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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.

Firmware

Hopping into the BIOS, this first screen gives us basic information, including the build number (currently v.22.4). We applied this latest update in an attempt to fix an issue where our board would not save BIOS screen shots. We tried several different storage devices in all of the board's ports. Although it may be worth noting that the rear-panel USB 3.0 ports are attached to an add-in controller, the USB 2.0 ports are native and they did not work either. Fortunately, an MSI rep was kind enough to provide the BIOS images in our story. He used a higher-end host processor on his build, so you'll notice differences in the specs.

Pressing <Enter> on the CPU Ratio's Auto setting does nothing; you have to use the numeric [+] key to count up from eight to where you want to go. We stopped at 42 to remain consistent with our other board tests, and our Pentium was perfectly happy to run at 4.2GHz. We're less sure about the board's receptiveness to a higher frequency, though. In a couple of the tests you'll see, it actually lost performance when the Pentium was overclocked. We have not seen that behavior from any other platform.

Joe Trott is an Associate Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews motherboards, specializing in budget Intel chipsets.