For its launch of the H170, B150, and H110 chipset announcements, MSI split its arsenal up into two categories: the Gaming series and the Pro series.
Of the new gaming series motherboards, two are based on the H170 chipset, six are based on the B150 chipset, and one is even based on the Z170 chipset that's been on the market for a couple of weeks now. The ATX-sized boards are the H170 Gaming M3, H170A Gaming Pro, B150 Gaming M3, and B150A Gaming Pro, while the B150M Bazooka, B150 M Bazooka D3, B150 Mortar, B150M Night Elf, and Z170M Mortar are the Micro-ATX format boards.
Diving In To The Gaming Boards
Placed side-by-side, the gaming boards all share a similar platform. The H170 Gaming M3, and B150 Gaming M3 both have the exact same board layout, and have the same I/O, with just a couple of small exceptions thanks to the difference in the Intel chipset (which you can read more about here).
For example, due to the limited number of PCI-Express lanes on the B150 chipset, the B150 Gaming M3 lacks an M.2 slot, while the H170 Gaming M3 can use the additional PCI-E bandwidth for a 32 Gb/s M.2 connection. Both of the boards have Killer networking adapters, VGA armor to strengthen the PCI-Expess slots, and dedicated sound hardware with support for Nahimic Audio.
It's the same story when you look at the H170A Gaming Pro next to the B150A Gaming Pro – they share the exact same board layout, with only a few minor I/O differences. These two boards up the ante over the M3 series, adding USB 3.1 Gen2 (10 Gb/s) support, Mystic Light with RGB lighting, EZ-Debug LEDs, and more. The best part is, you'll get all these extra features for just $10 more than their same-chipset M3 variants.
The B150M Bazooka and B150M Bazooka D3 are also two very similar boards. They largely share the same board layout and feature set, with the main difference between the two being that the D3 variant is built to support DDR3 memory, rather than the DDR4 memory that most 100-series motherboards support.
These Micro-ATX motherboards are built with a black and white color scheme, which so far we've mostly seen on the Krait series of boards from MSI. Black and white is something that the community had requested for a long time, as many folks prefer to theme their systems to something other than black and red, and black and white is a more universal palette. Both of these boards have just one PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot.
|MSI 100 Series Motherboards|
|Motherboard||Form Factor||Memory Support||M.2 Support||SATA Support||LAN||Audio||USB 3.1||MSRP|
|H170A Gaming Pro||ATX||4 x DDR4-2133||None||6 x SATA 31 x SATA Express||Intel I219-V||ALC1150||ASMedia ASM 1142 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 2||$129.99|
|H170 Gaming M3||ATX||4 x DDR4-2133||1 x M.2 Slot Key M||6 x SATA 31 x SATA Express||Killer E2400||ALC1150||None||$119.99|
|B150A Gaming Pro||ATX||4 x DDR4-2133||None||6 x SATA 31 x SATA Express||Intel I219-V||ALC1150||ASMedia ASM 1142 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 2||$119.99|
|B150 Gaming M3||ATX||4 x DDR4-2133||1 x M.2 Slot Key M||6 x SATA 31 x SATA Express||Killer E2400||ALC1150||None||$109.99|
|B150M Bazooka||mATX||4 x DDR4-2133||None||6 x SATA 31 x SATA Express||Realtek RTL8111H||ALC887||None||N/A|
|B150M Bazooka D3||mATX||4 x DDR3-1600||None||6 x SATA 31 x SATA Express||Realtek RTL8111H||ALC887||None||N/A|
|B150M Night Elf||mATX||4 x DDR4-2133||None||6 x SATA 3||Intel i219-V||Audio Boost 3||None||N/A|
|Z170M Mortar||mATX||4 x DDR4-2133||None||6 x SATA 3||Gbit LAN||HD Audio||None||N/A|
MSI did not reveal full details for its Z170M Mortar and B150M Night Elf motherboards, as these haven't gone into production just yet, but you can imagine these as being the slightly higher-end Micro-ATX boards with these chipsets. They come with more of MSI's key features, such as the VGA protector, Audio Boost 3 sound hardware, and onboard lighting. Most notably, however, they come with two PCI-Express x16 slots, enabling multi-GPU setups.
The Pro Boards
Regarding the Pro-series motherboards with the Z170, H170, B150, and H110 chipsets, MSI is planning to unveil a huge number of them. In fact, we can expect to see a grand total of 30 (yes, thirty) motherboards appear in the new Pro series over the coming weeks. MSI is currently working to finalize all the board designs for them, but the company told us that by the end of this month, all the information should be available. MSI will first be working on pushing out the ATX boards, followed by the Micro-ATX boards towards the end of the month.
The Pro series boards are aimed at gaming enthusiasts on a budget, but thanks to the business features inherent in the H170 chipset, they will work well for business systems, too. There is currently no solid word on availability.