The key difference of MSI’s gaming series mainboards from ordinary models is their use of the Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2200 series network controller, which allows setting bandwidth utilization priorities in order to reduce latencies in online games. Besides that, the Gaming Device Port technology supports computer mice with high poll rate while the PS/2 and USB connectors are plated with thrice more gold than usual to prevent corrosion and increase their service life. The Sound Blaster Cinema technology enhances the capabilities of integrated audio codecs by means of additional sound effects. Otherwise, apart from the new visual style, the MSI Z77A-GD65 GAMING mainboard is very much alike to the Z77A-GD65 model. And we can see both good and bad points about that.
The dragon badge of MSI’s gaming series looks nice and the unified black-and-red color scheme is effective everywhere, except the official website, yet there’s too much black on the mainboard, making it hard to differentiate its connectors. We had no problems saving BIOS profiles or updating the BIOS, although the update process has become somewhat more complicated than before. There is another problem we found, though. The mainboard only updates memory timings after you restart your computer.
When it comes to overclocking, we face the old-time peculiarity of MSI mainboards: they cannot add an offset value to CPU voltage, so you can’t reach maximum results while overclocking them in an energy-efficient way. The mainboard’s BIOS options are interrelated in odd ways, so every time you change one of them, you have to make sure that the rest have not changed as well. Like most other MSI products, this one is very economical but also slow in terms of performance, just like its non-gaming cousin.
There is nothing special about the MSI Z77A-GD65 GAMING that we didn’t see on other makers’ products. We mean the Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2200 controller, USB ports with high poll rate, gold-plated connectors, badges and even door hangers. However, we’ve seen all this only with expensive top-end products from other brands. The new gaming series from MSI suggests that such extras can be had with midrange or even entry-level mainboards. We have no doubt that buyers will appreciate this.
We hadn’t expected much from the MSI Z77A-GD65 GAMING, so we have no reasons to be disappointed with its downsides. As for its advantages, they are hardly impressive. However, it is the newest MSI mainboards that we’re looking forward to. Every mainboard maker has prepared something special for the announcement of the LGA1150 platform, and MSI is no exception. We used to criticize MSI’s BIOS for its numerous problems but now MSI Click BIOS II is going to be replaced with MSI Click BIOS 4 in the company’s LGA1150 products (skipping over the third version for some reason). Hopefully, this will help MSI mainboards get rid of their old-time problems without acquiring new ones.