Review of the MSI B350M Mortar – Affordable Gaming Focused Ryzen Motherboard


Introduction

We’ve seen many different motherboards for AMD’s new Ryzen platform that focuses in providing a well-rounded gaming experience for gamers. Sadly, most of these motherboards usually don't come cheap. The MSI B350M Mortar steers away the stereotypes of fancy gaming motherboards, as it tries to provide the best value for gamers. This motherboard is designed with various gaming-focused features which elevates gaming experiences, while still remaining to be one of the most affordable AM4 motherboard out in the market. Read on to find out more on what the MSI B350M Mortar brings to the table!



Power Delivery and Military Grade Components

The MSI B350M Mortar motherboard may look simple, but don’t let its first impressions undermine its actual performance. Living up to their name, the MSI B350M Mortar motherboard is poised to be very stable and reliable. MSI uses high-grade components on the motherboard, that are compliant to the MIL-STD-810G military class specifications. These quality components also ensure the longevity of the motherboard. Moreover, in terms of power delivery, the motherboard has a dedicated 4+2 power phase for the CPU. Be it a quad core Ryzen 3 or a octa core Ryzen 7 CPU, the motherboard has got what it takes to power all of them. Such a design also enhances the stability of currents and voltages applied across the CPU, which results in the overall stability of the system. Of course, this motherboard, with the B350 chipset, does support overclocking, but your mileage may vary, as the number of power phases are considerably limited. We will put this motherboard to the test at the later part of this article.


Interfaces and I/O

The B350M Mortar has a rather comprehensive set of I/O ports. As a B350 based motherboard, it also has a DVI port, Display port and a HDMI port for support of future AMD APUs. These ports are actually disabled when used with the Ryzen 3/5/7 processors due to their lack of an iGPU. The motherboard rear I/O also features a total of 6 USB ports, out of which 2 are USB 2.0, while the rest are USB 3.1 (Gen 1). One of these USB 3.1 ports is also using the Type-C interface, which could be really useful for current and upcoming USB Type-C products. Of course, there is also the Gigabit LAN port and gold plated HD audio connectors.



The motherboard also comes with 4 x SATA 6Gbps ports and even a M.2 port for ultra-fast storage compatibility.

As a gaming focused motherboard, the B350M Mortar also features 2 x PCIe x16 slots for Multi-GPU support. More specifically, it supports AMD’s CrossFireX technology. It also has 2 additional PCIe x1 slots for further peripherals and interface expansions.


Gaming Features and Experiences

MSI understand that good audio quality can dictate an overall gaming experience. Therefore, they have specially designed the B350M Mortar with improved audio technologies. Known as “Audio Boost”, the B350M Mortar spots high quality professional grade capacitors that enhances the audio output. The whole audio chipset’s circuitry is also largely separated from the main motherboard, reducing the noise and interference for a clearer audio signal than traditional solutions.



Network speed is also another fundamental factor to a good gaming experience, especially for MMORPGs, fast-paced online FPS and MOBA games. MSI utilizes both hardware and software approaches to enhance the network performance. On the MSI B350M Mortar is a Realtek 8111H Gigabit LAN network controller. It prioritizes game packets over other general network packets, which improves the delivery rate and reduces latency with the Gaming LAN Manager application. The network performance on games is complemented with MSI’s XBoost software, which tunes the system's performance to different presets.


Performance and Test Setup

The performance of an entire system is usually less dependent on the motherboard with the same chipset. However, the overall circuitry design of a motherboard can largely affect the overclockability of a system. We decided to test the performance of the motherboard based on how well it can maintain a stable overclock on the system. Here are the details of the hardware used in our test setup.




Motherboard
MSI B350M Mortar
CPU
AMD Ryzen 4 1600X
RAM
Geil EVO X 16GB Kit
SSD
Intel P600 M.2 256GB
PSU
Cougar 650W
Graphics Card
ASUS GeForce GTX1050
OS
Windows 10 Enterprise 64bit



The Geil EVO X 16GB kit was pushed to 2933MHz with ease. This was achieved with a voltage of 1.35V applied across the memory. We will stick with this memory configuration throughout our tests. 





Overclocking the CPU on the MSI B350M was very straightforward. This can be done directly through the MSI Command Center Software, or from the BIOS. MSI has designed both interfaces to be extremely intuitive, and changing of the settings was straightforward.



We managed to push our Ryzen 5 1600X to a high clock of 3.925GHz with minimal manual changes to voltages. This speed was achieved on all the cores in the CPU. We can see that the MSI B350M Mortar was able to provide enough power to the CPU to sustain the clock across all cores. Thanks to the stability and performance of this motherboard, we managed to gain an additional 71 points on the Cinebench R15 nThreads benchmark.

Conclusion


Factor Description Score
Innovation - No-frills and average
- Customized software which covers up the flaws of its simplified hardware
6/10
Design - Simple and minimalist
- RGB
7/10
Value - One of the most affordable gaming motherboard in the market
- Comes with great gaming features at a low cost
9/10
Performance - Good overclockability with just air cooling
- Low overclockability ceiling even with water cooling
8/10
Final Score
7.5/10
There’s a Singaporean saying that “mai hiam buay pai”, which means that if one is not too picky, the item is actually not bad. We did not expect too much from a $150 SGD motherboard, but the MSI B350M Mortar motherboard has exceeded our expectations with unique features such as enhanced audio components for better sound quality, and software that enhances network performance for games. It is a no-frills motherboard for those who are on a tight budget, and just wants to get things started for new their gaming rig. Despite it being a Micro-ATX motherboard, is also quite feature rich with many I/O interfaces available. It is undoubted that the MSI B350M Mortar motherboard offers great value to system builders and thus deserves our Best Value Award for August 2017. 



For the LATEST tech updates,
FOLLOW us on our Twitter
LIKE us on our FaceBook
SUBSCRIBE to us on our YouTube Channel!
SHARE
    Blogger Comment
    Facebook Comment

0 comments: