MSI P67-GD65 motherboard review -
Final words and conclusion
Final words and conclusion
Features and performance wise the P67A-GD65 from MSI is a very interesting motherboard. Pricing wise we expect it to level out at roughly 150-160 EUR in the initial release wave. For that money you receive a very full-grown motherboard with admirable specs and features.
Yeah you're nothing short of anything, well maybe that one Ethernet jack might be a hinder. Its kind of interesting as the Ethernet jack is actually based on a Realtek IC, meaning the embedded Intel NIC in the Intel PCH was left unused.
We very much like the fact that two NEC USB controllers are to be found on this board, MSI includes an extra USB 3.0 bracket with two header you can install in an empty PCI Slot, that gives you four fully fetched USB 3.0 connections, next to the eight USB 2.0 ports located at the rear side. SATA wise you can't complain about anything, four SATA2 and four SATA3 (6G) connectors, add to that the two eSATA ports at the back IO panel and suffice to say, that is a lot alright. The extra micro-buttons for Power ON/OFF, Reset and CMOS CLEAR are very handy as well as the voltage monitoring points.
The OC Genie button does its magic as well. When the PC is powered down, click the OC Genie button and your PC will be automatically be overclocked in merely seconds. The end result for this automated overclock was 4200 MHZ on the CPU and 2133 MHZ on the DDR3 memory (we used 2133Mhz capable memory from G.Skill). It's a very hassle free way of overclocking. In the end we personally prefer manually overclocking as you'll gain even more result, but that's kind of end-user that we are of course.
Component usage is done military style, quality primary components that you'll spot throughout the board, 3 important elements fit into the new Military Class II including SFC, Hi-c CAP and Solid Capacitors.
The new MSI Click BIOS aka the new EFI BIOS then. As shown, the EFI bios is a graphics user interface. Novice users you can simply select a preset, e.g. operate green, overclock load up a specific feature. Though all features are there we find the EFI implementation from MSI a little average. It is not very user-friendly, functions are not properly described and it still has some small bugs.
Example: say clicking "return/back " would sometimes not result in going back into the main menu. Also an increase of a value with the keyboard + key would sometimes decrease the value. The operation feels a little laggy as well. The menu structure itself could be improved also. So yeah, if I had to rate it 1 to 10 I'd give it a 6 points rating. There's work in progress for MSI for sure. The basis however works okay, and with each BIOS update that will be released things will get better.
The baseline performance is on par with the reference Intel motherboard, give or take a few random occurrences. However this reader base we presume will all get the K model processors and start to overclock, and that did not disappoint. With the reference Intel CPU cooler, 4.5 GHz is reached quite quickly without forfeiting on too much CPU voltage. We however are a little shocked to get all 4 processor cores to run stable at 4.8 GHz, on that same cooler. The beauty is that we can leave all power saving features enabled thus in idle the CPU clocks down all the way to 1.6 GHz saving on energy.
Now we just have to mention it, for this review we used G.Skills RipjawsX DDR3 modules, which have a 2133 MHz rating. Next to the overclock we merely flicked the XMP switch in the BIOS and boom, that memory was running at 2133MHz at CAS7, delivering ridiculous amounts of impressive memory bandwidth. So as a tweaking capable motherboard the P67A GD65 definitely is very striking. I have no doubt you'll tweak out every last bit of performance as the motherboard will certainly allow you to do exactly that.
So let's sum it up, the P67A-GD65 is a Sandy Bridge processor ready motherboard with an excellent feature set. Connectivity you'll get everything you need, the feature set is great, the baseline performance admirable. We expect that EFI BIOS to get an upgrade or two alright as that really was a bit of a bland BIOS to play around with, but granted it does work. Where the board really shines is overclocking, if you hate overclocking yourself but would like to have that extra performance then just click on that OC Genie button and within seconds your PC is overclocked (stable) for you at interesting levels. Manually overclocking leads to performance levels that are nearly silly to observe. Nearing 4.8 to 5 GHz on Intel's Stock cooler is impressive, very impressive. Bare in mind though, to do what we did today you'll need a K model Sandy Bridge processor with the unlocked multiplier.
The real tweakers out there will love the features but most of all the fast overclockability. The MSI P67A-GD65 is a motherboard we can wholeheartedly recommend.
You can find more info on MSI P67 motherbords right here.
Powered by Intel's P67 chipset, the MSI P67-GD65 motherboard comes with two PCIe slots and has both NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFire support, featuring what MSI now calls a Military Class II design that makes use of a six phase power SFC choke setup. Next to that MSI as well is making a move towards EFI, the all new graphics user interface that replaces the BIOS.