Underwhelming for what it’s worth.
With the new Z68 based boards finally released, MSI provided us with one of their high-end boards, the Z68A-GD80 (with B3 revision) for review. As an over-$200 motherboard, the Z68A-GD80 comes with all the bells & whistles you’d expect from a board in that price range.
Let’s take it from the top then. This LGA 1155 based motherboard comes with the new Z68 Intel chipset, which means SSD caching comes stock. Then there’s the LucidLogix Virtu chip as well that helps use the Intel QuickSync feature to utilize Sandy bridge processors for faster video transcoding in software that supports this (e.g. Arcsoft MediaConverter and CyberLink MediaEspresso). Apart from that there’s the THX TruStudio Pro sound chip that provides exquisite 8.1 HD surround sound. The rest of the board is pretty standard, with 3xPCIe x16 slots, 4x SATA II and 3x SATA III ports, 4x USB 3.0 ports and 10x USB 2.0 ports.
The board is topped off with Military Class components and solid Hi-c capacitors, super ferrite chokes and solid CAPs. The UEFI BIOS is very easy and intuitive to control, although not as nicely categorized as I would’ve preferred. The OC Genie II allows one button simple overclocking, which overclocked our Core i7-2600K from 3.4GHz up to 4.2GHz without me making any further changes in the BIOS.