MSI Z77A-GD65 (MS-7751) REV 2.1 Schematic Circuit Diagram
MSI Z77A-GD65 Motherboard Overview
Whenever an ASUS, Gigabyte, or ASRock motherboard is put against an MSI board, the MSI board always comes out on top, whether it's in terms of pricing, performance, or features. As a result, when it comes to the next batch of Ivy Bridge motherboards, it's safe to conclude that MSI will have a solid showing. Today, we have their Z77A-GD65, which will be one of the models behind their upcoming GD80, which gained notice at CES due to its Thunderbolt support.
The Z77A-GD65 costs $123.50 referred by eBay, which is quite a bit more than the Gigabyte board. We have an Intel NIC and a full set of audio outputs on the MSI, but no PCI or mSATA. Overall, the Z77A-GD65 is a fun board to use. It could easily support any Z77 build. Multi-GPU configurations benefit from the design, which also includes voltage read points for overclockers and a front-facing USB 3.0 connector for front-panel USB 3.0 cases. The OC Genie auto-overclocking program is simple, but using the BIOS (either at boot time or in the OS using Click BIOS software) to obtain something more befitting an Ivy Bridge CPU is also simple.
Performance on the MSI may appear to be a bit behind the competition due to some other boards having an out-of-the-box overclock, but by enabling OC Genie on board, which every CPU should be able to do, performance statistics would be comparable to the competition.
MSI Z77A-GD65 Specifications
✔ Supports Intel® CoreTM i7, CoreTM i5, CoreTM i3, Pentium®, and Celeron® CPUs from the third generation for the LGA 1155 socket.
✔ Intel® Z77 Chipset
✔ 3 x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots
✔ 4 x PCIe 2.0 x1 slots
✔ Intel® Z77 has two USB 3.0 rear I/O ports.
✔ Intel® Z77 has one USB 3.0 onboard connection.
✔ Realtek® ALC898 integrated audio chipset
✔ Audio with 8 channels of flexibility and jack sensing
✔ Azalia 1.0 Specification Compliant
✔ Intel® 82579V supports one PCI Express LAN 10/100/1000 Fast Ethernet.
Another motherboard in this roundup with a black and blue livery is the Z77A-GD65. MSI has a better reason than others this time because they've been using it for a long time. MSI is based on the variation beefier heatsinks than its competitors, linking both through a heat pipe and using what is basically a 10 + 2 phase power delivery. From left to right, the socket space is close up to Intel's minimal requirements, although there is some capacity for huge air coolers from top to bottom. At least four fan headers are available around the socket: one 4-pin CPU header between the top VRM and the memory slots, a 4-pin system fan header immediately on the opposite side of the memory slots, a 4-pin to the bottom left of the socket region, and another 4-pin near the 24-pin ATX power connection. At the bottom of the board, there is a fifth fan header.
MSI Z77A-GD65 Motherboard Design
The typical MSI trio of power/reset/OC Genie buttons are located on the right-hand side, followed by a series of voltage checkpoints for overclockers. A USB 3.0 connector is at right angles to the board, suggesting its primary function is at the front of the case, in addition to the 24-pin power connector and the system fan header. Two SATA 6 Gbps ports from the PCH, four SATA 6 Gbps ports from the PCH, and two SATA 6 Gbps ports from an ASMedia controller lie below this.
Because the power/reset/OC Genie buttons are on the top right, the bottom of the board has more area for all of the connections - front panel audio, TPM, front panel connectors, and USB 2.0 connectors - to be installed as needed. In terms of PCIe, MSI has a hole in the PCIe to PCI bridge in order to concentrate only on PCIe. An x1, x16 (x8 with dual GPU), x1, x1, x8, x1, and a PCIe 2.0 x4 are all available. There is enough capacity for a dual GPU arrangement in this case, with PCIe slots left over for any additions.
The chipset cooler is also notable, since it is relatively flat and massive with few fins, maybe indicating that MSI is confident in its heatsink design. A two-digit debug display and a BIOS button for switching between two BIOSes are located underneath this.
I believe MSI has been reasonable with what they have left in and what they have left out on the back IO panel. A combo PS/2 port, two USB 2.0 ports (black), a clear CMOS button, digital and coaxial SPDIF outputs, two additional USB 2.0 ports (black), an HDMI port, gigabit Ethernet, two USB 3.0 ports (blue), D-Sub, DVI-D, and audio jacks are shown from left to right.