MSI P67A-GD53 review

26 May 2011

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

Price when reviewed 
108
5

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.

Details

Price ex VAT £90
Price inc VAT £108
Overall rating 5
Performance 4
Features & Design 5
Value for Money 5
Motherboard form factor ATX
Motherboard integrated graphics no

Compatability

Processor/platform brand (manufacturer) Intel
Processor socket LGA 1155
Motherboard form factor ATX
Memory type DDR3
Multi-GPU support yes

Controllers

Motherboard chipset Intel P67
Number of Ethernet adapters 1
Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec
Audio chipset Realtek HD Audio

Onboard Connectors

CPU power connector type 8-pin
Main power connector ATX 24-pin
Memory sockets total 4
Internal SATA connectors 4
Internal PATA connectors 0
Internal floppy connectors 0
Conventional PCI slots total 2
PCI-E x16 slots total 2
PCI-E x8 slots total 0
PCI-E x4 slots total 0
PCI-E x1 slots total 3

Rear ports

PS/2 connectors 1
USB ports (downstream) 8
FireWire ports 0
eSATA ports 0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports 1
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports 1
3.5mm audio jacks 6
Parallel ports 0
9-pin serial ports 0
Extra port backplane bracket ports none

Diagnostics and tweaking

Motherboard onboard power switch? yes
Motherboard onboard reset switch? yes
Software overclocking? yes

Accessories

SATA cables supplied 2
Molex to SATA adaters supplied 0
IDE cables supplied 0
Floppy cables supplied 0