A new wave of Intel processors hit the market earlier this month at the annual Consumer Electronics Show and along with these new Socket LGA1156, dual-core mainstream models for both the mobile and desktop, there are new chipsets to support them. Indeed, there are plenty of new model names to add to the jargon but here to shed some light, we present you with the MSI H57M-ED65, which is based on the Intel H57 Express.
This MSI board is our first look at the Intel H57 Express chipset. Our experience so far has been with the rather similar H55 Express. So what's the main difference between the two? From the specifications, besides having two more USB 2.0 ports and a couple more PCIe 2.0 ports, the Intel H57 Express chipset comes with RAID functionality, which is the major difference between the two. When choosing between the two chipsets, that should be the question you need to ask yourself.
Like the H55 chipset, the H57 has Intel's Flexible Display Interface (FDI) that is able to take advantage of the integrated graphics core on the Clarkdale family of Intel Core i5/i3/Pentium processors. These processors have the graphics core built into the CPU packaging and the integrated graphics, dubbed Intel HD Graphics, is competent at playing 1080p HD content.
Adding to its suitability as the platform for media center buffs is the chipset support for bitstreaming of Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio via HDMI, a feature that only the Radeon HD 5800 series can boast of having.
MSI has enhanced the basic chipset features with its own proprietary touches. Top on that list is the vendor's OC Genie feature, a one-button overclocking tool that makes it very easy and convenient for casual users to boost their performance. It was a bit of a surprise finding such a feature on a mainstream board but that's not all. Users can slowly increment the overclocked frequency on the fly through onboard controls.
Other impressive features include SuperPipe, a thicker heat-pipe design, MSI's DrMOS, which promises better energy efficiency and an all-round emphasis on quality with solid capacitors and an excellent layout design that meant everything onboard was accessible and user-friendly.
With the enhancements made by MSI, one expects this motherboard to be slightly more expensive than the standard H57 motherboard. And it would be worth the extra if you're the kind to get the best for yourself.