First things first; when it comes to the PCIe 3.0 side of things we don't really see any benefit at the moment. That's not a bad thing and at least we come prepared for the next generation of video cards and next generation of LGA 1155 processors. It would be nice to get some kind of benefit now with PCIe 3.0, but unfortunately there's just nothing that can really make use of it.
That's not MSIs fault, though. The same problem is present on the recent ASRock and GIGABYTE boards we've looked at. In the end there's really nothing wrong with being ready and the chances are if you're looking for a Z68 based motherboard now, PCIe 3.0 support is probably something you're going to want.
On the performance side of things, the MSI Z68A-GD80-G3 performs well and offers us a nice overclock at just over 5GHz. The overall look of the board is great and the Black / Blue color scheme present is clearly one of the nicer ones on the market. For the $234.99 US price tag associated with the board, it's really a nice pick up for that kind of money.
OC Genie II is a nice bonus and if you want to overclock a bit, but find yourself nervous about entering the BIOS and adjusting voltages, an 800MHz overclock at the touch of a button on a 2600k is indeed appreciated.
The other big stand out for the board is the new ClickBIOS II. The original ClickBIOS wasn't bad, but when you compare it to the latest version it does look really crap. This new version looks extremely sharp and you've got a wealth of information as soon as you enter the BIOS. MSI have done a fantastic job reworking this area and I've got to give them real props for doing such a good job.
Outside of that stuff, we've got a good bundle on hand which includes a USB 3.0 header and a couple of other little extras. In the end, you find yourself dealing with just a really nice board that looks good, performs well and offers some features that stand out from the competition.
If you're looking for a Z68 board and you're thinking that PCIe 3.0 is something that you want to have, then this is a board worth looking at. MSI has just done a really good job with it and no doubt you can see that here today.
PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.
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- Page 1 [Introduction and Package]
- Page 2 [The Motherboard]
- Page 3 [The Motherboard Continued]
- Page 4 [BIOS]
- Page 5 [Test System Setup and Overclocking]
- Page 6 [CPU Benchmarks]
- Page 7 [System Benchmarks]
- Page 8 [USB 2.0 and 3.0 Benchmarks]
- Page 9 [SSD Benchmarks]
- Page 10 [Memory Benchmarks]
- Page 11 [Gaming Benchmarks]
- Page 12 [Temperature and Power]
- Page 13 [Final Thoughts]
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