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MSI H55M-ED55 review

A solid board at a sensible price, but lacking the latest storage interfaces

Our Verdict

A solid board at a sensible price. Lack of USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gbps seperate it from greatness.

For

  • Excellent all round performance
  • OC Genie actually works

Against

  • No USB 3.0
  • No SATA 6Gbps

Mega money mobos with features to match are all very well. But most mere mortals want a mobo that ticks all the important boxes without threatening their mortgage payments.

At £70, the MSI H55M-ED55 is competitively priced for a board with Intel's LGA1156 socket. Thanks to the H55 chipset, it gives you plenty of options too.

Performance freaks can drop in a quad-core Core i7, hook up a discrete graphics card and watch the frame rates flow. Those on a tighter budget have the option of using Intel's dual-core CPUs with integrated graphics.

The MSI H55M-ED55's microATX form factor also strikes a handy balance between features, size and cost. With two PCI-e x16 slots along with further PCI-e x1 and PCI ports, expansion options are well catered for. Certainly, the H55M-ED55 is much more flexible than a Mini-ITX board such as the Gigabyte H55N-USB3.

Likewise, six SATA ports will be more than enough for most systems even if it's a shame none of them offer 6Gbps connectivity. Plenty of USB ports and headers are also provided but, again, none are USB 3.0 compliant.

Is the MSI H55M-ED55 a mainstream mobo designed to deliver maximum value or a performance-oriented board aimed at gamers? Actually, it's a little bit of both.

MSI h55m ed55

Extra features

Priced around £70, it's one of the cheaper LGA1156 boards currently available. It also eschews technological trinkets such as support for multi-GPU graphics technology.

Yes, there are two physical PCI-e x16 slots. But if you populate both, only one delivers 16 lanes of bandwidth while the other is limited to four lanes.

MSI has also opted not to spend money on adding chips for USB 3.0 or SATA 6Gbps. That's hardly the stuff of which world beating boards are made. Look a little closer, however, and you will find a few features normally exclusive to more expensive motherboards.

Most notable is the OC Genie button, MSI's auto overclocking utility. Flick the switch, reboot and the board takes around 30 seconds to discover what it reckons are the optimal overclocked settings.

In the case of our 2.93GHz Intel Core i7 870 test chip, the result is 3.6GHz with a baseclock of 188MHz. That's not the maximum you'll get out of an 870 processor, but it is a useful boost and much more than you typically get from auto-overclocking utilities.

Do the job manually and 210MHz from the baseclock is possible. As for stockclocked performance, the news is just as good with the exception of our World in Conflict game benchmark. That particular result is a little low compared to other H55 boards, but reflects the occasional vagaries of game benchmarks more than it does the capabilities of the mobo.

Tech Specs

Product TypeDesktop Motherboard
Chipset ManufacturerIntel
Chipset ModelH55 Express
Multi GPU SupportedCrossFireX
Onboard VideoOn-board Video Chipset
Number of PCI Express x16 Slots2
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Processor SocketSocket H LGA-1156
Brand NameMSI
Form FactorMicro ATX
Processor SupportedCore i5, Core i7, Core i3, Pentium
Total Processor Supported1
Maximum Memory16 GB
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityWEEE
64-bit ProcessingYes
Number of Memory Slots4
Number of PCI Slots1
Graphics Controller Memory512 MB
Audio Channels7.1
Fast EthernetYes
Number of IDE Interfaces1
Number of SATA Interfaces7
QuickPath Interconnect6.40 GT/s
Number of Total Expansion Slots4
eSATAYes
HDMIYes
DVIYes
Network (RJ-45)Yes
Total Number of USB Ports6
PS/2 PortYes
Number of PS/2 Ports1
Total Number of Onboard USB Ports3
Number of Onboard USB 2.0 Ports3
PCI Express StandardPCI Express 2.0
Total Number of PCI Express Slots3
Processor TechnologyHyper-Threading Technology
Width244 mm
Depth244 mm
ManufacturerMicro-Star International Co., Ltd
Product ModelH55M-ED55
Product NameH55M-ED55 Desktop Motherboard
Controller TypeSerial ATA/300, Ultra ATA/133 (ATA-7), Ultra ATA/100 (ATA-6), Ultra ATA/66 (ATA-5)
Manufacturer Part NumberH55M-ED55 WIFI
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.msicomputer.com
Marketing Information

The H55M-ED55 Series mainboards are based on Intel H55 chipsets for optimal system efficiency. Designed to fit the advanced Intel LGA1156 processor, the H55M-ED55 Series deliver a high performance and professional desktop platform solution.