With a price of $229.99 plus shipping at Newegg, this places the MSI P55-GD85 near the top of what I’d consider to be the normally priced LGA1156 motherboards. Thankfully, it includes USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gbps support as it should given its price. The MSI P55-GD80 is priced at $199 shipped and in my opinion it is worth $30 to have access to these new features, especially if you plan on using this board for the next two to three years. Besides these new connectivity options the P55-GD85 is a near carbon copy of the P55-GD65 I reviewed earlier which performed favorably in all the benchmarks.
Like most motherboard manufacturers MSI provides a 3 year warranty on parts and a 2 year warranty on labor. For a computer component I find this to be satisfactory as by the time the warranty expires on this board two CPU generations will have passed and at least three to four motherboard generations will have passed with better features, higher efficiency, and greater performance. Even then, though, unless it dies of a tragic manufacturing failure early in its life such as a mosfet burn out, the board should live to a ripe old age.
Comparing the MSI P55-GD85 to the Gigabyte P55A-UD6 puts the P55-GD85 in a favorable light considering its price advantage and how it matches the P55A-UD6 in features. If I were to highlight one feature I specifically liked on each board it would be the bclk buttons on the P55-GD85 and the POST LEDs on the P55A-UD6. My ancient POST card died a tragic falling off a high table death and some feedback on the POST process would have been nice when I was performing the overclock testing and it kept crashing.
The only problem I honestly have with the P55-GD85 are those super awesome capacitive sensing buttons. Yes, they are a cool technology trick, but they are also terrible for usability. There is something special about the tactile feel in pressing a power button and I found myself a few times pressing the power button repeatedly as the board doesn’t immediately power on. I also accidentally reset the board when manipulating the bclk buttons. Perhaps if the power and reset buttons were separate from the bclk buttons this would alleviate this issue. Love the buttons; it’s just frustrating when you reset the board when you meant to increase bclk by 1MHz.
Legit Bottom Line: MSI throws their name in the hat of USB 3.0 and SATA 6 Gbps capable P55 motherboards with the massaged and tweaked P55-GD85.