.

MSI Z77A-GD65 Specifications

Specifications supplied by MSI.

CPU Intel Socket 1155 for 2nd and 3rd Generation Core Processors
Chipset Intel Z77
Memory 4 x DIMM, Max. 32GB, DDR3 2667(O.C.), 2400(O.C.)/2133(O.C.)/1866/1600/1333/1066 MHz ECC, Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory
Supports Intel Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)
Multi-GPU Support

Supports NVIDIA SLI Technology
Supports AMD CrossFireX Technology
Supports Lucid Virtu Universal MVP

Expansion Slots 3 x PCIe 3.0 x16
4 x PCIe 2.0 x1
Storage Intel Z77 chipset :
2 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s)
4 x SATA 3Gb/s port(s)
Support Raid 0, 1, 5, 10
ASMedia ASM1061 controller :
2 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s)
LAN Intel 82579V, 1 x Gigabit LAN Controller(s)
Audio Realtek ALC898 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC, THX certified
- Supports : Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-retasking
IEEE 1394 1 x IEEE 1394a port(s)
USB Ports Intel Z77 chipset :
2x USB 3.0 via internal connector, 2x USB 3.0 on back panel, 6x USB 2.0 via internal connector, 4x USB 2.0 on back panel
Back I/O Ports 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port
1 x Clear CMOS button
1 x Coaxial S/PDIF out port
1 x optical S/PDIF out port
4 x USB 2.0 ports
2 x USB 3.0 ports
1 x Intel Gigabit LAN port
6 x Audio ports
1 x HDMI, 1 x DVD-I, 1 x analog VGA. Any two video ports may be used at once.
Internal I/O Ports and buttons 3 x USB 2.0 headers
1 x USB 3.0 header
1 x IEEE 1394 header
1 x Multi-BIOS switch
1 x TPM module connector
1 x front panel audio connector
1 x chassis intrusion connector
1 x Voice Genie connector (optional)
1 x Multiconnect panel connector (optional)
1 x V-Checks points set

Let's take a closer look in the next section.



 

Comments 

 
# Mistaken Video Portshookems 2012-04-09 12:16
The third video port is an HDMI not Display Port. Otherwise great review.
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# RE: Mistaken Video PortDavid Ramsey 2012-04-09 13:12
Oh, good catch! I've edited the specifications to reflect this.
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# priceTHUMPer 2012-04-11 12:29
Price is now 169 on newegg.
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# RE: MSI Z77A-GD65 LGA1155 Motherboardwrong 2012-04-21 09:11
The board has PCI-E 3.0 not 2.0
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# RE: RE: MSI Z77A-GD65 LGA1155 MotherboardDavid Ramsey 2012-04-21 10:00
No, it doesn't. The Z77 express chipset provides eight PCI E2 .0 lanes. In the very near future it may be possible to install a processor that provides PCIE 3.0 lanes, but not as of the time of this review.
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# great & complete reviewdawgamerhybrid 2012-04-25 04:08
Thx for the great review, ive been "building" my ultimate hybrid system since before the z68 got released and i still didnt pull the trigger :). Would i merrit from waiting for another brand's (asus, gigabyte,...) z77 release to compare with the msi... or should i just pull that trigger allready, questions questions... The fact that it doesnt yet have native pci 3.0 kinda dissapoints me. Also i'm quite shure that after a few bios updates the z77 gd65 will perform above par in comparison to the z68a gd65 which allready had a ton of modifications.
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# RE: great & complete reviewDavid Ramsey 2012-04-25 07:23
No Z77 motherboard will ever have "native" PCI-E 3.0. The PCI-E 3.0 lines are provided by the Ivy Bridge CPU.
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# extra cashcolman 2012-09-25 09:11
is this mobo worth the extra cash u pay over the MSI Z77A-G45
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# HELP!!!Martin Rønning 2012-10-21 13:44
I have a problem!
I try OC but when Windows starts up, my computer just stops in the loading Screen for windows....
Same if i use OC-genie
And sometimes it appear a2 in right bottom corner on the screen (rest is black)
My computer specs:
I7-3770K Intel prosessor
MSI z77a-gd65 motherboard
H100 cpu cooling (corsair)
12GB ram Dominator GT / ram fan (corsair)
MSI hd r6800 series HAWK
And i got a H2Go case from MountainMods.com
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# RE: HELP!!!David Ramsey 2012-10-21 13:49
My only guess would be that your overclocked settings in OC Genie are too high. Try loading the defaults in the BIOS before using OC Genie, and then checking the "My OC Genie" page to make sure the settings are reasonable.
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# HELP!!!Martin Rønning 2012-10-21 23:09
Il test it when Im home.
Im crossing my fingers :P
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# PCIx16?Drnkbeer 2012-11-26 08:33
Now MSI is being sneaky and not informing people that they decide to put a second GFX in the 2nd PCI-E 3.0 port it would be reduced to 8x as would the original 16x. Which to me seems ridiculous. Was tempted to get a Mobo that would SLI but if the main card gets reduced what the hell is the point? Does anyone know of any motherboards that can run two video cards at 16x PCI-E 2.0, with 1155 and can accept 1600 DDR3 RAM?
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# RE: PCIx16?David Ramsey 2012-11-26 10:20
Several comments:

1. This is true of ANY Z67/Z68/Z77 motherboard except high-end boards with PLX chips. You've only got 16 PCI-E lanes from the CPU, so provisioning 2 x16 slots is impossible without extra hardware.

2. If you're using an Ivy Bridge chip, you've got PCI-E 3.0 lanes with twice the bandwidth as PCI-E 2.0 lanes, so those two x8 slots are the equivalent of two x16 slots if you're using a PCI-E 3.0 compliant graphics card.

3. But even if you're running Sandy Bridge CPU and older graphics cards, guess what? Nothing out there saturates 8 PCI-E lanes anyway, so games won't play one FPS slower on a 2x8 SLI or Crossfire system than they would on a 2x16 system.

But if you want to spend extra money, yes, there are many LGA1155 motherboard that can supply 2x16: ASUS Maximum V Extreme, ASUS P8Z77-WS, ASUS P8Z77-V Premium; EVGA Z77 FTW. MSI doesn't seem to have any boards like this, but again, unless you're running triple or quad cards, you don't really need a board with a PLX chip.
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# Black screenJOHN 2012-12-26 09:59
Bios update failed.. blank screen, anybody knows how to restore bios,, have blank screen, I try to reset removing battery and clear cmos and nothing happen, is another way to do it>>>???
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