MSI struts its 7-series mobos

Motherboards based on Intel’s upcoming 7-series chipsets were lurking in every corner at CES this week. We’ve already told you all about the Gigabyte models; MSI, too, had a couple of Z77 boards on display. Here’s the Z77A-GD65:

…and the Z77A-GD80:

Both boards have three PCI Express 3.0 slots, four USB 3.0 ports, and four 6Gbps Serial ATA ports. They have room for up to 32GB of DDR3-2667 RAM, if you can find enough memory that runs that fast. MSI tells us that both boards also have the same EFI refinements introduced with the company’s X79 offerings.

The Z77A-GD80 has more power phases than its little brother and, believe it or not, built-in Thunderbolt support.

MSI was also showing off its Command Center app for iOS, shown above running on an iPhone. An Android version of the app is coming, too. Command Center lets you tweak overclocking settings and monitor everything from fan speeds to voltages. It connects to the host motherboard through Wi-Fi.

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    • derFunkenstein
    • 8 years ago

    Makes sense that MSI would put Thunderbolt on at least a few of their motherboards; they need to sell SOMETHING that’s compatible with their external graphics thingamabob. I’d expect it to show up on most if not all of their notebooks, too.

      • dpaus
      • 8 years ago

      [quote<]Makes sense that MSI would put Thunderbolt on at least a few of their motherboards[/quote<] Can someone answer this question for me: what will happen when someone (inevitably) plugs a DisplayPort monitor into a Thunderbolt port? It works? It doesn't work? Something actually explodes in flames?

        • BobbinThreadbare
        • 8 years ago

        I would assume, if everyone did what they were supposed to, that nothing happens.

        Are you sure it will fit on?

    • Vivaldi
    • 8 years ago

    Three PCI Express 3.0 slots seems a bit absurd to me.

    I won’t pretend to estimate how many fanatical gamers exist that would use, for example, three GPU’s in some sort of SLI/Crossfire configuration, but I personally would have appreciated at least one PCI slot for my Audigy2 ZS 7.1 24-bit board–let’s face it, my soundcard, although from a previous era, easily has another 4~5 years of loyal service left to give and is easily superior to any integrated solution.

    Perhaps instead of three PCI Express 3.0 slots, MSI could have dialed it back to two, and bumped up the SATA ports from four to six, or heck… I’m feeling ambitious, 8– some could be hung off a SATA2 controller. I’d live.

    I do wish they’d drop the VGA–sure, keep the DVI for the previous generation of displays, fine with me. Proper geeks have a sordid, overflowing box of all kinds of ancient ribbon cables, ethernet chords, jumpers, etc… yours truly included. Why deprive customers the satisfaction of impressing their significant others that they were a pack-rat for a good measure, once they finally unearth the prized VGA/DVI adapter from the laughable squalor of their spare parts bin. I for one welcome any chance to rummage through “antiquities”!

    Notwithstanding these design decisions, these are very attractive boards with attractive features.

      • Deanjo
      • 8 years ago

      While I’ll agree that the amount of SATA slots are bad I don’t find the absence of a PCI slot a big concern nor the presence of 3 PCI-e 3.0 x16 slots. I wouldn’t mind sacrificing one of them however if it meant being able to switch those x1 slots for x4 slots.

    • Ushio01
    • 8 years ago

    No Pci slots yay. Finally there getting rid of them all together.

      • geekl33tgamer
      • 8 years ago

      Agreed, but is that a P/S2 port I see, and an IDE port too? I wouldn’t miss either of them too much neither, and forget the last time I ever used them (2005 ish?).

        • jdaven
        • 8 years ago

        That is the ATX24V power connector not an IDE port.

        Why does Asia have such a hard-on for PS/2? I guess I should blame Intel for including the connections in the chipset. PS/2 is dead.

      • ew
      • 8 years ago

      And tastefully designed heat sinks!

        • Firestarter
        • 8 years ago

        Designed? Those heatsinks just are.

    • DeadOfKnight
    • 8 years ago

    What a gaudy GUI.

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