MSI H57M-ED65 Motherboard
By Gabriel Torres on January 20, 2010
Motherboards based on the new H55, H57 and Q57 chipsets are targeted to the new Core i3 and Core i5 processors with integrated video, and MSI has so far released four different models based on H55 and one model based on H57, H57M-ED65 (a.k.a. MS-7587), which brings lots of extra features. Let’s take a look at this motherboard.
The main differences between H55 and H57 chipsets is the support of RAID feature on H57, the support of up to 14 USB 2.0 ports on H57, against 12 on H55, and the presence of eight PCI Express lanes on H57, against six on H55.
It is important to understand that with socket LGA1156 CPUs the integrated video is produced by the processor and not by the motherboard chipset, as it occurred until now. There are processors with integrated video and processors without this feature. The board has only the interface and connectors necessary to route the video signal generated by the CPU. You can install CPUs with an integrated video processor or without, but with CPUs without a video processor you won’t have on-board video, needing an add-on video card. Of course with a processor with integrated video you still have the option to install an add-on card and disable its video engine. For a more detailed explanation, please read our Core i5-661 review.
As you can see in Figure 1, MSI H57M-ED65 is a microATX motherboard.
MSI H57M-ED65 comes with two x16 PCI Express 2.0 slots supporting CrossFire (but not SLI) and two x1 PCI Express slots. The second PCI Express x16 slot works at x4, while the first one always work at x16. It is important to note that this motherboard does not bring any standard PCI slot and this may be a drawback if you intend to add an expansion card based on this bus.
Socket LGA1156 CPUs, like socket LGA1366 and AMD processors, have an embedded memory controller. All other Intel CPUs use an external memory controller, which is located on the north bridge chip (a.k.a. MCH or Memory Controller Hub) from the chipset. This means that with other Intel CPUs the chipset (and thus the motherboard) is the component that says what memory technologies and the maximum amount of memory you can have on your PC.
Since now the memory controller is inside the CPU, it is the processor, and not the chipset, that defines the memory technologies and the maximum amount of memory you can have. The motherboard, however, may have a limitation as to how much memory can be installed.
At the moment, the integrated memory controller of socket LGA1156 processors supports only DDR3 memories up to 1,333 MHz under dual-channel architecture, but MSI H57M-ED65 supports memories working up to 2,133 MHz, through overclocking. You can have up to 16 GB, if you install four 4 GB modules.
The first and the third sockets are black, while the second and the fourth are blue. In order to achieve the maximum performance, you should install two or four memory modules to enable the dual-channel architecture. When only two modules are used make sure to install them on the black sockets. If you install them on the blue ones the computer won’t turn on.
Intel H57 chipset is a single-chip solution. The basic features provided by this chipset include six SATA-300 ports with RAID support (RAID 0, 1, 5, 10), no support for parallel ATA (PATA) ports, 14 USB 2.0 ports supporting port disable, embedded Gigabit Ethernet MAC (Medium Access Control) and eight x1 PCI Express lanes.
MSI H57M-ED65 provides all the six SATA-300 ports, plus a seventh SATA-300 port controlled by a JMicron JMB363 chip. Four of the SATA connectors are placed rotated 90° and facing the motherboard edge, so they won’t be blocked if you install a long video card on the first PCI Express x16 slot. The other three connectors are placed a little bit close to the second PCI Express x16 slot, but in a position that the video card should not block them.
MSI H57M-ED65 has one eSATA-300 port on its rear panel, also controlled by the JMicron JMB363 chip.
Even though Intel H57 chipset does not provide a parallel ATA port, MSI H57M-ED65 has one, also controlled by the JMicron JMB363 chip.
From the 14 USB 2.0 ports supported by the chipset the motherboard comes with 12 of them, four soldered on the rear panel and eight available through four motherboard headers. Two FireWire (IEEE1394) ports are available, one on the rear panel and one through an internal header, controlled by a VIA VT6315 chip.
This motherboard has a parallel and a serial port, shown in Figure 5. In order to use them you need adapters that don’t come with the product.
Audio is generated by the chipset using a Realtek ALC889 codec, which is a professional-grade component, allowing you to professionally work with this motherboard for audio editing and conversion (e.g., converting LPs and VHS tapes to digital format) without the need of an add-on audio card. The audio section provides 7.1 audio with 24-bit resolution, 108 dB signal-to-noise ratio for the outputs, 104 dB signal-to-noise ratio for the analog inputs and 192 kHz sampling rate for both inputs and outputs. MSI H57M-ED65 comes with an on-board optical SPDIF output, making it a perfect product for a high-end media center or audio editing computer. You can have one coaxial SPDIF output by installing an adapter (that doesn’t come with the board) on the available SPDIF out header available on the motherboard. Analog audio outputs use completely independent jacks, so you can hook-up an analog surround speaker system up to 7.1 without needing to “kill” the line in and/or mic in jacks.
MSI H57M-ED65 has a Gigabit Ethernet port controlled by a Realtek RTL8111BL controller, which is connected to the system through a PCI Express x1 lane, thus allowing this port to achieve its maximum performance.
In Figure 6, you can see the motherboard rear panel with Mouse PS/2 connector, keyboard PS/2 connector, VGA output, DVI-D output, HDMI output, DisplayPort output, optical SPDIF output, FireWire port, four USB 2.0 ports, eSATA-300 port, Gigabit Ethernet port and independent 7.1 analog audio jacks.
As you can see, this motherboard has all kind of video connectors available today: VGA, DVI-D, HDMI and DisplayPort. However, only two of them can be used at the same time.
MSI H57M-ED65 comes with a high-end voltage regulator circuit called DrMOS and if we analyzed the circuit correctly, it has six phases for the CPU, one phase for the integrated memory controller and one phase for the integrated video controller.
Each phase doesn’t use discrete MOSFET transistors, but integrated circuits containing these transistors. Each “DrMOS” chip (Renesas R2J20602) features three MOSFETs inside (“high side,” “low side” and the driver) switching at 1 MHz, instead of the 250 kHz of traditional voltage regulators, in order to increase efficiency (i.e., less energy is wasted, causing the CPU and memory to pull less energy from the power supply compared to other designs). According to MSI one “DrMOS” phase is more efficient than four traditional phases because of that design.
This motherboard comes with a passive heatsink using a heatpipe on top of the “DrMOS” chips.
All capacitors used on the voltage regulator circuit and on the rest of the motherboard are solid and all chokes are ferrite models, which are better than iron chokes.
Please read our Everything You Need to Know About the Motherboard Voltage Regulator tutorial for more information.
See how this motherboard uses an EPS12V connector for the CPU.
In Figure 9, you can see all the accessories that come with this motherboard.
MSI H57M-ED65 has several overclocking options. It incorporates “OC Genie,” an automatic overclocking option available on some MSI motherboards that overclocks the system by simply pushing a button. According to MSI this fuction will also overclock the integrated graphics processor in future BIOS versions. It also has a “+” and a “-” button that allows you to increase or decrease the CPU base clock in 1 MHz steps. MSI H57M-ED65 has an on-board on/off button and an on-board clear CMOS button.
The main overclocking features found on this motherboard are:
Below you can see some screenshots from the motherboard setup.
MSI H57M-ED65 motherboard main features are:
MSI H57M-ED65 has tons of extra features for your Core i3 or Core i5 with integrated video, being the perfect choice if you are building a high-end HTPC (Home Theater PC) or a computer for editing and converting audio.
Audio is definitely the highlight of this motherboard, which uses a professional-grade audio codec providing impressive input and output signal-to-noise ratio (104 dB and 108 dB, respectively), which will allow you to edit audio with no white noise (background noise). Plus it comes with an on-board optical SPDIF output and independent 7.1 analog outputs.
This motherboard comes with all four video connections available today (VGA, DVI-D, HDMI and DisplayPort), so you will be connect your system to any kind of display without the need of any kind of adapter.
The voltage regulator circuit is another high point from H57M-ED65, using DrMOS technology, meaning that it operates at a higher frequency in order to achieve higher efficiency (lower power consumption), plus this motherboard only uses solid capacitors and ferrite chokes. Translation: high-quality components.
And we have overclocking, another highlight from the product, with the practical OC Genie, that allows you to overclock you system by simply pushing a button, “+” and “-” buttons on the motherboard for you to easily increase and decrease the CPU base clock, plus several overclocking options on the motherboard setup.
Another interesting feature from this motherboard is the presence of two PCI Express x16 slots, allowing you to install more video cards if you need more monitors attached or if you want to install two “real” video cards running under CrossFire mode.
In summary, we couldn’t find a single weak point on this motherboard (perhaps its price and it reaches the market?).