Author: Bob Buskirk
- The BIOS
- System Overview & Testing Procedures
- Testing - CPU
- Testing - System & Memory
- Testing - Video
- Testing - Gaming
- Final Thoughts
P67A-GB80 (B3) Overview
Taking a look at the board MSI has gone with the same design scheme that we saw on the P67A-GD55. They use a black PCB with blue and black accents. It goes together very well and this board looks very similar to the P67-GD55. The dark silver heatsinks also have blue accents on them.
Starting up at the CPU socket you can see the traditional Lotes mounting bracket. Unlike the P67A-GD55, which featured a 6-phase power design this motherboard uses a 12-Phase DrMOS Digital VRM complete with SFC (Super Ferrite Choke) chokes.. MSI says this design provides 30% better efficiency than standard chokes. Part of MSI’s Military Class II components also includes Hi-c CAP’s (Highly-conductive polymerized capacitor) which provide an 8x longer lifetime than traditional Solid CAP. You can see many of these all around the CPU socket. Towards the top of the board is the 8pin CPU power connector. Running alone the top of the motherboard are 12 blue LED’s that correspond with the 12-phase power design.
Moving over to the memory slots you have 4 slots, each color coded for dual channel setups. This motherboard supports DDR3 1066, 1333, 1600, and 2133 (OC) with a maximum capacity of 32GB. Moving over from the memory you have your ATX power connection and 3 3pin SYSFAN connections. There is actually another one below the CPU socket as well I always like to see a lot of fan connections on motherboards. You will notice a blue piece of the motherboard with 7 connections. It is MSI’s Voltage Checkpoint, you connect the supplied cables and you can check the real-time voltages on your motherboard with a multimeter. As far as SATA connections go you have 4 SATA 3GB/s ports (black) and 2 SATA 6GB/s ports (white). The ports are faced away from the motherboard.
At the bottom corner of the board and all along the bottom you have quite a few different connections and buttons. Starting right to left you have the front panel connections for your case, 3 USB 2.0 connections, 2 USB 3.0 connections, the OC Genie button, power and reset buttons, firewire connection and your front panel audio connection. When the OC Genie button is pressed the system will restart and instantly overclock itself to the optimum setting. We will check out this feature later in the review. The red USB header is actually MSI’s SuperCharger USB port, it allows you to charge tablets and smartphones via the front USB ports on your case. Normally USB ports give you .5A of power output, but with the i-Charger software, you can them running at 1.5V volts; enough power to charge your tablet and even to charge your smartphone faster.
As far as expansion slots you have 3 PCI-E x16 slots, 2 PCI-E x1 slots and 2 PCI slots. The PCI-E x16 slots are nicely spaced so you can run CrossFire and SLI setups. Right above the top PCI-E x1 slot there is a 6pin power connector to give your PCI-E slots more juice if they need them. For your I/O ports starting left to right you have 1 PS/2 keyboard/mouse port, 2 USB 2.0 ports, a clear CMOS button, 1 coaxial SPDIF port, 1 optical SPDIF port, 1 Firewire port, 2 USB 3.0 ports, 2 USB 2.0 ports, 2 eSATA ports, daul Ethernet ports, 4 more USB 3.0 ports and your 6 port audio connections. So with the 2 internal USB 3.0 headers you have a total of 10 available USB 3.0 ports!