Benchmark Results & Final Analysis
The test environment is unchanged from prior B150 and H110 reviews. We use an open-bed Lian Li T60 case, with only the motherboard different from one review to another.
MSI H110M Grenade
I’ve been asked to incorporate a suite of additional tests into future reviews. I'm very interested in reader feedback about how well this distinguishes one mainstream board from another, and whether it helps inform your buying decisions. This review may be the last one using the limited test suite that serves as a coarse look at each subsystem of these boards, checking for sluggishness or gimp.
Here are the test results, starting with PCMark8.
Today’s board cannot run the Work benchmark. We check all the usual suspects, and don't find a visible problem. Crashman’s suggestions along those same lines turn up no clues. Since the board runs every other test, some considerably more demanding, we're not going to blame the board for what is more likely a software issue. In any case, the scores are otherwise not remarkable, except that the vanilla board is slowest on the Creative test by a significant margin. We suspect the presence of the M.2 drive is assisting the two faster boards, because the slowest one lacks this feature.
There the H110M-A M.2 sits, right in the middle.
The only score here that is notably different is LAN throughput, where the H110M-A M.2 lags by almost 15%. Since we're using the stock drivers shipped with each board, it is possible that Asus’ are out of date. Referring to the features table, the choice of LAN controller (Realtek vs. Intel) is not the difference.
The DX11 and Extreme settings strongly favor today’s sample. We reloaded saved graphics drivers from a standard set, so we don’t have a clear explanation, unless Asus’ motherboard drivers for PCIe are simply better.
Less at idle, more under load. This is consistent with the better performance noted in the previous test; perhaps the performance improvement involves some kind of clocking default that also sucks down more juice, or perhaps having only three power phases prevents a more granular control.
The H110M-A M.2 does quite well Under the Noctua cooler, which is another reason to suspect the default Intel cooler of some kind of fitment issue. Even though this board uses more power under load, the CPU stays very comfortable.
Like other Asus boards I’ve owned, the H110M-A M.2 is solidly built, with quality components. In some cases, its performance is notably better, which, in our experience, is rare from one motherboard to the next. We’ve been more likely to find a deficit if there’s any real difference. To say that Asus’ H110M-A M.2 is not “Approved” (award wise) would be a disservice. Any board will have shortcomings, and if those of this particular model are not important (e.g. the lack of diagnostics or a potentially blocked PCIe2.0 x1 slot), a mainstream build will not suffer from it. That’s as far as I can go, though; I do play some games, and I do run multiple programs (six are open now, not counting system-tray applications like anti-virus, Steam, multiple driver interfaces, etc.), so I prefer to see more than 3+1 power phases, and lower power consumption matters more to me than it does to many others.
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