ConclusionThere are a lot of positives with the NF980-G65, but it is not a perfect product. If a user wants to use AMD AM3 processors and DDR-3 memory along with two or three card SLI, then this is the only board that really fits that bill. That is probably its biggest selling point.
The Easy OC switch is the red block at the bottom. Unless really good memory is used, then stability may be questionable without some voltage modifications before the switch is used.
The layout of the board, as well as the BIOS, are two other big positives for the board. For a fairly high end product, it is very focused on what it wants to do. It does not have the kitchen sink thrown into the mix, and it also has a price that reflects that philosophy.
Overclocking performance is not stellar, but it is not dismal either. The hard drive performance using both IDE and AHCI is also lower than expected. It is not a deal breaker, but it certainly is not optimal. Hopefully a future BIOS release will fix this issue, but even using a beta 1.21 BIOS from MSI, I still was able to record a significant drop in performance as compared to the 790FX/SB750 board. The bundle also is very mediocre, especially considering that the board only has 4 USB ports on the back of the board. If they would have thrown in another USB bracket, then it would be more well rounded than what it currently is.
The MSI NF980-E65 is not nearly as jam packed with features as the Gigabyte GA-MA790FXT-UD5P, but it is $10 less than the Gigabyte board.
The price is a bit higher than what one would expect given the bundle and included board features, but again it is not anywhere close to being exorbitant. Perhaps a $149.99 price point would be easier to swallow for some, but considering this is still the only triple SLI/AMD AM3 option in town, $160 is not terrible.
Overall the MSI NF980-E65 is a good board. It does everything it promises, it does not waste the consumers’ hard earned dollars by including a lot of superfluous extras that may or may not be used, and the build quality should allow it to run for years in even the most sweltering of cases imagined. MSI essentially has the high end AMD/SLI market to itself with this product. Luckily, they did not abuse users by putting out a bad or mediocre product. The board is certainly above average, but it is not spectacular. Again, hopefully a future BIOS release will fix some of the issues that I have uncovered.