MSI P55-GD80 Motherboard

BIOS Options

BIOS Options
The BIOS layout of the P55-GD80 is pretty similar to other motherboards and is easily navigated via the use of arrow and enter keyboard inputs. The one area which we will be concentrating on today though is the Cell Menu. This is the section where all of the overclocking settings are to be found.
The main page is separated into three areas, CPU, Memory and Voltage settings and is navigated by the usual scroll method. CPU Features is the first setting we arrive at which is handy as this is perhaps the first area any overclocker should visit to turn off the power saving features of a CPU that can hinder a stable overclock.
cpu feature
The memory area is very thorough giving both the SPD settings, current settings and available timings and sub timings to tweak at your leisure. As with most high end motherboards on sale today, the MSI P55-GD80 has a plethora of options available to ensure you get the absolute maximum from your memory kit.
spd info dram
There are four memory dividers, each setting the frequency depending on your base clock setting. While the divider menu itself does not display this frequency, the adjusted DRAM frequency display (greyed out) does show the resulting frequency so it is possible to see the results of your tweaking immediately, ideal if like me, your maths is not your strong point.
dram 2 mem ratio
The ClockGen tuner contains settings for configuring the driving clocks of both the CPU and PCIe. There are two amplitude control settings ranging from 700-1000mV. These settings control the clock driving control voltage but interestingly there are no clock skew settings available to delay the driving clock values.
In the main voltage section you can see that the MSI has afforded the end user the tools by which to fry there shiny new hardware thanks to a massive voltage range allowed on each component. A massive 2.1v can be pumped through the CPU which should be enough for even the most ardent of overclockers who like to dabble in extreme cooling. Among the other crazy voltages is an allowable 2.4v for the DRAM Voltage.
cpu amplitude voltages
If you wish, you can save power by altering the phase control settings on the CPU, VTT, PCH and DDR in the Green Power section of the BIOS. Also, if bling is not your thing you can also adjust the motherboard LED settings as well as the motherboards on board touchpad (power & reset) buttons. Last of all we come to the fan control area where all of the on-board headers can be adjusted via percentages which is ideal for those looking to have a quiet system.
cpu phase hw monitor
Apart from the usual CPU and system temperatures, you can also view the DrMOS temperatures. I don't quite know why you would really want to do this other than to check that everything is running normally but it is a nice feature nonetheless and something few other manufacturers include on their mainboards. Once you have everything setup just how you like it, you can save everything to one of 6 profiles. This time saving feature is becoming more and more common these days but it is invaluable as a time saving feature and one which I hope is here to stay.
Should you overclock fail to boot then you can set the amount of 'retries' in the BIOS. In testing we did not have an overclock which could not recover and I didn't have to use the CMOS clear option once as the MSI recovered from a bad overclock very well.
temp oc profile
So then, a very good looking motherboard with a matching, easy to navigate, simple to use BIOS yet complex enough for those looking to get the absolute maximum from their system. Thus far it seems that MSI can do no wrong and I must say I am inclined to agree, However, many motherboards I have tested in the past have been good talkers but when it comes down to providing the goods, all too many times I have seen those boards clam up, talking the talk but failing to walk the walk.
Let's see if this is the case with the P55-GD80...
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Most Recent Comments

21-09-2009, 02:35:28

I'll say it before, and I'll say it again. This is one of the best looking boards I've seen!

That's a nice clock from it too.Quote

21-09-2009, 05:37:05

It's a good mobo with a good review.

£178 is something for the 'con' section for me tbh.

For some reason, since i7, it appears the standard is to have the level of mobos at around £30-50 more expensive than they probably should be.

This could however be the result of 775 mobos just not going away. And if they're at "reasonable" prices, it tends to suggest the manufacturers feel they can "get away with charging" that much more as it's "new technology".

I personally think this is bllx however when the jump between the 2 isn't great.Quote

21-09-2009, 07:26:20

I think Rastalovich has a good point. For £180 you can pick up a mid range X58 board that might not have as many bells and whistles as the P55-GD80 but does have the advantage of 32 PCI-E connectors. Granted for it to make a difference you would need to be running Crosfire/SLI with a 24 inch monitor but the sort of people who this board targets it is quite reasonable to expect they may be running this sort of hardware.Quote

21-09-2009, 12:09:22

I agreee to a certain extent about the price and mentioned in the review that the board should be priced around £20-30 cheaper. However, this is new technology, albeit slightly inferior in certain sectors to older X58 chipsets and because of that the price is inflated accordingly. I couldn't really put the price as a 'con' as it is pretty much inline with what other manufacturers are charging for a flagship P55 motherboard.

The jump between the two technologies is indeed nothing to shout from the rooftops about but the performance difference is there. How much you value that extra performance will depend alot on how much of an investment you see a PC as.

As always guys I appreciate constructive criticism and feedback, these are afterall - reviews for YOU!Quote

21-09-2009, 12:25:19

Only really the same thing I always moan about W3bbo. Solitary performance figures are nice, but a comparison with a same speed X58 i7 system would be lovely.

Would triple-channel make that much difference with it's superior bandwidth?

Given the tiny price difference between this mobo and a 860 and a P6T and a 920D0 which is the better buy?

All those kind of things. Especially important when it's a new generation of hardware and so most people would be buying the bulk of a new system.

Even, because it's equal in dual-channelness to the AMD Phenom IIs, a AMD comparison.

I'm just a comparison whore. I love to know what the best system would be for the same money. Most online comparisons are strange things like a stock i5 vs a i7 975E vs a X2 250. Let's equal the clocks, equal the RAM and run the battery of tests. That way it's clear which is the best for general use, gaming use, productivity etc.

But, as per usual, a fantastic review. Truly droolworthy looking mobo. About the only mobo that comes close in looks is the Asus Maximus III.Quote

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