Overclocking - The Hardware
MSI includes three large main functionality buttons on the board's lower edge: one for ON/OFF, one for RESET, and one for the OC Genie4 functions. The OC Genie4 button has two modes that are controlled via a switch right next to the OC Genie4 button. Out of the box, there are pre-defined profiles for both 4.0 GHz and 4.2 GHz with my installed hardware, with the 4.0 GHz profile getting 2400 MHz memory speeds and the 4.2 GHz profile using the full 2666 MHz XMP profile that my G.Skill TridentX kit supports. There are also dual-BIOS chips onboard, allowing users to experiment with BIOS updates while still retaining older versions that they have already tested as stable. You can pick which chip is in use by flipping the switch that I found to be quite clearly labeled. You can find this switch and both BIOS chips just south of the 24-pin power plug.
Once you've booted the board, the POST display on the bottom edge of the board will help you diagnose any issues that may arise, while the GO2BIOS button is used to ensure that the next boot will go directly into the BIOS should you be using Windows8 and its FastBoot features, which might prevent you from accessing the BIOS. To help you power those overclocks you set in the BIOS, MSI has equipped the MSI Z87-GD65 GAMING with an International Rectifier VRM section for both the CPU and the DIMM VRM. I've pictured the CPU VRM controller and the DIM MVRM itself in the pictures above.
Monitoring of those VRMs and that excellent fan control requires a decent Super I/O controller, and MSI has chosen the Nuvoton NCT6779D chip which also provides the Keyboard/Mouse PS/2 port. For manual measuring of critical system voltages, MSI has their V-Check header here too, a feature we've seen on many MSI products in the past few years.
That all might seem pretty simple, and it really is. A decent VRM section and capable monitoring ICs are all that this platform really requires to get decent overclocks for gaming, and MSI has chosen parts here that actually surprised me quite a bit. The use of International Rectifier VRM components is a nice treat that should help your overclocks last through the lifespan of your PC. I was quite a bit shocked to see the relatively low-clocked OC Genie profiles for the CPU, but they are of no surprise after some time spend testing with multiple CPU samples prior to the launch. MSI is more concerned about giving users clear and easy-to-use settings that most parts are capable of running with their GAMING boards, no matter what luck they may have in the "silicon lottery".
It is also worth noting that should you buy a set of matching MSI GAMING video cards, they'll clock themselves better when paired with MSI GAMING motherboards due to common design elements between all MSI hardware. This is an added bonus for users that buy into a brand's platform completely, and I have seen similar things from other brands as well. Hardware screening prior to parts hitting store shelves allows MSI's GAMING products to form platforms that are capable of more than they would be on their own, and since MSI can only screen their own parts, they can't certify anything other than their own products' functionality.