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MSI H81M-E35 V2 Motherboard Review

Today we're taking a look at another mainstream LGA1150 board: MSI's H81M-E35 V2. We'll determine what an enthusiast might give up by choosing a low-cost platform.

How We Tested

As before, this motherboard was set up on an open-bed test case. All components were the same as those used in our recent reviews.

Test System Configuration

CPU CoolerBoxed Cooler
SoundIntegrated HD Audio
NetworkIntegrated Gigabit Networking

Software

GraphicsNvidia 347.25

For comparison purposes, our results are compared to those from the recent three-board mini-ITX review, which you can read here.

Benchmark Suite

PCMark 8Version: 2.3.293, Work, Home, and Creative Benchmarks
SiSoftware SandraVersion: 2015.01.21.15, Memory Bandwidth
Crystal DiskMark 3.03Sequential Read
Unigine Heaven 4.0Version 4.0, Built-in Benchmark DirectX 9, Low Detail, 1280x720, 2xAA, No Tessellation

As before, stock and overclocked settings are needed to generate comparative data. Spoiler: they're fairly bland. We used a Kill A Watt meter rather than the readout of the UPS. With the system off, the UPS on its own draws about 6W.

We're only running the sequential test in CrystalDiskMark because we're interested in testing the chipset's SATA interface and USB 3.0 throughput, not the attached drives. Similarly, we looked for bandwidth differences in the RAM only. This time, we did throw in the additional custom Heaven setting we used before. While it's not explicitly relevant to motherboards, we decided it was useful enough to show that even minimal tweaking can be worthwhile.

  • g-unit1111
    I have the H81M-E33 version of this board and after a year of use with a Pentium G-3258 it's still held up surprisingly well. I would definitely recommend these boards in a heart beat.
    Reply
  • Onus
    I think that's the one that Eric reviewed, and gave it an award. For basic boxes they're an excellent choice; much better than the schlock out there. A mere two SATA ports ought to be a deal-breaker for any rational builder.
    Reply
  • littleleo
    Will this board support Broadwell CPUs?
    Reply
  • Crashman
    16445254 said:
    Will this board support Broadwell CPUs?
    No.
    http://us.msi.com/support/mb/H81M-E35.html#support-cpu

    Unlike DRAM, where similar modules that haven't been tested will probably work, CPUs usually need new firmware specifically written to support them. So you should take MSI's word that it's a no-go.
    Reply
  • f-14
    this is a good basic entry level gamer board i have been building with since core 2 duo (G41M-P33 and such) for kids and college students who only want to spend the minimal on a decent gamer. i typically pair this with an Nvidia X60 series graphics card and a 22" monitor and a 460W-500W PSU with a low budget case or lower budget decorative windowed case with the best cfm to noise ratio led fans, usually kingwins.

    i try to buy the 4 ram slot versions incase future requirements change and it's cheaper and easier to add in than replace all the ram.
    Reply
  • RedJaron
    16444324 said:
    I think that's the one that Eric reviewed, and gave it an award. For basic boxes they're an excellent choice; much better than the schlock out there. A mere two SATA ports ought to be a deal-breaker for any rational builder.
    No, that was the E34. Looks like the main difference between this E35 and my E34 is the one PCI slot at the bottom. And I think your table is off, this looks like a 3+1 VRM. Actual value against the E34 is hard to compare. If you don't need that PCI slot, then why not save $5? However, if you do need it, an extra $5 isn't much.
    Reply
  • littleleo
    What uses a regular PCI slot any more? An old printer adapter?
    Reply
  • Onus
    Modems, cheap wireless adapters, some sound cards, and TV tuners may still use PCI slots. It seems unlikely to me that the average person would have one of those.
    Reply
  • RedJaron
    Or someone holding on to older, but still perfectly usable tech. If I bought an expensive PCI sound card years ago, I'd likely still use it, particularly if it had DDL. These cheaper boards are exactly the kind that people would get when upgrading older family computers and want to keep things affordable. I think it's very relevant for them to have a few legacy connectors. Older connectors on enthusiast and premium boards are a mystery to me.
    Reply
  • spentshells
    Nice review, I had an h61 which appears to be pretty much the same board with additional support, it worked great and was extremely stable.
    Reply