MB: MSI H97M-E35
Yes, I'm looking at this thread: but the E35 manual is a bit obscure about actual BIOS capabilities (on the contrary, the H97M-G43 one is very detailled about the Hardware Monitoring features), so that I don't know whether it may actually fit your needs (nor I know how to double check that specific aspect).
So, given that specific MSI board is also a bit crippled (just 2 DIMMs, no heatsinks on power circuitry, and so on), perhaps something like an ASRock H97M Pro4 might be a safer bet (unless you can try and in case return the MSI board with ease): just think about that.
What's the point for that specific board?
I think he wanted the Legacy PCI port that the asus had, i just search for something that was similar to what the Asus had, that said if he is willing to lose the PCI slot, i like more your suggestion of the G43, better heatsinks, more ram slots always a good thing.
One thing that i can say, even between the Z87-GD65 (mid-high end mobo) to the H81i (probably the lowest end of MSI), the bios fan control is the same, same restrictions and values. So im guessing (i don't own H97/z97 versions) that it will be the same. Talking about the new MSI mobos, from the TechPowerUp review MSI Z97 GAMING 5 (Intel LGA 1150)
Whats different from mine is that it offer multiple breakpoints (kinda like AsRock did), it has 4, if you see the right has a 12.5% PWM until 40C is achiieved, then 25% PWM until 55C is achieved, 62.5% PWM until 70C is achieved, 75% until 85C is reached. I expect all even low end mobos of MSI have the same thing, again assumptions on my part.
One thing worth mentioning about the fan control on MSI, its very good, but mostly is on their PWM fan headers, in this case is only ONE, CPU_FAN, the rest are voltage controlled and the bios will have 50% as the lowest restriction, so for a very quiet setup my suggestion is,
1) Getting the gelid PWM fan splitter (or akasa or swiftech, i prefer gelid for small amount of fans, easier to manage and hide)
2) Get PWM fans with good range of control, Noctua NF-S12A PWM is my personal favorite as it drops to 300rpms easily on PWM control.
3) Connect all fans to the PWM splitter and connect the splitter to CPU_FAN motherboard header, dont use any of the SYS_FAN headers.
4) Enter bios and go into monitoring look for the CPU_FAN, set 12.5% as the minimum PWM and set 50C for the temperature first temp setting, if you feel the fans are too low on the speed bump it to 25% or create a second breaking point, from here on its all about you testing different settings until you find what you like.
I just build a server build with 7x Noctua NF-S12A PWM and really the fans are inaudible 1mt away at 350rpms, so 2 or 3 will be for sure very quiet.
I can live with 2 memory slots and other restrictions of the MSI, more concerned about compatibility with linux and power usage.
This imo is the most important thing to decide weather you go with MSI or not, all the above is worthless, if you cant run the OS you want due to compatibility issues. You can always manually undervolt with resistors and adapters, or an external fan controller, personally i just love dynamic bios fan control, set it and forget it, instead of managing knobs... but compatibility and stability should be the most important things toward your build.
Btw talking about consumption, there is a new marketing thing from MSI and their new line, MSI Goes Black and Green with its ECO Line of Motherboards
, seems more like marketing though, like software to disble ports on windows, same can be achieved by almost any motherboard on bios, so i don't know if its a gimmick or not, either way just pointing out since you mention power consumption =P