MSI readies a new salvo of microATX B150 motherboards

— 10:08 AM on June 27, 2016

MSI is adding two new Micro-ATX motherboards to its gaming stable: the B150M Bazooka Plus and Mortar Arctic. As their names suggest, both of these value-oriented motherboards wield Intel's B150 PCH. Low-end motherboards like these may not have all of the features of their more expensive siblings, but they may be all you need for simpler builds or a Wintendo machine.

The B150M Bazooka Plus is the successor to the B150M Bazooka, so it bears a heavy resemblance to that older board. New on the menu for the updated model is a "Turbo" M.2 socket with full PCIe 3.0 x4 connectivity. A USB Type-C port makes its first appearance on this model, as well, although it's only USB 3.1 Gen1—better known as USB 3.0. The Bazooka Plus also gains a small heatsink on the CPU's power delivery hardware, although given the B150 chipset's lack of overclocking support it seems mostly decorative.

Meanwhile, the B150M Mortar Arctic is an updated version of the B150M Mortar. This time, it's decked out with a white PCB and digital camouflage on the heatsinks and I/O cluster cover. The changes to the Arctic edition—aside from the aesthetic—are more subtle than on the Bazooka Plus, but one of the PCIe x1 slots has been removed to make room for 80mm M.2 drives. This board also has an M.2 E-key slot for Wi-Fi add-in cards, but adding in a radio will disable the M.2 2280 slot. The Mortar Arctic gains the same USB 3.0 Type-C port as the B150M Bazooka Plus, too.

Besides the model-specific revisions, these boards are pretty similar. Both have all of your standard LGA 1151 motherboard features, including four DDR4 DIMM slots supporting RAM as fast as 2133 MT/s (as a limitation of the B150 chipset), six SATA 6Gbps ports, and Gigabit Ethernet. Audio and networking capabilities on both boards come by way of Realtek chips.

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