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MSI P67A-GD53 review

Verdict

A versatile, well-rounded motherboard that supports the latest processors at an attractive price

Review Date: 26 May 2011

Reviewed By: Mike Jennings

Price when reviewed: £90 (£108 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
5 stars out of 6

Performance
4 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

Motherboards bearing Intel’s P67 chipset and LGA 1155 processor socket have put their recall woes behind them and are beginning to flow out. The MSI P67A-GD53 bears the all-important B3 stepping that signifies an up-to-date, working board.

At £108 inc VAT, it’s one of the cheapest P67 boards we’ve seen, but you wouldn’t know it to look at the enthusiast-level features. There are handy power and reset switches in the bottom-right corner, alongside a switch that activates MSI’s OC Genie software to automatically overclock your processor. There’s also a selection of LEDs that can diagnose problems with your CPU, memory or chipset.

Two PCI Express x16 slots run at 8x speed when two graphics cards are installed, and the four DIMM sockets can take up to 32GB of DDR3 RAM. Storage is handled by the now-usual pair of SATA 6Gbits/sec and four SATA 3Gbits/sec ports.

Alongside two internal USB 2 connectors sit headers for a chassis intrusion detector, TPM module, and a quintet of case fans. The MSI has no internal USB 3 connectors for hooking up a case’s front-panel ports, but there are two ports on the backplate, along with eight USB 2, a clear CMOS button and both optical and electrical S/PDIF outputs.

MSI P67A-GD53

We’re increasingly seeing the archaic BIOS replaced by UEFI software, and MSI has done a fine job incorporating its new mouse-controlled front-end. It isn’t the best if you’re a tweaker – we’ve seen Asus and ASRock UEFI software that instantly serves up a wealth of monitoring information – but it’s accommodating for beginners: options are divided into sensible categories, and there are tools to test memory and back up your hard disk.

We ran a variety of tests on both the MSI and a selection of brand-new motherboards in the Labs. Our hard disk file-transfer benchmark evaluates SATA and USB 3 performance, and the P67A-GD53 wasn’t the quickest but performed well: a large file write speed of 369.2MB/sec over SATA 6Gbits/sec was faster than all but one rival, and USB 3 speed was on a par too.

We also tested memory performance with SiSoft Sandra and, again, the MSI didn’t disgrace itself. A bandwidth figure of 14GB/sec when tested with 8GB of RAM proved middling, and a latency of 78.3ns was marginally faster than rival Asus and ASRock boards could manage.

While it may lack the pizzazz of gaming boards and features such as eSATA or FireWire, it has the basics covered, and it supports faster processors than X58 boards can handle. The MSI P67A-GD53 is an affordable, well-rounded motherboard that does enough to win a recommendation – and break Gigabyte’s monopoly on the A List.

Author: Mike Jennings

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User comments

Why not H67 or Z68?

If you're building a Sandy Bridge PC you'll need a P67 motherboard.

I think this statement is somewhat misleading.

Why not choose Z68 or H67?

By Symanb on 28 May 2011

Value for money

Does this board really offer value for money. A similar H61 board with USB3 etc can be had for ~£60, and does much the same thing for half the price.
I went for the ASUS board, but MSI do one as well.

By tirons1 on 28 May 2011

Chipsets

@tirons1 the reason for getting a P67 or Z68 instead of H61 motherboard is that these chipsets enable overclocking (with both chipsets) and the CPU's on board graphics (Z86 only), which the i3, i5 and i7 CPU's have. If you do not need overclocking or on board graphics then by all means purchase a H61 chipset mother board.

By IsaacJDean on 17 Sep 2011

Re:Chipsets

Just realised I had gotten confused, H61, H67 and Z68 can all run the onboard graphics of the CPU's.

By IsaacJDean on 18 Sep 2011

Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge ??

For the MSI P67A-GD53 B3 motherboard, I assume either Intel processors i3 thru i7 will work fine ?? i.e. does the board have to have a Sandy Bridge processor or will it function correctly with an Ivy Bridge CPU ??

By skyfox1884 on 1 Apr 2013

Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge ??

For the MSI P67A-GD53 B3 motherboard, I assume either Intel processors i3 thru i7 will work fine ?? i.e. does the board have to have a Sandy Bridge processor or will it function correctly with an Ivy Bridge CPU ??

By skyfox1884 on 1 Apr 2013

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