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MSI Z87-GD65 Gaming (Intel Z87) Motherboard Review

MSI Z87-GD65 Gaming (Intel Z87) Motherboard Review

We check out another motherboard using the Intel Z87 chipset. This particular one is from MSI and part of the Gaming series. Let's take a look at it.

@ShawnBakerTW
Published Mon, Sep 16 2013 9:01 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:32 PM CDT
Rating: 92%Manufacturer: MSI

Introduction and Package

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We've really kind of hit a bit of a dead spot when it comes to new core components over the last month or two. That surge up to Computex was extremely busy with NVIDIA making a big push for new video cards and then we saw a flurry of motherboards enter the market thanks to the introduction of the Intel Z87 platform.

While we expected newer RAM modules to be a bit more popular with the new platform, there really hasn't been much in that area. Things should start to get a bit busier again, though, over the coming months as we see new video cards hit the market from AMD and hopefully we'll see companies do a bit more on the RAM side of things before the introduction of DDR4 memory.

Today, though, we've jumped back into the motherboard pile. The particular board we're looking at comes from MSI and is the Z87-GD65 Gaming.

The Gaming series has really impressed us and we like that MSI has created some unity between the motherboard and video card segment.

Package

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Checking out the front of the box, you can see there's not a whole to see with just the main information being shown. You can see the model number of the board clearly along with the fact it's a part of the Gaming series. You can also see a couple of logos across the top of the box including the "Recommended by FNATIC" one and the Killer E 2200 one.

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Turning the box over, you can see we get a bit more detail on some of the main features, which include Audio Boost technology that carries with it Golden Audio Jacks, Headphone Amplifier, EMI Shielding and High Quality Audio Capacitors. You can see also see the board carries with it the Killer Networking chip which we'll talk about a little later, along with OC Genie 4. Some of the other major features include Multi-GPU support, Sound Blaster Cinema, Military Class 4 and the Gaming Device Port.

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Diving inside, you can see a fairly standard line up of paperwork, along with a sign to hang of your door. Also above you can see we've got a driver and utility CD, I/O cover and a Gaming Series case sticker, which looks great.

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You can see we've also got four SATA cables, along with an SLI bridge. Two regular additions are the V-Check cables that give us the ability to check the voltage of certain areas on the board, along with the M-Connector points, making plugging in your front panel connectors easier.

MSI Z87-GD65 Gaming Motherboard

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Taking a look at the motherboard, you can see the black and red color scheme, which matches the packaging. You can also see the dragon logo which is associated with the Gaming Series name on a heatsink towards the bottom right corner.

When it comes to the expansion slots, you can see we've got four PCIe x1 slots, along with three PCIe x16 slots. If one card is installed, the top slot will run at x16. If two cards are installed, both will run at x8. If you install three cards, the top slot will be x8, while the other two slots will run at x4.

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Taking a look across the bottom of the board you can see we've got power, reset and OC Genie buttons towards the left hand side. Moving slightly over, you can see the LED debug reader that makes trouble shooting any problems easier. You can also see we've got three USB 2.0 headers and the front panel connectors.

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Turning the corner, you can see we've got eight SATA III ports. Six of them run off the Intel Z87 controller, while the other two (SATA7-8) run off the ASMedia ASM 1061 chipset. To the right hand side, you can see we've got a USB 3.0 header.

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Moving up towards the top of the board you can see four DIMM slots supporting up to 32GB of DDR3 at speeds ranging from 1066MHz all the way up to 3000MHz DDR via overclocking. Around here you can also see the main 24-pin ATX power connector, and next to that the V-Check points, which are used in conjunction with the V-Check cables that we saw in the package on the last page.

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Moving around to the CPU area, you can see the 8-pin CPU power connector and the CPU area itself, which is quite clean. Taking a closer look at the heatsink design, you can see we've got a pretty neat looking setup with a heat pipe connecting the two heat sinks.

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Before we move onto the I/O side of things, we move just below the CPU area and above the PCIe x16 slot. Here you can see that MSI has chosen to include an mSATA port, which we'll be testing out today later in this review. What's really good about this mSATA port, though, is that it's a SATA III type, which supports up to 6 Gb/s.

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Finishing up with the I/O side of things, you can see we've got a combo PS/2 port, along with two USB 2.0 connectors. Continuing to move across we have a clear CMOS button, Optical and Coaxial Out, which along with the six Auxiliary ports at the end of the board all run off the Realtek ALC1150 codec.

Video out options come from VGA and DVI-D, along with a HDMI port sitting a little further along. Gigabit networking is provided via the Killer E2205 controller and rounding things off you can see we've got a total of four USB 3.0 connectors.

BIOS

Heading into the BIOS you can see we're using Click BIOS 4 and we've got the new red and black color scheme for the Gaming series motherboard.

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As always, if you're in here, the chances are that you'll want to head over into the OC section of the BIOS. Going in you can see above we've got all the standard options that you'd expect to see.

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Moving through the rest of the BIOS, you can see all the standard options, along with the newly added Hardware Monitor and Board Explorer, which are nice additions.

Benchmarks - Test System Setup and Overclocking

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We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, ASUS, MSI, Western Digital, MemoRight and Corsair.

Taking a look above, you can see the components that are being used in our test system setup today. Before we get into the overclocking side of things, we will cover the boards that you'll see in our graphs here today.

From the Intel Z87 side of things, we've got the Z87 GD65-Gaming, which we'll be running at both stock and overclocked speeds. Along with that we've also got the Super Micro C7Z87-OCE, ASRock Z87 OC FORMULA and GIGABTYE Z87X-OC to round things off for that chipset. Along with these boards we've also got the Z77 based MSI Z77A-GD65 Gaming and X79 based GIGABYTE X79S-UP5-Wi-Fi.

Heading into the BIOS and straight to the OC section, we moved our multiplier up to 50x and adjusted the voltages accordingly. We got into Windows with no problem, but like every board before, we were unable to have the system running stable with MediaEspresso crashing.

With an even 5GHz not being an option, we headed back into the BIOS and moved down to the 49x multiplier. We again got into Windows with no problem and started to run MediaEspresso. This time we were able to complete the run with no issue.

MSI Z87-GD65 Gaming (Intel Z87) Motherboard Review 01 | TweakTown.com

Heading back into the BIOS one more time, we hoped that we could adjust the BCLK slightly. As usual, though, we continued to run into problems with the system being unstable whenever we adjust the BCLK. With our BCLK staying at 100 and our multiplier at 49x, you can see above that we end up with a final clock speed of 4900.57 MHz or 4.9GHz, as shown in our graphs here today.

CPU Benchmarks

HyperPi 0.99

Version and / or Patch Used: 0.99

Developer Homepage: www.virgilioborges.com.br

Product Homepage: www.virgilioborges.com.br

Download It Here

HyperPi is a front end for SuperPi that allows for multiple concurrent instances of SuperPi to be run on each core recognized by the system. It is very dependent on CPU to memory to HDD speed. The faster these components, the faster it is able to figure out the number Pi to the selected length.

For our testing we use the 32M run. This means that each of the four physical and four logical cores for the i7 and the four physical cores of the i5 is trying to calculate the number Pi out to 32 million decimal places. Each "run" is a comparative to ensure accuracy and any stability or performance issues in the loop mentioned above will cause errors in calculation.

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AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.00.1035BETA

Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

Product Homepage: http://www.AIDA64.com

Buy It Here

Replacing Everest in our labs is AIDA64. This new testing suite is from the core development team from Lavalys and continues that tradition. The guys have thrown in better support for multithreaded CPUs as well as full 64 bit support. We use this to test memory and HDDs for now, but may find ourselves opening this up to other areas of the motherboard.

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Out of the box, you can see that the MSI board is performing strong in our CPU benchmarks. Under Hyper Pi, we see comes in quicker than both the Super Micro and ASRock offerings, and it's only two seconds behind the GIGABYTE, which is the fastest.

Overclocking, as always, brings with it a strong overclock and at 4.9GHz, you can see we're under 10 minutes in Hyper Pi.

System Benchmarks

PCMark 7

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.04

Developer Homepage: http://www.pcmark.com

Product Homepage: http://www.pcmark.com

Buy It Here

PCMark 7 includes a range of tests that give different views of your system's performance. In the Advanced Edition you can choose which tests to run. The common use and hardware component tests are unavailable in the Basic Edition.

Overall system performance is measured by the PCMark test. This is the only test that returns an official PCMark score. The Lightweight test measures the system capabilities of entry-level systems and mobility platforms unable to run the PCMark test, but it does not generate a PCMark score. Common use performance is measured by the scenario tests - Entertainment, Creativity and Production - each of which results in a scenario score. Hardware component performance is measured by the hardware tests - Computation and Storage - each of which results in a hardware score.

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MediaEspresso

Version and / or Patch Used: 6.5

Developer Homepage: http://www.cyberlink.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.cyberlink.com/products/mediaespresso/overview_en_AU.html?fileName=overview&r=1

Buy It Here

MediaEspresso is a blazingly fast media universal converter that can transcode your videos, photos and music files and out put them to a huge range of portable devices including mobile phones, portable media players and even game consoles. With technologies like Smart Detect, Direct Sync and CyberLink's TrueTheater video enhancements, you can not only forget about complicated format, resolution and output settings, but your converted file will come out the other side looking better than when it went in!

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Looking at both PCMark 7 and MediaEspresso, we again see some excellent performance with the MSI board offering falling only behind the GIGABYTE again.

We again of course see some very strong gains when it comes to overclocking our CPU with real-world benefits being seen. Looking at MediaEspresso, you can see we get almost three minutes shaved off the encode time.

USB 2.0 and 3.0 Benchmarks

AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.70.1400

Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

Product Homepage: http://www.AIDA64.com

Buy It Here

Replacing Everest in our labs is AIDA64. This new testing suite is from the core development team from Lavalys and continues that tradition. The guys have thrown in better support for multithreaded CPUs as well as full 64 bit support. We use this to test memory and HDDs for now, but may find ourselves opening this up to other areas of the motherboard.

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Looking at USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 performance, you can see that it is exactly where you'd expect it to be, with really nothing changing between all setups.

SSD Benchmarks

AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.70.1400

Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

Product Homepage: http://www.AIDA64.com

Buy It Here

Replacing Everest in our labs is AIDA64. This new testing suite is from the core development team from Lavalys and continues that tradition. The guys have thrown in better support for multithreaded CPUs as well as full 64 bit support. We use this to test memory and HDDs for now, but may find ourselves opening this up to other areas of the motherboard.

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HD Tune Pro

Version and / or Patch Used: 4.61

Developer Homepage: http://www.hdtune.com

Product Homepage: http://www.hdtune.com

Buy It Here

HD Tune Pro gives us accurate read, write and access time results and for the last couple of years has been gaining popularity amongst reviewers. It is now considered a must have application for storage device testing.

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Checking out SSD performance under AIDA64, you can see it's very strong and manages to come out ahead of all our other Z87 setups. Under HD Tune Pro you can see the results on the MSI board fall behind most of the other setups.

The only one that it comes out ahead of is the Super Micro board and we know that had issues when it came to SSD testing.

mSATA Benchmarks

HD Tune Pro

Version and / or Patch Used: 4.61

Developer Homepage: http://www.hdtune.com

Product Homepage: http://www.hdtune.com

Buy It Here

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Thanks to the introduction of an mSATA III port, we see some great performance coming out of the connector with our SATA III MemoRight drive.

You can see we're even ahead of the MPOWER MAX board in all areas.

Memory Benchmarks

AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.00.1035BETA

Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

Product Homepage: http://www.AIDA64.com

Buy It Here

Replacing Everest in our labs is AIDA64. This new testing suite is from the core development team from Lavalys and continues that tradition. The guys have thrown in better support for multithreaded CPUs as well as full 64 bit support. We use this to test memory and HDDs for now, but may find ourselves opening this up to other areas of the motherboard.

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Memory performance is fairly standard and when it comes to overclocking, you can see as usual there's no real change in overall performance.

Gaming Benchmarks

3DMark 11

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0

Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com

Product Homepage: http://www.3dmark.com/3dmark11/

Buy It Here

3DMark 11 is the latest version of the world's most popular benchmark. Designed to measure your PC's gaming performance 3DMark 11 makes extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11 including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading. Trusted by gamers worldwide to give accurate and unbiased results, 3DMark 11 is the best way to consistently and reliably test DirectX 11 under game-like loads.

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Metro 2033

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.4a-games.com//

Product Homepage: http://www.thqnordic.com/

Metro 2033 is an action-oriented video game with a combination of survival horror and first-person shooter elements. The game is based on the novel Metro 2033 by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. It was developed by 4A Games in Ukraine and released in March 2010 for Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360.[3] In March 2006, 4A Games announced a partnership with Glukhovsky to collaborate on the game.[4] The game was announced at the 2009 Games Convention in Leipzig;[5] a first trailer came along with the announcement.[6] A sequel was announced, currently titled Metro: Last Light.

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Taking a look at the gaming benchmarks, you can see the results are just as you'd expect, with little change being seen from all the different setups.

The only change when overclocking comes from a slight bump at the Performance Preset and the 1680 x 1050 Metro 2033 result.

Temperature and Power

Power Consumption

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Running at stock, we can see that the reference power numbers are pretty good with the idle being the lowest out of the pack, and the load also sitting at the bottom of the pack.

Cranking up those clock speeds under overclocked conditions, you can see that the idle jumps by just under 20 watts and the load moves up just over 50 watts. Overall, though, the numbers continue to look strong.

Core Temperature

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At idle, we can see the core trumpeters are pretty standard sitting in the middle of the pack compared to the other setups here at both idle and load. Overclocking doesn't see a change in idle temperatures, but you can see a decent jump in the load.

While they do jump, the fact that we're under 90c at 4.9GHz is quite impressive and a testament to the quality of the MSI Z87-GD65 Gaming motherboard.

Pricing, Availability and Final Thoughts

Coming it at $189.99 at the time of writing, the MSI Z87-GD65 really comes in at a very strong price point and under the important $200 tag. Not only is the price tag really impressive, but what you get for the price tag is what makes the board extremely appealing. Firstly, starting off with the cosmetics, the new black and red scheme seen on the Gaming series looks great. It's a color combination that has always worked and we see more and more companies jumping on it.

Feature wise, the board is also strong. We've got normal MSI features like Military Class 4, OC Genie 4 and Click BIOS 4, but the features that we really like are the Killer Networking, strong audio solution and inclusion of SATA III mSATA. Again considering the price point, these are some really nice additions to have with this board.

Out of the box, the performance of the board is strong, with it coming in ahead of a couple of other boards that were included in our graphs, and overclocking lines up with the best. While we're able to get into Windows at 5GHz like so many other motherboards, the maximum stable clock for our particular 4770K CPU on our Corsair H100 cooling solution continues to be 4.9GHz, no matter the motherboard being used.

I think what is more impressive is that under load we see the CPU reach just 87c. While this of course seems extremely high, and it is high in most regards, we see so many other motherboards skyrocket to 97c - 99c. We're definitely not going to complain about a temperature that sits 10c - 12c lower than that, and a relatively long way from throttling range.

We really have little to complain about when it comes to the MSI Z87-GD65. The bundle has a couple of extras that we're not used to seeing for a board at this price point, and features wise, you can also see a couple of things that stand out. With so many good motherboards on the market companies of course really need to do something to stand out. It feels like putting everything together here, MSI has managed to create a strong motherboard, which we have no issues recommending.

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Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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