As we mentioned in the beginning, the first mATX board we looked at was the ASRock Pro3-M and it was a great board, but priced at only $114.99 US it wasn't the most exciting thing to look at and its maximum overclock was limited with us not being able to achieve over 5GHz on our processor.
While more expensive at $159.99 US, the MSI Z68MA-ED55 manages to perform better thanks to a higher maximum overclock, but just has the feel of a gamers board with the dark PCB and the blue / black color scheme that's going on. It caters to a different audience, and that audience is really going to like what MSI has on offer.
While I found myself initially a little worried due to only a 4-Pin CPU power connector being present, it was clear once we got up and running that it didn't affect performance at all. At stock the board performed just as you'd expect, lining up with more expensive models and at over 5GHz we saw some strong performance coming out of the board.
Even if you're looking at a case that can handle a full size board, the option to go with something like this mATX board we have here can be a good one as it still offers great performance. If you find yourself being happy with onboard audio and networking, the lack of expansions slots offered by the platform will probably not be an issue either.
With a good look, strong price tag and great overall performance, the MSI Z68MA-ED55 is a great motherboard for people who aren't just looking for a strong performing mATX board, but just a strong performing board period.
If you find yourself being a little wary of getting into the BIOS and overclocking yourself, OC Genie II is present and at a touch of a button you should find yourself at 4.2GHz with a 2600k.
MSI does a good job of ticking all the boxes which make for a good all round motherboard. Paired with a K series CPU, you should find yourself with some strong performance on a little motherboard.