MSI P67A-GD65 Motherboard Review
Published: 31st January 2011 | Source: MSI | Price: £142.99 @ Aria |
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.