Msi b85

     

We believe in the value of Intel"s B85 platform controller hub, but can MSI turn that impressive piece of silicon into a motherboard we"d recommend to lớn budget builders?

ByJoe Trottpublished đôi mươi October 15

Comments (14)

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I suspect there is a niche that would appreciate this board, và is willing to pay the price premium lớn get it. For everyone else, though, there are better choices, typically for less money. With a few BIOS fixes và $10-$15 off the price, this could be an award winner, but not today.

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Pros+

Quality components used • Plenty of ports • Clear layout • Speaker header • Front và rear USB3.0 • Four DIMM slots • Heat sinks on VRMs • Three year warranty


Cons-

No pilot or diagnostic LEDs • BIOS anomalies • Poor RAM overclocking • High price • Minimal accessories


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Specifications & Overview

Offering a notable step up from the entry-level H81, Intel"s B85 platform controller hub seems like a good choice for anyone looking for more DIMM slots, more USB 3.0 or a couple of extra SATA 6Gb/s ports. Today, we"re looking at another B85 board, MSI"s B85-G41 PC Mate, which employs the ATX size factor. Priced right around $75, we want to know if its real value matches up with the perceived benefit of a low-cost, yet fully-featured platform.


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This motherboard uses the ALC887 audio codec, a mainstream part that is a little better than the low-end ALC662 found on the cheapest boards. It offers 97dB SNR on the outputs, but only 90dB SNR on the inputs. In most cases, that"s fine, although audio professionals will naturally find themselves looking elsewhere. Lacking an optical S/PDIF port and equipped with just three 1/8" audio jacks, MSI clearly didn"t kiến thiết this board to be the center of a home theater.

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The B85-G41 PC Mate uses a Realtek network controller as well, and does not include a wireless adapter. It includes connectivity for two front USB 3.0 ports, two rear USB 3.0 ports, four front USB 2.0 ports và four rear USB 2.0 ports, which is as many as most mainstream users will need. You"ll find a blue heat sink covering the voltage regulation circuitry, & I observed four sets of larger solder points under the board for chokes, suggesting the 3+1 arrangement noted in the specification chart.


Notice that the intro BIOS screen is not consistent with the Pentium G3258 I used for testing. This is because, as was the case with a previous MSI board, the B85-G41 PC Mate would not save screen shots. & that"s one of several BIOS-related issues I discovered. Special thanks to lớn the MSI team for providing the screenshots we were able to lớn include in our review.


Overview

MSI bundles the standard accessories typical of a mainstream board, including a glue-bound manual (meaning it won"t lie flat) in English, German, French & Russian. The manual actually covers three distinct platforms: the one we"re reviewing, a Z87 variant & an H87-based version. It"s not particularly difficult lớn figure out which specifications apply to lớn each. You also get a driver CD, an I/O shield and a couple of SATA 6Gb/s cables. We"d lượt thích to see even entry-level boards include three, since two aren"t enough lớn cover an optical drive, SSD and a storage drive.