MSI adds 10 B450 motherboards to its Dragon Army


We've already examined Gigabyte and Asus' takes on the AMD B450 platform, and MSI is ready for action with a whopping 10 new midrange AM4 motherboards, too. The Dragon Army has ATX, microATX, and Mini-ITX options in a wide range of styles.

ATX builders get selections from MSI's Pro Carbon, Gaming Plus, Tomahawk, and Pro lines of boards. The B450 Gaming Pro Carbon AC goes all out with a full VRM heatsink array, RGB LED illumination at the edge of the board and under the chipset heatsink, a full-length M.2 thermal guard, and an Intel Wireless-AC 9260 radio built into its port cluster. The Pro Carbon also has Realtek ALC1220 audio and an Intel Gigabit Ethernet controller.

The Pro Carbon offers builders a hybrid PS/2 port, two USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A ports, a USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A port, and a USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C port. In the event that Ryzen APU builders pick out this high-end board, they'll get HDMI 1.4 and DisplayPort outputs.

The B450 Pro Carbon tops its long feature list off with MSI's USB BIOS Flashback+ button. That feature lets builders update the board's firmware with only a USB drive and a power supply.

The B450 Tomahawk keeps the Pro Carbon board's overclocker-friendly VRM heatsinks, but it drops some RGB LED lighting to make way for brushed-metal accents that cap off its various bits of cooling hardware. The Tomahawk relies on Realtek ALC892 audio and a Realtek 8111H Gigabit Ethernet controller to potentially keep costs down a bit, too.

Although the Tomahawk loses the Pro Carbon's Wi-Fi adapter, it still boastsĀ a hybrid PS/2 port, two USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A ports, a USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A port, and a USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C port. This board's display outputs are limited to a DVI-D port and an HDMI 1.4 port, however. The Tomahawk also supports MSI's USB BIOS Flashback+ feature.

The B450 Gaming Plus takes the B450 Tomahawk's chassis and strips it back to a red-and black skeleton. The biggest change between the boards is that the Gaming Plus loses the Tomahawk's USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C port. The Gaming Plus keeps the Tomahawk's valuable USB BIOS Flashback+ button, an unusual feature on a value-oriented motherboard. Like the Tomahawk above, this board implements Realtek's ALC892 audio codec and a crab-embossed 8111H Gigabit Ethernet controller.

Finally, the B450-A Pro could prove an inexpensive yet capable board for builders who care little for bling. This ATX board has fully-heatsinked VRM circuitry, a reinforced PCIe slot, and a full range of connectivity options from the B450 chipset on its back panel. With a hybrid PS/2 connector, VGA and DVI outs, and two each of USB 2.0, USB 3.1 Gen 1, and USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A ports, the B450-A Pro looks ready to run just about any budget system.

For microATX builds, MSI has a whopping five options. The top end of these midi-motherboards is probably the B450M Mortar, whose brushed-metal military stylings echo those of the Tomahawk ATX board. The Mortar has unusually rich connectivity from a hybrid PS/2 port, two USB 2.0 ports, four USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, a USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A port, and a USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C port on its back panel. A DisplayPort and an HDMI 1.4 connector offer Ryzen APUs places to pipe their pixels. The Mortar implements BIOS Flashback+, too.

Like its bigger brother, the B450M Gaming Plus trades gunmetal accents for red-and-black war paint. This board has a hybrid PS/2 port, two USB Type-A ports, three USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A ports, a USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C port, Realtek 8111H Gigabit Ethernet, and a Realtek ALC887 audio codec. This board is USB BIOS Flashback+ ready, too.

The B450M Bazooka goes for stealthy style at what will presumably be an affordable price. Its back panel offers four each of USB 3.1 Gen 1 and USB 2.0 Type-A ports, as well as HDMI 1.4 and DVI outs. It loses USB BIOS Flashback+, though.

The B450M Pro-VDH strips back any pretense of bling for office-ready builds. With a hybrid PS/2 port, four USB 2.0 Type-A and USB 3.0 Type-A ports, and VGA, DVI, and HDMI 1.4 connectors, this board offers a home for modern components that's friendly for environments where other hardware might not be as up-to-date.

The B450M Pro-M2 loses the Pro-VDH's VRM heatsink and loses two of its sibling's USB 2.0 ports, likely making for an even more inexpensive board.

Finally, value-oriented small-form-factor builders will find plenty to like with the B450I Gaming Plus AC. This Mini-ITX board implements an Intel Wireless-AC 3168 module with 433 Mbps link support, four USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A ports, two USB 2.0 Type-A ports, and a hybrid PS/2 port. Realtek ALC887 audio and a crabby 8111H Gigabit Ethernet controller round out the package.

AMD hasn't officially announced details of the B450 chipset yet, but expect these motherboards to begin showing up on store shelves soon.

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