MSI Launches Eco Motherboards, Teases DDR4 and USB 3.1

MSI Eco Boards

MSI's Eco Proposition

MSI has keenly pursued gamers and hardcore enthusiasts for the past few years, and it's evident how they're restructured their product lines to focus on this segment, not only on motherboards and graphics cards, but also notebooks and AIOs. So it might seem strange at first that MSI announced a new Eco line of motherboards at Computex 2014. However, if you look at the focus given towards mini PCs, and especially Intel's NUC, it's not unthinkable that there can be a DIY market for this area. 

MSI's Eco Series targets home and SMB server setups which are needed to run 24/7.


So what are these Eco motherboards? In a nutshell, it's a concept design to enable a full PC to run with the same kind of power that a single light bulb draws. These Eco boards feature an optimized PCB design and pathing (MSI did not reveal exactly how this was achieved), plus an exclusive Eco Center Pro software that allows users greater control over the entire board, individually toggling power to various components such as USB and LAN in order to further reduce power draw. There are currently three mini-ITX boards in the Eco series: H97M Eco, B85M Eco, and H81M Eco.

This is an MSI B85M Eco board running on an Intel Core i7-4765T CPU, 8GB Kingston LoVo (low voltage) DDR3 1600 RAM, Kingston KC300 128GB SSD, FSP Aurum 92+ 550W PSU and Silverstone NT07-115X CPU cooler.

The whole system above draws just 15.3 Watts of power on average. To the right, you'll notice that a standard power saving incandescent light bulb already needs 17.5 Watts to run.

The Eco Center Pro offers users better control over power use of the motherboard.

Technology Prototypes

Along with the rest of they're newly launched 9 Series motherboards, MSI brought two special boards to Computex 2014. The first is based on the yet-to-be-released Intel X99 chipset. It will support upcoming Haswell-E processors and feature a new LGA 2011-3 socket plus 8 DDR4 memory slots for up to 64GB max memory. The second board is a prototype Intel Z97 board which features an additional ASMedia USB 3.1 controller. USB 3.1 is the next update to the USB standard which boosts maximum bandwidth to 10Gbps.

Early look at MSI's X99 Haswell-E board design.

MSI claims the world's first implementation of USB 3.1 in a current gen motherboard.

USB 3.1 functionality is based on a third party ASMedia Technology controller.