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If you ask about my personal opinion of the MSI Z68A-GD80 (G3) mainboard, I may sound pretty disappointed. Of course, my experience was not the easy one because of the encountered error and the numerous attempts to get it sorted out and fixed, which required getting the board on and off the testbed countless times and in the end cost me a lot of time and effort. However, I hope you won’t ever have to deal with the same issue and therefore, your impression of this mainboard will be totally unbiased. It is a definitely a product with rich set of accessories, which could only use an additional module bringing USB 3.0 ports to the front of the system case. It features very smart and convenient layout 9the only questionable thing being a six-pin power connector for additional graphics card power supply. It boasts extensive functionality and offers a lot of additional onboard controllers. It looks like an exact replica of the MSI Z68A-GD80 (B3) model, but features a tremendously improved new MSI Click BIOS II, which looks way better than the first MSI UEFI BIOS version. Although I have to admit that it acquired a number of new problems, some of which have already been fixed, and is missing a few useful features, such as the ability to adjust the rotation speed of additional fans. Unfortunately, MSI’s proprietary software is mostly quite disappointing, but you don’t have to use it. Besides, there is hope that it will eventually become much more user-friendly.

We were extremely pleased that for the first time in a considerable while we managed to find a way to overclock our processor on an MSI mainboard and at the same time keep all power-saving technologies intact. As a result, we were rewarded with low mainboard power consumption during overclocking and enjoyed the benefits of high-quality electronic components, which have already been used on MSI mainboards for a long time and now even come with an official certificate. However, it is a little unclear why a large mainboard maker like MSI purposefully gave up an important technology like that, which, moreover, fits perfectly into the today’s super-popular “save the planet” concept. We are not going to use the industry leaders, like ASUS and Gigabyte, as a comparison here, but even products from ASRock, Biostar, ECS and Foxconn are capable of energy-efficient overclocking, with all power-saving technologies remaining up and running full throttle, and MSI mainboards still haven’t mastered that. Doesn’t it strike you as rather strange?

As far as the mainboard’s major advantage is concerned, the new PCI Express 3.0 standard support, at this point it is pretty ephemeral and intangible. A few months will pass until new processors and graphics cards come out that will be able to use the new standard. Then we will see which mainboard maker implemented the support of the new standard best of all. Although I am sure that by that time there will be newer and better mainboards already available, so it doesn’t make sense to specifically look for MSI Z68A-GD80 (G3) or a similar one for that particular reason. However, the opposite also makes sense: you shouldn’t avoid mainboards with PCI Express 3.0 support. While now it is not really in the way, it may come in very handy in the nearest future.

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