Though late to the market with another Z77 motherboard we have to admit, we really like the Z77, it's Z77 all over again, yet with a little icing on top of the cake, and the cake remains to be very affordable. I'm not sure though with Haswell around the corner if people would actually buy a new Z77 motherboard ? Now I do have to get this out of the way though, 95% of the DNA is the Z77 GD65 really. However, the motherboard has been improved at a couple of levels. The improved power circuitry first and foremost. Next to the coloring redesign we really liken the Creative audio suite and of course the KillerNIC. I remember these PCI card based on that Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2200 chip topping over 100 bucks a pop. You now get it integrated at hardly any cost, that's a huge win alright.
For a gamers motherboard overclocking was a breeze as well, pop a nice LCK kit on the processor and you will get to the 4600 MHz range with a 3770K easily. Our stable upper limit was 4800 MHz, but the H90 cooler runs into problems there cooling wise. Oh and the baseline performance of the board is good. It's roughly on par with the reference performance.
Obviously we have to talk about the looks. The new G series Gaming design is nice IMHO personally I liked the Mpower (yellow black) theme better as it was more streamlines. But yeah, the G does deliver a G alright. The PCB is extremely dark including the connectors, when the subtle heatsinks themed with the red striping. MSI would like you to look and match product based on color schema, as such you may expect G series videocards. In fact we already have one review pending for next week. With the Gaming series you get a very versatile motherboard with some enthusiast options like the on-board buttons, USB 3.0, voltage monitoring, some extra SATA3 ports and sure, a mainboard that looks real good. Lacking WIFI is a bit of a miss, then again you do get that KillerNIC E2200 so who am I to complain really.
Overall non-overclocked performance seems to fall in the same baseline as all other Z77 motherboards we tested, with an offset here and there of course.If that's not enough for you then press the OC Genie II button, power up and after a few seconds your motherboard all of the sudden will be mildly overclocked, a performance boost at very little extra power consumption as the CPU will now be throttled to 4200 MHz, admittedly a bit low. The tweaking performance of this motherboard was on par with what we expected. We got the 3770K processor rocking stable at 4800 MHz with the memory (XMP enabled) at 2133MHz and that's not bad at all, no Sir. As stated in the introduction, Ivy bridge processors run hotter when overclocked opposed to Sandy Bridge, reaching 4500~4800 MHz is fairly easy to accomplish with the motherboard but you'll find yourself needing juice in the 1.35~1.4 Volts range of the processor. So be prepared for processor heat, and proper liquid cooling definitely deserves a recommendation alright.
Very sweet are the 8 SATA ports: four SATA 6 Gb/s ports, four SATA 3 Gb/s ports. Next to that the KillerNIC Ethernet interface is something we love. You get 8.1 channel HD audio as delivered by the Realtek ALC898 codecm but with SoundBlaster Cinema sitting on top of it you will get something much better out of your audio. The motherboard is multi-GPU this SLI and Crossfire ready. And sure add to that the sporty features like on board buttons, pre-overclock modes and diagnostic LEDs etc, overall this just an excellent build.
The Z77 GD65 Gaming edition motherboard offers everything you need from a proper Ivy Bridge platform, in terms of features, multi-GPU support, USB 3.0, SATA3, PCIe Gen 3.0, ease of tweaking and sure, the design and component selection is done right as well. We would have liked to see an extra NIC though, but other then that we have little to complain. And perhaps instead of a VGA connector a Display port next round ? The MSI Z77 GD65 Gaming edition motherboard is a great quality motherboard that will appeal to the enthusiast PC gaming crowd very much. Especially the DIY PC builders that like a dark themed PC will adore this one. And yeah, that's how important looks are in the world of hardware. But at 185 USD this motherboards offers heaps of features, a great NIC, great audio, nice looks and very good tweakability.
MSI Z77 GD65 Gaming motherboard review We review, test and benchmark the MSI Z77 GD65 Gaming series motherboard. The Z77 gaming themed mainboard is intended for Intel's 22nm Ivy Bridge processors on Socket LGA1155. It is the new flagship product amongst the MSI gaming series LOADED with features and overclock potential, it has the latest Killer E2200 chip and SoundBlaster Cinema audio. Oh and of course new gorgeous looks.