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MSI AM1M review

Michael Passingham
17 Mar 2015
Expert Reviews Recommended Logo
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
24

The MSI AM1M is a superb-value microATX AM1 motherboard with all the features you could ask for and a great price

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Specifications

Processor socket: AM1, Dimensions: 237x169mm, Chipset: AM1, Memory slots: 2, PCI-E x16 slots: 1, PCI-E x1 slots: 1, PCI slots: 0, USB ports: 4x USB2, 2x USB3, Video outputs: DVI, VGA, HDMI

AM1 motherboards are about as basic as you can get, but if you're only looking to build a tiny form-factor PC designed for the simplest of tasks, they’re great value. The MSI AM1M is one of the cheapest AM1 boards on the market at the moment, with an easy-to-use and fairly spacious design.

The microATX board measures just 226x173mm. Normally this would make for a cramped board, but the inherent simplicity of the AM1 platform means there's not an awful lot of ports and connectivity to squeeze into this small, rectangular space.

The rear of the board has all the USB and video outputs you could want at this price, with four USB and two high-speed USB3 ports, alongside DVI, HDMI and VGA connectors. Surprisingly, you also get two USB3 headers mid-board, meaning you can connect additional ports on your case. There are also headers for four more front panel USB ports.

There are three 3.5mm audio jacks on the rear with headers in the middle of the board for two more chassis-mounted 3.5mm connectors. Finally, there are two PS/2 connectors for a legacy keyboard and mouse combination.

There are two SATA3 connectors on the right of the board, so you'll have to carefully consider what disk drives you want connected to your PC. If you have ambitions for more drives, you'll need to go for more expensive processors and motherboards because more than two SATA connectors on an AM1 board is a rarity.

You get space for two sticks of DDR3 RAM running at a maximum speed of 1600MHz. The board supports up to 32GB of RAM, but unless you find a seldom-seen pair of 16GB sticks of memory, you'll be limited to a maximum of 2x 8GB sticks. There's a PCI-E x16 slot running at x4 speeds on this board, so any graphics card you choose to install here to take a load off the processor need not be high performance chip. Below this slot are two PCI-E x1 slots for smaller expansion cards, and even if one of them is obstructed by a graphics card, the lower slot should remain clear and usable.

Performance in our benchmarking tests was largely as expected, with the board scoring 18 in our new 4K benchmarks. Gaming performance was also as expected: the low specifications of the AM1 chipset simply do not allow for demanding games, and the CPUs prove to be a bottleneck for discrete graphics cards. Nothing running AM1 hardware can be expected to pass this, however.

The MSI AM1M is a remarkably good-value motherboard, offering the same features and the addition of two mid-board USB3 headers without increasing the cost beyond its AM1 rivals. If you’re looking to build the cheapest system possible, this is the board to get. 

Hardware
Processor socketAM1
Form factormATX
Dimensions237x169mm
Processor supportAMD Athlon/Sempron APU
Processor external bus100Mhz
ChipsetAM1
Supported memory typeDDR3
Maximum memory speed1600MHz
Memory slots2
Maximum memory32GB
Motherboard power connectors1x 24-pin ATX, 1x 4-pin 12V
PCI-E x16 slots1
PCI-E x4 slots0
PCI-E x1 slots1
PCI slots0
Motherboard fan headers3
SATA II ports0
SATA III ports2
RAID supportNone
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000Mbit/s
Motherboard sound (ports)Realtek HD Audio (3x 3.5mm analogue)
USB ports4x USB2, 2x USB3
USB headers4x USB2
Video outputsDVI, VGA, HDMI
Other ports2x PS/2
Cables included2x SATA
Motherboard clock adjustmentCPU/RAM
Motherboard voltage adjustmentRAM
Buying information
Price including VAT£29
WarrantyOne year RTB
Supplierwww.morecomputers.com
Detailswww.asrock.com
Part code90-MXGUN0-A0UAYZ

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