MSI P67A-GD55 Sandy Bridge Motherboard Review - Where to Buy

By on January 18, 2011

Best mainstream Sandy Bridge motherboard?

MSI P67A-GD55 Sandy Bridge Motherboard Review


I have already covered MSI’s P67A-GD65 in our roundup of some of the best premium motherboards for Intel’s new Sandy Bridge LGA 1155 processors where it performed admirably. Today I’ll be looking at the P67A-GD55 which is a step below the GD65 as it comes $20 cheaper and has some features missing.

So for $160 you get pretty much the entirety of the P67A-GD65, except for 2 less SATA III (6Gbps) ports, no eSATA ports (GD65 has two of those) and no voltage check point compared to the one on the GD65. That’s a fair enough reduction for $20 worth, but for those who plan to use more than two SATA III HDDs in the future, the GD65 maybe a more tempting offer.



Visually the P67A-GD55 has the exact same layout as the GD65, you’ll notice the missing voltage meter on the top right as well as the missing SATA III ports on the left of the SATA II ports near the bottom right.

Bundled with the MSI P67A-GD55 are four SATA cables (2x straight and 2x L-shaped), rear I/O panel cover, one SLI connector and a Drivers & Utilities software disc. Pretty basic stuff, but then again this is a $160 motherboard.



























































































CPU

• Supports Intel® Sandy Bridge processors in LGA1155 package.
Please refer to CPU Support for compatible CPU; the above description is for reference only.



Chipset


• Intel® P67 Chipset


Main Memory


• Supports four unbuffered DIMM of 1.5 Volt DDR3 1066/1333/1600*/2133*(OC) DRAM, 32GB Max
- Supports 1Gb/ 2Gb/ 4Gb/ 8Gb DRAM size
- Supports Dual channel mode


Slots


• 2 PCI Express gen2 x16 slots
• 3 PCI Express gen2 x1 slots
• 2 32-bit v2.3 master PCI bus slots.
- Support 3.3v/5v PCI bus interface.





On-Board SATA


SATAII controller integrated in Intel® P67 chipset
- Up to 3Gb/s transfer speed.
- Supports four SATAII ports (SATA3~6) by P67 PCH

SATAIII controller integrated in Intel® P67 chipset
- Up to 6Gb/s transfer speed.
- Supports two SATAIII ports (SATA1~2) by P67 PCH
- SATA1~6 ports support RAID 0/1/5/10 mode by Intel P67 PCH



USB 3.0




• 4 USB 3.0 ports(2 by back panel, 2 by interanl ports) by NEC® uPD720200F1






Audio


• Chipset integrated by Realtek® ALC892
- Flexible 8-channel audio with jack sensing
- Compliant with Azalia 1.0 Spec
- Meet Microsoft Vista Premium spec



LAN


• Supports one PCI Express LAN 10/100/1000 Fast Ethernet by Realtek 8111E.



IEEE1394 / FireWire


VIA® VT6308P chipset
- Supports up to two 1394 ports. (Rear panel x1, pinheader x1)
- Transfer rate is up to 400Mbps.



Internal I/O Connectors


- ATX 24-Pin power connector
- 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
- CPU x 1 / System x 4 FAN connectors
- CD-in connector
- Front panel audio connector
- Front panel connector
- 1 x chasis intrusion connector
- 1 x USB 2.0 connector
- 1 x USB 3.0 connector
- 4 x Serial ATAII connectors
- 2 x Serial ATAIII connectors
- 1 x IEEE1394 connector
- 1 x Clear CMOS jumper
- 1 x SPDIF-out connector
- 1 x TPM module connector
- 1 x Serial port connector
- 1 x Power button
- 1 x Reset button
- 1 x OC Genie button





Back Panel I/O Ports


- 1 x PS/2 Mouse/Keyboard port
- 8 x USB 2.0 ports
- 1 x Clear CMOS button
- 1 x Coaxial SPDIF port
- 1 x Optical SPDIF port
- 1 x IEEE1394 port
- 1 x RJ45 LAN Jack
- 2 x USB 3.0 ports
- 1 x 6 in 1 audio jack





BIOS


• The mainboard BIOS provides "Plug & Play" BIOS which detects the peripheral devices and expansion cards of the board automatically.
• The mainboard provides a Desktop Management Interface(DMI) function which records your mainboard specifications.





Dimension


• 30.5cm(L) x 24.5cm(W) ATX Form Factor


Mounting


• 9 mounting holes.








Let’s move on to the benchmarks then. The MSI P67A-GD55 has an Intel Core i7-2600K along with 4GB of Kingmax DDR3-2200 ram stuck on. Furthermore there’s a Zotac GTX 580 AMP! Edition along with a Kingston V-Series 64GB SSD with Windows 7 Ultimate; all of which is powered by a 1200W Cooler Master Silent Pro Gold PSU. I have added our resident testbed motherboard, the Gigabyte P67A-UD7 along with the MSI P67A-GD65 for comparisons.



As you can see that the P67A-GD55 performs on par or better than the GD65 and even manages to hold its own against the Gigabyte motherboard which costs twice as much ($320).






So the MSI P67A-GD55 comes with the same feature set as the GD65, which obviously includes the OC Genie II. As was the case with the GD65, the GD55 overclocked to 4.2GHz while using the OC Genie II which is not too shabby at all, especially considering that this is all automatic and the end-user doesn’t need to fiddle with anything in the BIOS (simple as that process is). Similarly I managed an overclock of 4.7GHz with a CPU core voltage set at v1.450 on the Intel XTS100H heatsink (on the air).



As you can see the performance of the overclocked P67A-GD55 is up there with the rest of its counterparts, suffering a setback in the Cinebench R11.5 benchmark. I must say that I did notice CPU-Z showing the CPU speed drop from 4.7GHz to 4.2GHz as the CPU Run was nearing the end on Cinebench. The same thing happened on multiple retries, so I’m not exactly sure why this anomaly occurred, considering that the speeds remained a consistent 4.7GHz during the other benchmarks.



Regardless, the end results are still great considering the MSI P67A-GD55 provides topnotch performance at a mainstream price. The GD55 doesn’t come with any extra bells & whistles, but it gets the job done with a big bang. For anyone who’s starting out with a new Sandy Bridge based system with great performance in mind but wouldn’t want to splurge out so much should definitely go with the MSI P67A-GD55 as it provides great performance on stock, with the option to easily overclock with the touch of a button.
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