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MSI Vs. Gigabyte: Motherboards, Graphics Cards, Reputation

Computers are sensitive devices. Hardware capable of sending electric voltages between different components at breakneck speed. Software that has to interpret commands and pass them along to the hardware with minimal errors. And, of course, users that are ready to push it to the limit and beyond. We need high-performance hardware. Let’s compare two of the leaders: MSI vs. Gigabyte.

Gigabyte and MSI are two of the most respected PC component brands available, and this respect is well deserved in both cases. MSI’s high-end devices are excellent, but their lower-end components are underwhelming. Gigabyte offers good all-around value for money, especially for gamers on a budget.

It is impossible to compare the two with only a few sentences. They each have their strong points and weaker points, and both have a loyal following in the market. They also create different hardware components, and results may differ between these. Let’s take some time to evaluate MSI and Gigabyte on different levels to determine where they shine and where they fall short.

MSI Or Gigabyte: Who Has The Most Reputable Brand?

MSI vs. Gigabyte
MSI vs. Gigabyte brand comparison

Both MSI and Gigabyte have strong brands. Incidentally, both were founded in 1986 and have grown their brands since then. Three decades is a long time in the computer industry, and any business that can survive that long must have a good reputation and loyal following. MSI and Gigabyte are no exceptions. There are fans on both sides and loyalists that will never voluntarily use anything else.

Most people see Gigabyte as the one with the better reputation, mainly because there were some compatibility issues during the early 2000s when MSI motherboards would not work correctly with graphics cards that were non-MSI. These cases were isolated but caused enough of a problem for MSI’s image that many people started avoiding them or recommending Gigabyte components.

That has been changing lately. MSI started focusing on gaming extensively. They even overtook Alienware as the most popular gaming laptop brand globally. This has improved their reputation to such an extent that many people now purchase MSI exclusively and promote it with their friends. Still, in terms of being the most reputable brand, MSI and Gigabyte are solidly tied for now.

MSI Or Gigabyte: Which Offers The Best Customer Service?

According to Trustpilot, both MSI and Gigabyte leave much to be desired in customer service. The raw ratings are not the only criteria to go by, of course, but it does give a good idea, and that does not look good. On TrustPilot, Gigabyte has an 81% “Bad” rating from 257 votes, while MSI only has 44% “Bad” from 112. This is a clear indication that there’s room for improvement.

MSI is plagued by slow response times primarily. Even on their official support forums, it could take hours to get a reply, even on a simple topic, and the answers tend to be generic and terse. Email support generally has similar results. Telephone support seems to be a bit hit-and-miss, depending on how helpful the representative is. Still, ratings indicate that MSI leaves more customers happy.

Based on public forum discussions, Gigabyte’s support team is even slower to respond than MSI’s. Still, most people claim they received detailed and helpful assistance once they finally received a response. Whereas it seems like MSI’s customer service staff assumes everyone is an IT guru, Gigabyte believes the opposite. This could be frustrating for IT pros, but it is a better default mode.

MSI Vs. Gigabyte Motherboards

These companies both established their places in the industry long before the acronym “GPU” was heard in the common tongue. Motherboards were the components that they cut their teeth on. And we can’t even say that it was easier in those days since we didn’t need such high-performance machines. CPUs and motherboards were the two main performance factors back then.

When it comes to determining the best motherboards, it’s not so much about the brands and more about the models. Both MSI and Gigabyte manufacture entry-level, mid-range, and high-end motherboards. We have to compare similar models based on similar chipsets to determine a clear winner. But let’s compare them based on the features, components, and overclocking capabilities.

MSI Vs. Gigabyte Motherboards: Connectivity And Features

In terms of features, it’s clear that both brands have different focus points. Though none of their features really stand out from the other, and the results of the various features are challenging to quantify and compare, it is clear from their respective fanbases that these features do make a difference and make the specific brand’s motherboards good value for money.

Gigabyte claims to feature their trademarked 333 Onboard Acceleration, which speeds up communication speeds on both the internal and external bus. This reportedly affects USB, SATA, PCIe, NVMe, and M.2 data transfer speeds to allow for faster data communications. Users claim it works, with some reporting up to a 14% speed improvement over other motherboard brands.

MSI’s focus is more on gaming-related improvements over purely faster communications. Their motherboards are heavier (for example, 4.45 pounds, compared to Gigabyte’s 2.95 pounds on a similar motherboard). This is due to larger and more solid heatsinks for more effective cooling. MSI’s boards also tweak the memory speed and bus size, allowing for more RAM and storage capacity.

In terms of connectivity, there are few differences between the two brands since their connectivity is comparable on similar devices. Unfortunately, it would seem that some of MSI’s motherboards lack some bare essentials, like built-in WiFi connectivity, which is pretty much standard with high-end boards by other brands like Gigabyte. But these are minor differences, all things considered.

MSI Vs. Gigabyte: Which Motherboards Have The Best Components?

When it comes to motherboard components, Gigabyte and MSI are again fairly evenly matched since much of the component support is determined not by the motherboard manufacturer but by the chipset that the motherboard runs. This is usually determined by the CPU brand that the motherboard supports. The way those components are used may be different, however.

Gigabyte is excellent at providing a wider range of different components, even on their lower-end motherboards. They tend to include more USB ports and more specialist ports like Thunderbolt. They also have a component that allows BIOS FlashBack, which is a handy safety feature in case of BIOS failure. However, their components tend to be of lower quality than MSI’s.

MSI usually has fewer specialist components and not as many ports. But what MSI excels at is integrating higher quality components on their motherboards, which makes the motherboard less likely to fail while also allowing better overclocking support, which we will look at next. All in all, MSI is the winner in terms of the best components, even though they may have fewer of them.

MSI Vs. Gigabyte: Which Motherboard Is Better For Overclocking?

Today’s PC gamers are split between those who try to tap into every drop of power from their components, with or without the manufacturers’ blessing and those who believe that the limits are there for a reason and you should not tempt fate by pushing it. Whichever side you’re on, the fact is that overclocking is a vital part of many gamers’ experience.

As mentioned, MSI is excellent at including high-quality components on its motherboards. These higher-quality components, combined with more specialized cooling, should lead to better overclocking capabilities, and it often does. Most high-end MSI motherboards also include manual fan controls and a header for liquid cooling, giving you more control over your system’s cooling.

Gigabyte does not focus as much on making its motherboards more overclocker-friendly, and their components tend to be slightly lower quality. They do include simple overclocking features in their BIOS settings, though, and interestingly, their motherboards usually feature higher than MSI boards on independent overclocking benchmarks. Perhaps that is due to the 333 Onboard Acceleration.

MSI Vs. Gigabyte Motherboards: Conclusion

Both are excellent motherboards, and your choice will depend on what you need from your computer. If you need more than the standard four to six USB ports, or you need something specialist like Thunderbolt, Gigabyte is an excellent choice, though their higher-end motherboards tend to be a bit underwhelming compared to some others.

MSI is the option for those who want a more robust machine with meaner cooling systems and higher quality components. Their motherboards may be slightly more expensive, and their lower-end motherboards are often severely lacking, but they make an excellent quality product.

MSI Vs. Gigabyte Graphics Cards

Graphics cards are some of the most essential components in a desktop computer these days, especially for gamers and those working with high-end graphics like graphic designers or 3D modeling specialists. Having a powerful GPU on your side is sometimes more important than the CPU you have on your motherboard.

This is because the GPU is responsible for quantum calculations that are beyond the average CPU’s capabilities. Things like dynamically changing visuals and virtual physics are computed and executed by the GPU rather than the CPU. Still, the GPU is not the only factor determining good graphics performance. Other factors, like latency, graphics memory, and cooling, also play a role.

The best graphics card manufacturers have to combine all these factors and more in the right way to create a genuinely unique graphics card. A higher-quality graphics card with a weaker GPU will often have better performance than a better GPU on a lower quality card. MSI and Gigabyte are both known for their excellent graphics cards, but which one is best? Let’s compare them and see.

MSI Vs. Gigabyte: Which Graphics Cards Have The Best Cooling?

Because of the extreme nature of the GPU’s calculations, heat is a sizeable problem, and excellent cooling is essential. Even more so if you want to overclock your GPU. Yes, custom cooling is an option, even for graphics cards, but it’s even better if you can get efficient cooling straight out of the box. MSI and Gigabyte both have excellent cooling on their graphics cards.

MSI’s coolers and fans tend to be bigger and heavier than Gigabyte’s. This makes the product feel more high-end. Strangely, though, the opposite is often true. MSI’s graphics cards tend to run quite a bit warmer than those of Gigabyte, and there have been reports of problems with insufficient amounts of thermal paste on their GPUs and heatsinks coming loose while the fans are running.

In this regard, Gigabyte has a higher reputation. Their graphics cards have coolers that are not as heavy, and they may appear to be of lower quality. But their GPUs generally run a few degrees cooler than MSI’s, and there are no reports of insufficient thermal paste or heatsinks coming loose. Gigabyte would seem to be the clear winner in the arena of stock cooling for graphics cards.

MSI Vs. Gigabyte: Which Graphics Cards Have The Best Components?

The two primary components on a graphics card are the GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) and the video RAM. Either NVIDIA or AMD manufactures the GPU itself, so Gigabyte and MSI have no power over that. However, they can change the type and speed of the RAM and the way the GPU and RAM communicate, which is crucial for improving the performance of the devices.

MSI and Gigabyte mostly use the same amount and type of video RAM with the same GPUs. The difference between the two in terms of components is hardly worth mentioning. Gigabyte has an ace up its sleeve in this case, though. Using their 2 OZ Copper board design, they can get better communication speeds and lower latencies from their GPUs than MSI.

This improvement obviously leads to more frames per second for the power-hungry gamer while using less power than other graphics cards with similar performance. But it is essential to mention that this also causes the GPU to run much warmer than it would typically run, despite Gigabyte’s excellent cooling technology.

MSI Vs. Gigabyte: Which Graphics Card Is Better For Overclocking?

Overclocking a GPU, just like with a CPU, is a feature that some users love, and others avoid at all costs. It’s undeniable that tweaking the voltages and clock speeds can squeeze some more juice out of your graphics cards, but it could also cause damage through overheating. Some graphics cards are better at this than others.

Graphics card overclocking is where MSI shines. Their one-second overclocking feature, combined with a built-in external clock generator, makes overclocking super easy, barely an inconvenience. The quality of MSI’s components also makes the cards handle overclocking better and less prone to damage from extra heat.

Gigabyte features better out-of-the-box overclocking, though. A newly purchased Gigabyte graphics card is usually already overclocked to a moderate extent, leading to excellent graphics performance. Though this is great, MSI is a better option for those who want to overclock their devices themselves to see how much they can improve their graphics performance.

MSI Vs. Gigabyte Graphics Cards: Conclusion

Both MSI and Gigabyte graphics cards are excellent. Differences are less pronounced than between their motherboards, and chances are you will be happy with whichever one you choose. Those with a lower budget but do not want to sacrifice quality will do well with Gigabyte. For the hardcore gamers who like to push the limits, MSI is undoubtedly the better option to go for.

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I started building and fixing PCs in high school. After a couple of years of offering consultancy to a PC repair shop, I became the goto guy for all my acquaintances for PC/Laptop related buying advice or troubleshooting.