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 boasts 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.

Comments closed
    • NoOne ButMe
    • 1 year ago

    Well, yo don’t need to worry about which one has better VRM…

    • Chrispy_
    • 1 year ago

    That there is a good-looking lineup and I have no doubts about the manufacturing quality of your boards, MSI.

    Pray tell me, have you brought your firmware up to date for this decade yet?

      • derFunkenstein
      • 1 year ago

      My wife’s PC has a Z170 motherboard, which I know is two generations behind at this point, and the firmware interface is just not good. The fan controls are decent, but everything else is pretty obfuscated.

        • Srsly_Bro
        • 1 year ago

        Good morning, bro.

        Has TR reported on MSI’s recent vid claiming B450 will support >8 Core CPUs?

        I saw this on TPU a few days ago.


      • OptimumSlinky
      • 1 year ago

      Really? Everything I’ve seen or read indicates that MSI cuts corners on the VRM and materials in its motherboards when compared with equivalent Asus or ASrock boards.

        • dragontamer5788
        • 1 year ago

        Are VRMs a big issue when we’re talking about a B450 motherboard?

        While AMD chips can be overclocked on a B450 platform, the “equivalent” Intel chips cannot be. It seems like a lot of motherboard makers skimp out on voltage-regulators on these cheaper platforms.

        I don’t expect anyone who cares about overclocking to buy a B450 motherboard. They’d spring for the higher end Z-motherboards (for Intel) or X-motherboards (for AMD). The only overclocking that these boards are really designed for is RAM-overclocking (which is nifty that AMD offers that on B-class motherboards. Intel you normally have to get a Z-motherboard to XMP your RAM beyond 2666).

          • strangerguy
          • 1 year ago

          Yup, how dare those filthy non-epeen chasing DIYers choose not to spend more on a mobo to OC an AMD XFR CPU that has already no real headroom left to speak of.

          What a crime against computerity.

            • Chrispy_
            • 1 year ago

            The only instance of MSI having demonstrably worse VRMs that I know of was when they stuck with Nikos VRMs for their flagship X370 boards and X299 boards.

            They’re not bad VRMs and every review I’ve ever read about them says that they get the job done, it’s just that Asus and Asrock tend to put International Rectifier VRMs on their top-end flagship boards because they’re more efficient and run a bit cooler at extreme overclocks (we’re talking about voltages here that would likely kill any CPU not under very high-end water loops or phase-change). Even on X299 boards with outrageous demands on the VRMs, the MSI+Nikos arrangement seemed to hold up because MSI put plenty of phases on the board, put proper heatsinks on them, and even had some VRMs on the backside to radiate their heat in the other direction.

            If VRMs don’t fail under a heavy overclock/overvolt and it’s covered by warranty, claims of MSI cheaping-out on VRMs seem to be nothing more than FUD. It’s not hard to find reviews that go into depth about power-phase layout and which exact model of VRMs are being used.

            Since B450 is likely to be used for the mainstream, and Zen+ actually performs better than most overclocks when allowed to use it’s ‘stock’ XFR+ per-core clock boost, I don’t see the need for insanely expensive VRMs that will allow phase-change cooling to push voltages higher than most AIO water loops can handle. There’s no need to push 250 amps through the processor or specify VRMs that can handle that because it’s unnecessary cost that the consumer ends up paying for. At 1.5V and 250 amps, the CPU is going to pushing 375W. If you’re expecting a low-cost motherboard to handle 4x more current than the hungriest chip it was designed for, you’re a more optimistic man than I am.

            • OptimumSlinky
            • 1 year ago

            Apparently I hit a nerve with the down-votes.

            I wasn’t saying MSI boards suck; I was saying a fair number of tech outlets had been critical of MSI and Gigabyte lately for using comparably “worse” VRM components. Wasn’t making a statement as to whether or not that assessment was accurate.

            • DPete27
            • 1 year ago

            I was under the impression that MSI’s VRM quality issues were taking place (possibly) before Bulldozer and had been solved ever since they went to their “military grade” mumbo jumbo (possibly the reason for that marketing project).

            Therefore, it’s interesting to hear (if true) that those issues still persist.

            • Chrispy_
            • 1 year ago

            Nah, there are definitely sites that do in-depth analysis of VRMs and when X299 was busy being a dumpster-fire of a platform launch, the VRMs were looked at more critically than usual.

            I think it’s fair to point out that MSI’s VRMs were less efficient than Asus/Asrocks choice of VRM. In context of flagship boards I think that’s a valid criticism, but at the same time it’s important not to take things out of context; The entire discussion about Nikos vs International Rectifier is irrelevant unless you’re pushing chilled water loops, phase-change, or LN2 and such discussions have no bearing whatsoever outside of the flagship extreme overclocking board from each vendor.

            MSI should come out of this smelling of roses because they [i<]still[/i<] use Niko mosfets even on much cheaper boards, whilst other vendors like Asus cheap-out and use Onsemi for their mainstream stuff. [url<][/url<] Asus really do work their "halo" effect well. Their flagship products are amazing and those are what they send out to the press for review. Their mainstream stuff is simply isn't related; It's much cheaper parts from entirely different suppliers

          • chµck
          • 1 year ago

          [quote<]Are VRMs a big issue[/quote<] yes that's how my last MSI mobo died

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