MSI’s Tiger Lake motherboard would be so much cooler if it had a PCIe slot

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Ever wanted to build a mini-ITX computer with an 11th Gen Tiger Lake mobile processor? Now is your chance to do so. MSI has released a new PRO series mini-ITX motherboard with an integrated Core i5-11260H Tiger Lake processor called Pro HM570TI-B I526. (opens in a new tab)

As the name suggests, the board is designed for professionals looking for a compact desktop workstation that will be as power efficient as a laptop. The Core i5 processor inside features six cores and 12 threads with a maximum turbo frequency of 4.4 GHz and a maximum configurable TDP of 45 watts.

The card has a decent feature set overall, with support for up to 64GB of dual-channel DDR4 3200MHz memory and two SATA ports for storage devices. Unfortunately, there is only one M.2 slot available for wireless-only cards. Rear I/O comes in the form of four USB ports, a single serial port, and an HDMI port for display output. There’s also an Ethernet port and two dedicated 3.5mm jacks for mic and audio support.

But, the weird part about this motherboard is no information about CPU cooler mounting support. MSI has no information on installing a CPU cooler or which CPU coolers will work with the mobile chip. Therefore, you will have to do this research yourself if you are considering purchasing this board. But we assume the board is designed for LGA115x or LGA1200/1700 coolers because the hole spacing is quite large.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, the power supply comes in the form of a DC PSU. Standard ATX or SFX power supplies will not work with this motherboard if you want to build this system in a standard mini-ITX desktop chassis. Therefore, you’ll need to look for an enclosure designed around DC power bricks to ensure space isn’t wasted and the system looks good.

MSI’s card also does not support dedicated PCIe expansion cards, such as graphics cards, without physical PCIe slots installed on the motherboard. That’s a little disappointing, as Intel’s Tiger Lake CPUs aren’t slow chips and already make good gaming chips in mid-range gaming laptops with dedicated mobile GPUs or docking stations. for Thunderbolt graphics cards.

If the card had support for a dedicated GPU, it would be a really cool little gaming machine, one that would sip power and generate almost no heat. But, this card was not intended for gaming, so we understand why MSI did not install a PCIe slot.

But, if you’re brave enough, you can technically use a dedicated graphics card. All you will need is an M.2 PCIe x4 to PCIe x16 or an open x8 or x4 slot that allows x16 cards to be inserted. Pair it with a mini-ITX case with support for vertical GPU mounting, and you can get a full blown discrete graphics card to work with this motherboard.

However, the apparent drawbacks would be the lack of a dedicated WiFi/Bluetooth card – with the slot taken up by the GPU and four PCIe lanes, that’s not fast enough for many desktop GPUs. Therefore, you will need to use a lower-end GPU to ensure that the PCIe lane bottleneck doesn’t kill most of your GPU’s performance.

We don’t know when this motherboard will go on sale; MSI hasn’t shared pricing or estimated availability dates on its website.

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