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MSI X79A-GD65 (8D) Review

ccokeman    -   January 18, 2012
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Testing:

Testing the MSI X79A-GD65 (8D) will involve running it and its comparison products through OCC's test suite of benchmarks, which include both synthetic benchmarks and real-world applications, to see how each of these products perform. The gaming tests will also consist of both synthetic benchmarks and actual game play, in which we can see if similarly prepared setups offer any performance advantages. The system will receive a fully updated, fresh install of Windows 7 Professional 64-bit edition, in addition to the latest drivers for each board and the latest AMD Catalyst drivers for the XFX HD 6970. To ensure as few variables as possible, all hardware will be tested at their stock speeds, timings, voltages and latencies – unless otherwise stated. Turbo Boost is disabled on all processors to make a fair comparison without skewing the results.

 

Testing Setup: Intel Core i7 Socket 2011

 

Comparison Boards:

 

Overclocking:

  • Intel Core i7 3960X 104 x 46 4784Mhz

Overclocking on MSI's board is accomplished in a couple of different ways. First, you can navigate through the uEFI Click BIOS II to manually set the parameters needed to reach the end result or if that's a bit too complicated there is always MSI's well managed one-touch OC Genie II system. MSI recently overhauled their uEFI Click BIOS on the Z68A GD80 G3 that brought an entire new look and and ease-of-use. Overclocking the X79A-GD65 is like deja-vu as many of the same voltages and settings carry over from the earlier socket 1155 implementation of Intel's Sandy Bridge architecture. The lower bclock limitations and voltage's tuning points are almost the same, making the transition to socket 2011 easy to do. The one wrinkle that's not seen on socket 1155 is the availability of "Gear Rations" or straps to push the bclock limitations higher than the traditional 104-110Mhz limits by providing a 125MHz and 166MHz strap that only impacts the bclock for the CPU and memory. Where I ended up on the X79A-GD65 was pretty close to what I could achieve on the Intel board at 104MHz x 46 or 4784MHz using 1.43v in the BIOS on the CPU core. VTT, VccSA, and CPU PLL voltages were left at the factory defaults. It was quick and easy really. Changing the strap to 125MHz works, but requires a little more attention to the impact it has on other settings in the BIOS such as the memory speed. Overclocking recovery is still fairly good with three failed reboots or a hard shutdown giving a return to the BIOS. Where MSI has put their money at besides the Military Class II build philosophy is in the One Touch OC Genie II. This hardware-based overclocking utility is one that has earned them plenty of praise, as it enables even the novice to get increased performance with just the touch of a button. After being disappointed that it did not work as well on their 990FX AMD board, I was afraid that this beloved tool would not be as robust. Resetting the the BIOS to factory defaults is the best way to start off the process. Power down and push the OC Genie button and you will get a nice, solid, conservative 4.0GHz prime stable overclock. It can't get any easier than that.

 

 

 

Maximum Clock Speed:

Each CPU and motherboard has been tested for stability at the clock speeds listed when in an overclocked state. These clock speeds will be used to run the test suite and will provide the performance difference increase over the stock settings in the overclocked scoring.

 

Benchmarks:

  • Scientific & Data:
  1. Apophysis
  2. WinRAR
  3. Geekbench 2.1
  4. Office 2007 Excel Number Crunch
  5. POV-Ray 3.7
  6. Bibble 5
  7. Sandra 2011
  8. AIDA64 1.85
  9. ProShow Gold
  10. HandBrake .9.5
  11. ScienceMark 2.02
  12. Cinebench 10 & 11.5
  13. HD Tune 4.60
  • Video:
  1. Aliens vs. Predator
  2. Civilization V
  3. Battlefield: Bad Company 2
  4. 3DMark 11



  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Closer Look (The Motherboard)
  3. Closer Look (The BIOS)
  4. Specifications & Features
  5. Testing: Setup & Overclocking
  6. Testing: Apophysis, WinRar, GeekBench, Bibble 5
  7. Testing: Office 2007, POV-Ray, ProShow Gold, HandBrake
  8. Testing: SiSoft Sandra 2011, AIDA 64
  9. Testing: Sciencemark, Cinebench, HD Tune, PCMark 7
  10. Testing: Aliens vs. Predator
  11. Testing: Civilization V
  12. Testing: Battlefield: Bad Company 2
  13. Testing: 3DMark 11
  14. Conclusion
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