After our barrage of testing, the $159.99 MSI P55-GD65 came through with flying colors. Comparing it to a similar motherboard that costs nearly $100 more, the performance was nearly identical. The only place you would be able to tell a difference is running benchmarks, because in day to day performance it would seem identical.
Where the MSI P55-GD65 was what we would consider a solid overclocking motherboard, others may think the limits were too low. Honestly, unless you are spending upwards of $100 for CPU cooling, you are not going to see the benefits of a motherboard with extreme limits. I have no doubt that the memory overclocking results would improve if we were using our 2133MHz kit, but due to the heat spreaders' height, we were not able to use them with the Cooler Master V10.
The Intel Lynnfield CPU line is designed to bring the incredible performance of the Core i7 architecture to the mainstream and also offer great value. With that in mind, I feel that some of the more expensive P55 motherboards designed for overclocking are out of place. If I were suggesting parts for someone to build a system with, the MSI P55-GD65 would be on the short list of motherboards due to its great performance, excellent overclocking, and affordable price. Overall, I think it represents one of the best value motherboards on the market today, and fits the spirit of the Lynnfield CPU.
The P55-GD65 survived all of our testing, as well as our attempts at overclocking, with a hiccup. Failed overclocks were easily recovered by simply waiting for the system to try to boot with the settings we put in. After three tries, it simply reverted to known good settings (you can change this number as well). This was a refreshing change as recovering a failed overclock can be quite frustrating with some boards!
The onboard OC Genie is a nice touch for tinkering with an overclock without having to restart to get into the BIOS. The included voltage measuring points are very handy for checking the actual voltage supplied to the individual components.
All in all, this is a great motherboard for the price. Combined with a Core i5 750 CPU this would be a killer gaming system on a budget, and one that would reach 3.6GHz with very little effort.
Legit Bottom Line: The MSI P55-GD65 is a solid motherboard that offers users a full range of overclocking and tweaking options. It's an incredibly good board that still maintains the value that the Core i5 and i7 800 series CPU's shoots for.
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