MSI Z77A-GD65 - In The Box

The MSI Z77A-GD65 is currently available for $190, just north of the Gigabyte board.  With this in mind, we also get a few more extras in the box than the Gigabyte:

IO Shield
Driver CD
User Manual
Certification of Military Class testing (FWIW)
Four SATA cables
Flexi-SLI bridge
M-Connectors (to help front panel connections)
V-Check cables (to help with voltage read points)

 

 

Voltage Readings

Using OCCT we monitor the voltage change of the motherboard under load.  This represents the direct correlation between the Load Line Calibration and how the processor/motherboard deals with voltage requests while under load.  This is not to be confused with the quality of power delivery, but more an indication of how aggressive the default LLC settings are on a motherboard.

Similarly to the ASUS board in this review, the MSI has minor variations in the CPU voltage.  Worthy of note though is the lower VCore used by the MSI board compared to the other boards in this review while at load, suggesting more aggressive LLC settings.

Overclocking

Note: Ivy Bridge does not overclock like Sandy Bridge.  For a detailed report on the effect of voltage on Ivy Bridge (and thus temperatures and power draw), please read Undervolting and Overclocking on Ivy Bridge.

Overclocking options on the MSI Z77A-GD65 are relatively straightforward.  With the OC Genie button on board, give it a press and it lights up, causing the next boot to initialize a series of predefined settings for an overclock.  Manual overclocks can be done by the Click BIOS software in the operating system, or by adjusting the BIOS directly.

Automatic Overclocking: After pressing the OC Genie button, it essentially seemed to enable the Enhanced Turbo option in the BIOS.  The system booted without issue, and I was greeted with a 39x multiplier under all loads, showing 1.080 volts and 65ºC with PovRay.  This is a rather disappointing automatic overclock.  This is also indicative of issues relating to one button overclocks - the manufacturer is supplying a series of presets that has to work on every processor out of the factory.  It is perhaps time that MSI introduces their own stress-testing overclock into the mix to get a better result.

Manual Overclock: Given the previous overclocking results achieved, with the MSI board we jumped straight in with 1.2 volts, with PLL Overvoltage enabled just for good measure.  At this voltage, 46x multiplier was the highest multiplier stable, giving 82ºC with PovRay and showing 1.184 volts at load.  In order to get the 47x multiplier to work, it required 1.250 volts on the CPU, although this gave 90ºC during PovRay and 1.240 volts at load.

MSI Z77A-GD65 - BIOS and Software Test Setup
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  • faizoff - Monday, May 07, 2012 - link

    Are Q connectors proprietary of ASUS? I seem to find those only their motherboards. Love them to death.

    Great review. I enjoy these tremendously. Almost makes me go out and upgrade my i5 2500k.
    Reply
  • Impulses - Monday, May 07, 2012 - link

    My MSI P67A-GD55 has the same thing, unfortunately the connector block is too tall and bumps into my second 6950 so I couldn't use it. Reply
  • eBob - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    I, too, am a fan of the Q Connector mostly for the front panel connections (power, reset, HDD light). The USB and audio connectors seem to be pretty well standardized at this point, rendering those Q Connectors redundant IMO. This would seem to be a very simple and inexpensive feature for a mobo manufacturer to have (at least for the front panel connector). Reply
  • bji - Monday, May 07, 2012 - link

    Thank you for including this important benchmark. I hope that every motherboard review going forward will include this.

    The ASRock has the best time but 8 seconds is still too long. I wonder why BIOS developers can't get their act together and initialize hardware in parallel. That would surely speed POST times up tremendously.
    Reply
  • adrianlegg - Monday, May 07, 2012 - link

    I've been struggling about that issue myself. I mean - it probably was in times of BIOS, but now, with all fancy UEFI is it really that hard? (considering more resources spent on bios/uefi in mobo)

    Altough I'm not big fan of 200$+ motherboards, I would seriously consider buying one if it POST in 2s.
    Even though there are probably POST requirements such as cpu cant be tested before ram or opposite it would be awesome to have really low boot times.
    Sad when even having SSD cant give You instant full boot (not hibernations/sleeps).

    It's one of those small features that are soo awesome (like reset/power buttons, and perhaps, in future : complete per component (ram/disk/SB/NB/coolers) power usage).

    Nevertheless 8seconds is damn nice.
    Reply
  • EnzoFX - Monday, May 07, 2012 - link

    Does anyone know how enabling AHCI in the UEFI affect post time these days? I'd like to remove the other 7-10 seconds this adds to it. Reply
  • pixelstuff - Monday, May 07, 2012 - link

    How do those Chromebooks shave time off of the POST? Seems like similar techniques could be implemented unless there is a good reason not to. Reply
  • rahvin - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    Chromebooks use OpenBIOS IIRC. OpenBIOS is Linux Kernel based and boots very fast because it initializes things quicker and it's custom built to the hardware on the board. Personally I wish all the Boards would start using it and toss these BIOS down the hole of history. Reply
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    They've got a very stripped down set of hardware to initialize. The more stuff you have on board, the longer it takes. EFI was supposed to fix this by allowing multi-threaded boot (BIOS was strictly a single threaded design); but either firmware makers aren't generally taking advantage of it yet, or dependencies in the startup process are limiting the gains. Reply
  • Jase89 - Sunday, May 19, 2013 - link

    Don't forget the graphics card (if using discrete) will need to support UEFI (GOP) Booting too! Reply

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