Test Report: MSI Z77A-GD65

Discussion in 'Buying Advice' started by wfj, Apr 25, 2012.

  1. wfj

    wfj

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    Apr 25, 2012 at 5:34 AM #1
    wfj

    wfj

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    Got this motherboard in today and did a little testing. Here are the basic system specs:

    MSI Z77A-GD65
    i5 2550k
    8gb DDR3 2133
    60gb Corsair Force 3 SSD
    500gb WD caviar black
    Radeon HD 5770
    some ratty old POS PSU on it's last leg

    I used chameleon wizard to install chameleon bootloader, built the boot.plist with only GUI - ethernet built in - GE=yes, and set smbios to mac pro 3,1. Downloaded and installed the latest fakesmc, hnak's intel ethernet kext, and applied flaked's speedstepper. I have not yet tried out the 898 sound but looking at toleda's post it doesn't appear it will be an issue. FYI, I'm not using any dsdt at the present time. If you've built hacks before, definitely no reason to fear this board and I imagine some of the lower end models will be even easier since they have compatible realtek lan and audio. Since we only have 2 reasonable choices in the current gigabyte z77 crop, the MSI lineup looks like a viable alternative and they are priced nicely.

    I'm sure I'll get this question a lot...Yes, sleep works (as long as you don't try to use the intel lan kext in multibeast). I would recommend learning how to do an os x install without using multibeast as the easybeast option adds items you don't need.

    The only minor annoyance is that the boot time is long. The system stalls with the "waiting on DSMOS" message, the hard drive spins down, spins back up, and you eventually get to the desktop. I've googled this issue but the suggestions are kind of all over the place and it appears to be a problem with real macs as well. I don't think this is motherboard specific but I'll investigate some more with different graphics cards, etc. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

    I also tried booting with the 3rd party ASMedia controller and that works too.

    I'm perfectly willing to try out a modded BIOS but haven't heard from samisnake yet...where are you dude?

    One last note: You can overclock by adjusting the turbo multipliers and not lose the power management features. I was able to get 9 p-states with the top end being 44. TBH, I don't think I ever tried that with a z68 board so maybe that's nothing new.

    And one more: USB 3 doesn't work (big surprise).
     
  2. brycv

    brycv

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    Apr 25, 2012 at 6:19 AM #2
    brycv

    brycv

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    When you say USB 3.0 doesn't work I presume you found the same thing I did today. Z77 USB 3.0 works fine as USB 2.0 but not as USB 3.0 even with PXHCD.kext installed. Is that correct?
     
  3. wfj

    wfj

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    Apr 25, 2012 at 6:26 AM #3
    wfj

    wfj

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    The rear usb 3 ports don't work at all in os x. I'll have to look at the bios again but I'm pretty sure legacy usb support is enabled. I can try out the PXHCD.kext but isn't that only for 3rd party usb 3 controllers? I'm assuming the ports don't work since they are native to the z77 chipset.

    FYI, I have this running on a test bench so I can't test the front usb 3 ports.
     
  4. brycv

    brycv

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    Apr 25, 2012 at 6:29 AM #4
    brycv

    brycv

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    Interesting. On my Asus Sabertooth Z77 the Intel USB 3.0 ports work fine but only as USB 2.0 ports even though a USB Super-Speed Bus shows up in System Information when PXHCD.kext is loaded. The ASMedia ASM1042 ports work fine with PXHCD.kext but only as USB 3.0 ports and not at all if PXHCD.kext is not loaded.

    viewtopic.php?f=7&t=57646
     
  5. wfj

    wfj

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    Apr 25, 2012 at 6:40 AM #5
    wfj

    wfj

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    Ok, just fixed it. There was a setting for USB Legacy support in the BIOS. I changed it from Enabled to Auto and now the ports work. I didn't measure any speed but I'm sure they're operating at 2.0. This board doesn't have any 3rd party usb 3 controller, just the z77.
     
  6. brycv

    brycv

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    Apr 25, 2012 at 6:43 AM #6
    brycv

    brycv

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    That makes sense. I was hoping it was the same as the Sabertooth Z77.
     
  7. wfj

    wfj

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    Apr 25, 2012 at 6:46 AM #7
    wfj

    wfj

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    Kind of weird really. You would think enabled should do the trick...not sure what Auto is doing differently.
     
  8. brycv

    brycv

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    Apr 25, 2012 at 6:55 AM #8
    brycv

    brycv

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    Agreed. In the Sabertooth Z77's BIOS, there is only Enabled or Disabled. No Auto option at all.
     
  9. wfj

    wfj

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    Apr 25, 2012 at 7:03 AM #9
    wfj

    wfj

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    So with the Sabertooth, you're confined to using speedstepper patch right? Have you tried any overclocking using the turbo multipliers like I described above?
     
  10. brycv

    brycv

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    Apr 25, 2012 at 7:08 AM #10
    brycv

    brycv

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    Yes, I'm currently using SpeedStepper because of the signed UEFI BIOS problem that hopefully only affects Asus Z77 boards so far. I don't like the SpeedStepper solution because it has to be patched at each new update.

    I have a Gigabyte G1.Sniper M3 board being delivered tomorrow which should work fine without the SpeedStepper patch like the rest of the Gigabyte Z77 boards. I'm hoping that the MSI Z77 boards can use a patched BIOS so that it's an alternative to Gigabyte while still having compatible hardware. I'm after Intel NIC mostly which is only on a few Gigabyte boards. (G1.Sniper M3, G1.Sniper 3, and GA-Z77X-UD5H I think.)

    On the MSI side, both the Z77A-GD55 and Z77A-GD65 are excellent solutions for my needs with Intel NIC's and compatible audio.

    I haven't tried overclocking at all although I think I will now. I didn't know you could do it easily without affecting power management. Previously, I was under the impression that if you overclocked, you would only have two P-states instead of the normal nine or ten or whatever.
     

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