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MSI P67A-GD65 review

The first affordable P67 mobo arrives

The mid-range to Sandy Bridge's astonishing performance

So it's a fully fledged P67 board for a fraction of the price of the top-of-the-range Asus Maximus IV Extreme board, and it actually makes a very good case for itself.

As well as the aforementioned multi-GPU compatibility, support for the two new storage interfaces and MSI's 'Military Class' stylings, there's also a full set of voltage check points next to the DIMM slots on the board.

If you're a keen overclocker, these may well be of interest. Realistically, though, on a mid-level board such as this, few are likely to get their voltage readers dirty.

Talking of tweaking, you also get MSI's updated OC Genie one-touch overclocking technology. For a platform that's as locked-down in terms of overclocking as Sandy Bridge, the fact the OC Genie hit the same 4.2GHz that we managed through an hour or so of tweaking and rebooting is definitely worth noting.

Considering this isn't a serious overclocker's board, the OC Genie will be enough for pretty much anyone. Until now, 4GHz had been a bit of a target for the OC community, and it's demonstrative of the performance of the Sandy Bridge chips that the 4.2GHz on this MSI board is a mite disappointing.

If you really want the extra 400MHz the Asus Maximus IV Extreme can give you on air, you'll have to pay out twice the price of this still feature-rich board. And we'd defy you, without benchmarks, to tell the difference that 400MHz will reasonably make to your experience.

The issue on this board, though, is with Intel's Turbo tech; our Core i7 2600K runs normally at 3.4GHz, with a theoretical Turbo speed of 3.8GHz. Unfortunately, on the MSI board, despite the fact it was mounted by a bear of a cooler, it would only manage a Turbo speed of 3.5GHz no matter whether it was running at full load on a single core or on all four cores.

The ease with which the OC Genie clocks it up though means this isn't quite such an issue as it might be if you had to do all the hard work yourself.

We also had the same issue with this MSI P67 as with the Maximus IV Extreme in terms of the Quick Sync transcode core of the integrated GPU. There's no option on this board to enable the GPU while you're on the P67 platform with a discrete GPU installed. If there's no Quick Sync on the P67, it's starting to look like a flawed platform.

We're also less than enamoured with the EFI firmware of the MSI board. As much as the RoG EFI on the Asus board is all bling, the MSI is all Fisher Price. The much-vaunted mouse support is a little bit misguiding too, because part of the time it won't function and the rest requires multiple clicks to get a response. These are likely just teething issues, though, and mostly simply cosmetic.

But still, at £140 you could pair this board with either of the i5 or i7 CPUs and have a platform that will still make last season's P55 setups look like rusting difference engines.

We liked

It's half the price of the top-end Asus Republic of Gamers P67 board but delivers much more than half the performance. It's also got a great feature list, with both new storage interfaces and both-party multi-GPU licensing too.

We disliked

Turboing the high-end Core i7-2600K at only 3.5GHz as a maximum is disappointing, especially when the Foxconn H67S manages the same speeds in a tiny board.

The Quick Sync issue is more to do with the P67 platform than necessarily with this board though.

The clunky EFI will need some tweaking too.

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