I wonder how many people understand what manufacturers mean when they throw out the term "military class", or "military spec". It wasn't until recently that those terms even hit the mainstream market. In simple terms, it means that the construction of the board or card was made with components that are tested to withstand extreme conditions. Years ago, I would have dismissed it as just another ploy, like the whole "EXTREME" movement. However, with the extreme shifts in temperatures that we are seeing lately, maybe that feature is worthwhile. We just had a 90 degree day and then, immediately after, a 40 degree night. I live in Wisconsin and the weather here can change at the drop of a dime.




Another feature that is getting a makeover in the newest boards is the BIOS. The newest generation of motherboards are shifting to the UEFI BIOS. The original BIOS has been around, and barely changed, since the early 8088 processors. It has maintained a 16-bit interface and only used up to 1MB of address space. This old limited technology meant that, in order to stay up to date, extensions had to be developed and added on. The current UEFI supports 32 and 64-bit environments and can run with more compatibility, despite system architecture. UEFI also has the ability to run and be manipulated within the OS. There is also support for drives larger than 2.2TB and the ability to use external OS boot loaders. We are finally evolving out of the old dinosaur technology.



The MSI Z68A-GD65(G3) motherboard is another step in motherboard evolution. The MSI Z68A integrates the newest technology to future proof your system. The main feature is that this is the first on the market with PCI Express Generation 3. We have been sitting on PCIe 2.x for 4 years now, which limited us to 16GB/s bandwidth. The new PCIe 3.0 technology will double the bandwidth to 32GB/s leaving tons of room for future video cards. Standard features include the Intel Z68 chipset. This supports the newest 1155 Intel Sandy Bridge Processors. Memory support is up to 32GB of 2133(OC) DDR3 DRAM. The Z68A-GD65(G3) also comes with the Military Class II technology. Their "Mil Spec" uses Hi-c CAPs, Super Ferrite Chokes, and Solid State Capacitors for extreme stability. The Z68A uses the newest UEFI with the ClickBIOS II software for a full GUI within the Windows environment. There are 4 total SATA III ports (2 being Marvell controlled, 2 being Intel controlled) and 4 Intel controlled SATAII ports. 2 USB 3.0 ports are integrated in the back panel I/O while there is expansion for 2 more with the included internal connector. Integrated audio uses the Realtek ALC892 chipset.