MSI Z77A-GD80 - Zapping In With Thunderbolt

11/29/2012 11:06:15 AM

MSI joins the Thunderbolt bandwagon.

Just a few months after Intel's Ivy Bridge was launched, motherboard makers MSI have recently announced that their new batch of motherboards will come with Thunderbolt support. One such motherboard has reached our labs, in the form of the MSI Z77A-GD80.

Description: MSI joins the Thunderbolt bandwagon.

MSI joins the Thunderbolt bandwagon.

Getting the usual introductions out of the way, the GD80 has four DDR3 SODIMM slots that support dual-channel memory, a whopping eight SATA slots, four of which are SATA III with the rest being SATA II. There is enough PCIe 3.0 slots to support either SLi or CrossFireX configuration, however just enough for two cards, and not more. The I/O space is a bit barren with only four USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, 7.1 audio output, one Thunderbolt port and one HDMI and VGA video output.

As with all MSI motherboards of late, the GD80's claim to fame is the Military Grade III components that are used in the constructions of MSI motherboards, including ferrite chokes and Japanese solid capacitors. Coupled with their straight forward UEFI BIOS and OC Genie II overclocking button, tweaking the hardware of your computer has never been made any easier.

Overclocking with the OC Genie feature takes the processor (i7 3770K) to about 2.9GHz, but you can also set it to go even higher in the BIOS. With the Intel XMP feature you can also set your RAMs to varying speeds depending on your needs.

The GD80's one Thunderbolt port functions as an I/O that can be used to either serve as an external drive port or be paired with DisplayPorts. With the correct adapters users can also daisy- chain multiple DisplayPorts to the one Thunderbolt port for multiple display setups.

Description: Thunderbolt is definitely here, but the I/O ports are strangely rather lacking in bumbers.

Thunderbolt is definitely here, but the I/O ports are strangely rather lacking in bumbers.

Chip conclude

The MSI Z77A-GD80 may not be the most feature-packed motherboard out there, but what it lacks in features it makes up for it in terms of reliability. The Thunderbolt port is a great feature that is great for the time comes when Thunderbolt accessories are more widespread and marketable in the near future.


Price: $295




Thunderbolt, Easy to overclock, Good performance


Has less I/O ports



·         CPU Support: Intel Core Processor

·         CPU Socket: LG A 1155

·         Chipset: Intel Z77 Chipset

·         Memory Type: Dual Channel Memory



·         Performance: 4/5

·         Features: 4/5

·         Cooling: 4/5

·         Value: 4/5


Benchmark results

·         PCMark 7: 5,135 points

·         PCMark 7 (Productivity): 5,420 points

·         PCMark 7 (Entertainment): 5,310 points

·         PCMark07 (Computation): 5,445 points


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