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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

PCMark Vantage Tests

PCMark Vantage is an objective hardware performance benchmark tool for PCs running 32- and 64-bit versions of Microsoft Windows Vista or Windows 7. It's well suited for benchmarking any type of Microsoft Windows Vista/7 PC: from multimedia home entertainment systems and laptops, to dedicated workstations and high-end gaming rigs. Benchmark Reviews has decided to use a few select tests from the suite to simulate real-world processor usage in this article. Our tests were conducted on 64-bit Windows 7, with results displayed in the chart below.

TV and Movies Suite

  • TV and Movies 1 (CPU=50%, RAM=2%, GPU=45%, HDD=3%)
    • Two simultaneous threads
    • Video transcoding: HD DVD to media server archive
    • Video playback: HD DVD w/ additional lower bitrate HD content from HDD, as downloaded from net
  • TV and Movies 2 (CPU=50%, RAM=2%, GPU=45%, HDD=3%)
    • Two simultaneous threads
    • Video transcoding: HD DVD to media server archive
    • Video playback, HD MPEG-2: 19.39 Mbps terrestrial HDTV playback
  • TV and Movies 3 (HDD=100%)
    • HDD Media Center
  • TV and Movies 4 (CPU=50%, RAM=2%, GPU=45%, HDD=3%)
    • Video transcoding: media server archive to portable device
    • Video playback, HD MPEG-2: 48 Mbps Blu-ray playback

Gaming Suite*

  • Gaming 1 (CPU=30%, GPU=70%)
    • GPU game test
  • Gaming 2 (HDD=100%)
    • HDD: game HDD
  • Gaming 3 (CPU=75%, RAM=5%, HDD=20%)
    • Two simultaneous threads
    • CPU game test
    • Data decompression: level loading
  • Gaming 4 (CPU=42%, RAM=1%, GPU=24%, HDD=33%)
    • Three simultaneous threads
    • GPU game test
    • CPU game test
    • HDD: game HDD

Music Suite

  • Music 1 (CPU=50%, RAM=3%, GPU=13%, HDD=34%)
    • Three simultaneous threads
    • Web page rendering - w/music shop content
    • Audio transcoding: WAV -> WMA lossless
    • HDD: Adding music to Windows Media Player
  • Music 2 (CPU=100%)
    • Audio transcoding: WAV -> WMA lossless
  • Music 3 (CPU=100%)
    • Audio transcoding: MP3 -> WMA
  • Music 4 (CPU=50%, HDD=50%)
    • Two simultaneous threads
    • Audio transcoding: WMA -> WMA
    • HDD: Adding music to Windows Media Player

* EDITOR'S NOTE: Hopefully our readers will carefully consider how relevant PCMark Vantage is as a "real-world" benchmark, since many of the tests rely on unrelated hardware components. For example, per the FutureMark PCMark Vantage White Paper document, Gaming test #2 weighs the storage device for 100% of the test score. In fact, according to PCMark Vantage the video card only impacts 23% of the total gaming score, but the CPU represents 37% of the final score. As our tests in this article (and many others) have already proven, gaming performance has a lot more to do with the GPU than the CPU, and especially more than the hard drive or SSD (which is worth 38% of the final gaming performance score).

pcmark_vantage.png

The TV and Movies suite concentrates on video playback and transcoding, but only uses two threads at a maximum, so most of the cores in these high-end processors are sitting idle.

While the Gaming benchmark relies on the hard disk and video card for over 50% of its score (see the Editor's Note above), we're using the same HDD and video card for both platforms, so the results for these motherboards are directly comparable.



 

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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