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MSI Z68A-GD65 G3 review

Tom Morgan
16 Mar 2012
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
137
inc VAT

The MSI Z68A-GD65 G3 has next generation features and a price to match

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Specifications

LGA1155, ATX, Intel Z68 Express chipset, supports: Core i3, Core i5, Core i7 (Sandy Bridge)

MSI’s Z68A-GD65 is an LGA1155 motherboard that’s about as future-proof as it’s possible to get. Thanks to its two third-generation PCI-Express x16 slots, it should even be able to handle the latest graphics cards at their full bandwidth.

MSI Z68A-GD65 G3

Three PCI-Express x1 slots and two PCI slots complete the quota of expansion ports. A dual-slot graphics card will block one PCI-E x1 slot, and two in SLI or Crossfire will obscure one PCI slot. The board supports SATA3, having four side-facing ports next to four older SATA2 ones. Its four RAM slots can hold up to 32GB of memory; DDR3 1333 is supported natively, but faster modules require overclocking.

MSI Z68A-GD65 G3

There are two USB3 ports on the back panel, as well as four regular USB ports. MSI has included a USB3 front panel that connects to the single motherboard header should your case not have the right I/O ports, but most cases should be able to use the three USB2 headers. Integrated graphics users can choose from plenty of video outputs, because VGA, HDMI and DVI ports can all be found on the rear I/O panel, along with six 3.5mm audio jacks, and optical and composite digital outputs.

MSI Z68A-GD65 G3

Overclockers will appreciate the user-friendly UEFI BIOS, which has plenty of options for tweaking voltages and memory timings, in addition to CPU clock speed. A clear CMOS button is also within easy reach on the back I/O panel.

If you’re going to buy a Z68 motherboard now, it makes sense to pick one with next generation features. The Z68A-GD65 isn’t the cheapest board around, but it has all the features you’d want. However, you could save money by opting for the Asus P8Z68-V LX, which doesn’t have third-generation PCI-E but is still excellent value for money.

Basic Specifications

Rating****
Processor socketLGA1155
Form factorATX
Size305x245mm
Processor supportCore i3, Core i5, Core i7 (Sandy Bridge)
Processor external bus200MHz (DMI)
Chipset north bridgeIntel Z68 Express
Chipset south bridgeIntel Z68 Express
Integrated graphicsNo
Supported memory typeDDR3 1066/1333/1600(OC)/2133(OC)
Maximum memory speedPC3-17000
Memory slots4
Maximum memory32GB
Dual-channel supportyes

Buying Information

Price£137
Supplierhttp://www.aria.co.uk
Detailswww.msi.com

Internal Ports

Power connectors1x 24-pin ATX, 1x8-pin ATX
PCI-E x16 slots2
Dual graphics architectureSLI, CrossFireX
PCI-E x4 slots0
PCI-E x1 slots3
PCI slots2
Fan headers5
Floppy ports0
IDE ports0
Serial ATA ports8
RAID chipset (max disks)Intel Z68 Express (RAID 0, 1, 10, 5)

Features

Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Sound (ports)Realtek ALC892 (6x analogue out, optical S/PDIF, coaxial S/PDIF)
USB2 ports / headers4/3
Firewire ports / headers0/0
Legacy ports1x PS/2
Other ports2x USB3, 2x SATA3, HDMI, DVI, VGA
Cables included4x SATA, 1x Molex to SATA power, 1x SLI
Brackets included1x USB3
Software includedNorton Internet Security 2011

Setup and Overclocking

Voltage adjustmentCPU/RAM/chipset
CPU clock max adjustment1,000MHz

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