MSI Z77A-GD65 (Intel Z77) Motherboard
Looking straight on we can see the board looks very typical of MSI with that black and blue theme we love to see from them. We get a good idea of where everything is, but let's move in a bit closer and get down to some specifics.
On the PCIe front you can see we've got a total of four PCIe x1 slots and three PCIe x16 slots. Like other Z77 boards, though, if you go down the path of CrossFire or SLI, you will only be able to operate both video cards at x8 / x8. If you're using just one video card it can be operated at x16.
Moving across the bottom of the board we've got the standard line up of audio, Firewire, USB 2.0 and front panel headers here. On the right hand side and up slightly you can see a switch that lets you change between the two BIOSs that are installed and to the left of that you can see the LED debug meter.
Turning the corner you can see we've got a total of eight SATA ports present. We've got four SATA II ports running off the Intel Z77 chipset, two SATA III running off the same chipset along with two more SATA III connectors running off the ASMedia ASM 1061 chipset. To the right of the SATA ports you can also see we've got a USB 3.0 header present.
Heading towards the top of the board we've got a lot going on. As usual we've got four DDR3 DIMM slots supporting up to 32GB of RAM at 2800MHz DDR via overclocking and below that we've also got the main 24-pin ATX power connector.
Sitting below that connector we've got the V-Check points which with the included cables give us the ability to check the voltage of certain areas. Finally we've also got the Easy Button 3 set which consists of a power and reset button alongside the OC Genie II button. Pressing the OC Genie II button will automatically overclock your CPU and in our case our 3770k would get pushed to a 42x multiplier resulting in a 4.2GHz clock speed.
Moving across the top of the board you can see the main 8-pin CPU power connector in the cop corner and moving back a bit we get a good look at the CPU area and the heatsink design. This area looks clean and you can see we've got Military Class III and OC Genie II branding present on the heatsinks, which look great.
Finally we finish of with the I/O side of things and starting on the left we've got two USB 2.0 ports and a PS2 combo port. Moving across we've got a clear CMOS switch, coaxial and optical out, two more USB 2.0 ports and HDMI. Gigabit networking is offered via the Intel 82579V chipset and below that we've got two USB 3.0 ports running natively off the Intel Z77 chipset.
Moving across we've got two more display outputs in the form of a VGA and DVI-D port and next to that we finish off with six auxiliary audio ports that run off the Realtek ALC898 chip.