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MSI Z77A-G45 & Lightning GTX680 Review

We like the MSI motherboard box artwork, its big and bold and colourful. The box focuses on their high grade ‘military class III’ components.

The bundle includes a back plate I/O panel, a user quick installation guide, full manual, software/driver disc, motherboard headers and two SATA cables.

The motherboard is built around a dark brown PCB with blue and black sockets and several heatsinks around the CPU socket. The board complies with the ATX form factor measuring 30.5 cm x 24.5 cm.

The Z77 platform is a dual channel memory architecture and there are four slots on this board which support up to 32GB.  The company list support as 2667*(OC)/ 2400*(OC)/ 2133*(OC)/ 1866*(OC)/1600/ 1333/ 1066 DRAM.

Internal I/O Connectors

– ATX 24-Pin power connector
– 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
– CPU x 1 / System x 4 FAN connectors
– 1 x Clear CMOS jumper
– 2 x Serial ATAII connectors
– 4 x Serial ATAIII connectors
– 3 x USB 2.0 connectors
– 1 x USB 3.0 connector
– 1 x Serial port connector
– 1 x TPM Module connector
– 1 x Front Panel Audio connector
– 1 x Front Panel connector
– 1 x Chassis Intrusion connector
– 1 x Voice Genie connector (optional)
– 1 x MultiConnect Panel connector (optional)
– 1 x V-Check Points Set (optional)

The CPU socket has a two tone blue/black heatsink surrounding it, which helps to cool the VRM’s when overclocking. MSI use SFC and Solid Caps which have passed MIL-STD-810G certification.

There is a single 8 pin power socket for the CPU to ensure stability.

The PCB has a row of V-Check points which will appeal to the overclockers out there who like to push things to the limits.

• SATAII controller integrated in Intel Z77 chipset
– Up to 3Gb/s transfer speed.
– Supports four SATAII ports (SATA3~6) by Z77

• SATAIII controller integrated in Intel Z77 chipset
– Up to 6Gb/s transfer speed.
– Supports two SATAIII ports (SATA1~2) by  Z77

– SATA1~6 support Intel Rapid Storage Technology enterprise (AHCI/ RAID 0/ 1/ 5/ 10) by Intel Z77

The expansion slots are split into the following:

• 2 x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots
• 1 x PCIe 2.0 x16 slot
–  PCI_E7 supports up to PCIe 2.0 x4 speed
• 4 x PCIe 2.0 x1 slots

Back Panel I/O Ports

– 1 x PS/2 keyboard/ mouse port
– 1 x Clear CMOS button
– 1 x Coaxial S/PDIF-out port
– 1 x Optical S/PDIF-out port
– 4 x USB 2.0 ports
– 2 x USB 3.0 ports
– 1 x RJ45 LAN Jack
– 1 x 6 in 1 audio jack
– 1 x HDMI® port with max. resolution up to 1920×1200 @60Hz
– 1 x DVI-D port with max. resolution up to 1920×1200 @60Hz
– 1 x VGA port with max. resolution up to 2048×1536 @75Hz

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  • Xtreme

    Thats a very good value for money mobo. I didnt have a good experience with my last MSI board however so went back to ASUS.

  • EsOne

    id love a GTX680 for my system, reckon they might drop to £199 in January? :p

  • Mannucuna

    I need to upgrade my motherboard, its a Z68 and its flaky. one of the first out and my SATA ports are becoming tempremental 🙁

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