MSI Z68A GD80 G3 PCIe Gen 3.0 motherboard review -
We received the final retail sample and as such it comes packed with a quite decent product bundle. Among the gear inside the kit you'll find the following:
- 1 x Motherboard
- 1 x 2-Way SLI Bridge
- 1 x I/O Shield
- 1 x USB 3.0 Bracket (can be connected to the motherboard directly)
- Voltage monitor cables for DMM
- 2 x SATA 6G cables
- 2x Molex to SATE power converters
- Driver CD
That's it, keep in mind that MSI tried hard to keep this motherboard affordable. The extras you need to seek in the overall design and components usage, which is impressive all by itself when you peek at the motherboard for the first time.
Notable features include 7x SATA connections (4x SATA 2 and 2x SATA 3, and one eSATA), 3x USB 2.0 internal headers, 1x USB 3.0 internal header, 3x PCIe x16 slots, 2x PCIe x1 slots as well as two legacy PCI slots. The mobo has DDR3 2133 MHz support straight out of the BIOS. We spot socket LGA 1155, and also quality capacitors and solid core chokes. This is the DrMOS design, which is found under the heatsink bundled with 3 important elements into Military Class II including SFC, Hi-c CAP and Solid Capacitors.
This Z68 motherboard comes with video output, we see 1x HDMI 1.4a, and 1x DVI-D mind you that we tested this, but it seems that Sandy Bridge processors are not dual-link DVI capable, meaning resolutions up-to 1920x1200 is supported. Our Dell 2560x1440 and 2560x1600 pixel monitors refuse to work properly, which kind of sucks.
Rear IO connectivity then -- First thing we notice, legacy PS/2 ports good stuff still preferred by hardcore gamers.
We spot 1x eSATA, 1x Firewire, MSI has managed to insert 2x USB 3.0 and 4x USB 2.0, 2 x Gigabit LAN (Realtek), optical audio out as well as 7.1 audio which is managed by the Realtek ALC892 codec which supports High Definition audio up-to 7.1 channels.
MSI included a Creative Labs software layer though allowing better audio features. we see 1x HDMI 1.4a and 1x DVI-D and the tiny black knob is a clear CMOS button.
A little while ago we tested the MSI Z68A-GD80 (B3) motherboard, a product with an absolutely gorgeous design. Merely weeks later another SKU based of this model has been released, the MSI Z68A-GD80 (G3). The G3 hints to something we have been hearing about for a while now, yes this is the debut of a PCI Express 3.0 compatible motherboard. A sincerely cool looking motherboard that is equipped with the latest gadgets, features and obviously that Z68 chipset.
MSI Z68A-GD80 motherboard review
So, today a closer look at Z68 technology and of course we'll review a unit, the Z68 motherboard tested, reviewed and spanked comes from MSI. We'll test their Z68A-GD80 motherboard. A sincerely cool looking motherboard that is equipped with the latest gadgets, features and obviously that Z68 chipset. Have a peek at the motherboard, and then let's head onwards into the review.