MSI’s Eco motherboards let owners fine-tune power consumption

While we Americans are still sleeping off our Thanksgiving celebrations, MSI has unveiled some Skylake-compatible updates to its Eco series of motherboards: the H170M Eco, B150M Eco, and H110M Eco. MSI says this trio of Micro-ATX mobos sips power without giving up the performance or features of their non-Eco brethren. All three boards pack Intel Gigabit Ethernet and MSI's Audio Boost features.

These three boards look strikingly similar, apparently separated only by the PCH used. Each Eco motherboard comes with MSI's Eco Genie and Eco Center Pro utility. This tool allows users to turn off specific features and components to save energy. MSI supplies three power-saving presets, and users can further configure those profiles to their liking. Interestingly, some LEDs—even those that are usually always on, like power and Ethernet—can be turned off entirely.

MSI says that systems based on the Eco boards won't be hamstrung by those power-saving features. Each of the three profiles still allows the CPU to run at stock speeds.  The company says these boards are extra-durable, too, thanks to their "Military Class 4" components.

Ben Funk

Sega nerd and guitar lover

Comments closed
    • ronch
    • 4 years ago

    The Pentagon called. They want a shipload of these Military Class 4 motherboards. They were very specific. They won’t accept anything less than military-class quality for America’s defense purposes. They want all their computers to be outfitted with MSI boards soon. It’s been submitted to Congress for approval.

    • Welch
    • 4 years ago

    I’ve been using the H81M Eco and now the B85 version… they seemed to skip over the 9x series sadly… These have been my new favorites for my standard office build that uses an i3-4170. Pretty sweet power saving options, TUV rating and the board layout includes EVERYTHING needed for a solid and flexible desktop for an office.

    USB 3.0 header in a nice spot, the H81M even included a single PCI slot which sounds dumb but in this type of setting you don’t know when you need it. On-board HDMI, DVI and VGA which is great to KNOW regardless of the monitor type the user has, it can be reused. Dual monitor support of course (2 of the 3 ports usable at the same time). 3/4 (PWM) fan headers for more than just the front case fans.

    Solid Polymer caps, which at this point in time should be a standard thing. Just all around great boards so far. Sort of sad that I bought 4 x B85’s that just arrived today, would have loved to see the releases on these.

      • auxy
      • 4 years ago

      As the haswell Refresh platform only included high-end processors, only the high-end chipsets were updated: H97 and Z97. The low-end chipsets (H81, B85, and Q87) were not updated. (*´﹃`*)

      I’m sure the B85 versions of this board were fine B85 boards, but they’re really nothing special. All solid caps IS a standard thing on modern mainboards besides the absolute bottom of the barrel. As another poster said, this is just a marketing attempt to sell more low-end boards which are otherwise unremarkable. Even the video-outs thing you mention; I’d rather have VGA, DVI, and DP, rather than HDMI, since DVI and HDMI are the same thing and you can use a passive cable to connect the two.

    • FuturePastNow
    • 4 years ago

    Hmm, look like they’d be great for an office PC. Or mom and dad. But for a PC for my own use, only having two RAM slots is a dealbreaker- I use a computer for years and I want room to expand.

    Would be nice to see a review testing the power savings thoroughly.

    • Anovoca
    • 4 years ago

    I like the concept but I wish there were more layouts to choose from. With three models they could at least have changed the PCI/PCI-e configuration or put M.2 on one.

      • EndlessWaves
      • 4 years ago

      Looking at the feature list they do seem a bit dubious. While some of them like the missing 2 memory slots may be defensible in the name of power saving, others such as the VGA and PS/2 mouse ports suggest this is just added value scheme to help sell more budget boards rather than a committed attempt to make the best possible low power motherboard.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 4 years ago

      Since (I believe) the chipsets are pin compatible I’m sure there’s a cost reduction in play.

    • BillyBuerger
    • 4 years ago

    I would love to see a review of these and how much difference it can actually have on power consumption.

      • colinstu12
      • 4 years ago

      I think Toms had a review on their ECO boards earlier this year (or last yr?) showing the power usage and all the savings settings.

      They actually fared pretty good.. 5w+ savings IIRC… if not even more.

    • TruthSerum
    • 4 years ago

    This stuff should be standard on all boards!

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