The Z68A-GD65 comes with everything shown above including the board itself, motherboard user guide, a dual USB 3.0 expansion bracket with motherboard header, rear I/O shield, four SATA 6g cables, a 4-pin Molex to SATA power cable, multiple front panel pin adapters and several Voltage Check Point cables.
MSI has kept their color scheme consistent across previous Sandy Bridge offerings and as I have mentioned before, it's one of my favorite combinations. There are some pretty ugly boards out there but this isn't one of them.
Starting at the top of the board we find two passive heatsinks connected by a heatpipe covering the MOSFETS, 8-pin 12v connector and six power phase LEDs. There appears to be plenty of room around the CPU socket for large aftermarket heatsinks.
MSI has equipped this board with Driver MOSfet, or DrMOS. DrMOS is MSI's power-saving technology and with everyone now "going green", it's a good trend to get in on. With DrMOS, MSI has combined three separate chips (bottom-MOSFET, top-MOSFET and Driver IC) into one that results in more efficient power, lower temperatures and longer life. Additionally, combining three chips reduces the total chip count on the board. This allows MSI to use an 8+2 phase power design.
Hi-c CAP is part MSI's Military Class II components (certified with MIL STD 810G) that also include Super Ferrite Chokes and Solid Caps with a 10 year lifetime. SFCs feature 30% higher current capacity and 10% power efficiency improvement which should result in better overclocking power stability. The Super Ferrite Chokes were previously only available on flagship models but now MSI has implemented them on every Sandy Bridge offering. Solid Capacitors are used on other areas of the board where such stringent power efficiency isn't necessary.
A 4-pin CPU fan header can be found near the first of four memory slots supporting DDR3 1066/1333/1600/2133(OC) at a maximum capacity of 32GB in dual channel mode.
Along the right edge of the board we find MSI's Voltage Check Point. Using the included VCP cables, you can easily measure the current CPU core / CPU IO / CPU SA / DDR / PCH voltages in real-time using a multimeter. Below this is another 4-pin fan header and the OC Genie button. The OC Genie II allows for 1 second overclocking simply by pressing the button before booting your computer. MSI claims gains of up to 36% performance just by pushing a button. This, of course, is if you are using a "K" series CPU.
Below the OC Genie button is the 24-pin ATX connector and two 3-pin fan headers. A third 3-pin header can be found on the opposite side of the board just above the PCIe x1 slot.
More just ahead.