LGA1156 Motherboard Review
Manufacturer's Part Number: P55-GD80
Price: $216CDN+ Price Comparison
Manufacturer's Product Page: Micro-Star Int'l Co.,Ltd.
Warranty: 3 year limited warranty.
Back in July we reviewed our very first MSI motherboard, the 790FX-GD70, and we were quite impressed with it. That motherboard represented a new direction for MSI. No more gaudy bright red PCB, pink memory slots, or acid-trip inspired chipset coolers (*cough* P45 Platinum). Instead we had a conservative black & blue theme, a low-key but capable cooling system, terrific features, and solid overclocking capabilities. MSI had finally figured how to tug at our enthusiast heart strings.
Thankfully, that same philosophy applies to the motherboard that we are reviewing today, except they have kicked things up a few notches. As the Top of the Line model in MSI's LGA1156 roster, the P55-GD80 has been designed to surpass the best that the competition has to offer, and it's got one heck of specs list. It supports all current Lynnfield LGA1156 processors, has an advanced DrMOS 8+2 phase power design, four DDR3 memory slots with frequency support up to DDR3-2133 (O.C), three mechanical PCI-E x16 slots, CrossFire and SLI support, dual Gigabit LAN ports and a host of other features. It also comes with MSI's new OC Genie real-time overclocking processor with accompanying OC Genie & DirectOC buttons and even touch-sensitive onboard power/reset switches. For that bit of added "bling" MSI uses phase LEDs for every major component, a post code debug display and quite a bit more. Our Canuck readers will also be glad to know that all Canadian RMAs are processed through MSI's facility in Ontario, which should mean quick replacements and no customs worries.
Even though the P55 lineup was only brought into the limelight a few short months ago, manufacturers have been extremely quick to jump onto the bandwagon and release full board lineups. Even though the P55-GD80 represents the pinnacle of their current offerings, MSI has priced this board extremely well considering the current market climate. It caters to enthusiasts with a bucket load of features and some great overclocking potential but retails for far under that of Gigabyte's flagship P55-UD6 or ASUS' own P7P55D Premium and Maximus III. Indeed, its primary competition is the ASUS P7P55D Deluxe and the Gigabyte P55-UD5 which are in the same price bracket and offer similar features.
Now it's time to see whether the P55-GD80 lives up to its promise, and surprise us the way the 790FX-GD70 did. Let's find out!