A surprisingly well-specified board for the lowest end of the market
Good added extras
Great use of higher-end parts
Some form factor niggles
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The H61 chipset is the budget end of the Sandy Bridge spectrum, but MSI is trying to add a little more value with its H621MU-E35.
There are a couple of routes to take if you are designing a motherboard for the value end of the market: do you just give the basics at a good price? Or do you add features you think people will want and indeed pay extra for in a board in this market segment?
They might both be built around Intel's value chipset and a Micro-ATX PCB, but there the similarity ends.
While Foxconn has stuck to the basics of the H61 chipset and even cut back on them, MSI has taken the standard features of the H61 and added to them with the likes of USB 3.0 and HDMI.
MSI's so called 'Military Class II' components have been added into the power circuitry – something normally associated with motherboards higher up the MSI food chain in – as have integrated audio and even that HDMI output.
All of which certainly gives it the edge over Foxconn's offering.