MSI H55M-ED55 LGA 1156 Micro ATX Motherboard Review
Specifications, Layout, Included Extras
MSI H55M-ED55 Technical Specifications (taken from MSI's website)
• Supports Intel i3 / i5 / i7 based processors
• Intel® H55 Chipset
- Supports QPI up to 6.4GT/s
- Hi-Speed USB (USB 2.0) controller, 480Mb/sec
- 6 SATAII ports with transfer rate up to 3Gb/s
- PCI Master v2.3, I/O APIC
- ACPI 2.0 compliant
• Supports four unbuffered DIMM of 1.5 Volt DDR3 1066/1333/1600*/2000*/2133* (OC) DRAM, 16GB Max
- Supports 1Gb/ 2Gb/ 4Gb DRAM size
- Supports Dual channel mode
• 2 PCI Express gen2 x16 slots
• 1 PCI Express gen2 x1 slot
• 1 PCI slot, support 3.3V/ 5V PCI bus Interface
• One Ultra DMA 66/100/133 IDE controller integrated in JMicron® 363.
- Supports PIO, Bus Master operation modes.
- Can connect up to two Ultra ATA drives.
• SATAII controller integrated in Intel H55 chipset
- Up to 3Gb/s transfer speed.
- Supports six SATAII ports by H55
• Chipset integrated by Realtek® ALC889
- Flexible 8-channel audio with jack sensing
- Compliant with Azalia 1.0 Spec
- Meet Microsoft Vista Premium spec
• Supports one PCI Express LAN 10/100/1000 Fast Ethernet by Realtek 8111DL
Internal I/O Connectors
- ATX 24-Pin power connector
- 4-pin ATX 12V power connector
- CPU x 1 / System x 3 FAN connectors
- CD-in connector
- Front panel audio connector
- Front panel connector
- 1 x chassis intrusion connector
- 3 x USB 2.0 connectors
- 6 x Serial ATAII connectors
- 1 x ATA133 connector
- 1 x OC Genie button
- 1 x Power button
- 2 x Base clock control buttons
- 1 x Clear CMOS jumper
- 1 x SPDIF-out connector
- 1 x TPM module connector
- 1 x Serial port connector
- 1 x Parallel port connector
Back Panel I/O Ports
- 1 x PS/2 Mouse / Keyboard port
- 1 x Optical SPDIF-out port
- 1 x eSATA port
- 6 x USB 2.0 ports
- 1 x RJ45 LAN Jack
- 1 x 6 in 1 audio jack
- 1 x HDMI port
- 1 x Graphic Card port
- 1 x DVI port
• The mainboard BIOS provides "Plug & Play" BIOS which detects the peripheral devices and expansion cards of the board automatically.
• The mainboard provides a Desktop Management Interface(DMI) function which records your mainboard specifications.
• 24.4cm(L) x 24.4cm(W) M-ATX Form Factor
• 6 mounting holes
MSI elegantly designed the graphics and marketing material for the H55M-ED55's retail packaging. They also chose to focus on the marketing the board's OCGenie capabilities as well as the HDDBackup application and ATi CrossfireX support.
The back panel goes into more detail about the OCGenie and DrMOS features. It also discusses the board's overall specifications and the available I/O back panel ports. This is one of the few times that I actually like how the information on the back panel is layed out and the data is easy to read, which is important to consumers browsing for a new motherboard upgrade.
After unboxing the H55M-ED55 we got a better look at the layout of this micro ATX motherboard. MSI used a black PCB and blue highlights on parts of the memory and PCIe slots. They also added better cooling for the power components and chipset than other typical H55 boards in its class. Another classy addition is the power button with the OCGenie button that is typically reserved for MSI's most expensive motherboards.
The back of the PCB is nothing special and only includes a small aluminum backplate right behind the CPU socket.
The back I/O panel supports a variety of devices with six USB 2.0 ports, Gigabit LAN jack, HDMI, VGA, DVI, eSATA, and a combo keyboard/mouse PS/2 port. They also added 8.1 audio support and one optical audio out port. This bundle of I/O ports should give any HTPC user every option then needed aside from USB 3.0 and SATA 6GB/s device support.
The H55M-ED55 supports two PCIe x16 slots, one PCIe x1, and one PCI slot for legacy devices. These PCIe x16 slots can handle multi-GPU CrossfireX graphics cards, which should give users up to 2.7 times better performance over a single graphics card solution. NVIDIA graphics card users will need to look elsewhere because this board doesn't include SLI support.
MSI added three more USB 2.0 headers that support six USB 2.0 devices. The front panel headers can be connected through the JFP1 header. The JFP2 header is available for the speaker and power LED.
There are six available SATA 3GB/s ports courtesy of the included H55 chipset. But, RAID users should know that there is no RAID support with this chipset.
There are also four buttons for increasing and decreasing the CPU base clock in one megahertz increments, power button, and the OC Genie button that will automatically overclock the CPU. Mainstream users will find these extra overclocking buttons very useful to get a small, but stable overclock to help increase their system's overall performance.
This board supports up to 16GBs of dual channel DDR3-2133 (OC), 2000 (OC), 1600, 1333, and 1066MHz memory. Support for this type of memory is pretty rare in mainstream motherboards so users should take advantage of it as a key selling point for consumers.
The real estate around the CPU socket should be more than adequate to install a third-party air-cooled heatsink or even a water block for a custom water-cooling system. Users should also appreciate the extra heatpipe cooling for the power components on the H55M-ED55. There's also an extra three-pin power connector, which will come in handy with a case that uses multiple fans to exhaust heat from your PC case.
The "included extras" with this motherboard are a bit scarce hardware wise, but MSI makes up for it with custom applications that will expand the capabilities of this motherboard.
The back I/O plate is color coded and includes symbols for each port that are easily recognizable to average and experienced users. There are also two SATA cables and a molex-to-SATA power cable included.
These USB and power header adapters help make installation much easier so users can plug in multiple jumpers into one header adapter. ASUS was the first to do this several years ago, and now many other vendors are including them with their motherboards.
Lastly, MSI included a Winki user guide, HDDBackup user guide, overall motherboard user guide, and all the drivers and utilities supported by the H55M-ED55. Make sure to download the latest drivers and utilities at MSI's website instead of using the ones on this driver CD.