MSI Z68A-GD65 G3 LGA 1155 Motherboard Review @ [H]

FrgMstr

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MSI Z68A-GD65 G3 LGA 1155 Motherboard Review - In the motherboard business, it’s about differentiating the product. Once in awhile a motherboard manufacturer like MSI does just that before "the other guy." And that’s where the Z68A-GD65-G3 comes in bringing PCI-Express Generation 3 support and a new UEFI interface to the table.
 

lehmann

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I have had the P55-GD65 for year and a half folding 24/7 365. when ivy bridge come out Ill probably take one for a spin.
 

yojimbo

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Hi Dan,

First of all, thank you for your review. I have had my eye on MSI for some time now in regards to their socket 1155 boards, but your frustrations with the UEFI make me wary, to say the least. I applaud your honesty, and I hope MSI listens to [H] closely and continues to make progress in this area, but I see this as the one chink in their armor that undoes what seems like a very promising motherboard series.

That said, something that appeared at the top of page 3 worries me. MSI and Asus are absolutely not the only manufacturers supplying a more friendly UEFI. ASRock, BioStar, and EVGA all ship motherboards with a guided UEFI. I know those manufacturers don't get a lot reviews on this site (which is a shame, if anything for the fact that it doesn't give a complete picture of the market from the [H] perspective, and the less informed would say it shows favoritism), but to say MSI and Asus are the only ones in the market doing this is patently false.

Links fixed - Kyle
 
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BettiePage

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Isnt there some beef with MSI and GB over PCI E 3.0 and Ivy Bridge... that the MBs wont work when Ivy Bridge comes out next year due to compliance issues and bios issues?

http://www.overclock3d.net/articles/cpu_mainboard/pci_express_3_-_gigabyte_vs_msi/1

"So on the one hand you have MSI saying their motherboards are truly Gen3 and Ivy Bridge ready, but as we understand it that is a moot point because the UEFI BIOS means you can't use Ivy Bridge chips in them. And on the other hand we have Gigabyte with a Legacy BIOS that will accept Ivy Bridge CPUs, but they aren't actually full bandwidth PCIe 3 ready."

I think folks might as well wait till all the dust settles.
 

FrgMstr

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That said, something that appeared at the top of page 3 worries me. MSI and Asus are absolutely not the only manufacturers supplying a more friendly UEFI. ASRock, BioStar, and EVGA all ship motherboards with a guided UEFI. I know those manufacturers don't get a lot reviews on this site (which is a shame, if anything for the fact that it doesn't give a complete picture of the market from the [H] perspective, and the less informed would say it shows favoritism), but to say MSI and Asus are the only ones in the market doing this is patently false.

I am sorry our thoughts worry you. When we speak to something, we speak to our experience. We do not speak to other sites' experiences.

We do NOT have relationships with ASRock, BioStar, or EVGA. All three of these motherboard builders, or marketers in EVGA's case (no, they do not make their own boards), prefer to NOT have relationships with us. It is my opinion that these companies do not have relationships with us due to our review process being more critical than what these companies wish. I have reached out to ASRock multiple times this year and cannot get contact. BioStar gets to be less and less important in North America, with terrible support, and EVGA has as little contact with HardOCP as possible due to past reviews and relationships.
 

catalyst6

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I just picked up the GD80 G3 which is pretty similar, with just some more features.

i can confirm most of the issues outlined in this review are present on the GD80 as well, but also the strengths of the board are the same. It's stable and built like a tank and has been great for OC'ing.

My biggest complaint is also the double clicking and the "Adjust CPU Multiplier in OS" setting doesn't actually work with Control Center.

I'm also having trouble with it reporting vcore changes/fluctuation, but that may be user error :)
 

Flyinfinni

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Nice. If I end up going for Ivy Bridge for my next upgrade, I will definitely have this board on my short list. I'm a big fan of MSI- absolutely LOVE my P55-GD80- and I really do prefer the subdued blue and black color scheme to the black and red of Asus.
 

Bbq

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This has been fixed, please clear your cache. - Kyle
 
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munkle

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Looks like a nice board! I was going
to get an matx msi z68 board, but ended up getting a maximus gene-z
 
D

Deleted member 134608

Guest
Dan, here's a thought. To hell with your EVGA relationship. Buy a board retail, take it for a spin and tell us what you think.

Kind of like what Top Gear BBC did when Crysler refused to give them a Challenger to test because of previous vocal criticisms.

Disclaim they didn't send it to you or help you guys out, thats cool. We just want to know how you feel about it.

I know this would not be viable on a regular basis, but once in a while, why not?
 

poee

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So you only review products from manufacturers you have a good relationship with?
 

AllBlackFan

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Dan, here's a thought. To hell with your EVGA relationship. Buy a board retail, take it for a spin and tell us what you think.

Kind of like what Top Gear BBC did when Crysler refused to give them a Challenger to test because of previous vocal criticisms.

Disclaim they didn't send it to you or help you guys out, thats cool. We just want to know how you feel about it.

I know this would not be viable on a regular basis, but once in a while, why not?

Agreed +1
 

Dan_D

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Dan, here's a thought. To hell with your EVGA relationship. Buy a board retail, take it for a spin and tell us what you think.

Kind of like what Top Gear BBC did when Crysler refused to give them a Challenger to test because of previous vocal criticisms.

Disclaim they didn't send it to you or help you guys out, thats cool. We just want to know how you feel about it.

I know this would not be viable on a regular basis, but once in a while, why not?

I do not make the decisions about what is reviewed and what is not. And this does get done from time to time and probably more often than you think.

Hi Dan & Kyle,

I can understand your position about not wanting to review products from companies who are going to be sore losers if you berate their products or can't get in contact with their reps. I work at a university for a classroom AV and IT group, and I also review products for our parent department all the time. Believe me when I say I've been in your position.

I think Kyle read a bit too much into my statement earlier; either that or I phrased something improperly. "To MSI’s credit, it is one of two companies that actually have a UEFI interface," is a misleading statement. More than two companies use UEFI. If there was a qualifier in that sentence which indicated Dan only has experience with MSI and Asus UEFI, I wouldn't have a problem with it. That I would understand and commend for honesty.

Thanks for taking the time to respond.

It's not about what I want to review. Let me be clear. I'll review virtually anything put in front of me. I'd love to review EVGA's boards. I've already said as much.

And yes, I have only reviewed MSI and ASUS boards with UEFI. That's been my experience and that's all I have to go off of. I've not seen a lot of information about other companies' offerings in regard to that. I've seen what Gigabyte is delivering on the UEFI front which is virtually nothing.

So you only review products from manufacturers you have a good relationship with?

No. That's not the case either. We have reviewed products from companies which we have no real relationship with or companies that were pissed off at us for one reason or another.

And I think people are misunderstanding the point. Again products like Biostar's boards which can't easily be purchased in North America lack a certain amount of relevance. Therefore while we have obtained them in the past, again without being able to actually buy those boards it makes little sense taking the time and spending the money to review something which readers can't really buy. Biostar and DFI are good examples of this.

And we've really taken this thread off the rails here. This is a thread about MSI's Z68A-GD65, not reviewing EVGA and Biostar boards.
 

DOOMHAMMA

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Despite the lack of original thread relevance, I enjoy the insight into H's relationship with particular companies, and just wanted to thank you guys for spending money on products so we can hear about them.
Toward MSI's board here, I am relieved to hear that they are so open to critical suggestions and that the hardware is top notch. Makes me feel comfortable buying their products in the future. I started buying their products within the last two years and will probably continue doing so.
 

Notleh

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Sweet OC on this board. I will be looking at getting one when they fix the software. I really appreciate you guys banging your heads on these products and finding the issues so I do not have to. Thanks.
 

Astral Abyss

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So early in the day yesterday I had purchased this exact board (Z68A-GD65 G3) from Newegg and it shipped pretty quick. Lo and behold, I get home and see [H] has a review of it on the website. I believe I literally said, "Are you shitting me?". I figured with my luck it would get the worst review ever. I read through the entire review, which was quite well written, by the way, and I was so relieved to find out the board did fine. The things you hated are mostly non-issues for me.

In The Bottom Line section, I knew I had made the right choice when you said, "If you are an "old school" overclocker and like attacking your tweaking through the BIOS, then the Z68A-GD65 G3 should be on your short list."

I am definately an old school overclocker. Golden finger devices and defroster paint are 2 things I remember fondly. This sounds like the perfect board for me and I'm really looking forward to getting it into my hands and tweaking the crap out of it.

Thanks for the review... and for scaring the crap out of me.
 

baldrik

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I so wish I could get the click bios 2 on my p67 board. The current one is really just maddening. Even with the current issues, it would be a huge upgrade.
 

KOOLTIME

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Any change a review of this board any time soon ??

ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z ROG Motherboard - Micro ATX


The x58 version was awsome. MSI for me has always had flaky issues with their mobo's.
 

Dan_D

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I so wish I could get the click bios 2 on my p67 board. The current one is really just maddening. Even with the current issues, it would be a huge upgrade.

Yes it would. MSI never said whether or not Click BIOS II would be available for previous boards or not. Though I doubt that it will be. I agree it would be a huge upgrade and damned nice if it were made available for older boards.
 

Astral Abyss

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As I use this board more, I really wish MSI would fire the team that designed their ClickBIOS and the UEFI, and punch them on the way out:

Voltages: What kind of enthusiast board doesn't show you the current voltages for every setting, or even what the default is? I have to guess what the hell the auto settings are or else set them manually and guess that it's actually putting out the voltage it says it is.

Everytime I change the bus speed it resets it back to 100MHz, which is actually 98.8MHz, which is why I keep trying to change it. Which is also difficult because you CAN'T change it from the start up UEFI BIOS menu, you have to do it from within Windows, then RESTART, and then I check it again and it's set back to default. Nice.

Mouse doesn't work in the UEFI BIOS at bootup unless I unplug it and plug it back in. Super fun.

UEFI likes to show my multiplier as 62. Yes, I wish I was running this cpu at 6.2GHz, but that's not the case. Now if it could just show the correct multiplier, that would be awesome.

Updating the UEFI BIOS is a pain in the ass. I've had 10 year old motherboards that were easier than this to update and I didn't have to install a bunch of crap to do it, hope it automagically finds the update and installs it.

I changed some setting in the UEFI and now the computer double boots. I have no idea what I did to cause this and it's fucking annoying.


Oh, but there is a good side. The motherboard is rock solid and the computer is crazy fast. It makes the pain tolerable. Now, if MSI could put some damn polish on the UEFI and make it work properly I'd be a happy camper all around.
 
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TwistedAegis

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Astral Abyss, I have the p67-GD80 and same experience. Awesome hardware, solid performance, but a pain in the ass to dial in your settings to get it there. It's been a while since I've had as much problems with a BIOS(err...UEFI) not recognizing my USB mouse/KB in the UEFI and during boot.
 

Nickbaldwin86

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Must be your keyboard and mouse because half the complaints people are having, I have none.

I have to say I am loving UEFI, loving this board and have had no issues. I will be installing my water block tonight and I dont see any issues with running 5.0+Ghz on my chip.
 

Astral Abyss

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Must be your keyboard and mouse because half the complaints people are having, I have none.

I have to say I am loving UEFI, loving this board and have had no issues. I will be installing my water block tonight and I dont see any issues with running 5.0+Ghz on my chip.

The issues I have aren't related to performance, just the crappy interface that I think the [H] review nailed perfectly. I was just expanding upon them with my specific experiences.
 

Nickbaldwin86

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The issues I have aren't related to performance, just the crappy interface that I think the [H] review nailed perfectly. I was just expanding upon them with my specific experiences.

Just funny because I have no issue with my keyboard or mouse responding. or any other interface issues for that matter.

which BIOS? Time for a BIOS update? I am on the newest, very 1st thing I did when I got the board.
 

Astral Abyss

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Just funny because I have no issue with my keyboard or mouse responding. or any other interface issues for that matter.

which BIOS? Time for a BIOS update? I am on the newest, very 1st thing I did when I got the board.

No, the BIOS update just made the mouse and keyboard work worse, which wasn't really what I was looking for. Other than that, it did nothing.

I'm glad you aren't having issues, but that doesn't really help the rest of us.
 

Dan_D

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Just funny because I have no issue with my keyboard or mouse responding. or any other interface issues for that matter.

which BIOS? Time for a BIOS update? I am on the newest, very 1st thing I did when I got the board.

I think we've beaten the problems with the interface to death. Whether or not our complaints actually bother you is up to you. I think the unnecessary double-clicking is maddening. MSI has said of course that some issues like the scroll wheel support is due to the mouse we used. They never tested the damn thing with gaming mice like my G9x. They said they were going to fix this in an update. An update not available when I tested the board.
 

Dan_D

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Just flashed to this beta BIOS tonight

http://forum-en.msi.com/index.php?topic=151148.msg1129811#msg1129811

E7681IMS.N34 is the one I went with.

Running at 5Ghz rock solid on my 2600k

I have a G5 mouse... no issues.

Is the annoying double-clicking in the UEFI interface gone? Worse than that I found when you selected something in the UEFI that the damn thing would "jump" to another choice. I found this to be the case with their Control Center software as well. It did it with both my MX1100 Bluetooth and my Logitech G9x.
 

Nickbaldwin86

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Is the annoying double-clicking in the UEFI interface gone? Worse than that I found when you selected something in the UEFI that the damn thing would "jump" to another choice. I found this to be the case with their Control Center software as well. It did it with both my MX1100 Bluetooth and my Logitech G9x.

Sorry I guess I just don't get annoyed that easly but it isn't gone. Are they supposed to be removing it?

THOSE ARE BETA BIOS, PLEASE READ THE WHOLE THREAD BEFORE ATTEMPTING TO FLASH.
 

Dan_D

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Sorry I guess I just don't get annoyed that easly but it isn't gone. Are they supposed to be removing it?

THOSE ARE BETA BIOS, PLEASE READ THE WHOLE THREAD BEFORE ATTEMPTING TO FLASH.

Indeed they are. MSI told us that an upcoming version of the BIOS should have removed the double-clicking from the UEFI interface.

As for being annoyed by the BIOS, yeah these things are annoying and it wouldn't be as noticeable except that ASUS' UEFI implementation sets the bar much, much higher than MSI has been able to achieve. At least they are trying. Gigabyte................not so much.
 

Nickbaldwin86

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Good info... thanks. I am on the look out for new BIOS releases from MSI... this beta BIOS is just for the time being and it is doing the job rather well... I just need to do a little more research and figure the rest of the settings out and I am sure I will be solid at 5.2Ghz

I will do more testing with the beta and get back to you on the double-click, and anything else that might have changed, currently at work so I cant test it now.
 

Dan_D

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Good info... thanks. I am on the look out for new BIOS releases from MSI... this beta BIOS is just for the time being and it is doing the job rather well... I just need to do a little more research and figure the rest of the settings out and I am sure I will be solid at 5.2Ghz

I will do more testing with the beta and get back to you on the double-click, and anything else that might have changed, currently at work so I cant test it now.

If you want 5.0GHz, the easiest thing to do is set PLL Overvoltage to enabled, PLL voltage to 1.95v, BCLK to 103.0, the multiplier to 49x. For CPU voltage you'll need around 1.45-1.5v. My test CPUs all seem to need about 1.475v. This is usually all I have to do to achieve 5.0GHz or near 5.0GHz OC's on most P67 and Z68 chipset based boards.
 

Nickbaldwin86

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Hey finally got around to playing with the beta BIOS's and no the double clicking isn't gone... grr right.

And I am pretty rock solid at 1.4v and 4.8Ghz and im pretty happy with that for now.

Cant wait for MSI to do an update and fix these little things.
 

Astral Abyss

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I'm having trouble getting my system to boot at either 4.5 or 4.6GHz. Thing is, once it actually does boot into Windows, it's rock solid. Whether it actually will on the 2nd or 3rd try, or at all, is the question. Running at 4.2GHz and 1.35v it boots just fine, even with turbo on.

I am running 4 sticks of RAM @ 2133MHz, so I'm sure that's making things more difficult.

Here's the settings I am trying to run 4.5/4.6GHz at:

Turbo off
C1E/C3 off
PLL overclocking enabled
Bus speed at 10000KHz

CPU 1.39v
PLL 1.85v
IO 1.25v
RAM 1.66v
SA auto
PCH auto
Video auto (not used)

RAM timings are 9-11-10-28-2T as set by XMP

Temps maxing out @ 68C on the hottest core running Linpack and OCCT.
Changing to 1.40v did not help boot stability.

The multiboots/fails are driving me nuts.
 

Nickbaldwin86

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Is that RAM 1.5v or 1.65v?

what BIOS? All prior BIOSs have serious throttling issues @ load.

my 2600k is @ 4.8Ghz
Turbo on
C1E off
PLL oc enabled
Bus @ 10010KHz

CPU to 1.4v
PLL to 1.8
RAM to 1.5 (my XMS3 RAM is 1.5v rated)
I/O to auto
1600Mhz RAM, turn off XMP (but i have 1600 not 2133, 2133 might be to much, try lowering it)

I dont care for XMP... it is a auto function that I don't care to use.


Let me know if that helps and what you find out.
 

Astral Abyss

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I'm running 23.2 BIOS.

It's 1.65v RAM. Rated for 2133MHz at CAS9-11-10-28. It does appear our mobo undervolts the RAM, which is why I've set it to 1.66v in the BIOS.

I don't get any bsod's or RAM related issues. Unless it's just that the memory controller starts to crap out running 4 sticks of RAM at high speed after I reach a certain OC on the CPU.

I suppose I could try running the RAM at 1600MHz and see if it helps me out.

I took IO off auto because I saw it was running it at a ridiculously high 1.35v.
 

Nickbaldwin86

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Well with the I/O at auto is it stable? it might need 1.35v?

with 23.2 I would think you will have throttle issues... open up Prime95 and CPUz and watch you Ghz... mine would go from 4.8 down to 4.2 during load :(

I am running a beta BIOS that resolved this issue
 

Astral Abyss

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I'll try out both of these tonight (RAM and IO voltage) and report back. I'm still at work so I haven't had a chance yet.

I'll try grabbing the newest best BIOS also...
 
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