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.