MSI is known mainly for its high-performance and gaming-oriented motherboard and graphics card products, which are often accented with red aesthetics and the familiar red dragon logo many enthusiasts have come to know over the years. However, MSI is going green (again) with its budget-and-environmentally-friendly lineup of Eco motherboards.
The company claimed that its second-generation Eco motherboards (like its predecessors) can deliver 100 percent performance in a more efficient package while operating in any power-saving mode. MSI said this is due to its PCB design, which preserves optimal performance while saving power, without undervolting the processor or lowering its clock speeds.
The new lineup of Eco motherboards support all Intel 6th generation (Skylake) Core-series processors, in addition to Skylake Pentium and Celeron chips. All three of these micro-ATX boards are optimized for S- and T-series processors, with support for single- and dual-channel DDR4 memory.
MSI's new Eco motherboards are available with three different chipsets -- an H170, a B150 and an H110. There are few differences between the motherboards, the most obvious being the platform. Each board features only two DIMM slots with support for up to 32 GB (2 x 16 GB) of DDR4-2133, one PCIe 3.0 x 16 slot, and two PCIe 3.0 x 1 slots. In addition, each of the Eco-series motherboards sport gigabit LAN ports, one DVI port, one HDMI port and one VGA port for video output.
The H170M Eco and B150M Eco each have four USB 3.1 (Gen 1) ports in the rear of the motherboard and two more USB 3.1 (Gen 1) ports and four USB 2.0 ports for front-panel access. Each of these two boards also features six SATA 6 Gb/s ports.
The H110M Eco, though, features only two USB 3.1 ports and two USB 2.0 ports in the rear, with support for four USB 2.0 front-panel ports and two USB 3.1 front ports. In addition, there are only four SATA 6 Gb/s ports on this particular motherboard. This makes the H110M Eco the least-featured (and likely least expensive) board in the lineup.
MSI's Eco-series motherboards also feature Eco Center Pro, the company's proprietary power efficiency software that can control case fan and LED power output in addition to offering three different power-saving operation modes (Eco mode, Lounge mode and Server mode).
The Eco-series lineup should be available soon from official MSI retailers, but pricing and official availability don't seem to be available yet.
Derek Forrest is an Associate Contributing Writer for Tom’s Hardware and Tom’s IT Pro. PC gaming, graphics hardware and VR devices are among his favorite topics to cover. He is a lifelong PC enthusiast, former IT administrator and a custom PC builder with a penchant for creating music, voice acting and all things geek.
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Doesn't reduce performance is a bit of a misnomer. The eco series chipsets are not Z series, they use B series. There isn't really any option for overclocking and the boards push the memory in single channel. So if you do not need the features of a Z series, do not overclock, these do what they are designed for. But what's the point of sticking these features in a Z series Gaming board? Someone would overclock that and the power savings would be rendered worthless, and they aren't using the S and T series low wattage CPUs they are using K series. And then the cost savings would go out the window with the added cost of more VRMs, more heat sinks and the rest to support that usage.
You can have power efficient and cheap, or you can have performance and features... you can't have it all in the same package.
Also going green often means using different solders and other items to reduce toxicity. These hold fine under normal usage with low wattage parts, they crap out instantly with high wattage parts. You can't have enviro friendly and high end performance, doesn't mix.
LOL, I can imagine a question like this will come up soon. ;)
Anyways, those mobos look great. I'd consider that for a HTPC..
Haha, just kidding. obviously...
Oh I didn't realize the single memory channel and limited chipset. But the LED customization, the features to shut off certain parts of the board (Eco Center Pro software compatibility), high efficiency voltage regulators (if better in these green mobos) should be across all their motherboards, with performance as #1 priority in performance models. They use less toxic lead in these mobos? Do they have an endurance line too (I'll google)? All the solder on motherboard these days are lead free I think but I don't really know. Not sure how spendy these green mobos are.
"You can't have enviro friendly and high end performance, doesn't mix." They can try. Features, performance and then efficiency as much as possible, some added cost. Tesla Motors. had to say it. Though their EV takes more power per mile than the other ones.
The H170M is dual channel memory.
The H170M is dual channel memory.