Motherboard Guide

MSI Z77A-GD65 Gaming review

MSI Z77A-GD65 Gaming Motherboard - The March of the Dragoon Army

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Launch SRP S$329
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Overall rating 8.5/10
Performance:
9
Features:
8
Value:
7.5
THE GOOD
Consistently good performer across all tests
Very overclockable
Killer Gaming networking controller
THE BAD
Lack of bundled Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity which its competitors offer
More PCIe lanes for multi-GPU configuration would have made this the best gaming board


Bundled Software - Proprietary Tools and Utilities (Part I)

Control Center

The Control Center is a dashboard to monitor and control the different settings of the Z77A-GD65 Gaming board. MSI has cleverly placed the overclocking tab as the default one when the Control Center loads. This proprietary tool is supported on Windows operating systems from Windows XP to the latest Windows 8 and is available on both 32- and 64-bit versions.

It presents component information in a neat and organized manner; however, one of our main gripes with the color scheme is the red alphanumeric characters against the dark red background gradient makes them hard to read. Perhaps there should be options for users to turn off the colors of the Dragoon Army scheme and toggle to a color scheme that is more friendly to users with less-than-perfect eyesight.

For fear of information overload, the detailed information of the CPU and memory modules can be accessed by clicking on their respective "More" buttons. In addition to present information, the Overclocking tab also allowed us to perform overclocking whereby in its corresponding section we could change the CPU ratio or the CPU base frequency with drop-down option boxes. For power users, there is also a DRAM timing section that is accessed by clicking the "DRAM Timing" button in the Memory section.

The Green Power tab gives options to set the fan speeds of the CPU and two system fans using a simple and intuitive interface. You'll also find a "CPU Phase Mode" control at the bottom left where you can control how many power phases are actively used for the CPU. More often than not, you're better off leaving it to the board's automatic algorithm.

 

The LED tab, like the OC Genie tab, confounded us a little as the function we uncovered was to turn off the onboard CPU Power Phase LEDs. It is just a single function that makes it a notch more relevant than the OC Genie tab that was non-interactive and merely presented some information on the functions of the OC Genie feature. Even so, we don't really think this singular non-important control required its own tab and just adds to the tab clutter.

The Record tab allows for real-time monitoring of system information with its graphical output; this is useful over overclockers and power users who need to keep a close watch on their preferred settings when they are tweaking their rigs.

The Mobile Control tab allows the user to turn on the Command Center Remote Server and according to the software manual, this is only available for boards that feature the built-in Wi-Fi module; however, we were wondering if the system, with its LAN connection active, which is on the same subnet as the mobile device, installed with the Command Center application, will be accessible via its Remote Server service. We didn't have any luck trying it with a wired connection though. Overall, this feature is similar to the Gigabyte EasyTune Touch that we reviewed recently when we were testing the GA-Z77X-UP7 motherboard. More information of what the Mobile Control Center allows is captured in the screenshot below:-