MSI Z77A-GD65 Gaming Motherboard
We see a typical black and red color scheme that tends to be quite popular from companies when it comes to releasing higher-end motherboards. While it does show up often these days, we can't deny the simple fact that it's a great color combination and the red highlights look great, especially the dragon towards the bottom right.
You can see we've got four PCIe x1 slots and three PCIe x16 slots which run in an x16 / x8 / x4 configuration. In the event you're using SLI, the setup will be x8 / x8. Of course this is very standard when it comes to Z77 motherboards, due to the PCIe lane limitation.
Heading across the bottom of the motherboard we've got a fairly standard setup with a number of headers being seen including the normal array of USB 2.0, 1394 Firewire and fan headers. Towards the right hand side between the bottom most PCIe x16 slot, you can see we've got an LED debug reader and just to the right of that we've got a switch that lets us move between the two BIOSs that are installed.
Turning the corner you can see we've got a total of eight SATA ports on offer here. The far right two are SATA III and run off the Intel Z77 chipset, while SATA 3_4 are SATA II running off the same chipset. SATA 5_6 are also SATA II, but run off the ASM 1061 chipset, while the last two SATA7_8 ports run off the same chipset, but are SATA III. SATA1_2 should be your main preference for your storage.
Moving to the top half of the motherboard you can see four DIMM slots supporting up to 32GB of DDR3 at speeds ranging from 1600MHz DDR to 3000MHz DDR via overclocking. Here you can also see the main 24-pin ATX power connector, V-Check points, and a couple of buttons including power, reset and the auto overclocking OC Genie II one.
Heading to the other side you can see the 8-pin CPU power connector tucked away in the normal position, while moving back gives us a look at the main CPU socket area and the heatsink setup. It's not too expansive, but big enough that it should perform well. The quality is also excellent and the color combination as we mentioned before looks great.
Finishing up our look at the motherboard you can see we've got a combo PS/2 port and four USB 2.0 ports. Hidden in the corner you can see we've got a clear CMOS button along with an optical, coaxial and six auxiliary audio connectors, which all run off the Realtek ALC898. Video out comes from HDMI, VGA and DVI-D, while two USB 3.0 ports are offered and a Gigabit networking port that is powered by the Killer E2205 chip.