We performed our power consumption measurements using an Extech Power Analyzer 380803. This device is connected before the PSU and measures the power draw of the entire system (without the monitor), including the power loss that occurs in the PSU itself. In the idle mode we start the system up and wait until it stops accessing the hard disk. Then we use LinX to load the CPU. For a more illustrative picture there are graphs that show how the computer power consumption grows up depending on the number of active execution threads in LinX (both at the default and overclocked system settings). The mainboards on the diagrams are sorted out in alphabetical order.
We often point out that on many mainboards certain power-saving technologies are disabled by default. Therefore, besides power consumption in nominal mode with all default settings, we also measured the power consumption of test systems with all power-saving technologies (including the proprietary ones) manually enabled. The difference between these two tests is usually quite obvious, but in case of MSI X79A-GD65 (8D) we detected power consumption drop only in idle mode. This occurs because most power-saving technologies work correctly on this mainboard in default operational mode.
As a result, if we compare the power consumption of mainboards working in the nominal mode, then MSI X79A-GD65 (8D) would have become a leader, had there been no mainboard from Intel among the parricipants.
If we turn on all power-saving features, then the power consumption of all mainboards drops, and MSI X79A-GD65 (8D) becomes almost as energy-efficient as the Intel board in idle mode or under very low loads. In case of heavier CPU utilization, the board falls farther behind the leader, but it is still a great result, because no other board has yet managed to get so close to the remarkable energy-efficient Intel solution.
We were forced to overclock the CPU on MSI mainboards without changing the processor Vcore, but look how big the difference is from the other mainboards that overclocked the processor to the same 4.5 GHz! Of course, in some cases it does make a lot of sense to overclock the CPU without increasing its Vcore, which guarantees a performance boost without any power consumption increase.
MSI X79A-GD65 (8D) looks good at first sight. It comes with a lot of accessories and features a user-friendly PCB design, efficient cooling system, and up-to-date functionality. The Military Class III components contribute to making it one of the most energy-efficient products among all LGA2011 mainboards we’ve ever tested in our labs. With so many advantages, MSI X79A-GD65 (8D) might aspire for a leading position in its class but, like many other MSI products, it is let down by its BIOS. As we have already pointed out multiple times in our reviews MSI hasn’t implemented the same functionality as the competitors, such as the option to undo the parameter changes in the BIOS by pressing a hot key or to increase CPU voltage in offset mode. MSI X79A-GD65 (8D) works normally and causes no problems as long as you do not change any settings. After that, the more you tweak it, the more issues and little inconveniences pop up here and there in the BIOS. Here are some of the most prominent ones: non-operational BIOS recovery system; disappearing settings profiles; spontaneous disabling of the MSI’s exclusive ASP and other CPU-related power-saving technologies; incorrect use of memory modules’ XMP information when the automatic overclocking feature OC Genie II is involved.
As a result, even though MSI X79A-GD65 (8D) was shooting for potential leadership, it is, in fact, a rather mediocre product. Frankly speaking, this mainboard as well as its owners deserve a much better BIOS, which will undoubtedly turn things around for MSI X79A-GD65 (8D).