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MSI Z68A-GD80 (Intel Z68) Motherboard Preview

By: Shawn Baker | Socket LGA 1155 in Motherboards | Posted: May 7, 2011 10:21 am
Manufacturer: MSI

MSI Z68A-GD80 - The Board Continued


As we move above those fan headers that we just saw, we can see our 24-Pin ATX power connector and another fan header to the right of that. Above this we have four DDR3 RAM slots that support up to 32GB of 1066 / 1333 / 1600 / 1866 / 2133 MHz DDR memory.




Moving away from the RAM slots and just below our 24-Pin ATX power connector, you can see something else that stands out. The "FV1" or Voltage Check Point header does exactly that; gives you the ability to check the voltage of certain areas. From the left we have the ability to measure CPU, CPU CTT, Onboard Intel Graphics, DDR and PCH voltage, with the final two being ground points.


Much like the Lightning and HAWK series of video cards from MSI, this is something that a lot of people will probably find themselves not using. In saying that, if you wanted to get an extremely accurate measure on the voltage of your CPU when benchmarking, it's extremely handy. If you know your CPU is going to be fine at 1.5v and you've set it to 1.5v in the BIOS, but when benchmarking you can see on your voltage meter it droops to 1.48v, you could go back into the BIOS and up the voltage to 1.52v and then see when in use what it moves to.




Moving around the CPU area, we've got a pretty clean setup. We can see our 8-Pin power connector to the right along with a fan header and another fan header to the left side. The main stand out here is the heatsink setup around the CPU which looks pretty strong with both heatsinks being connected with a heatpipe. On these we also see two of those main features that MSI is pushing; Military Class II and OC Genie II.




Finally, we get around to the I/O side of things and starting from the left we have a PS/2 combo port and Optical S/PDIF audio out which offers HD audio from the Realtek ALC892. Next to these we have a small Clear CMOS button and then from the top 1394 Firewire, two USB 2.0 and an e-SATA port. Next to this we have two sets of Gigabit networking ports from the Realtek RTL8111E chip and four USB ports. The black are again USB 2.0, but the blue ones are of course USB 3.0 controlled via the NEC D720200 chip.


Offering Intel HD Graphics means we've also got a DVI-I port and below that a HDMI one. Next to these video ports we have six analogue audio ports that run off the same Realtek ALC892 codec.


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