Dungeon-Crawling and Dragon-Searching: An MSI Z77A-GD43 Unboxing

MSI’s Z77A-G43 is only a few steps lower in features and specs compared to the class-leading Z77A-GD65 for the Intel LGA1155 platform, and it shows in the sheer number of tasty tidbits that an enthusiast, gamer, or even just a value-conscious buyer will appreciate.

In this unboxing, we start with the box – which bears special mentioning due to MSI’s recent change of color scheme and general theme.

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As you can see, MSI went from predominantly blue-brown to a red and black theme, with MSI’s long-serving (in its gaming laptop series) dragon as the central theme. It makes for a very refreshing change, and underlines MSI’s commitment to gaming – all the more with the addition of a very talented gaming team’s logo – the FNATIC Team.

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The main features that will get any tech-fan a-salivatin’ are lined up neatly at the back of the box, headlined by a Killler E2200 Ethernet Game Networking Port, which prioritizes game-centric traffic over more mundane online traffic. MSI’s Military Class Components, now at “part III”, boasts of super durable and stable components, and OC Genie II is also present, with its trademarked 1-second overclock.

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The gaming theme extends to the box contents and interior, with an affirmation for your purchase at the box side – “My Weapon of Choice” (!) and a huge array of items with dragons of them. My, I’m only missing Dungeons and we can go board gaming. Get it? Get it? Gaming – board and.. ahh never mind.

The generous number of bundled items include a neat door-knob hanger with the legend “I’m sorry – busy gaming” on it, the normal Quick Installation and User guides, the driver DVD, backplate, SATA cable, a reviewer’s guide, and a large “Gaming Series” case badge that wouldn’t look out-of-place on the hood of a car. And did I mention the dragons? I counted 5 of them, if I include the one on the DVD.Image

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A look at the board itself reveals more design cues that reflect MSI’s new theme – prominent among them the dragon on the chipset. One other cue that’s not immediately noticeable – the heatsinks on the VRMs around the CPU socket sports dragon head shapes, which brings my count 7 total dragons.

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Media handling is not a problem for this board’s backside, with a full complement of video output options like HDMI, VGA, and DVI, and 6 USB 2.0 plus 2 USB 3.0 ports for general connectivity. The dual PS/2 port and the USB ports below it are specially designed to handle gaming peripherals with enhanced durability and sensitivity. An 8-channel jack rounds out the back panel.

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A flexible combination of PCI slots ensure future expandability – with a special shout-out to a single PCIe x16 3.0 slot for the most throughput ever available so far – a theoretical 32GB/s for maximum gaming videocard upgradeability. An additional PCIe x16 slot (Gen2), 2 PCIe x1 slots, and 3 legacy PCI slots fill up the lower half of the board.

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Other notable features include a USB 3.0 header native to the Z77 chipset that will enable  up to an additional 2 ports through a bracket, 6 SATA ports, with port 1 and 2 specially designed with SSD operation in mind and running at 6Gb/s, and the presence of a goodly number of SFC (Super Ferrite Choke) and Solid Capacitors around the CPU Socket area for this level of motherboard – part of MSI’s Military Class heritage.

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Other bread-and-butter features not mentioned yet, but are naturally expected in motherboards of this high quality, include Crossfire compatibility, a UEFI (advanced GUI) BIOS, Dual-channel DDR3 support of up to 2800MHz overclocked, an excellent layout that properly spaces big heatsinks and/or big videocard(s), and the aforementioned slick-looking theme with lots of dragons.

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For the gamer willing to pay good money for great equipment, there’s no better deal than the MSI Z77A-G43 with its mix of great features designed for the gamer, MSI’s experience in creating durable and very slick-looking gear, and a price tag that convincingly defines “smart investment”. Just Game!

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