MSI's G41TM-E43 is a good-value microATX motherboard with no serious flaws.
LGA775, microATX, Intel G41 chipset, supports: Pentium Dual Core, Core 2 Duo, Core 2 Quad, Core 2 Extreme
MSI’s G41TM-E43 is a microATX motherboard suitable for building either a compact media centre PC, as well as a general-purpose computer. The integrated Intel GMA X4500 graphics chip can play high definition video and there’s a HDMI port for connecting a TV, in addition to DVI and VGA monitor ports. You can use any two of these to drive two monitors.
There aren’t any S/PIDF ports for connecting a surround sound amplifier, but one can easily be added using a bracket connected to the S/PDIF header. These are available for around £5 online. The six mini-jack connectors allow you to output analogue surround sound as well as using line-in and microphone inputs.
There are four SATA ports for connecting optical drives and hard disks. Instead of facing upwards, they are placed parallel to the rest of the motherboard. This can make connecting a SATA cable trickier, but can also help make cable runs tidier. There’s no RAID controller for using multiple hard disks together to boost speed or increase data redundancy.
If you need the power of a dedicated graphics card, there’s a PCI Express x16 slot to take one. If you are more interested in adding an expansion card such as a sound card or TV tuner, there are two PCI slots as well as a PCI Express x1 slot. The large, passive cooler for the northbridge chip means this board is completely fanless.
MSI’s G41TM-E43 may not have lots of exciting new features, but it’s a good-value motherboard with enough slots and ports for most people. Whether you’re building a general-purpose desktop computer or a home-theatre PC on a budget, it’s ideal.
|Processor support||Pentium Dual Core, Core 2 Duo, Core 2 Quad, Core 2 Extreme|
|Processor external bus||333MHz (1,333MHz quad-pumped FSB)|
|Chipset north bridge||Intel G41|
|Chipset south bridge||Intel ICH7|
|Passively-cooled north bridge||yes|
|Supported memory type||DDR2 667/800|
|Maximum memory speed||PC2-6400|
|Power connectors||1x 24-pin ATX, 1x 4-pin ATX|
|PCI-E x16 slots||1|
|Dual graphics architecture||none|
|PCI-E x4 slots||0|
|PCI-E x1 slots||1|
|Serial ATA ports||4|
|RAID chipset (max disks)||none|
|Wired network ports||1x 10/100/1000|
|Sound (ports)||Realtek ALC888S (6x analogue out, S/PDIF header)|
|USB2 ports / headers||4/2|
|Firewire ports / headers||0/0|
|Legacy ports||2x PS/2|
|Other ports||HDMI, DVI, VGA|
|Cables included||2x SATA, 1x IDE, 1x Molex to SATA power|
Setup and Overclocking
|CPU clock max adjustment||700MHz|