MSI Z68A GD80 G3 PCIe Gen 3.0 motherboard review

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Performance - PCIe Gen 2 versus 3


Monitor Setup

Before playing games, setting up your monitor's contrast & brightness levels is a very important thing to do. I realized recently that a lot of you guys have set up your monitor improperly. How do we know this? Because we receive a couple of emails every now and then telling us that a reader can't distinguish between the benchmark charts (colors) in our reviews. We realized, if that happens, your monitor is not properly set up.


This simple test pattern is evenly spaced from 0 to 255 brightness levels, with no profile embedded. If your monitor is correctly set up, you should be able to distinguish each step, and each step should be roughly visually distinct from its neighbors by the same amount. As well, the dark-end step differences should be about the same as the light-end step differences. Finally, the first step should be completely black.

Now in theory we can not remotely test the performance benefit of PCIe gen 3 as we do not have PCIe gen 3 compatible products to work with. Earlier on we already mentioned that MSI has had some bold claims that they stated the new PCIe standard can boost performance with current PCI Express 2.0 products. PCI Express connected SSDs can gain up to 14% over other motherboards without PCI Express 3.0.

Well, at the very least we can put that to the test. We take the GeForce GTX 580 and test it in the B3 revision of the motherboard, and thus the new G3 we review today, here are three quick benchmarks:

So above the two motherboards, both have the same configurations, memory times and cloned operating system. And yeah, the B3 revision was even a notch faster, that can easily account for your typical anomalies though. 3DMark scores are never ever 100% the same each time you run them.

Above Far Cry 2 at 4xAA Very High Quality settings in DX10. Again ZERO difference, and yeah i know we are not even counting the 2 FPS difference okay ?

Above Dirt 2 - 8XAA / DX11 - and yeah again very similar results. So PCIe gen 3 indeed currently does not matter. We'll have to wait for the upcoming AMD and NVIDIA graphics cards to make full use if it.

Right, let's dive into the regular benchmarks.

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