Z68 Motherboard Roundup: ASUS, EVGA, ASRock, GB, MSI, ZOTAC

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MSI Z68A-GD65 G3

Overall, the MSI Z68A-GD65 G3 is a solid motherboard with decent looks and a great price at $199. Although, we’re not in love with the layout. The board is really cramped over by the 8-pin power input, and if you have a large CPU cooler, it’s tricky to get everything connected.

However, the Z68A-GD65 G3 supports the gamut of socket LGA1155 chips, including Core i7/i5/i3, Celeron, and Pentium processors, as well as up to 32GB of DDR3-2133 RAM. The board also has a total of four SATA 3Gbps ports and four SATA 6Gbps ports in addition to six rear USB ports two USB 3.0 (courtesy of an NEC D720200 chip) and four USB 2.0.

MSI Z68A-GD65 G3

MSI Z68A-GD65 G3
Specifications & Features

CPU: Supports Intel Sandy Bridge processors in LGA1155 package
Chipset: Intel Z68 (B3) Chipset
Memory: Supports four unbuffered DIMM of 1.5 Volt DDR3 1066/1333/1600/2133(OC) DRAM, 32GB Max
Supports 1GB/ 2GB/ 4GB/ 8GB DRAM size
Supports Dual channel mode
Slots: 2 PCI Express gen3 x16 slots
3 PCIE x1 slots
2 32-bit v2.3 master PCI bus slots.
Supports 3.3v/5v PCI bus interface.
Storage: SATAII controller integrated in Intel Z68 (B3) chipset
- Up to 3Gb/s transfer speed.
- Supports four SATAII ports (SATA3~6) by Z68 (B3) PCH
SATAIII controller integrated in Intel Z68 (B3) chipset
- Up to 6Gb/s transfer speed.
- Supports two SATAIII ports (SATA1~2) by Z68 (B3) PCH
- SATA1~6 ports support RAID 0/1/5/10 mode by Intel Z68 (B3) PCH
SATAIII controller integrated in Marvell 88SE9128 chipset
- Supports two SATA 6Gb/s ports
LAN: Supports one PCI Express LAN 10/100/1000 Fast Ethernet by Realtek 8111E
Audio:  Chipset integrated by Realtek ALC892
- Flexible 8-channel audio with jack sensing
- Compliant with Azalia 1.0 Spec
- Meet Microsoft Vista Premium spec
USB Ports: 1 USB 3.0 internal connector by NEC D720200
2 USB 3.0 rear I/O ports by NEC D720200
Form Factor: ATX Form Factor, 30.5cm(L) x 24.5cm(W)

The board supports PCI-E gen 3 and has two PCI-E gen3 x16 slots in addition to three PCI-E x1 slots and a pair of PCI slots. If you’re looking for an SLI/CrossFireX setup, the best you can do here is three-way.

Like many of the motherboards in this roundup, the Z68A-GD65 G3 has its share of physical buttons and switches, including power and reset, but it also has an OC Genie button. This button is a great feature and lets you overclock the system just by pressing the button and booting. OC Genie automatically overclocked the system to 4.2GHz by bumping the CPU ratio up to 42. After you power down, push the button again, and reboot, you’re back to stock everything, just like that.

The OC Genie button, combined with the included Control Center software, makes overclocking incredibly easy. With the simple GUI, you can tweak pretty much any setting you’d want without ever using the BIOS.


The box contains just the basics, save for a USB 3.0 bracket that will give you two additional ports to work with.

If you like loads of utilities and included software, this board is for you. The Z68A-GD65 G3 is bursting with them. Some are more useful and welcome than others, but here’s the complete list: Norton Internet Security, Norton Online Backup, mufin player 2.0, MAGIZ Video easy SE, eSobi v2, Adobe AIR, Star Mission Game, Chicken Shake Game, MSI Q-Face, EasyViewer, Control Center, Live Update 5, Marvell Storage Utility, Teaming Genie, VideoGenie, AudioGenie, Click BIOS II, Winki, and Super-Charger. Note that many of these will arrive the first time you run MSI's Live Update.

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