Today I think is a good day as I will be sharing with you the latest product from MSI. And I think this will be the first share of the X79 board in the Philippines. We will go through the unboxing and some pictures of the latest motherboard from MSI - the X79a-GD65 8D. This will support the upcoming Intel processor which will be launched soon called Ivy Bridge (The 22nm die processor which is the successor of the well known Sandy Bridge). I cannot share any benchmark yet as NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement) is still in effect.
The package comes in a shiny black box. MSI boasts that their product is Military Class III which means that MSI is delivering to you a product tested for quality and stability. The box also says that the board supports the upcoming PCIe Gen3 which has 8.0Gbps interconnect bandwidth or a total of 32GBps on a x16 lane link.
This is the real deal! The actual motherboard which will be released in the market by Q1 of 2012. At a glance, you can see that in the middle is a pretty HUGE socket. And on both sides, there are 4 RAM slots each. The VRM’s are now on top as compared to previous boards which were on the upper left side of the board. There are also several PCIe slots as well as several SATA slots.
Let’s examine the board closely and see the details of what it has to offer.
The socket is pretty big. It is the latest socket from Intel which is the 2011 socket. Looking closer you will see that now there are 2 retention clips that you need to use to lock the processor correctly. MSI also uses LOTES. Hmmm still trying to avoid those burn sockets from the 1156 era? Well, for me this is a good move. This will ensure peace of mind for the end users.
On each side of the socket, we can see 4 RAM slots each. Ivy Bridge will support Quad Channel RAM configuration for faster data transfer. Gamers and photo/video editors will surely love this! MSI not only provided the conventional 2 Slots in each side but added 2 more! Hmmm 32GB RAM slots anyone?
Going down further we see several PCIE slots. If you will look closely, those slots that have 2 locking mechanisms at the edge are the PCIE gen 3 while the one with the conventional locking mechanism are the PCIE gen 2. No more PCI slot this time so overclockers who plan to put POST card during their overclocking session should find those new PCIE POST card.
Let’s go to the heatsinks of the board. The PCH heatsink now comes in a new design. No more plain square heatsink for PCH this time. If I look at the top view of the board, this looks like a shield back from the King Artthur’s era or maybe a Decepticon symbol from transformers.
On the VRM part, we can see that it has a heatpipe loop, not as big as the old generation VRM heatsink. Maybe because VRMs will just support 22nm CPUs which draws less power as compared to the old generation of processor? The well known Military Class from MSI is printed on the heatsink. Actually, it is military class III.
More on the heatsink. I am glad that MSI is getting away of those plastic push pin clips to hold the heatsinks. We now have screws to hold the heatsink which provide better contact and ensure proper heat transfer.
The board supports 8 SATA slots. The white SATA slots near the 24pin power connector are SATA 3 from the x79 chipset. The 4 SATA slots are SATA 2 also coming from x79 chipset while the last 2 white SATA slots are coming from ASM1061 chipset which is also a SATA 3 connectivity.
The picture below is a bit off focus, so bear with me. (I did not try to take another shot as there is nothing extraordinary about this one.) This is just the Rear I/O of the board which has the audio out slot, USB 2 and 3 slots, a clear cmos switch, spdif out, LAN port and ps2 keyboard/ mouse connector.
Going down to the bottom of the board, we can see several connectors as well. We have the front panel header, the usb 2 and usb 3 header , audio header and we still can see a 1394 header.
There are 2 new headers that catch my eyes. First the JDLED3 button. Remember the JDLED button in MSI eclipse in the x58 motherboard? I think this will do the same feature where you can see what’s going on while the board it booting up. The other button is labeled as Turbo button. Based on the manual, this is for connecting an external OC genie button.
We also see some other buttons on the board. We have the OC genie switch, the + and – for adjusting the base clock during overclocking and the power switch. But I have not seen the reset switch. So if overclocking fails you just need to press the power switch for 5 seconds.
There is also an additional molex connector in the bottom of the board. More power for the board if in case you need to do multi-card setup.
The board comes with 2 BIOS. The board also has a hard switch for you to select which BIOS you want and by default, it uses BIOS 1. There is also a header for you to enable if you will be doing extreme cooling during overclocking. They are labeled JCOLD 1 (located at the bottom of the processor) and JCOLD2 (located near the PCH heatsink)
I am assuming with the board model that this is not the top of the line in MSI’s line-up but I am pleased to see that the board comes with voltage test points.
They are located on the top right portion of the board. They are labeled and you just need to put the probe of the tester for you to measure the necessary voltage. I am willing to bet that hardcore overclocker will love these added features.
While the board is booting UP, you can also see the POST codes with the 2 7-segment display provided on the board. The POST code errors are located in the back of the manual of the board.
The rest of the pics below are the standard accessories being shipped by MSI. We can see several SATA cables, ESATA cables, some power connectors for SATA and the USB 3.0 bracket which you can add at the back of the chassis. There also some documents like manuals to help you guide in building your computer.