The MSI Z77A-GD80 is really nothing more than a GD65 with a Thunderbolt chip. That Thunderbolt chip works fine, although we have only been able to test it in combination with a Western Digital Thunderbolt hard drive. It's nice that the modern interface has finally made the transition from Apple to the Windows environment, but it will be some time before Thunderbolt is fully established on Windows PCs. This means that it's likely not the last time that the bundled software for Thunderbolt devices only supports Mac, as was the case with the Western Digital external hard drive.
In our Z77 motherboard round-up we were already excited about the MSI Z77A-GD65 and it earned our Hardware.Info Silver Award, so does this extend to the GD80? That brings us to the following point, the price. The GD65 you can find for around £153, while the GD80 will set you back about £185. This means that you end up paying an additional £32 for the Thunderbolt connector, which is perfectly reasonable.
In terms of performance and features the Z77A-GD80 is an excellent motherboard. We already liked the MSI Z77A-GD65, and we are just as excited about the MSI Z77A-GD80. It therefore earns our Hardware.Info Silver Award.