MSI Z68A-GD80 G3 Z68 Motherboard Review

Author: Zac “Eldonko” Ryan
Date: December 31, 2011
Product Name: Z68A-GD80 G3
Part Number: Z68A-GD80 (G3)
Warranty: 5 Years
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Since the launch of Sandy Bridge, we have showcased a number of P67 and Z68 boards from ASUS, Gigabyte, and EVGA. Today we will add MSI to the list and have a look at one of their higher-end socket 1155 boards - the Z68A-GD80 G3. The G3 version of the GD80 board was released only a few weeks after the B3 with the main difference being included PCI-E 3.0 functionality. The X79 boards may be all the rage these days but savvy consumers have stuck with the Z68 platform for its lower price and excellent feature set.

Not only does the Z68A-GD80 G3 include PCI-E Gen 3 and support for upcoming Ivy Bridge processors (including Gen 3 SLI), but with the GD80 there is a long list of features on top of that. First and foremost, similar to what we saw with the ASUS P67 Sabertooth, the GD80 has Military Certified components (Hi-c and Solid Capacitors and Super Ferrite Chokes) and with that comes an extra two years on the warranty for a total of five years. Then of course we have the Z68-specific features: graphics switching with both DVI-I and HDMI outputs, SSD caching, Quick Sync Video, and SATA 6Gb/s direct to the PCH.

A few other notable features in the GD80 are OC Genie, MSI Control Center, and a UEFI / software GUI BIOS. For quick and easy overclocking, MSI has included an OC Genie button that provides instant overclocking of CPU, memory, and iGPU. For a more hands-on overclocking approach MSI’s Control Center utility provides overclocking and power saving options in a Windows environment. The UEFI BIOS on the GD80 is unique in how it provides a full UEFI option including full mouse control and touchscreen support as well as a software graphical user interface with Click BIOS II.

Coming in at around $260, the Z68A-GD80 G3 is in the price range of boards like Gigabyte’s Z68XP-UD5 and ASUS’ P8Z68 Deluxe. Sandy Bridge is all about performance for the money so let’s have a look if the GD80 is worth the extra dollar signs.


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