If you’re looking to build a budget PC, a good place to cut costs is the motherboard. There are a lot of micro ATX boards out there that have plenty of expansion slots, can support full-sized graphics cards, and that cost under $50. The motherboard we’re reviewing today, the MSI H110M Pro-VD Plus, does exactly that.
We’re using it in a budget $450 build you can see on the right along with the Thermaltake Versa H23 case. Our components will include the i3-6100 and the RX 470 Windforce from Gigabyte.
As the model number shows the Pro-VD Plus uses the H110 chipset. It’s a micro ATX motherboard that should fit in any micro, standard, or full-sized ATX case. Here’s a look at its specifications:
MSI H110M Pro-VD Specifications
|Model||MSI H110M Pro-VD Plus|
|Support / Chipsets||LGA 1151, H110|
|Memory||2x288 Pin, DDR4 2133, 32GB, Dual Channel|
|Expansion||1 x PCIe 3.0 x 16, 2 x PCIe 2.0x1|
|Storage||4x SATA 6Gb/s|
|Audio||Realtek ALC886, 7.1 channels|
|Onboard Lan||Realtake 8111H, 10 100 1000Mbps|
|Rear Ports||1 PS/2 mouse, 1 PS2 Keyboard, 1 DVI-D, 1 VGA, 1 RJ45, 2 USB 3.1, 2 USB 2.0 3 Audio Ports|
|Internal I/O||2 x USB 2.0 connectors (supports additional 4 USB 2.0 ports), 1 x USB 3.1 Gen1 connector (supports additional 2 USB 3.1 Gen1 ports), 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector, 1 x 4-pin ATX 12V power connector, 1 x 4-pin CPU fan connector, 1 x 4-pin system fan connectors, 1 x Front panel audio connector, 2 x Front panel connectors, 1 x TPM, 1 x Serial Port, 1 x Chassis Intrusion, 1 x Clear CMOS Jumper|
|Additional Specs||Micro ATX, 8.9" x 6.8", 24 Pin|
|Features||DDR4 Boost, VGA Armor, Click Bios, Audio Boost, Military Class 4, Guard-Pro, EZ Debug LED, Intel SBB Support|
Limitations to the H110 Chipset vs Z170 Chipset
The H110 chipset does have some limitations vs the Z170; however, if you understand and accept what these are before you begin your build, it shouldn’t be a big deal. First of all the H110 doesn’t support CPU overclocking or M.2. In addition, “supposedly” the H110 has 6 lanes that run at slower PCIe 2.0 speeds compared to the Z170 which has 20 PCIe 3.0 lanes. But the H110M from MSI states that it has 1 x PCI Express 3.0 x16. Tom’s Hardware recently showed that these limitations don’t matter and in fact, the H110 did just as well or better than the H170 chipset. The H110 board does in fact support a full 16 lanes of support for PCIe 3.
So for stock performance, the motherboard ultimately didn’t matter. By stock, I simply mean if you don’t plan on overclocking or tweaking in any sort of way. That’s why a motherboard like the MSI H110M Pro-VD Plus is so tempting where we bought it at just $40 after rebate.
MSI H110M Pro-VD In The Box
Here’s a look of everything that comes in the MSI H110M Pro-VD Plus’ box. It includes the installation CD, guide, motherboard, SATA cables, and rear port plate.
In short, a motherboard like this works perfectly for the gamer that’s building a budget build. For our build, we wanted as much of our budget as possible to go to the GPU and CPU. Adding an unlocked processor, z170 motherboard, and additional CPU cooler would’ve eaten up our budget. Instead, we used this motherboard and were able to build a cheap gaming PC capable of Ultra settings in 1080p for all major AAA titles available. Looking for a smaller motherboard? Here’s a list of our favorite SFF Mini ITX LGA 1151 boards.