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Msi z68a-gd65 (g3)

cadaveca

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#1
Our first look at PCIe 3.0 comes from none other than MSI, with their recently launched Z68A-GD65 (G3). Adding support early for future Intel CPUs, the Z68A-GD65 (G3), with its true PCIe 3.0 support, not only offers a bit for the future, but also a bit of extra speed, right now. We take the overclocking-oriented Z68A-GD65 (G3) for a spin.

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#2
Looks like a pretty nifty board. I'm glad they got rid of the base block increaser and reducer buttons, as well as the OC Genie button. IMO, they were pretty pointless.
 
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#3
They were on this platform!!! Nice review cad. :)
 

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#4
My problem with this board is:

Its main feature won't be usable for 8 months.

Who makes a product like that?
 
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#6
Nice review cadaveca, finally an MSI board. I was wondering, does the board raise the vcore under load? My P67A-GD65 B3 raises the voltage around 0.04v under load, which is out of intel specs i believe. And no bios changed that till now. But i see the Z68A-GD65 G3 uses a different bios, so it might not have these issues.
 

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#7
I was wondering, does the board raise the vcore under load?
Depends on how you are clocking, and how you adjust voltage. Personally, I prefer to use Turbo to OC, and "offset" voltage, rather than setting voltages and using loadline calibration.

That said, I did not see voltage increase under load. It was either what I set, or stayed just under.

Its main feature won't be usable for 8 months.
I am not so sure about that. I saw some sizable performance increases that can only be explained by the PCIe support. The fact of the matter is that if you use PCIe SSD, you'll see a performance improvement there, immediately.


This is a board built for benching, From component design, to layout and features...THAT is the "Main Feature" of this product, not the PCIe 3.0 support. That PCIe 3.0 support is just one addition that makes it a far more valuable product for benching, both for now, and in the future.
 
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#8
Im curious since its not a bandwidth issue (last I checked 4x was plenty for revo x2 at least), what makes the performance increase on this board? Latency improvements on PCIe3.x?
 

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#9
Im curious since its not a bandwidth issue (last I checked 4x was plenty for revo x2 at least), what makes the performance increase on this board? Latency improvements on PCIe3.x?
I do beleive that MSI has optimized the BIOS specifically for these drives. PCIe 3.0 not only features higher bandwidth, but also less traffic management overhead, and they have taken advantage of these features NOW rather than later.

Also, 3D performance is a fair bit higher than other products. This is not totally obvious in the benchmarks I use, other than 3DMark, but when I was using it to play BC2 and a few other titles with the guys on the TeamSpeak server, things felt smoother. Of course, this could just be some sort of placebo effect, but given the high 3DMark performance, with somewhat lower memory bandwidth, I've no choice but to attribute the performance boost to the PCIe configuration.


If there was no noticible difference between this board and a PCIe 2.0 board, I would have mentioned it, but the fact remains that in several benches, it's the top performer, and I ahd no problems that were worth mentioning...I did have a few problems with memory on the first BIOS, but I contacted MSI, and they provided a BIOS that solved those problems. I hard a hard time coming up with negatives on this product, and that's really saying something.
 
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#10
Awesome..thanks for the info. :)
 
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#11
Whats the difference with GD55 ? I see it lacks a SATA slot but the specs say it has 2x16 PCIE and this one is 16x and 8x. Either I don't get something or these are confusing.
 
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#12
Both boards have 2 16x PCIE lanes, but the second one is x8 electricaly, on both motherboards. The difference is, as you said, some sata ports, voltage reading points, etc. No big difference. Oh and the most important thing. The GD55 is not gen3 PCIE.
 
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cadaveca

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#14
The differences remain the SATA controller, as well as the voltage measuring bits. The goodies in the box probably differ as well.
 
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#15
Price drop is pretty decent between those two.
 

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#16
It also appears that the GD55 has only one bios chip compared to the two on the GD65.
Always nice to have a backup in case of a bad flash.
@cadaveca:
Thanks for the thorough and well-photographed review.
It helped me to decide between the GD65 and a couple other boards I was considering, to upgrade to from my G43.
I now have a Z68A-GD65 G3 on it's way from NCIX.
Looking forward to it's more extensive bios settings, amongst other things.
 
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#17
Cad - Did you have any issues with this thing at 50x multi or so? Reason I ask is b/c it is throttling when Im sitting at 50x and goes down to 47x with a heavy multi threaded (Prime05/Wprime) load. I actually had to have Cstate enabled to even be able to use the 50x multi with more than 2 cores. Otherwise it would boot in to windows at 49x.

I have all power options disabled, wattage set to 250W under turbo, Overspeed proctection disabled.

If not, what bios are you on and is there a chance you could screenshot those settings?

TIA!
 

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#18
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#19
I am haveing the same issues with the latest couple of bioses on my P67A-GD65. When running linx or aida64 stress test, it throttles to 4.3 or 4.2ghz from 4.8. I have the long and short duration power setting set to 250W for both, but no luck. I informed the MSI technical support about the issue, but their reply was: the latest bios is the most stable, but not the quickest. Facepalm!
 
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#20
Quickest? I just want it to hold the multi!

Here I am thinking its a setting of mine, but... may not be if others are experiencing the same issues.
 
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#21
Thats exactly what i told them, i want my oc to stick the way i want it. I mean it would be ok if the proc would throttle becouse of high temperature or something, but not becouse of their incompetence.
 
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#22
Well, I'm in contact with my MSI rep about the issue and will report back if there is a resolution.

Others at my home site have posted that the june bios resolves this issue? I havent had time to try it out... care to?
 
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#23
For my board the 1.C bios(old) solves the issue, but has other issues. But yeah, the older versions dont have the throttling issues.
 

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#24
Cad - Did you have any issues with this thing at 50x multi or so? Reason I ask is b/c it is throttling when Im sitting at 50x and goes down to 47x with a heavy multi threaded (Prime05/Wprime) load. I actually had to have Cstate enabled to even be able to use the 50x multi with more than 2 cores. Otherwise it would boot in to windows at 49x.

I have all power options disabled, wattage set to 250W under turbo, Overspeed proctection disabled.

If not, what bios are you on and is there a chance you could screenshot those settings?

TIA!
I always update to the most recent non-beta release at the time of review. Of course, sometimes I may complete a review several weeks before you see it, but I do try to list the BIOS in the review itself.

I received this board before it was fully in retail, and I did have a few issues on the release BIOS, but MSI was quick to provide me with a BIOS that didn't have the same problems.

I di NOT notice any throttle issues, however, I always overclock using all power features enabled, and I also use offset voltages ratehr than a set votlage with loadline calibration.

Initially, i found some stability problem from too low voltage on VCCIO/CPU_NB. BIOS fixed it.

If you are still ahving issues in a couple of days I can toss the board in the teest rig and take a look, but right now I have another product in there that I am working on right this second. So maybe this afternoon I'll try; we will see.
 
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#25
Throttling doesnt happen where you overclocked in the review (and what you have seen in the thread). So unless you want to try 50x+ multi's to assist, I wouldnt bother... but thank you.

Im trying to see if there are any common denominators with bios's.

I have tried everything as far as power goes as well offset/regular/llc on/off tubro on, power options on/off....

When I first got the board it wouldnt boot with 2 sticks (Gskill RipjawX Turbulance 2133 7-10-7-27) I had to up the voltage to even get it to DDR3 1600.