As a chipset, X79 is starting to show its age, especially when compared to the feature-heavy Z87 PCH. This can pose problems for motherboard manufacturers looking to sell a value-orientated product that isn't stripped to the point where masses of consumers are alienated away from the target audience. Cutting down in regards to add-on controllers, can MSI's X79A-GD45 Plus win over the market with its appealing value?
With the X79A-GD45 Plus, MSI has opted for the 'less is more' approach. The board features the components found on Intel's X79 chipset and as few add-on controllers as possible to keep costs to a minimum. A pair of USB 3.0 controllers outputs four SuperSpeed connections while Realtek's ACL892 audio codec is used to provide Sound Blaster Cinema support.
Feature-wise the MSI X79A-GD45 Plus may seem scarce – and it is. But with Intel's LGA 2011 CPUs offering 40 PCI-Express lanes, MSI's motherboard can be used to house 3-card CrossFire and SLI configurations.
Has MSI been able to make the correct compromises and offer an affordable motherboard in the X79A-GD45 Plus?
Gigabyte was kind enough to extend our loan of its ultra-fast GTX 780 WindForce OC graphics card. We used the additional time with the card to gather data when modern gaming CPUs were put through our updated game benchmark suite, which now uses a 2560 x 1600 resolution. Is it worth opting for MSI's low-cost X79 solution and investing a greater sum of money in graphics horsepower?
- Military Class III.
- Click BIOS II.
- Sound Blaster Cinema support.
- Supports Intel IVB-E and SB-E Processors (Core i7 38xx/39xx and 48xx/49xx).
- Supports CrossFire and SLI.