MSI P67A-GD65 Motherboard Review

Conclusion

MSI P67A-GD65 Review

Conclusion

Reviewing the MSI P67A-GD65 have left us distinctly ambivalent. 

On the one hand it's extraordinarily simple to setup. The board itself is a pleasure to use with everything being laid out very well and plenty of room to work. The only slight issue with the design is how close the RAM slots are to the CPU and so our Hyper-X T1 wouldn't fit under the Noctua NH-D14 so we had to revert to the plain Hyper-X. Otherwise it's very well designed with no nasty surprises or awkward fiddly bits.

The included utility package is very good with all of the applications only having a tiny footprint and none of them running automatically. They all do exactly what you want with the minimum of fuss. The drivers themselves install easily and it's one of the few times you can safely click the "install everything" button without ending up with a plethora of things you really could do without.

Unfortunately this is where the good news tails off a little.

While the GD65 is a joy to setup and use at stock, the results really are disappointing. The only time it keeps up with either the reference Intel design or the Gigabyte UD7 we've previously tested is when the processor performance is far less important than GPU performance. Even the most hardcore gamer will do a little net surfing or utility work and once you're into Windows applications the GD65 just doesn't perform that well.

So perhaps the truly brilliant OC Genie will be the solution to the poor stock performance? It's a one-button overclock that guarantees good results. Or at least did. There appears to be some bugs in the calculation side of things as it either ran at a disappointing 4.2 GHz or tried to boot at a laughable 28 GHz. Talk about sublime to the ridiculous.

Manual overclocking involves, as always, entering the BIOS. Whilst the MSI comes equipped with the EFI BIOS which is all mouse controlled and very user-friendly. It doesn't take two seconds to get used to with everything laid out where you'd expect and the ability to use your mouse just makes it a pleasant experience. It's not without bugs though. We used the very latest BIOS from MSI but there were still issues with it being unresponsive, or registering a single-click as a double. It makes voltage adjustments quite a hairy proposition.

Once you have got it overclocked we didn't quite reach the heights of the UD7, but at over a hundred pounds cheaper we wouldn't expect it to be. What is disappointing though is how the MSI responds to the overclock. We'd expect a 4.7 GHz CPU to at least give good results but it often struggled to keep up with the Intel reference board at stock.

Hopefully a more mature BIOS will iron out the issues with the BIOS and the OC Genie overclocking, but for now it's very difficult to recommend the MSI P67A-GD65.

If we accept that we might have an average CPU and so we wont get some of the more high-speed overclocks around, it still cannot be denied that the benchmarks both at stock and overclocked don't do the board any justice. If it's possible that Toms, erm, strenuous efforts to overclock it previously have damaged it in some way, we'll gladly come back to this when we get a new chip in hand. For now though we can only go with what we've got on the bench, rather than theoretical improvements.

Even at only £142.99 (Aria) we still feel that there just isn't enough performance to make it a worthy purchase. It's a shame that a board we had high hopes for after the brilliance of the P55 range from MSI entirely fails to deliver.

Thanks to MSI for providing the GD65 for review. Discuss in our forums.

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Most Recent Comments

31-01-2011, 05:06:43

tinytomlogan
Following their success with their P55 series of boards, can MSI continue that brilliance with the P67s?

Continue Reading

31-01-2011, 05:21:41

Aurus_OC
I am pretty disappointed by the results of this board. I expected it to be a great board at that price level. Well maybe next time MSI.

31-01-2011, 06:19:33

PCTwin
lol. 28.8Ghz.

31-01-2011, 06:20:58

Aurus_OC
Quote:
Originally Posted by PCTwin View Post

lol. 28.8Ghz.
I just can't understand why it wouldn't boot at those speeds??

31-01-2011, 06:42:31

SnW

So perhaps the truly brilliant OC Genie will be the solution to the poor stock performance?



If it works as good as it does on my P55-GD65 then weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

I finally thought MSI was going good in the mobo section yet this is pretty disappointing to me

EDIT i must be fair i also hear people using it and its perfectly fine,

i guess my luck comes in again....

31-01-2011, 07:16:26

Zeals
I feel crushed I read in all these other sites about how awesome it was, but after seeing this I feel bitterly disappointed as well as being confused how it fared to badly here.

EDIT: Quite a few people seem to get 4.2GHz clock, so I guess MSI is being extremely conservative, in case someone got a half completed chip or something.

31-01-2011, 07:56:44

VonBlade
Speaking personally rather than as an OC3D Reviewer, MSI were my manufacturer of last year. Their AM3 and 1156 boards were insanely good so trust me when I say I'm as disappointed as you all were.

We have to review as we find, and it was just a bit.. meh.

31-01-2011, 07:56:49

tinytomlogan
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeals View Post

I feel crushed I read in all these other sites about how awesome it was, but after seeing this I feel bitterly disappointed as well as being confused how it fared to badly here.

EDIT: Quite a few people seem to get 4.2GHz clock, so I guess MSI is being extremely conservative, in case someone got a half completed chip or something.
The point in auto clicking is it is meant to work out the best clock for your chip not just stick everything at the same clock

The board isnt 'bad' just that it isnt a great as it should have been.

31-01-2011, 08:11:54

THD
Thanks for another great review.

Real dissapointment on the results, I had this at top of my list for my new system. Gues i'm gonna have to wait untill another midrange board gets a good (overclock)review.

Or untill MSI can make the 28 GHZ work

31-01-2011, 08:14:32

marsey99
just to play devils advocate here, was you expecting greatness as standard on all msi boards based on last years findings?

its a lower end board so lesser results are to be expected vs some of the others. im happy you was honest and open about your findings but i got the feeling as i read it you was harsh on it because you expected more.

imo (and thats all it is) is i think people are wanting ocing to get too easy, it used to be about soldering bits on to pcb and fiddling with jumpers, then it all went into the bios and now we have fancy gui and 1 button ocing. pfft kids today dont know they are born xD

also, long live pci!! my xfi still kicks arse

31-01-2011, 08:29:00

VonBlade
Yes indeed we were expecting greatness, but we aren't harsh on something just because we expected it to be good.

The results are what they are, and then we review based upon that. In this case although the overclocked results were disappointing if the stock benchmarks had held out we'd have happily accepted it as being potentially great and possibly hindered by the flaky BIOS.

As it is either our test CPU is abysmal, or the MSI just doesn't perform as well as the other boards we've tested. Sure one button overclocking is nice, but if a 4.2GHz overclock gives the same results as a stock chip on other motherboards, it's tough to come to any conclusion other than poor performance.

We always make sure we consider each product on its merits, and not against what has gone before. Otherwise you end up in this hell-hole of "well I remember when a 486DX2-66 was brilliant" (personally my first PC was a 386-SX16).

31-01-2011, 08:46:26

SnW
Quote:
Originally Posted by marsey99 View Post

just to play devils advocate here, was you expecting greatness as standard on all msi boards based on last years findings?

its a lower end board so lesser results are to be expected vs some of the others. im happy you was honest and open about your findings but i got the feeling as i read it you was harsh on it because you expected more.

imo (and thats all it is) is i think people are wanting ocing to get too easy, it used to be about soldering bits on to pcb and fiddling with jumpers, then it all went into the bios and now we have fancy gui and 1 button ocing. pfft kids today dont know they are born xD

also, long live pci!! my xfi still kicks arse
That's not really true as they where getting into the mobo game pretty good !

also don't think Tom was expecting more...

31-01-2011, 10:25:59

killablade
The results are strange to say the least. I don't think any of the other reviews I read showed similar results. Maybe you just got a bad sample? O.o

Tbh I think an improved bios would to the board a world of good.

31-01-2011, 14:25:11

Zeals
Quote:
Originally Posted by killablade View Post

The results are strange to say the least. I don't think any of the other reviews I read showed similar results. Maybe you just got a bad sample? O.o

Tbh I think an improved bios would to the board a world of good.
Well if it's a bad sample, than this could mean there are some quality control issues.

31-01-2011, 14:52:17

Bungral
I'm running this board now and can confirm that they are still ironing out the EFI BIOS as the one it shipped with (1.4 I think) was garbage.. They are now officially up to 1.6 I believe but there are plenty of other beta versions out there which make a massive differnce. All the single click and double click crapness is gone from the BIOS with the BIOS I'm running.

Haven't had a proper chance to overclock yet but I did a very quick run in at 4.5 GHz at 1.2v which went in ok before I updated the BIOS again. This new one is meant to overclock much much better.

I'll happily run a test or two again afterwards and post them in this thread with the BIOS I'm running if anyone is interested as my setup is practically the same. Running a 570 along with 4GB of 2133MHz memory.

Oh yeah, at 140 maybe not great value but I got it when the VAT back deal was going so got it for 110.

Oooo yeah one last thing... No dissin the PCI! I've still got my Xfi which I have no need or want to replace... The sound is fantastic so as long as boards support it, I'll use it

31-01-2011, 16:51:33

killablade
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bungral View Post

I'm running this board now and can confirm that they are still ironing out the EFI BIOS as the one it shipped with (1.4 I think) was garbage.. They are now officially up to 1.6 I believe but there are plenty of other beta versions out there which make a massive differnce. All the single click and double click crapness is gone from the BIOS with the BIOS I'm running.

Haven't had a proper chance to overclock yet but I did a very quick run in at 4.5 GHz at 1.2v which went in ok before I updated the BIOS again. This new one is meant to overclock much much better.

I'll happily run a test or two again afterwards and post them in this thread with the BIOS I'm running if anyone is interested as my setup is practically the same. Running a 570 along with 4GB of 2133MHz memory.

Oh yeah, at 140 maybe not great value but I got it when the VAT back deal was going so got it for 110.

Oooo yeah one last thing... No dissin the PCI! I've still got my Xfi which I have no need or want to replace... The sound is fantastic so as long as boards support it, I'll use it
I'm definitely interested in those results as I'm still interested in buying this board + 2500k if I can get the money (all depends on my birthday )

31-01-2011, 19:08:49

Bungral
No probs.. I'll probably look to do it maybe on Thursday as I'm working late all this week. If not then Sunday night.

Any pref as to the benchies you want to see??

31-01-2011, 19:56:58

marsey99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bungral View Post

No probs.. I'll probably look to do it maybe on Thursday as I'm working late all this week. If not then Sunday night.

Any pref as to the benchies you want to see??
at the risk of being a pain could you do some of those from the review but compare the bios revisions to see if thats the root of the issues here?

31-01-2011, 20:11:49

Bungral
I'll see what I can do when I get the time

01-02-2011, 03:46:42

THD
@Bungral, would love to see your results but there is no rush in light of the big new on Intel yesterday (chipset issues)

But hey maybe MSI will take the time waiting on Intel to improve this board

@ OC3D do you guys know any intresting inside facts on the Intel issues ?

01-02-2011, 05:04:32

Zeals
Quote:
Originally Posted by THD View Post

@Bungral, would love to see your results but there is no rush in light of the big new on Intel yesterday (chipset issues)

But hey maybe MSI will take the time waiting on Intel to improve this board

@ OC3D do you guys know any intresting inside facts on the Intel issues ?
Well currently all stores and manufacturers have been advised to cease shipment and sales of all motherboards. The chip flaw is only affects the the controllers of the SATA 2 ports, which are the 4 3GB/s ports. Intel currently advises that all users have devices plugged into the SATA 3 ports, since those appear to be ok. However in the event you have more devices than the available SATA 2 ports, than Intel recommends that high traffic devices; such as hard drives, should be placed on the SATA 3 ports, while CD/Blu Ray drives should be placed on the SATA 2, since those tend to have less traffic. The problem occurs that the more you use the port, errors start to occur, what normally happens in the event of an error, the controller retry sending the information, this slows the speeds, but as time goes on the errors become more and more common, resulting in even slower speeds and potentially corrupt data, and maybe even failure.

So right now if you have a Sandy Bridge motherboard, plug the devices into the SATA III ports, however if you have too many devices, make sure high traffic and more important devices are in the SATA III ports, but it's best minimalize use. In all likelihood a mass recall would probably be initiated.
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