|MSI Z77A-GD65 LGA1155 Motherboard|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Sunday, 08 April 2012|
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Z77A-GD65 Detailed Features
Like the Z68 chipset, the Z77 supports the integrated GPU of modern Intel processors. What video ports a board provides are up to the vendor; MSI provides VGA, DVI, and HDMI outputs, any two of which may be used simultaneously. Starting from the left, there's a combination PS/2 port for a mouse or keyboard, two USB 2.0 sockets, the Clear CMOS button, RCA and optical audio outputs, two more USB 2.0 ports and the HDMI connector, a gigabit Ethernet port and two USB 3.0 connectors, the VGA and DVI ports, and last a standard analog audio panel.
At the bottom edge of the board are the front panel audio connector, a system fan connector, the Trusted Platform Module connector, the Voice Genie connector (for an optional voice control module), the MSI split front panel connectors JFP2 and JFP1, and the IEEE 1394 (FireWire) connector.
Continuing along the edge of the board we see three USB connectors, the first of which has a red interior. This "Super Charger" connector can provide 1.5 amps, triple the normal USB current rating, for charging iPads and other high-current devices. Above the USB connectors are the two BIOS chips and a switch to select which one will be used the next time you boot, a nice feature. Finally there's a two-digit POST code readout. MSI provides a list of POST codes and what they mean in the manual, but oddly omit the "everything's running OK" code of "A0". (Actually, according to the reviewer's guide it's supposed to show the CPU temperature after boot...maybe in a future BIOS update!)
At the front of the board, next to the main ATX power connector, are plug-ins for the supplied voltage probe wires. If you don't trust the BIOS readouts of your various voltages (and many overclockers don't), you can connect your own instruments and directly measure the voltage applied to the integrated GPU, CPU core, CPU uncore, memory, and Z77 chipset. At the corner of the board are power, reset, and OC Genie buttons.
At the very right edge of this image is a row of very small LEDs which light up in sequence as more power phases are used. When your system's idling, only two or three will be lit; under load, all of them will light up.
Eight SATA ports are divided into two Intel 6Gb/s ports (two rightmost ports, in white), four Intel 3Gb/s ports (black), and two 6Gb/s ports from the Asmedia AMS 1061 controller (two leftmost ports, in white). Just to the right is the internal USB 3.0 connector, which is driven from the Z77 chipset.
MSI's motherboard seems to have a good basic set of features. Let's take quick look at the BIOS.