MSI Shows Off X79 and Z77 Motherboards and Gus II, Offers Few Details

Although MSI isn’t revealing too many details on its new X79 and Z77 motherboards, the engineering samples were out and ready to ogle. As you can see from the photos, we got to look at a trio of the new boards.

The Z77A-GD80 and Z77A-GD65 are kind of a pair, with the GD80s typically delivering some more features at a slightly higher cost than GD-65s; currently, though, with what little information we have to go on, there is little to differentiate the two. However, allegedly at least one MSI board will be packing Thunderbolt, and it’s reasonable to think it may be the GD80.

L to R: Z77A-GD65, Z77A-GD80, and Big Bang-XPower II

Both motherboards support socket 1155 Intel chips and PCI-E Gen3, and both offer four DIMM slots that support up to 32GB of DDR3-2667 (OC) memory, three PCI-E 3.0 slots, four USB 3.0 ports, and four SATA 6Gbps ports. They also predictably sport MSI’s ClickBIOS II, OC Genie II, and Multi-BIOS II technologies.

MSI’s beastly X79-based Big Bang-XPower II was also on display. The big fella supports socket 2011 Intel Core i7 processors, 4-way CrossFire and SLI, and up to 128GB of DDR3-2400 (OC) memory over 8 DIMM slots. There are four PCI-E 3.0 and three PCI-E 2.0 (x16) slots, as well as six each of USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gbps ports. For audio, the Big Bang relies on Sound Blaster X-Fi MB2.


One rather interesting device at the MSI booth was the GUS II, an external GPU enclosure with a Thunderbolt interface. The idea is to improve 3D graphics performance with the external device, which has a PCI-E x16 and supports AMD or NVIDIA graphics cards up to 150W, multi-monitor output, and a promised 10Gbps of throughput per channel.

The silver brick has a silver finish and a mesh grill design and should be out within the next several months.