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MSI H81I LGA1150 Mini-ITX Motherboard (DDR3, 4x USB 3, 6x USB 2, HDMI, DVI, DSUB, GBE, LAN)
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- 10X Faster Than USB 2.0
- Up to 5Gb/s Data Transfer Bandwidth
- Boost Transfer Rate Between Your PC and External Storage Devices
- Unleash True Performance of New HDDs/SSDs
- Automatically Detect the BIOS/Driver/VGA/Utility Update
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MSI's new Military Class 4 components support you while you are questing, racing, battling and shooting your way to the top. MSI's Military Class 4 components deliver record-breaking stability when you need to keep cool in the heat of battle. The new standard in stability built on a proven technology of high quality components. The core of Military Class 4 is based on the essentials which increase your stability in the worst conditions. The humidity protection and high temperature protection ensure your system surviving each environment, no matter how harsh. The new structure of the PCB limits EMI radiation. On top of that all the connectors have ESD protection in order to prevent short circuit. OC Genie 4 supercharges your speed experience!
MSI H81I Motherboard
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Luckily, it turned out this one, despite being cheaper than the rest, was perfectly compatible and fit my needs quite well. I can also confirm it being compatible with Intel i5 4590 (and likely all other Haswell CPUs) out of the box.
I'd also like to point out I initially got a broken motherboard - the CPU pins were bent, the CPU socket cover was removed and the SATA cables were missing. I immediately asked for a replacement and got a new one the next day (which was Sunday!). This was in no way Amazon's or MSI's fault, but rather some horrible customer before me who had no idea how to put the CPU, bent the pins and then returned the product to get a different one. Hope this was a one-of-a-kind incident, but just in case immediately test your components, no matter what you buy and look for those obvious signs of a used component as soon as it arrives.
There's a BIOS option called "MSI Fast Boot". NEVER turn this on - unlike "Fast Boot" (which is a distinct option), this one is "even faster" (as in, half a second), courtesy of completely skipping any possibility of entering the BIOS settings. I did this before installing any OS and couldn't boot anymore, so I had to do a CMOS reset to recover. Seriously, I see no real point in enabling this option.
Finally, a word of warning if you update the BIOS (note: I only did it for the hell of it; there was no true need): around 60% of the update, my PC just powered off. I was afraid something gone wrong, so I turned it on again, after which it turned off after 10 seconds. I was afraid the motherboard might be bricked, but when I turned it on again, it turned out everything is fine and the BIOS is updated, so I assume this is a normal part of the process.
My £30 cpu off ebay clocked to 4.2 ghz without any manual tweaking of voltages.
(Simply press delete on startup to enter bios, click on the overclock menu box, highlighting the cpu ratio and over-type '42', press enter to confirm, backspace to main bios menu and exit with 'save settings and reboot' option.)
You will need 8gb of 1600mhz RAM. The intel stock cooler should cope if you keep your overclock down to 40 or 42.
The board is a small M-ATX (22x18 cm) which allows it to fit in some mini-ITX cases like the great value Kolnik Satellite, which takes a standard ATX Power Supply and full size Graphics Card in a volume of around 14 liters.
To complete my budget value 1080p compact gaming rig, I added second hand GTX 670 for £75 off ebay and a 1TB 2.5 inch Hybrid sshd new from Amazon.
Second hand socket 1150 intel chips tend to be very reliable, so in 2017 I would not waste money on a 'new' cpu for this pre-Skylake/Kabylake board.
Paired with a G3258 and everything seems to work. Overclocked on stock voltage (auto in BIOS) to 4.2Ghz. Word of warning, when overclocking on B and H motherboards, you CANNOT overclock AND use adaptive voltage BIOS setting, it's a choice of either or.
If you try to use both, adaptive voltage will take presidents and throttle the core clock to stock speed - only Z chipset motherboards can do both. Took me a while to figure this out but you do have the choice of dynamic clock speed and all the other energy saving settings. If you have a low power no overclock BIOS setting saved though for, I don't know, word-processing or some other low CPU intensive tasks, and have adaptive voltage set, with a G3258 you can get the TDP down to as low as 3 when idle.
The graphical BIOS is much easier to operate than traditional ones although it can be a bit overwhelming at first with the sheer number of options, especially for the boot choices.
It has failed to see my SSD a couple of times when booting but I have since updated the BIOS and hopefully it will not happen again.
The only frustrating thing is setting the case fan to temperature controlled doesn't seem to be working, it always runs at 100%. I will have to look into that further.