- Intel X79
- Core i7 (LGA2011)
- DDR3 2400(OC) / 2133(OC)
Very impressed with this board! 06/12/2014
This review is from: MSI X79A-GD45 Plus LGA 2011 Intel X79 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
- Compatibility with the latest and greatest IB-E and XEON processors.
- Quad channel memory support
- Up to 128 GB of RAM
- Elegant, sleek design
- 3 x PCI-E x16
- Nifty Windows-Based OC Applications
- Sweet BIOS
I had no problem mounting this in my Antec 1200 case along with an Intel 4820K processor and 16 GB of G-Skill DDR3 2133 RAM (4 x 4GB in DIMM sockets 1, 3, 5, and 7). I paired this core configuration with a Samsung 840 Pro 256GB SSD (OS, programs), and a 2TB WD 6GB/s Hard drive for storage. I also have two 50GB OCZ Vertex 2 SSDs that I use for Flight Simulator X in Mobo RAID 0. My video cards are a little long in the tooth, but I put those in as well (2 x eVGA 285 GTXs in SLI using PCI_E1 and E4). I am using a Corsair 1000W power supply.
One of the big bonuses for me was the fact that you can use the JUSB3 port for quicker device charging via MSI’s SuperCharger functionality, which basically disables data transfer on that port and feeds extra power to it so your devices charge faster. Because I use a wireless gaming headset that frequently needs to be charged, this will come in handy I’m sure. If you frequently charge your phone or tablet using a USB port on your PC, it will probably come in very handy for you too.
The board comes with OC Genie, which is a button you can press on the board when powered down. When you power it back on, the system will overclock itself automatically. This freaks me out a little bit. I wasn’t sure I wanted to put OC settings out of my direct control, so I did not use this function yet. Maybe once I read up on it a little more and find out exactly how it works, I’ll be brave enough to try it.
I never had a system with a UEFI BIOS, so when I first entered MSI’s CLICK BIOS II interface, I was blown away. Although the BIOS can be a little overwhelming at first glance, personally I like to tinker, so having all of these extras in the BIOS to play with is very nice. All of the settings one would expect are in there, but so much more. You can even browse the Internet from within the BIOS! I won’t get into each and every setting, but once I became familiar enough with the interface I was able to achieve an easy overclock of my 4820K to 4.3GHz on air. I ran Prime95 for a few hours with no issues, but then backed down to stock because even at stock this thing is a beast. The utilities in the BIOS are also nice. Being able to back up hard drives from within the BIOS is sweet. I have yet to try it, but I’m sure I will at some point. It also has DUAL bios chips, so you can flip to the other one if one gets corrupted. Hopefully I’ll never need it, but I guess it is nice to have.
- Only 2 SATA-6GB/s ports
- Only 2 USB 3.0 ports
A couple of thoughts on the ports. First, I thought that I would be limited having only 2 6Gb/s SATA ports. These are actually all that I need for now because my older SSDs are not rated for 6Gb/s. I honestly don’t see myself going beyond that, but if I do end up getting new drives, the 2 high speed ports could become an issue. For now it isn’t, so no egg deduction. As far as USB 3.0 goes, I don’t think being limited to two ports will ever be an issue. Speed on the USB ports for me will only come into play when I’m transferring massive amounts of data to a USB flash drive or external hard drive, which is hardly ever. And even then one port is plenty. Other than that, the only USB devices I ever plug in are for KB, mouse, some game controllers every now and then, and perhaps a USB headset. The USB 2.0 ports will be more than adequate for those devices. Finally, the last two or three boards I used for builds all had two gigabit Ethernet ports. This only has one. So while my initial instinct might look be to look down my nose at the fact this board only has one, I never ever utilized the second gigabit port on any of those boards, so big loss there either. The bottom line is, although it may seem limited with the number of SATA, USB, and network ports, for me, it made me realize I never needed all those extra ports in the first place. Less is more in this case.
This was my first build since my i7 920 in 2009, and I had no plans to upgrade before being asked to test this board because the 920 was still handling everything I threw at it. I was curious to see just how much faster this setup would be. In short, it’s fast. REALLY fast. Windows 7 Ultimate boots in a matter of seconds, and programs and games load ultra-fast and run buttery-smooth. This is all on stock speeds. I didn’t think I would notice much of a difference coming from an i7 920 with 12GB of RAM to this setup, but I do. Of course, it’s hard to tell how much of that is mental, due to a fresh OS being installed, the addition of the new, faster SSD, and extra RAM, but I don’t care. It’s just faster, and so far, stable.
LGA 2011 systems can be expensive to get into, but this board’s reasonable price helps mitigate the costs a bit. LGA 2011 is the way to go if you want a large amount of RAM (> 32GB); need high memory bandwidth, which LGA 2011 achieves thanks to its quad channel memory architecture; or want to add an enterprise class XEON processor like the E5-2697 V2 (if you can afford it). If you run a lot of VMs then LGA 2011 is a no-brainer to me. There is so much room for upgrade growth in this board and on the LGA 2011 platform in general. If you do decide to go with an LGA 2011 system, I can wholeheartedly recommend this board, and I will definitely look at MSI for future builds too.
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