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Conclusion

I think there are no mainboards without advantages (except for the defective ones, of course). And despite several downsides, MSI P67A-GD80 (B3) has quite a few indisputable advantages of its own. Let me start by saying that it comes with an extremely extensive accessories bundle, which is a very pleasing fact, even though a few questions still arise. And additional bracket with two USB 3.0 ports is definitely a plus, but I think that a mainboard that already has six USB 3.0 ports on the back panel, could better use a similar bracket for the front of the system case. Yes, it has great component layout. Superb functionality and support of all contemporary interfaces are also an advantage. The unique feature that makes MSI P67A-GD80 (B3) mainboard stand out is the ten USB 3.0 ports it provides. Even MSI Click BIOS has a lot of great features to offer. Take, for instance, “Overclocking” section that contains almost everything you may need for system overclocking and fine tuning in one place and there will be no need to jump from one section to another. It has very convenient looped settings lists, an impressive number of informational parameters, hints with “hot” keys. At the same time, the current Click BIOS structure lacks ergonomics and is obviously still quite raw. “MSI Control Center” utility could also use some help, although its theoretical functionality is quite extensive.

The system built around MSI P67A-GD80 (B3) mainboard will run pretty much as fast as other similar systems in nominal as well as overclocked modes. Overclocking is actually quite productive, and memory overclocking is even better than on other mainboards. But unfortunately, MSI mainboards still can’t overclock with all power-saving technologies intact. In nominal mode MSI P67A-GD80 (B3) consumes just as much power as any other similar mainboard, but during overclocking it wastes a lot of power and therefore suits well for one-time tests and experiments, but is hardly an optimal choice for long-term operation in overclocked mode.

However, things are getting better, but not due to MSI’s effort (we don’t see anything being done in this respect other than marketing campaigns), but merely due to the peculiarities of the Sandy Bridge processors. We used to call for saving the planet and avoid overclocking on MSI mainboards, because they were energy-inefficient and didn’t leave us any choice. If you wanted to overclock by raising the voltage – you lost power-saving technologies for good. Even during overclocking without any voltage changes when we simply raised the back clock, MSI mainboards increased the CPU Vcore on their own anyway. They can’t set the voltage at a fixed value, like Gigabyte mainboards, for example. However, Sandy Bridge processors are overclocked with the multiplier, and in this case even Micro-Star mainboards do not touch the core voltage. So, now it is possible to overclock processors on MSI boards without Vcore changes and with all power-saving technologies still up and running.

Moreover, there is yet another important argument in favor of MSI mainboards. Prices may differ by region, but as a rule, MSI mainboards are a little cheaper than competition. Of course, they also hold the price record on an Intel P67 Express based mainboard – MSI Big Bang-Marshal (B3) priced at $400. However, this is a completely unique special mainboard with eight expansion card slots and it cannot be judged using common criteria. Speaking of the more down-to-earth Micro-Star products, they are relatively affordable and this factor alone is enough to win a substantial number of users. So, MSI P67A-GD80 (B3) mainboard will undoubtedly find its customers.

 
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