MSI X79A-GD65 (8D) Reviewccokeman -
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Well the new Intel 2011 chips have finally been released and we are now starting to see some more motherboards coming out that are packed full of next generation feature sets, such as USB 3.0, Sata 6Gb/s, uEFI BIOS, and PCI-E 3.0. So have you been thinking about finally upgrading that aging system you are still trying to use to play games? Maybe you are big into video editing/rendering and use software on a daily basis that can make full usage of multiple CPU cores; well then the next generation of Intel processors may just be what you are looking for. If you have the coin to drop on one of the new chips, you need to start to look at the different boards that are out there that can unleash all of the power the 22nm cores can pack. Well one motherboard brand name that always jumps to mind when looking for a great feature set is MSI, I am very curious to see exactly what kind of features MSI has packed on their X79A-GD65 (8D) motherboard this go around.
When you take a look at the front of the packaging for the MSI X79A-GD65 (8D), the first thing that grabs my attention is the large Military Class III logo that is printed on the right hand side of the package, this is going to let you know that MSI has put the top notch components on the motherboard to help give you the best quality board and improved stability over some of the other motherboards out on the market. With the Military Class III branding, you know that you are going to find MIL-STD-810G Certified Components installed. When you take a look at the top left hand corner of the package, you are going to find MSI's logo printed with the MSI 3 Year Warranty logo printed right by it, which lets you know that you are going to get some of the best support for your motherboard if something were to ever go wrong with it. In the top right hand corner, you are going to find all of the badges for some of the features the MSI X79A-GD65 (8D) supports, such as NVIDIA SLI, ATI Crossfire-X, Windows 7, and Intel Core i7 CPUs. Along the bottom edge of the package you are going to find the X79A-GD65 (8D) logo printed in a nice holographic text with the Military Class Motherboard tag line printed above it. You are also going to find the PCI Express Gen3 and Click BIOS II logos printed on the package. When you flip it over to the back you are going to see a much more detailed listing of the features that MSI wants to let you know about such as DrMOS II, Hi-c CAP, Solid CAP, Super Charger, PCI Express Gen3, InstantOC, OC Genie II, and THX TruStudio PRO. I will get into a more detailed explanation of these features a little while later in the article.
Once you get the package opened up you are going to find a nice brown package that houses not only the MSI X79A-GD65 (8D), but the accessories as well. When you first open it up, you are going to see the motherboard in its anti-static bag to keep it protected for any thing that could possibly harm the board while you are opening it up. Once you move the motherboard out of the way, you are going to find the Quick Guide which covers all of the other accessories and has all of the other paperwork tucked away inside it. You are not only going to get a Drivers CD and the Quick Guide, but you are also going to get a few user manuals. Probably one of the coolest pieces of paper work you will find inside of the package is the very nice looking Certificate of Quality & Stability which has a very similar look to a diploma or degree.
After sorting though all of the paperwork, you finally get into the accessories that will help you get your system set up, like the USB 3.0 back plate, a SLI Bridge, some SATA Cables, 4-pin molex to SATA power adapters, eSATA power adapter backing plate, the rear I/O panel cover, and a few headers to help you organize your front panel connectors.
Now that we know exactly how the MSI X79A-GD65 (8D) is packaged and what it comes with, it's time to take a closer look at the motherboard itself to see what sets it apart from the others on the market.