Intel X79 Sandy Bridge-E Motherboards Roundup

By on November 30, 2011
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MSI vs ECS vs ASUS vs Gigabyte

The MSI X79A-GD65 (8D) is the first X79 motherboard we received for testing, one of the cheapest at $300 (AED 1,200), and incidentally one of the fastest boards as well.

One of the biggest features of the X79A-GD65 that MSI likes to boast about is that it has “Military Class III” components; a claim no matter how skeptical I am about, always comes through as I kept on pushing the hardware and not once did it let me down. So Highly Conductive polymer capacitors, solid capacitors, Super Ferrite Chokes, they have it all nailed down.

Their next big feature are the PCI Express Gen 3.0 slots, which provides a rated transfer of 32Gbps; literally twice the speeds of PCIe 2.0. And then of course, they have their new UEFI BIOS which looks great and is very easy to control via both mouse and keyboard. On either side of the CPU is a pair of 4 DIMM slots, bringing the total to 8 which are good enough to support up to an insane 128GB of RAM as well as three PCIe 3.0 slots for 3-way SLI or CrossFireX.

Their last feature, present on many of their mainstream overclocking boards is the ‘OC Genie II’ button which is literally a single click solution to overclocking on the motherboard itself. Sadly the OC Genie II overclocks the i7-3960X to just 4GHz, which is barely faster than the 3.9GHz the i7-3960X achieves by default on Turbo mode. On average I got a 3% performance increase with OC Genie II compared to stock performance on all of our benchmarks.

You can check out the X79A-GD65 specs here.

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From auditing to editing, I now test and analyze the latest gadgets and games instead of the latest financial statements. Both jobs are equally intense and rewarding. When I'm not burning up hardware in the name of science, you'll find me nuking in DOTA 2 or engineering in TF2.

  • NoThankYou

    Thanks for the great review.  For those of us who are not familiar with the benchmark tests, it would be very helpful if you added “Higher is better” or “Lower is better” to the charts.
    I had planed to go with the MSI before reading your article, but now I’m even more sure.  Thanks again.

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