P55 Motherboard Round-up: Asus, EVGA, GB, Intel, MSI
At $160, MSI's P55-GD65 is priced competitively and ends up being one of more affordable motherboards in this round up. Only $20 more expensive than Intel's DP55WG and $10 more than Gigabyte's mATX P55M UD4, the GD65 offers an attractive option for those looking for enthusiast class features without breaking the bank.
LGA-1156 i5 / i7 Processors
Four 240-pin DDR3 SDRAM DIMM sockets
Supports DDR3 2133 / 2000 / 1600 / 1333 / 1066 MHz
Up to 16 GB max
2 x PCIe 2.0 x16 slot
1 x PCIe 2.0 x4 slot
2 x PCIe 2.0 x1 slot
2 x PCI slots
SATA 1-6 support Intel Matrix Storage Technology
AHCI / RAID 0/1/5/10
Realtek® ALC889 audio codec / ALC888S VC2
8-channel audio with jack sensing
Compliant with Azalia 1.0 Spec
Dual LAN (10/100/1000) Realtek RTL8111DL
|Back Panel I/O |
7 x USB 2.0 ports
2 x RJ45 LAN jacks
1 x IEEE1394a port
1 x Coaxial S/PDIF out port
1 x Optical S/PDIF out port
1 x PS/2 keyboard port
1 x PS/2 mouse port
1 x eSATA port
6 audio ports
Rear I/O panel shield
4 x SATA data cables
USB expansion bracket
SATA power adapter cables
Quick start guide
Drivers and utilities disk
ATX 12 x 9.6 inches ( 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm )
3 year limited (based on manufacture date)
First two years parts/labor, last year parts only
The GD65 motherboard has a familiar black and blue design that looks good and as is typical of MSI, it offers a lot of the features too. As with almost every board in this round up, the GD65 comes with dark colored PCB. A couple of blue DIMM sockets and PCIe slots account for the highlight color, along with gunmetal grey heatsinks around the CPU socket.
A quick look around the motherboard reveals other features such as an OC Genie swtich, onboard power button, voltage check points, six right angled SATA ports, and a right angled IDE connector. But we think its odd that MSI left off a few key features, especially considering this product targets the overclocking enthusiast crowd. While we are happy about the onboard power button, no reset switch is installed. Additionally, there is no clear CMOS button anywhere on the board either, not even on the rear I/O panel. Yes, the GD65 does include a clear CMOS jumper but its a lot less convenient than a button. And unlike other overclocking boards in this round up, MSI left off an LED fault code indicator. This feature would be helpful in troubleshooting problems due to overclocking. For comparison, Intel's $140 DP55WG inlcudes a POST code LED display.
MSI includes a decent bundle with the GD65 and includes plenty of documentation for all its features. Accessories include a user's guide, installation manuals, drivers disk, utilities disk, four SATA 3.0Gbs cables, SATA power adapters, USB expansion bracket, M-Connector kit, SLI and Crossfire bridges, IDE cables, and an I/O shield.
The I/O panel consists of PS/2 keyboard and mouse connectors, optical and coaxial S/PDIF out jacks, a Firewire port, seven USB 2.0 ports, eSATA connector, two RJ-45 LAN jack, and 6 audio jacks. As mentioned earlier in the article, we would prefer another USB port instead of an outdated PS/2 mouse connector here.