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Six $160-220 Z77 Motherboards, Benchmarked And Reviewed

Z77A-GD65 Firmware

MSI crowds its overclocking controls into a small portion of the screen’s center. If you can get over that minor annoyance, you'll find a good selection and range of settings. The Z77A-GD65’s OC menu opens up to base clock, CPU multiplier, and DRAM frequency settings on the first page.

The Z77A-GD65 pushes an astounding 4.77 GHz using a mere 1.30 V on a Core i7-3770K processor. Similarly remarkable is that we got there using air cooling using nothing more than a single-fan Thermalright MUX-120 heat sink.

More voltage controls are found further down the menu, followed by several submenu options. DDR3-2709 was the highest stable two-DIMM memory speed for G.Skill's DDR3-2666 kit using MSI’s Z77A-GD65 at XMP values.

The Z77A-GD65’s CPU Features submenu includes power limits and per-core multipliers. Setting a higher base multiplier on the main menu allows the board to ignore per-core multipliers.

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Primary, secondary and tertiary timings are all available within the Advanced Timing submenu. This menu is enabled for both channels by choosing Link from the main menu’s DRAM timing mode, and can be expanded to per-channel timings by choosing Unlink from the main menu.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.