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MSI Z68A-GD80-G3 (Intel Z68) Motherboard Review

By: Shawn Baker | Socket LGA 1155 in Motherboards | Posted: Sep 7, 2011 3:40 pm
TweakTown Rating: 90%Manufacturer: MSI

The Motherboard


Looking at the motherboard, you're not going to really see anything that we haven't already seen before from the MSI Z68A-GD80-B3 we looked at when the Z68 chipset launched. You've got that Black / Blue design going on which really does look good and is probably one of the better color schemes on the market at the moment.






Moving in closer to the board, we can have a look at the expansion slots that are going on. We've got two legacy PCI slots, two PCIe x1 slots and three PCIe 3.0 x16 slots. If you're using one card, the top slots will run at x16. If you're using two cards, both will run at x8. If the top slot and the bottom slot are used, the top will run at x8 while the bottom will run at x4.


If you use the bottom most slots, you will lose an eSATA port, SATA7, one onboard front USB 3.0, two PCI slots and Firewire. So if you can avoid it, you might want to just try and skip the use of that slot. Of course, it's only x4, so it's going to be a last resort option anyway.


Also around here, above the top most slot we've got a 6-Pin power connector. This is similar to the Molex connector we see some companies use. It's used to provide extra power to the VGA side of things to make sure everything is running smoothly. It tends to only be used when going for multi GPU setups, though.




Moving to the bottom of the board, we can see all the usual culprits present. Starting from the left, we've got an audio, speaker and 1394 Firewire header. Next to that we've got three buttons which include reset, power and OC Genie. Continuing to move over, we've got a USB 3.0 header and three USB 2.0 headers.




Turning the corner, we've got a total of seven SATA ports here. Our two white ones that sit together are both SATA III running off the Z68 chipset. Next to that we have four SATA II ports in black which also run off the same Z68 chipset. The other white port that sits by itself is again a SATA III one, but this one is running off the Marvell 88SE9128 controller.

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