MSI P55-GD65 Reviewccokeman - October 1, 2009
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All-in-all the MSI P55-GD65 proved to be a solid motherboard capable of delivering performance on par with its competitors. It is built using high quality components with an excellent layout. One thing I was surprised to find on this board that I have not seen in a while was the inclusion of an FDD port on the board. Not that I use one anymore, but some folks just can't move into the new world. The MSI P55-GD65 uses Japanese built solid capacitors, DrMos for a more efficient, cooler running, faster reacting power distribution system and the Super-Pipe heatpipe based cooling system to keep the DrMos cool with an 8mm heatpipe that is larger than that used by MSI's competitors.
When it came to overclocking the P55-GD65, I was able to reach a bclock of 215Mhz stable, while 218Mhz was good for a screenshot but that may mean I just need more tweaking. The maximum CPU clock speed I was able to run was right around 4.2Ghz - much the same as I have done on the comparison boards showing that max performance is not really a function of a ton of phases but just a good solid design. The OC Genie 1 touch overclocking button functioned perfectly. This little button dropped an 800MHz overclock with just a single touch of the button. I found that this was vastly quicker than the Turbo V function on the Asus Maximus III that took around 30 minutes to get a good stable clock speed at just over 3.7GHz. The OC Genie took a touch and then push the power switch - that's literally all it took to get an overclock similar to what the ASUS board did at just over 3.7GHz. For those who really do not understand overclocking and want a boost in performance without the hassles of playing around endlessly in the BIOS, this little button is a God-send. If that's not enough, you have the ability to overclock on the fly with the "Direct OC" buttons to increase or decrease the bclock as you need it. This feature while nice, could prove to be more beneficial for the more advanced overclockers.
The Green power solution does reduce power consumption, but only really when you use the board as Intel would have you run it, with all of the Intel power saving technologies enabled and in use. That just won't work for those that, well - listen to a different tune, let's say! The voltage check points are well done on the P55-GD65. There is no chance of your meter slipping out of a divot for a measurement point when you can leave them in place unattended and still get your voltage measurements. This is a huge advantage and it could not have been easier to use this feature. Unfortunately, this brings me to the thing I did not like about the MSI P55-GD65. Depending on the Loadline Calibration setting used in the BIOS you get a voltage under-shoot of about .05 to .07 volts when disabled and an over-shoot of about .45 volts on the CPU voltage when enabled. This answered some questions about instabilities and higher than expected temperatures for the voltage used. Once you know you are able to work around this although I would think a BIOS fix for this would be forthcoming.
The price point on the P55-GD65 puts it squarely in the mid range for a socket 1156 motherboard. This board comes in a full 50 bucks cheaper than the Intel Kingsberg board, while there is a 90 dollar saving over the ASUS Maximus III Formula, so you have to wonder if the features and performance are worth the extra cash. The included utilities work and provide a good mix of functionality. For my dollar though, if I wanted a simple no frills approach to overclocking, the OC Genie is the one feature that makes the MSI board stand out from the crowd. Excellent components, excellent overclocking, good cooling and you end up with a board that fits the bill!
- OC Genie
- Green Power
- CrossfireX and SLI capable
- Over-volts CPU with Loadline enabled
- Under-volts CPU with Loadline disabled