MSI has released its Eco series motherboards that are touted to have “unmatched” power efficiency, with up to 40% power savings. According to the company, the boards feature an optimized PCB design and traces that work together with its exclusive Eco Center Pro software. This allows better control over components like USB and LAN ports that can be turned off for power savings.
Currently, the H97M Eco is the only Intel 9 series board from the Eco family. The other two boards are from the previous generation 8 series; the B85M Eco and the H81M Eco. These boards were first unveiled at Computex 2014 where a B85M Eco-based system was demonstrated to operate at 15.3 watts, less power than a standard power saving incandescent light bulb.
Evidently, the H97M Eco is the highest end of the series. With its support for the upcoming 5th generation Intel processors, this board is the ideal choice for small businesses looking to future proof their IT investments. Like the B85M Eco, this Intel 9 series board comes with the Intel Small Business Advantage feature, allowing for central management of security and productivity issues. However, it’s not clear at this juncture if the H81M Eco supports Intel SBA.
According to its detailed specs page, MSI has tweaked the H81M Eco such that it supports Intel Rapid Storage Technology that actually isn’t officially supported by the Intel H81 chipset. Collectively, the boards don’t have any VRM heatsinks; in terms of expansion slots, they feature a single PCIe Gen 3.0 x16, two PCIe 2.0 x1 and one legacy PCI slot. The boards feature Intel Gigabit LAN controllers, SATA 6Gbps and USB 3.0 ports, which should suffice for simple productivity tasks. For detailed specifications, please visit the boards' respective product pages.