Just after the launch of the Z68 chipset, we managed to look at a mATX board from ASRock in the form of the Pro3-M. Priced at $114.99 US, it's a good value board, but with a maximum overclock of less than 5GHz on our 2600k, our hopes for something that could offer a bit more power while sticking to the mATX platform would continue.
Step in the $159.99 US MSI Z68MA-ED5, a board that offers the good looks we saw on its bigger brother, the Z68A-GD80, but in a smaller form factor. So we find ourselves wondering; if we spend a bit more money, can we get a board that aims at performance a bit more than price like the ASRock option did?
Well, that's what we intend to find out today. Before we cover overclocking and performance of the board, though, let's first get stuck into the package to see what MSI is offering. Once that's done we'll start to look around this small mATX board and see just what kind of features are on offer, we'll take a quick dive into the BIOS to see what's going on there and then we'll overclock this sucker and see just what kind of performance we're able to squeeze out of this board.
As far as the box goes, there's nothing too different going on. The front shows us some logos to the main features that the board incorporates, while turning over we get a run down on some of the specific features that MSI are offering us.
Inside we've got the normal kind of stuff like paperwork, driver CD, SATA cables, Molex to SATA power convertor and I/O backplate. Some of the stand out extras, though, would be the M Connectors which make for the easy installation of your main system headers. Alongside that we've also got some little cables that allow us to check the voltage of certain parts of the motherboard. We'll show you where exactly this happens when we take a closer look at the board.