If you’re looking for a good Z77 motherboard to pair up with that shiny Ivy Bridge CPU but don’t want to break the bank, MSI’s Z77A-GD55 is well worth a look. Despite its modest $165 price-tag, the GD55 offers a rich feature-set, looks good, has a robust EFI and even makes overclocking easy for those who don’t care for the manual route.
Game benchmarks stand to see the least amount of gain in comparison to our other tests, but they’re necessary for the sake of introducing GPU performance into the mix. Also, while we benchmark hands-on for our graphics card content, we opt for synthetic testing here, as we’re utilizing the same components across each motherboard.
First up is the ever-popular 3DMark benchmark, which we run using the “Performance” (1280×720) profile. A major benefit of this benchmark is that it stresses not only the GPU, but the CPU as well, thanks to its heavy-duty physics tests.
For as long as Valve’s Source engine has existed, its performance has scaled well with CPU clock speeds, and for that reason we used to use Half-Life 2 in both our CPU and motherboard tests. With Left 4 Dead 2, CPU scaling is no longer the case, with a variance of a 1GHz CPU clock speed unable to change our average FPS results at all. Thanks to this, Left 4 Dead 2 is an ideal benchmark for our motherboard testing, since we can see if there is an issue with the GPU performance by singling it out directly.
Both 3DMark 11 and Left 4 Dead 2 results are pretty even across the board. It’s hard to declare an actual winner, but what’s important is that none fell behind, including the MSI we’re focusing on here.