Articles: Mainboards

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We continue reviewing mainboards for LGA1155 processors, now focusing on products based on the latest Intel Z68 Express chipset. First we tested an ASUS P8Z68-V PRO, then four Gigabyte mainboards from the UD3P to the UD7 model. Quite expectedly, we now move on to MSI and its Z68A-GD80 (B3). By the way, we’ve recently reviewed MSI’s P67A-GD80 (B3) which is quite a different product but has some common traits with the Z68A-GD80 due to the similar chipsets and the same manufacturer. The company even seems to see some deeper relation between the two products. You may know that besides the model name proper each MSI mainboard has an additional alphanumerical designation that goes like “MS-xxxx”. Well, the MSI P67A-GD80 (B3) used to be called “MS-7672 ver:2.1” whereas the new Z68A-GD80 (B3) has the same number but a different version, namely “MS-7672 ver:3.0”. We’ll see the similarities and differences between the two MSI products shortly, but first let's check out the new one's box and accessories.

Packaging and Accessories

The product boxes are similar indeed. You can see the product name and various logotypes on the face of the box. Behind the front flap and on the back of the box there is a picture of the mainboard and a description of its key features.

The bundled accessories are also the same. Inside the box you will find the following items:

  • Four SATA cables with metal connector locks, two with L-shaped locks and another two - with straight ones;
  • Two power-adapters for SATA drives;
  • A flexible bridge for two-way SLI graphics configurations;
  • Additional rear panel bracket with two USB 3.0 ports;
  • I/O Shield for the back panel;
  • “M-Connector” block including modules for easy connection of the system case front panel buttons and indicators, audio, IEEE1394 and USB 2.0 ports;
  • “V-Check Cable” adapter set for manual voltage monitoring with a voltmeter;
  • User manual;
  • A booklet on proprietary software;
  • Colorful poster with mainboard connector layout;
  • A booklet with brief assembly instructions;
  • DVD disk with software and drivers.

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