MSI P55-GD65 - Mid-Range P55 for the Masses

by Gary Key on 10/10/2009 12:00 PM EST
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45 Comments

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  • petergab - Saturday, October 17, 2009 - link

    Do they use a foxconn socket on this motherboard? Reply
  • Gary Key - Thursday, October 22, 2009 - link

    Yes, Foxconn socket. We are compiling a list of motherboards with each socket manufacturer along with whether they launched with the revised Foxconn socket or the old one (which seems to be the primary problem child). It has been difficult getting straight answers as you can imagine. ;) Reply
  • thermbug - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    Pardon the brain freeze but what does the color coding inside the performance charts indicate?
    I see 3 i7's and i5 and an AMD chip for comparison.
    Am I interpreting correctly that the i5 750 is the light green, dark green is the I7 860?
    The utilization of color doesn't seem to be consistent on the various graphs.

    The MSI board is consistently highlighted as dark green in the latter several graphs. But which CPU is being used in that case? It looks like the I7 860 is the standard test but I can't quite grok it.
    Reply
  • thermbug - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    Pardon the brain freeze but what does the color coding inside the performance charts indicate?
    I see 3 i7's and i5 and an AMD chip for comparison.
    Am I interpreting correctly that the i5 750 is the light green, dark green is the I7 860?
    The utilization of color doesn't seem to be consistent on the various graphs.

    The MSI board is consistently highlighted as dark green in the latter several graphs. But it mentionsBut which CPU is being used in that case?
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Tuesday, October 13, 2009 - link

    I'm guessing that all results which don't specify a processor use the 750. Reply
  • haplo602 - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    OMG another P55 board review ... how about a 785G one ? there was NONE since it launched, yet you are covering P55 like the next best thing to sliced bread ...

    Reply
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  • ipay - Sunday, October 11, 2009 - link

    That generally sums up my experience with every MSI board I've ever used. Unfortunately, while the warts are few, they're usually significant enough that they overshadow all the good features, and you end up with a board that's frustrating to use.

    Buy an ASRock or Biostar instead. You'll get a similar layout, similar overclocking options and fewer "warts" at a lower price.
    Reply
  • yacoub - Sunday, October 11, 2009 - link

    My MSI P6N-SLI Platinum (c2d) board has been flawless since day one. It is my first MSI motherboard and has been running great (overclocked, no less) ever since. Reply
  • crab nebula - Sunday, October 11, 2009 - link

    If you insert a device in the PCI Express x4 slot, then the other two PCI Express x1 slots are disabled automatically (because the mb has an extra PCI Express Gb LAN controller and a PCI Express IEEE 1394 controller). Somehow this is not mentioned in any review of this mb. Reply
  • MadMan007 - Sunday, October 11, 2009 - link

    The lack of information regarding PCIe slot assignment when different slots are populated has been SORELY missing from all P55 mobo reviews. It's either laziness or an attempt to cover up shortcomings but it seems pretty important to me - people actually expect to use slots that are present on the board, ya know?

    I STILL haven't seen an answer to how many lanes the primary graphics slot keeps when the secondary graphics slot is populated with a 1x or 4x card! This affects anyone who has a graphics card and sound card, or TV tuner, or disk controller and given the layout of many boards you're likely going to have to use the secondary graphics slot for those devices.

    I am also bothered by the lack of C2Q benchmarks. Loads of people have them and asking whether i5 in particular is a worthwhile upgrade is being ignored.
    Reply
  • crab nebula - Tuesday, October 13, 2009 - link

    There are two kinds of P55 mbs:

    1. Non SLI: The PCI Express 2.0 x16 link does not split.
    2. SLI x8: The PCI Express 2.0 link splits into two x8 links, usually SLI-certified by NVIDIA
    3. SLI x16: The nForce 200 chip is equipped for 2-way SLI: x16, x16 and 3-way SLI: x16, x8, x8.

    Most mb of the first type also have a second PCI Express x16 slot which is connected to P55 and works at x4 (1.x in bandwidth).

    MSI P55-GD65 is of the second type. If you insert a PCI Express device (of whatever lanes) in the second PCI Express x16 2.0 slot (electrically x8), the first PCI Express x16 2.0 slot also works only at x8.

    A problem of P55-GD65 is that the severe (?) limitation of the PCI Express x4 slot is not mentioned in its product page or the manual at all. For example, suppose that a user is using a PCIe x1 sound card in the first PCIe x1 slot and a 2-slot graphics card. If he wants to use a PCIe x1 TV tuner card and insert it in the PCIe x4 slot, then he will suddenly find that his sound card stops working! So he has to use the second PCI Express 2.0 x16 for the TV tuner. Then this decreases the speed of the graphic card to x8!! Although practically this is not a big issue, this limitation still should be mentioned somewhere in the product page or the manual.

    "the layout of this board is just fantastic, especially the PCIe/PCI layout." ?? It looks like Gary Key is simply ignorant of this. ASUS and ASRock mbs have much better board layouts in this respect: all expansion slots actually work!
    Reply
  • MadMan007 - Tuesday, October 13, 2009 - link

    Exactly the type of scenario that no mobo reviews have mentioned and which I was thinking of. Thank you for spelling it out. Reply
  • crab nebula - Tuesday, October 13, 2009 - link

    Correction: "There are two kinds of P55 mbs" has to be "There are three kinds of P55 mbs". (The fourth type would be those that use Lucid Hydra 200.) Reply
  • lopri - Sunday, October 11, 2009 - link

    I don't know how you don't see PCI Express slot information from the reviews so far? They have been clearly explained or are in the board specification page. There was even a special article regarding P55 chipset PCI Express. Reply
  • MadMan007 - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    You need to reread and comprehend my post. I'm not asking for specs, obviously those are easy to find, but how lanes get assigned when slots are occupied especially with something other than a graphics card. I guess all reviewers are too lazy to put anything but one or two graphics cards in their test mobos. Reply
  • lopri - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    I didn't go back and re-read the reviews, but at the time when I read them I was able to tell how the lanes are assigned on a given board. It's not like there are multitude of choices available.. All P55 boards so far (maybe except the one w/ NF200) support either a x16 lane or two x8 lanes from the CPU. Everything else belongs to the PCH and if I remember correctly all reviews made it clear when a physical x16 slot (x4 electrically) belongs to the south bridge. Reply
  • MadMan007 - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    You still fail to comprehend and say it like I'm a moron who can't read a chipset diagram but your other link at least answered the question about the CPU-based lanes. Reply
  • lopri - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=3649">http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=3649

    quote:

    We are also reporting single card results with the HD 5870 running at PCIe 2.0 x8 speeds on the P55 platform to compare performance to the x16 single card setup. We installed an Intel CT Gigabit network card in the second physical x16 slot in order to force x8 operation.
    Reply
  • MadMan007 - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    That is a video card review so no it's not been spelled out in mobo reviews. It's what I figured but hoped the lane splitter chips might be smarter. Thanks for the link though. Reply
  • MadMan007 - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    er *video performance test. Whatever, not the place I'd expect to read about motherboard features or stuff that I'd epect to find in, ya know, regular motherboard reviews. Reply
  • vlado08 - Sunday, October 11, 2009 - link

    Gary, give us the POST time ot the boards. Not the OS load time but the POST time. And Sata to be in AHCI mode. Reply
  • Sunburn74 - Saturday, October 10, 2009 - link

    This really was a great review. You tell the end user pretty much everything he needs to know. I love how you tested S3 resume. Its very frustrating to buy a board said to have great overclocking and find that you can only overclock 300mhz before S3 sleep goes haywire. If this board can be pushed to 190blck before S3 goes awry that is amazingly good. Gigabyte boards give you about 600mhz of head room before they start failing in that regard. I don't know about you, but I don't like having to to weigh the value of keeping a 4ghz processor vs being able to have a computer that sleeps.

    Also what gives with the floppy and the ide ports? Who still uses floppies?

    Great review. I'll definitely keep this board in sight for when I build my p55 rig.
    Reply
  • lopri - Sunday, October 11, 2009 - link

    Gary now writes practically critic-proof reviews. Reply
  • Zaitsev - Saturday, October 10, 2009 - link

    Who still uses floppies? I still use floppies. I was pretty perturbed when I realized my P55 Asus board didn't have floppy support. Call me old school, but its compatible and works when you need sata drivers. Reply
  • MadMan007 - Sunday, October 11, 2009 - link

    Well I can see how floppy is deprecated unless you need drivers for XP (old now, although WHS needs a floppy for F6 drivers) or an alternative OS (not sure about the latter) but I'm with you on IDE. If they're going to have a JMicron controller on the board might as well include the IDE connector, it probably adds almost nothing more to the cost.

    There are particular instances where having an IDE optical drive is beneficial. I set up my SATA drives as AHCI and some bootable ISOs do not play well with AHCI (or RAID) setting. I do have a SATA optical but having an IDE optical for booting such ISOs without having to mess around in the BIOS is nice and it guarantees compatability. I guess you could use a SATA optical on the JMicron set to IDE but I had the IDE drive so...

    I think it's funny that someone would 'look down on' a board for having an IDE connector..wtf? It's not hurting anything being there, just ignore it.
    Reply
  • Makaveli - Sunday, October 11, 2009 - link

    Who still uses Floopies I do!! I won't do a bios flash on my motherboard from windows or flashing a videocard bios!!!

    However there are these really great devices called USB thumb drives which you can make bootable and guess what goodbye floppy!!

    The only valid reason to keep using them is if your board doesn't allow booting from USB!

    Welcome to 2009!
    Reply
  • stmok - Sunday, October 11, 2009 - link

    Floppy disk for SATA drivers?

    Can't you slipstream them in a customised Windows install CD via nLite/vLite? (I've only seen it done to a WinXP install CD.)
    Reply
  • MadMan007 - Sunday, October 11, 2009 - link

    Good luck running nLite or vLite without an OS installed! ;) That's what second computers are for but still... Reply
  • tony montana - Saturday, October 10, 2009 - link

    I old school too. The same on IDE. why I have to spend some bucks on a new DVD burner for 4 or 5 burns a year?

    This board has at least these ports at the right place for me, not on the bottom like others.

    thanks for review, is one of the two mobos I have in mind to purchase and I have seen some tips I haven´t see in others reviews
    Reply
  • yacoub - Saturday, October 10, 2009 - link

    Did I miss the list of PSUs that OCGenie had conflicts with? That would be important and helpful data to have in the article and I couldn't find it.

    Also, this board could be a winner if it didn't have so many archaic parts, like IDE and floppy. Really, MSI, drop those already! Even though there's probably no actual downside to having those items on the board, it actually does make me think less of it and discourage me from considering it. That plus the PSU and BIOS issues keep this from being my first choice.

    Eagerly awaiting the other upcoming reviews. :)
    Reply
  • michaelheath - Saturday, October 10, 2009 - link

    On the first page, issues with Channel Well power supplies and OC Genie were mentioned as being a commonality between the GD65 and the GD80. What would be nice is if Gary would clue us in as to what particular models were giving him grief. Is it CWT's older designs? Is it newer DC-DC designed power supplies?

    The quagmire comes from the mention of Channel Well, Antec, BFG, and Corsair in the beginning of the article. Channel Well makes some Corsair power supplies, but BFG and Antec haven't used CWT recently for any of their power supplies.

    Perhaps someone could clear the air, because I was planning on buying a high efficiency power supply with an MSI P55 board in the near future.
    Reply
  • yacoub - Saturday, October 10, 2009 - link

    Right. In particular, I am curious if the modular Corsair PSUs, which are a personal favorite, are on the list. The HX520W and HX620W, for examples. Reply
  • punjabiplaya - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    Using an HX620 with my gd65 right now. works perfectly fine. Reply
  • michaelheath - Saturday, October 10, 2009 - link

    ...and when I said "Antec" I meant "Thermaltake", which has used CWT for many of their ToughPower units. My bad. Reply
  • punjabiplaya - Saturday, October 10, 2009 - link

    I bought this board with a i5 750 and it's been rock solid. Noticeably quicker boot times than my old q6600/680i setup. The only problem I have is with the memory/XMP settings. I'm using a G-skill ddr3 2000 kit. When I set it to auto it shows the memory at being 1600MHz. When I reset and/or boot, it's set at 1333. However, if i set it to advanced or w/e the other setting is, it works and sets the memory at 2000MHz. Other than that, really good board and exceptional value for the price. Reply
  • punjabiplaya - Saturday, October 10, 2009 - link

    I bought this board with a i5 750 and it's been rock solid. Noticeably quicker boot times than my old q6600/680i setup. The only problem I have is with the memory/XMP settings. I'm using a G-skill ddr3 2000 kit. When I set it to auto it shows the memory at being 1600MHz. When I reset and/or boot, it's set at 1333. However, if i set it to advanced or w/e the other setting is, it works and sets the memory at 2000MHz. Other than that, really good board and exceptional value for the price. Reply
  • goinginstyle - Saturday, October 10, 2009 - link

    Just wanted to say that I really like the new way you are introducing the motherboard articles with the results and conclusions right up front. This article and the mATX were really good. Reply
  • MadMan007 - Sunday, October 11, 2009 - link

    Yeah it keeps me from just jumping to the conclusion page then back to read the rest of the article if I want to. Well done. Reply
  • jigglywiggly - Saturday, October 10, 2009 - link

    Where be the conclusion Reply
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  • goinginstyle - Saturday, October 10, 2009 - link

    It's on the front page. A change up in the article layout from all indications. It's different but good in my opinion as there is no need is reading the same stuff twice. Reply
  • Minion4Hire - Sunday, October 11, 2009 - link

    I really liked it. Keeps everything concise. You get a full synopsis on one page, and yet all the benchmarks and hard numbers are still available if you want to compare. It's really a great format for those who just want to get the feel of a product; they don't have to skim page after page looking to compile useful relevant snippets of information.

    Again, I REALLY like this format. And I'm a benchmark junkie! :D
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