MSI Z87 GD65 Gaming Review

Conclusion

MSI Z87 GD65 Gaming Review

Conclusion

Now and again a motherboard appears that is so obviously brilliant, and so affordable, that we wonder if anything will be able to top it. For a while that crown was held by the ASUS Sabertooth, both in X58 and then P67 variants. Then MSI stole the crown with the Z77 MPower. Looking at the Z87 GD65 Gaming we think it's going to take something extraordinary to top it, such is the perfect storm of price, performance, features and looks.

Let's start with the aesthetic. It's a gorgeous looking thing. The all black PCB and slots, with red aluminium for the heatsinks really looks stunning. The black and red combination has been part of Hot Rodding for years which shows how popular it was long before computers were around. Since the initial explosion of enthusiast based motherbooards used it as their colour scheme of choice it's such a classic combination that even if you're sick of it you can't deny it looks the business. It's not just about the colours either, as the design of the heatsinks is a serious touch of detail in an area that is usually only this heavily customised on motherboards costing twice as much.

It's not all show no go though. The board is crammed with technologies too. 8 SATA 6Gbps ports lead us off. We commented when SATA 6Gbps first appeared why anybody stuck with the plain SATA 3Gbps ports because it's backwards compatible, so it's nice to see the latest generation MSI offering has seen the SATA II ports go the way of the floppy/IDE connectors. Sound has moved on to the aptly-named RealTek ALC1150 chip and when combined with the Creative Soundblaster Cinema you'll have to be a very demanding audiophile to justify a soundcard these days.

The switch to Military Class 4 has given us an extremely ready overclocker too. You're always thermally limited when overclocking and the i7-4770K is one of the most demanding around. Considering the amount of cooling we're using we think that although the GD65 is capable of bringing 5GHz from our i7-4770K you'd need a proper water loop to make the most of it.

Performance is outstanding. The stock results were a particular highlight. We know a lot of people still just like to put their CPU in and go, without overclocking it first. Despite how easy it is these days we know that the fear factor still exists. So you'll be glad to know that the MSI Z87 GD65 Gaming really rocks hard even at stock settings. Naturally the overclocking is blistering too, with some OC3D records broken.

If you didn't know, or hadn't looked at the top of this review, then you'd expect a motherboard with such high-end performance and brilliant features would be akin to the £300 beasts of yore, so to find it at a frankly astonishing £157 is the final cherry on what is already the tastiest cake around. We can't find fault with it. Yes if we were really nit-picky we'd like to see a couple of extra USB ports on the back, largely because with phones and iPods etc we've got more USB devices than we have storage ones. But that would be akin to complaining after the finest meal you've ever eaten that you weren't overly fond of the mints that came with your coffee. Sure it's a niggle, but the rest of it is so brilliant we don't care.

MSI have laid the gauntlet down to all the other manufacturers. Gorgeous to look at, blistering performance and all at a very affordable price, the MSI Z87 GD65 Gaming is not only the new benchmark for Z87 motherboards, but probably for all motherboards.

      

Thanks to MSI for supplying the Z87 GD65 Gaming for review. Discuss your thoughts in the OC3D forums.

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Most Recent Comments

01-06-2013, 10:34:36

tinytomlogan
Our next LGA1150 Z87 motherboard is the GD65 Gaming from MSI. We loved the Z77 Gaming, so does this continue the trend?

http://www.overclock3d.net/gfx/artic...110246121l.JPG


Continue Reading

01-06-2013, 14:36:34

yassarikhan786
157 is a massive bargain for the features it provides. Lovin' the fact that they provide 8 SATA 6 ports and improved on board audio.

Awesome review as always TTL

01-06-2013, 15:48:07

AverageNinja
Awesome review! This thing is amazing for the price! I want.

01-06-2013, 16:06:13

WillSK
Great review Tom, can't wait to see what the MPower brings in comparison. As for the CPU temps, looks like we could see delidding again due to the temps. It's a shame intel haven't addressed that issue

01-06-2013, 16:11:21

MacLeod
Christ-a-mighty TTL! GTX780, GTX770, Haswell and now a new motherboard review. Have you slept at all in the last few weeks?

01-06-2013, 16:25:06

tinytomlogan
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacLeod View Post
Christ-a-mighty TTL! GTX780, GTX770, Haswell and now a new motherboard review. Have you slept at all in the last few weeks?
Check the front page and the YouTube channel mate. You guys need to remember you dont pay for any of this.....


Thats why you should be thanking us by clicking ads

01-06-2013, 16:30:10

WillSK
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinytomlogan View Post
Check the front page and the YouTube channel mate. You guys need to remember you dont pay for any of this.....


Thats why you should be thanking us by clicking ads
rest easy in knowing that OC3D is the one and only website not blacklisted by my adblocker

01-06-2013, 16:53:27

MacLeod
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinytomlogan View Post
Check the front page and the YouTube channel mate. You guys need to remember you dont pay for any of this.....


Thats why you should be thanking us by clicking ads
Guess you misunderstood me. I was more like in awe that youve put out this many major reviews in such a short period of time and that youve probably worked a whole lot more than youve slept the last few weeks. Basically meant as a compliment.

01-06-2013, 17:18:52

Bozzy
This is on my shopping list.

02-06-2013, 04:16:37

Buckster
nice review (as always- thanks) and nice motherboard

the only comment I'd make ref CPU temps - I completely agree with what you are saying about the fact that games don't raise temps anywhere near the CPU temps that are reaching during OCCT etc - but I do find with my 3770k that if I do any video encoding in a software package that uses AVX- such as Handbrake - my CPU temps get to near that of the worst CPU stress-tests ...

02-06-2013, 04:57:25

Mark3Max
Great review Tom , I really like the looks and features of this board.

Keep up the good work Guv.

02-06-2013, 08:52:13

corban
Was going to get the ud4 but now I think I will get this instead as its cheaper has the features I want and colour scheme, really enjoyed the review.

02-06-2013, 08:57:31

Permafrost
I'm still waiting for the Sabertooth Z87 NDA to be lifted..

02-06-2013, 09:02:52

Roooker
I would like to see the normal GD65 to be redone with Z87.. The gaming edition boards look horrible imo

02-06-2013, 11:03:01

.Griff.
Are there plans for a GD80 version?

02-06-2013, 16:30:32

bofeming
Glad to see the price of this mobo and the features... ofc its a must buy.

Thank you TTL for your hard work.

03-06-2013, 04:43:15

tinytomlogan
Quote:
Originally Posted by I don't Know View Post
I'm still waiting for the Sabertooth Z87 NDA to be lifted..
All boards were the same time as the CPU. We just have not reviewed it for launch. TBH Im in no rush to do it either.

03-06-2013, 09:01:49

Permafrost
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinytomlogan View Post
All boards were the same time as the CPU. We just have not reviewed it for launch. TBH Im in no rush to do it either.
ok no worries then tom, I take it your not a fan of the sabertooth then

03-06-2013, 09:41:45

tinytomlogan
Quote:
Originally Posted by I don't Know View Post
ok no worries then tom, I take it your not a fan of the sabertooth then
Ive done nd have the boards I like. Asus stuff this time is just the same old stuff, nothing new. All a bit "meh"

03-06-2013, 12:42:13

ProtoMaster22
I hope MSI makes a Normal Z87A-GD65/80, I just bought all blue stuff!

03-06-2013, 13:50:46

Permafrost
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinytomlogan View Post
Ive done nd have the boards I like. Asus stuff this time is just the same old stuff, nothing new. All a bit "meh"
i hope you do the sabertooth one, i'm really looking forward to it!!

03-06-2013, 14:37:01

BradleyW-H
I was torn between this and the ASUS ROG HERO VI. For 10 I think I'm going to go with ASUS mainly because of fan expert 3 or 2 i don't remember. Anyway it saves me money on a Fan controller that would be around 30 :P

05-06-2013, 20:57:26

deadbc77
Just got mine today,and every thing else for my Haswell build.My son already called dibs on my Ivy build.

06-06-2013, 04:07:06

SavageCupcake
Quote:
Originally Posted by BradleyW-H View Post
I was torn between this and the ASUS ROG HERO VI. For 10 I think I'm going to go with ASUS mainly because of fan expert 3 or 2 i don't remember. Anyway it saves me money on a Fan controller that would be around 30 :P
Could always just set up the fans with voltage reducers to make it far far tidier?

06-06-2013, 04:08:22

tinytomlogan
Quote:
Originally Posted by BradleyW-H View Post
I was torn between this and the ASUS ROG HERO VI. For 10 I think I'm going to go with ASUS mainly because of fan expert 3 or 2 i don't remember. Anyway it saves me money on a Fan controller that would be around 30 :P
Yeah on board fans are for n000bs tbh mate.......

06-06-2013, 05:01:56

daletur328
Just about to order mine, after a great review. I am also after a new GPU, in the next few months, when money allows. The question is: MSi claim that you will get a bigger boost if you use one of their branded cards, does anyone know if this is just marketing hype or there is some basis to it?

06-06-2013, 05:56:30

antihero
^I don't see why that couldn't be true. Any brand can achieve that with a bit of tweaking and optimizing.

06-06-2013, 07:45:38

ant_1984
Love the look this board. My Z77a-GD65 is a great board and its no surprise this one reviewed so well. I don't know if I missed it in the review but does the board do offset overclocking? The Z77 didn't have it.

Considering this board, Gigabyte Z87X-UD5H or Asus Sabertooth at this stage for my build. Was also thinking of Asrock Extreme 6 but not sure.

21-06-2013, 09:04:12

murphy7801
From experince I find get a small boost thing I would recomend about it you seem to get less hicups or errors just seems to work smoother if that makes sense. So I would say go for an MSI card if you have the board plus they make V good cards.

20-07-2013, 11:17:19

GoogalyMoogaly
Hate the look of this board.

Now I know it's probably all that you had time to review, but it's a pity this board wasn't compared against boards in a similar price range aimed at a similar audience.

I'm also surprised that it scored so high in terms of value. It's presumably a motherboard aimed at gaming and yet in the review you pointed out that generally the motherboard makes less of an impact than the cpu and gpu. So from a gaming perspective how does it justify being 50% more expensive than the Gigabyte reviewed while producing almost the exact same results?

Also other reviews seem to suggest that the network on this board uses more cpu resources that the other boards. Did you find that?
On top of which the whole network thing seems like marketing hype. All it can do is traffic prioritisation on that PC, it can't speed up your network or internet connection. So yeah, if you're downloading a BT or streaming TV while also trying to play an online game then yes your ping may suffer. But what sort of n00b does that? It's not gonna help if your housemate is in his room download bit torrents while his girlfriend is streaming a video from Netflix.

I'm also curious about how you reach all the newly positioned buttons if you have a double slot graphics card in the bottom slot? Surely they'd be better up neat the RAM slots or something?

20-07-2013, 13:28:39

tinytomlogan
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoogalyMoogaly View Post

I'm also surprised that it scored so high in terms of value. It's presumably a motherboard aimed at gaming and yet in the review you pointed out that generally the motherboard makes less of an impact than the cpu and gpu. So from a gaming perspective how does it justify being 50% more expensive than the Gigabyte reviewed while producing almost the exact same results?

Um they are the same price?

20-07-2013, 13:37:09

GoogalyMoogaly
MSI Z87-GD65 Gaming = 157.04 from Scan.
GA-Z87-D3HP = 107.84 from Scan.

157.04 != 107.84

20-07-2013, 13:44:43

Feronix
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoogalyMoogaly View Post
MSI Z87-GD65 Gaming = 157.04 from Scan.
GA-Z87-D3HP = 107.84 from Scan.

157.04 != 107.84
Because the MSI offers some features that the Gigabyte board doesn't like more Sata ports, the on-board buttons, Killer Ethernet and the on-board audio.

20-07-2013, 14:00:13

GoogalyMoogaly
The SATA ports, on-board buttons and killer Ethernet didn't seem to help it in gaming performance, which is surely what a 'Gaming' board is all about?

Also the KillerNIC seems to be more trouble than it's worth. You should get a discount for putting up with it.

20-07-2013, 14:04:33

Feronix
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoogalyMoogaly View Post
The SATA ports, on-board buttons and killer Ethernet didn't seem to help it in gaming performance, which is surely what a 'Gaming' board is all about?

Also the KillerNIC seems to be more trouble than it's worth. You should get a discount for putting up with it.
No, obviously an ethernet port and buttons aren't going to make a CPU run faster. The buttons are there for convenience and the ethernet port ensures a more solid ethernet connection and reduce lag (granted it works properly). The Sata ports are there so you can add more drives.

No offense mate, but it seems like you just want to bash the board. That, or you just know very little about motherboards (in which case you still shouldn't bash if you don't know what you're talking about).

20-07-2013, 14:05:43

AverageNinja
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoogalyMoogaly View Post
The SATA ports, on-board buttons and killer Ethernet didn't seem to help it in gaming performance, which is surely what a 'Gaming' board is all about?

Also the KillerNIC seems to be more trouble than it's worth. You should get a discount for putting up with it.
That's not exactly true...
Sure, a motherboard doesn't improve gaming performance, because that is what GPUs are all about (and CPUs a little bit), but the Gaming board does have some handy features.
The onboard switches are actually really handy, the more SATA ports means more options for storage (to put games on).
Motherboards aren't meant to give you better performance in games, it doesn't work that way, but it can hold handy features to make the gaming experience better

Quote:
Originally Posted by Feronix View Post
No, obviously an ethernet port and buttons aren't going to make a CPU run faster. The buttons are there for convenience and the ethernet port ensures a more solid ethernet connection and reduce lag (granted it works properly). The Sata ports are there so you can add more drives.

No offense mate, but it seems like you just want to bash the board. That, or you just know very little about motherboards (in which case you still shouldn't bash if you don't know what you're talking about).
I give your comment 5/5 TinyTomThumbs! (yes, I think we should keep using these, thanks for posting them Feronix xD)
http://i1296.photobucket.com/albums/...pseefc2086.jpg http://i1296.photobucket.com/albums/...pseefc2086.jpg http://i1296.photobucket.com/albums/...pseefc2086.jpg http://i1296.photobucket.com/albums/...pseefc2086.jpg http://i1296.photobucket.com/albums/...pseefc2086.jpg

20-07-2013, 14:11:52

GoogalyMoogaly
So why call it 'Gaming' and not just the Z87-GD65?

A little confused why the Asus MVIE got slated despite holding a number of Extreme OC records because it didn't add much gaming wise that cheaper motherboard did. But this board does almost the same thing and receives 10s across the board.

20-07-2013, 14:14:22

AverageNinja
^^ Because there already is a Z87-GD65, that doesn't hold these features.

And you should read the review dude... The Z87-GD65 Gaming killed the d3hp in benchmarks
Did you even read the review of the Z87-GD65 Gaming.
Also Tom had major BIOS issues with the Maximus VI Extreme, and the GD-65 gaming got to the same clockspeeds

20-07-2013, 14:16:43

GoogalyMoogaly
Yeah, well skim read some parts.

Which bits did the Z87-GD65 kill the D3HP in?

20-07-2013, 14:23:03

AverageNinja
^^ Well, not really killed, but well worth the 50.
AIDA64, SiSoftSandra, wPrime95 (mainly this one).
Especially the stock performance is really good.

Also keep in mind that the D3HP "only" managed to get 4.6GHz, and the GD65 Gaming managed to boot on 5GHz, and get to run the tests at 4.8GHz. If you're overclocking the GD65 Gaming would be better too.

20-07-2013, 14:28:56

Feronix
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoogalyMoogaly View Post
So why call it 'Gaming' and not just the Z87-GD65?

A little confused why the Asus MVIE got slated despite holding a number of Extreme OC records because it didn't add much gaming wise that cheaper motherboard did. But this board does almost the same thing and receives 10s across the board.
Simply put:
The MVIE carries the 'Republic of Gamers' branding, while it is aimed at overclockers and barely at gamers. Tom's sample of the Asus board was even so bad at overclocking that the GD-65 Gaming could reach the same clockspeeds. So... The GD-65 offers pretty much the same features and overclocking capabilites while costing half the money.

The reason the MSI board is called 'Gaming' is because gamers don't only overclock. Gamers need a solid internet connection (hence Killer the NIC) and want to enjoy lively sound without breaking the bank (hence the audio chip).
Those are the main features that make a board 'Gaming', not necessarily the overclocking

@AverageNinja, Thanks man, means so much! I want to thank everyone that made this possible! :')

20-07-2013, 15:10:03

GoogalyMoogaly
So the 'Gaming' motherboard didn't kill the D3HP in the gaming benchmarks then?
In fact it just beat it in the artificial benchmarks?
And you'd pay 50 for that?

Surely if I was overclocking (and not worried about the cost) then I get the MVIE for benchmark runs since it hold world records in them? Didn't seem to help it's review score though.

20-07-2013, 15:13:48

Feronix
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoogalyMoogaly View Post
So the 'Gaming' motherboard didn't kill the D3HP in the gaming benchmarks then?
In fact it just beat it in the artificial benchmarks?
And you'd pay 50 for that?
Okay, I'm going to try and explain it one more time.

The Gaming motherboard contains features that don't necessarily make the hardware connected to the board (like CPU and GPU) run faster but instead they offer extras like the better ethernet and audio solutions.

Benchmarks only rate the CPU, GPU and sometimes RAM. I don't even think audio is actually benchmark-able.

20-07-2013, 15:43:34

GoogalyMoogaly
Quote:
Originally Posted by Feronix View Post
Tom's sample of the Asus board was even so bad at overclocking that the GD-65 Gaming could reach the same clockspeeds.
And he had a good MSI board (possibly). So the review was for that specific board rather than a general review for all MVIE boards (if we're saying it was a bad sample).

I think it only has 2 more SATA ports than the D3HP, which means 32TB instead of 24TB of storage. That's a lot of games, but possible I guess.

Onboard switches being handy? Inside a case or do most gamers use testbenches?

Maybe I am being hard on MSI, but I've had bad experiences with them in the past so find it hard to believe they've made the perfect board.

The Z87X-OC review seems to show the Gigabyte board beating the MSI board in a number of benchmarks too. It also has even more onboard buttons, an extra PCI-e slot and the stupid PCI brace and it cost 7.20 more and only gets a 9 for value. Presumably because of the lack of ASMedia SATA ports? It also hit 5.1GHz.

I'm wondering about the consistency of the scores.

On the plus side it seems whichever one I buy (and I do plan to buy one, maybe this is why it matter so much to me as it's not theoretical for me) should be ok.

The odd thing is that I consider 160 quite reasonable for a motherboard these days (since I bought the Rampage 4 Extreme), but not long ago 160 would've been too expensive to really justify when you can get something as close to it for around 100.

Also, you're a friendly bunch aren't ya!
While I may be having a go at the board I never questioned anyone's knowledge or made it personal.

Anyway, I'm gonna leave it now before you get really nasty. Besides it's not going to change anything, it's just a differing of opinions that's getting personal.

20-07-2013, 15:47:46

Feronix

20-07-2013, 17:46:39

GoogalyMoogaly
OK, I'm back but with a completely different Z87-GD65 related topic!

Firstly, I know TTL said this is for n00bs, but...
What is the CPU fan control like within the BIOS? The screenshots I've seen make it look better than any other BIOS I've seen in this regard. Is it good enough that you don't need to install the Windows software to control fans well? I read that you have to use sliders rather than dragging points on the graph and that's fine, but how many 'points' can you have on the graph? (I only need 3 - 5 depending on exactly how it works)
I believe I'm right in thinking that both CPU fan headers can be controlled based on CPU temp but have different graphs?

If I do need to install Windows software, can you instal lthe fan control part separately? (Currently using Asus AI Suite, which in general I don't use but FanXpert is nice)

21-07-2013, 11:37:13

AverageNinja
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoogalyMoogaly View Post
OK, I'm back but with a completely different Z87-GD65 related topic!

Firstly, I know TTL said this is for n00bs, but...
What is the CPU fan control like within the BIOS? The screenshots I've seen make it look better than any other BIOS I've seen in this regard. Is it good enough that you don't need to install the Windows software to control fans well? I read that you have to use sliders rather than dragging points on the graph and that's fine, but how many 'points' can you have on the graph? (I only need 3 - 5 depending on exactly how it works)
I believe I'm right in thinking that both CPU fan headers can be controlled based on CPU temp but have different graphs?

If I do need to install Windows software, can you instal lthe fan control part separately? (Currently using Asus AI Suite, which in general I don't use but FanXpert is nice)
I don't know about that :/
You'd have to ask someone who has the board

11-12-2013, 20:08:27

umarsbid
Can some one explain 2 me what is their raid thing i want to know more and how do i use it can some one help before i buy this motherboard?

11-12-2013, 20:32:16

NeverBackDown
Quote:
Originally Posted by umarsbid View Post
Can some one explain 2 me what is their raid thing i want to know more and how do i use it can some one help before i buy this motherboard?
You realize, according to your sig, you need a new CPU in order to use this motherboard right? Can't just throw in your current cpu..

12-12-2013, 19:03:46

umarsbid
Hi on their website the super raid it said it could ssd,msata so how can we use this with another ssd that has os on how can we use this super raid?
Reply
x

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