MSI Haswell mobo caught on camera

CeBIT kicked off this morning in Hanover, Germany, and the first reports from the show floor are out. Among them: a sneak preview of an upcoming Haswell motherboard from MSI. Fudzilla got up close and personal to the board and snapped a couple of photos, which you can view here.

Fudzilla says the board is based on Intel's Z87 Express chipset—likely the successor to the enthusiast-focused Z77—and features an LGA socket incompatible with existing Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge CPUs. Intel is reportedly refusing to divulge the exact number of contacts in the socket, but Fudzilla claims there are 1150 of them. That would be five fewer than on Ivy's LGA1155 socket.

Another point of note: the board's lack of 32-bit PCI expansion. There are three PCIe x16 s-lots and four PCIe x1 slots, but folks looking to plug in old PCI sound cards or TV capture cards will have to look elsewhere. I don't see anything quite so radical going on with the I/O cluster, but there is a nice number of SuperSpeed ports (six of 'em) as well as dual HDMI outputs (along with DisplayPort and the usual assortment of optical and analog audio ports). It looks like MSI has skipped DVI connectivity, though.

Of course, it's pretty clear this is a pre-production board. The thing has an egg-yolk-yellow circuit board and heatsinks that look straight out of a circa-2001 Dell. I expect MSI will pretty it up in time for Haswell's launch, which is expected in early June.

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