As with most H55 Express based boards, the H55M-ED55 is based around a Micro-ATX form factor. This is a difficult form factor to work with due to its obvious lack of space.
MSI has not done a bad job of keeping things clean, but unfortunately they have have had to make some concessions due to the size of the board.
In the CPU/RAM space, the board looks normal, The layout follows the same style and spacing as any ATX board. One difference here is the inclusion of the OC Genie controls. Here is a single button to begin the 1 second overclock that MSI talked about on the box. There is also a pair of buttons ( + and - ) that can allow you to quickly adjust the BClock up or down.
Frustratingly, MSI has placed a 4-pin 12-V AUX power connector in a very small space between the two power regulator heatsinks. This puts this connector into a very difficult to reach place when installed (unless you use an extension cable).
At the lower half of the board MSI has placed a pair of x16 mechanical (x8 electrical) PCI-e slots with a single PCIe x1 and PCI 2.0 slot. This is not a bad number of slots for the entry-level/mainstream board. However, each choice has its compromises. If you need to use the PCIe x1 slot you will have to make sure that your primary GPU is a single slot in height or use the second PCIe slot (which will prevent the use of the single PCI slot. If you need to use the single PCI slot, you have to be careful with its height also as it can interfere with the PATA port.
The six SATA II ports are setup in an odd configuration; four are at a 90-dgree angle while the final two are normal. One other odd item is that MSI did not choose to use different colour blocks to denote different headers on the board. For example, the USB headers use the same black block as does the front panel header. This makes it harder to connect things once it is all installed in a case (even with the quick connectors included).
The MSI H55M-ED55 has the usual ports that are found on the typical H55 Express based motherboard.
The overall layout of the MSI H55M-ED55 is not bad, but they could have spent a little more time on it and gotten better results in our opinion. There are just too many hard choices to make regarding what peripheral slots you can use.
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