IDF — Gigabyte and Intel aren't the only ones showing off X79 motherboards at IDF. MSI has three LGA2011 boards on display, including a pair of models with five PCI Express x16 slots. One of those is the X79A-GD65 (8D), which is pictured below.
Yep, another black-and-blue enthusiast motherboard. This one has eight DIMM slots with support for up to 64GB of DDR3 memory at 2400MHz. The eight Serial ATA ports are split evenly between 6Gbps and 3Gbps connectivity, and MSI has whipped up what it claims is a much improved graphical interface for the board's UEFI.
The plain X79A-GD65 has only four DIMM slots, but it'll still take 64GB of RAM according to the placard next to the board. Like the GD80, the GD65 has four 6Gbps Serial ATA ports and another four 3Gbps ports. The number of PCI Express x16 slots is unchanged at five, and there are four USB 3.0 ports like on the GD80.
MSI is deploying its new ClickBIOS II interface across all three of its X79 models, so even the GD45 gets the updated firmware interface. Multi-GPU enthusiasts will have to get by with a mere three PCIe x16 slots, though. The GD45 and other members of MSI's X79A family also have to make do without old-school PCI slots. You're crushed, I know.
Although the GD45 matches the four USB 3.0 ports available on its siblings, the number of 6Gbps SATA ports has been cut to just two. Those ports are complemented by four 3Gbps SATA ports, of course, but that's hardly the formidable storage payload we were expecting from the X79 chipset.