Power Consumption and Conclusion
The Z77A-GD65 Gaming board's power consumption performance was within expectations.
Note that the power consumption numbers are consistent with what you would see using a medium to high-end video card with the board, since the AMD Radeon 5870 series cards are notoriously power hungry.
The Z77A-GD65 Gaming board's performance was what we've come to expect from a well-designed Intel Z77-based motherboard. Its stock performance matched that of the other top boards. Its overclocking was within expectations as well with the OC-Genie mode able to push the memory to its rated 2133MHz speeds.
As of May 12, the MSI Z77A-GD65 Gaming motherboard was available at Newegg.com for $179.99. The board was also available from other retailers such as Amazon.com for $179.99 with Prime shipping and TigerDirect.com for $187.99 with free shipping.
Before continuing with our final thoughts on this board, we would like to take this opportunity to give our friends at MSI a hearty “Thank You” for giving us the pleasure of reviewing the Z77A-GD65 Gaming motherboard. After getting such stellar performance out of there Z77 MPOWER board, I had high expectations for the Z77A-GD65 Gaming board going into this review. I was not disappointed. From the initial unpacking, it is obvious that MSI squarely targeted this board at gamers and enthusiasts. Its appealing black and red color scheme and dragon branding is just the tip of the iceberg. MSI took their time with the Z77A-GD65 Gaming board layout and design, using top of the line components throughout and spacing everything perfectly. Even the massive Noctua NH-D14 cooler did not make the board sweat. Its performance was consistent with the other top Intel Z77 boards in both stock and overclocked modes. Additionally, MSI kept with their uniquely pleasant and easy to use UEFI BIOS design.
One of the board's advertised features appears to be the one Achilles heel of the board – the Killer NIC. Don't get me wrong, the NIC performs as good as an Intel-based NIC speed-wise. However, it does require a bit more CPU horsepower than some of the controllers I've tested – 15 to 20% average CPU utilization is higher than I'd like to see. The only other quirk was the placement of the CMOS battery. The battery would be hard to get to with a video card seated in the primary PCI-Express x16 slot.
- Performance, both stock and overclocked
- Black and Red color scheme and Dragon branding
- Killer NIC
- Accessible PCI-Express x1 slot with all PCI-Express x16 slots filled
- UEFI BIOS design and usability
- Motherboard manual information
- Killer NIC high CPU utilization
- CMOS battery and CMOS reset jumper placement