MSI's GD65 might not be the all feature encompassing GD80, but this performance P55 board still has the right mix of sexy looks and features to get all but the most hardcore overclocker really engaged. It still manages to carve a niche of hardware and design, yet remains distinct from its cheaper offerings unlike Gigabyte and Asus whose design is uniform from top to bottom.
With recent class-leading form from its AMD AM3 series of motherboards, we know MSI is keen to mirror the performance with its Lynnfield LGA1156 boards. £130 isn't too bad for a performance part - previously we've seen P45 and P35 boards launch at this price, so it's certainly an attainable purchase to some.
Like the competition, we've also been through three BIOS revisions with the MSI and, despite being a little later than others, MSI still managed to get us a few that worked very well at both stock and when overclocked. Read on to find out how we got on!
Support for Intel Lynnfield Core i5 and Core i7 LGA1156 CPUs
Intel P55 PCH
Four 1.5V DDR3 DIMM slots supporting up to 16GB of memory
Two Gigabit Ethernet controllers: Realtek 8112L and 8110SC
Two PCI-Express 2.0 x16 slots providing either one x16 or two x8 links
One PCI-Express x4 slot (open ended)
Two PCI slots
Six P55 SATA 3Gbps ports supporting Intel Matrix RAID 0, 1, 10, 5 and JBOD
One IDE port supporting two devices, one SATA and one eSATA from JMicron JMB363
14 USB 2.0 ports - eight on rear I/O, six via pin-outs
VIA VT6315N IEEE1394a Firewire supporting two ports - one via pin-outs, one on the rear I/O
In the box there seems to be tonnes of bits, but we don't think MSI is really striking in all the right directions. Firstly, a floppy cable? Really? In 2009?
There's only a twin USB PCI bracket too, when the board has six pin-outs available, however with eight already on the rear I/O it's not like we're missing out too much. Included is only four SATA cables, for the available seven ports, and none of them have 90 degree connectors. There's even some molex to SATA power adapters if your PSU is really, really old.
In addition there are the usual driver discs and manuals for the separate bits, but most notable is the OC Genie guide which is actually quite an interesting read if you are thinking of overclocking as it offers some general advice and settings to try, even if we don't agree with it 100 per cent.