We didn’t have any thrills before starting our tests of the MSI X79A-GD65 (8D) mainboard because we had just tested MSI’s flagship LGA2011 Big Bang-XPower II product and were disappointed with it in many respects. Of course, we didn’t expect the junior model to do much better than its senior cousin.
We knew beforehand that MSI mainboards, unlike those of most other brands, could not increase CPU voltage in offset mode by adding some value to the default one. It means that the X79A-GD65 (8D) won’t allow us to reach high results with energy-efficient overclocking and won’t make it into the top of the list of the LGA2011 mainboards we’ve tested so far.
That said, the MSI X79A-GD65 (8D) turned out to be better than expected. It pleased us in some respects during our tests whereas the lack of exaggerated expectations saved us from disappointments. Of course, this mainboard is not without downsides, but let’s be thorough and discuss its features one by one.
Packaging and Accessories
The MSI X79A-GD65 (8D) is shipped in a standard-sized box. The front side of the box touts the high-quality Military Class III components employed by the mainboard. You can find descriptions of some of the product's features on the back of its packaging.
Besides the mainboard itself, the box contained the following accessories:
- Four Serial ATA cables with metal connector locks, half with L-shaped locks and another half - with straight ones;
- A set including a bracket and cables for bringing additional two eSATA ports to the case back panel;
- Back panel bracket with two USB 3.0 ports;
- “M-Connector” block including modules for easy connection of the system case front panel buttons, indicators and audio;
- I/O Shield for the back panel;
- A poster with overclocking recommendations;
- User manual.
Our sample came without a DVD with software and drivers, so we obviously didn’t get the full set of accessories. An off-the-shelf sample is going to be accompanied with a DVD, connectors for multi-GPU configurations and a quality assurance certificate describing component testing methods. Anyway, you may want to check out the accessories before purchasing the mainboard because they vary in different regions. MSI only guarantees the following basic set:
The other components are optional and may be missing: