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MSI X79A-GD65 (8D) Review

ccokeman    -   January 18, 2012
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Conclusion:

The latest Intel launch brought the Intel X79 chipset and Sandy Bridge architecture to the Extreme side of the fence and out of the mainstream. With it came all the efficiencies and performance improvements garnered with the mainstream products to drive performance up to new levels. MSI has built on the base they have with their Z68 lineup and carried all of the features onto the X79A-GD65. MSI has built this board using its Military Class II build philosophy that includes dynamic switching Super Ferrite Chokes, Solid State tantalum-based Hi-C self-repairing capacitors, DrMos II and parts that meet Mil-STD 810G. What these components allow is for some spirited overclocking as well as long term stability or any combination in between. The original BIOS needed a little work and was quickly swapped for a newer version that smoothed everything out. It seems my 3960X is limited to just under 4.8Ghz and the X79A-GD65 was able to get me there without too much work. Just the same standard for the Sandy Bridge platform: bump the multiplier, tweak the bclock, set the volts, and go! Simple! If that little bit of work is just too much to tweak, there is MSI's fully functional OC Genie II One-touch overclocking tool. On an Intel platform, the OC Genie II is almost too easy to use and is the easiest one-step process to get an overclock out of the system. I found with the headroom available on the 3960X that the OC Genie II was a little conservative when the Turbo-Boosted speeds of the Core i7 3960X are 3.9Ghz. The OC Genie II delivered a solid 4.0GHz overclock, and just like every Intel MSI board I have tried over the past four years has proven perfectly stable under load. It really is a feather in MSI's cap that this tool has been so good for so long.

Overclocking and build philosophy kind of go hand in hand, but this is not all the MSI X79A-GD65 is about as it is a feature-rich board. It has support for USB 3.0, PCIe 3.0, SATA 3, Quad Channel memory with 8 dimm slots, CrossfireX, Nvidia Tri-SLI and THX TruStudioPro, +3TB disk drives, USB Charging, and so much more. MSI's Click BIOS II is a drastic improvement over their prior implementations and coupled with the latest version of the Core Center utility gives the user a way to monitor and tweak the system from within the operating system. Priced at $299 the X79A-GD65 8D is not at the top nor bottom of the pricing ladder for an X79 board, but more comfortably packed right in the middle. Fully featured and offering great performance and overclocking ability for your dollar the MSI X79A-GD65 8D is one board to keep on the list while shopping for this new platform.

 

Pros:

  • Overclocking BIOS
  • OC Genie II 1 touch overclocking
  • Stability
  • Military Class II components
  • Click BIOS II
  • Three-Year Warranty
  • PCIe 3.0
  • CrossFireX and SLI Support
  • +3TB

Cons:

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