MSI Z68A-GD80 G3 Motherboard with PCI Express 3.0 launched; Release Date in Q3, price unknown

MSI issued a press release this morning stating that the company has launched the world’s first PCI Express Gen 3 motherboard with the Z68A-GD80 (G3). Offering twice the bandwidth – 32GB/s – of gen 2 PCI Express, gen 3 is a notable improvement. The number of devices that can come close to saturating a 16x gen 2 PCI-E slot is fairly limited, but with advances in PCI-E based solid-state storage, and ever increasingly powerful GPUs, among other devices, it probably won’t be long before the extra throughput has a use found for it.

Title-caving aside, MSI’s Z68A-GD80 (G3) is quite an enticing LGA1155 board as it features three PCI-Express x16 slots (PCIe x16 3.0 deliver a bandwidth of 32GB/s) for SLI or CrossFireX setups (Virtu technology is also supported for some on-the-fly graphics switching), Military Class II components (Hi-c CAP, Super Ferrite Choke and Solid caps), four DDR3- memory slots, and ten SATA ports (probably four SATA 6.0 Gbps and four 3.0 Gbps).

Other than its faster PCI Express ports, the other unique features offered by the Z86A-GD80 (G3) include its Click BIOS II, which offers a homogenised interface between both the boot-time UEFI and Windows controls, HDMI 1.4, a pair of USB 3.0 ports, and Virtu switchable graphics, which will toggle between integrated and dedicated GPUs depending on the need.

MSI’s motherboard also supports Virtu and Intel Smart Response technologies, and uses military-class components, such as Hi-c capacitors and solid ferrite-core coils, also known as SFC, Super Ferrite Choke, which, according to MSI, can provide up to a 20% improvement in efficiency.

Information on pricing or availability was not provided. The fact of the matter is that Ivy Bridge will handle the PCIe 3.0 interface directly, so the full benefits of PCIe 3.0 will be enabled when you plug one in. This means that even if you’re the daring high-roller who likes to buy the latest and greatest, you’ll still be stuck in second gear until Ivy Bridge comes along, at which time official support for PCIe 3.0 will begin. We can’t wait to ask the shop assistant at the local PCWorld store.