MSI is expanding its gaming series, not only in the notebook and graphics segment. They will also release motherboards specially customized for gamers, with Intel's current "Ivy Bridge" processors. The three new motherboards visually fit the upcoming "Twin Frozr" generation, with the familiar manufacturer's dragon logo on the package, and are recognizable by the additional symbol "gaming" in the product name. The MSI Z77A-GD65 is the flagship of the new series, which accommodates up to four PCI Express x16 graphics cards and four additional PCIe x1 devices. Up to eight SATA drives can be connected, and it features USB 3.0, HDM, VGA and D-SUB ports for the integrated graphics on the CPU. The highlights: the integrated "Killer Nic" network card and a high-quality eight-channel audio chip by Creative. The motherboard is cooled by an elaborate heat-pipe design.
The next smaller model is the MSI Z77A-GD45, which features the same connectivity, except for two SATA devices less. The cooling of the MOSFETs is more spartan, too. The "Sound Blaster Cinema" chip and the network card are de rigueur, though. The smallest model, the MSI Z77A-GD43, provides connections only for two PCIe x16 and x1 devices, but in turn features three conventional PCI slots.
The new MSI Z77 gaming series will soon be available. It shouldn't be much more expensive than normal motherboards; MSI stated a surcharge of approx. 20 to 30 euros.