Computing

REVIEW AND TEST OF THE MOTHERBOARD MSI B350M MORTAR

Written by Millo

REVIEW AND TEST OF THE MOTHERBOARD MSI B350M MORTAR

We received the MSI B350M Mortar to test. This is a mATX motherboard from the ARSENAL GAMING series – intended for installation with the AMD processors and an AMD AM4 socket.

PACKING

The MSI ARSENAL GAMING product lines classified as a budget class motherboard. The design of the package is standard, yet well recognized. The name of the MSI B350M MORTAR board shows the mortar shell on the box and indicates which platform (AMD AM4) it is intended for, on which chipset (AMD B350) its built and the features are briefly reflected (support for AMD CrossFire, overclocking).

The back of the box has detailed technical information. According to the information, you can see that the boards made for game players. Furthermore, it shows you that you can modify the system (red lighting, support for Mystic Light).

It has a modest card’s configuration: 2 x SATA cables, rear I/O panel, DVD with drivers/utilities and various “pieces of paper”(manual, short guide, installation of the cooling system on the socket, registration).

APPEARANCE AND FEATURES

The motherboard MSI B350M MORTAR designs distinguished by the game “directivity” in the form of a radiator in the power system, a reinforced PCI-E x16 slot (Steel Armor), and gold-plated audio connectors on the rear I/O panel.

The AMD B350 chipsets programmed with the AMD AM4 socket and the types of processors you can install on it: AMD Ryzen, the 7th generation A-series, and Athlon.

The mATX board has a standard layout with a shortened dimension of 0.1 cm (24.3 cm x 24.3 cm).

Of the distinctive features, we can note the presence of LEDs with red illumination, located at the corners and along the boundary of the sound subsystem.

At the top of the customarily placed power connectors: 8-pin ATV12V and a “single” 4-pin for the CPU fan and below the socket are another 4-pin under the system fan. The presence of a radiator near the power system is a little out of the budget level, although it is the only one covering only a part of the MOSFETs (the upper two phases without it and the place for installing the radiators not provided).

The radiator is low, but wide, and has an excellent cooling function. Speaking about heating, when the AMD Ryzen 7 1700X CPU was loaded, the pyrometer showed the radiator temperature of 56.4 ° C, and during the overclocking it was 79.1 ° C.

The board’s power supply system is 6-phase and controlled by the Richtek RT8894A PWM controller. Four phases are responsible for powering the processor cores; they use two by Nikos PK632BA and one Nikos PK616BA. The other two phases fall on the pair of Nikos PK632BA and PK616BA.

Four DDR4 memory slots provide a maximum capacity of up to 64GB, and depending on the type of processor used, the frequency can be 3200+ MHz (AMD Ryzen) or 2400 MHz (7th generation AMD A-series and Athlon). Closer to the edge of the board, there is one 4-pin power connector for the system fan, four EZ Debug LEDs, a 24-pin EATX power connector, and a pair of SATA 3 ports.

There are predetermined numbers of PCI-E slots – there are four of them (2 x PCI-E x16 and 2 x PCI-E x1). The uppermost PCI-E x16 3.0 have a Steel Armor frame in case you want to use a video card. This prevents the installation of a wider cooler, besides its mode of operation will also be determined by the type of processor (for Ryzen – there will be 16 lines, for others – x8) you use.

The remaining PCI-E slots have a 2.0 bus version. The second PCI-E x16 slot provides only four lines and potentially the organization of a bundle of AMD CrossFire, but the benefits of this option are questionable.

Between the PCI-E x16 slots, there is an M2 connector of the size 2242/2260/2280 for SSD drives with SATA or PCIe 3.0 x4 / x2 mode (Ryzen/other processors). In the same area, the monitoring controller and Nuvoton NCT6795D-M I/O ports are noticeable, which there is plenty of (in the photo above, the connectors of the LPT and COM ports are visible at the very bottom).

The left lower side of the boards assigned for the sound subsystem, and unlike the top motherboards, the MSI B350M MORTAR uses the 7.1 old Realtek ALC982 HD codec, which provides an average sound quality.

Based on another Realtek RTL8111H chip, the work of gigabit wired networks supported. The bottom is a set of ports: front audio panel, a 4-pin connector for system fan, RGB-connector, TPM, and more.

There are two lines of USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 pads (one on the right end), a system panel, and another pair of SATA 3 ports. Almost all the interface sets provided by the capabilities of the AMD B350 chipset. For its cooling, there is a small radiator, which during the testing was heated up to 46.8 ° C.

The number of ports on the board is modest, but here are all the main ones:

  • 1 x Combined PS/2 port for keyboard/mouse
  • 2 x USB 2.0 ports
  • 1 x DisplayPort
  • 1 x DVI-D
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x LAN port (RJ45)
  • 3 x USB port 3.1 Gen1 Type A
  • 1 x USB port 3.1 Gen1 Type C
  • 5 x OFC sound connectors
  • 1 x Optical S / PDIF connector (output)

There is, however, a pair of high-speed USB 3.1 Gen2 (10 Gbps) ports missing.

UEFI BIOS INTERFACE

The latest MSI motherboard model uses a UEFI BIOS called “Click BIOS 5”, which has already been reviewed in the MSI X370 KRAIT GAMING board. For the motherboard MSI B350M MORTAR, the changes are noticeable in terms of the interface with the active use of red color and a reminder to which series (Arsenal Gaming) it belongs, but the structure of the panel /options remained the same.

There are two adjustment modes available: EZ Mode (simplified) and Advanced (advanced).

From the latter, settings for overclocking (OC – Overclocking) are available with the ability to change the processor frequency, the timing of memory, various voltages and related parameters.

The set of included devices in the board is not so large, so the subsection “Settings\Advanced\ Integrated Peripherals” comprises three groups of settings: the network adapter, the mode of SATA drives and HD-audio.

CONCLUSION

In the MSI B350M MORTAR motherboard it has an AMD B350 chipset found in most gaming boards, the manufacturer did not place additional controllers, which somewhat reduces the overall functionality (for example, the board does not have a USB 3.1 Gen2 ports), but ultimately this has a positive effect making the board affordable (~ 6000 rubles).

You get a high-quality board with red illumination, connection of RGB tapes, a small heatsink covering the power system parts, there is a PCI-E x16 slot with Steel Armor protection, the AMD CrossFire mode (in fact, only for a tick,) overclocking is available and an extended set of software is included. The level of performance is at the level of older motherboards.

There is one more important note that can become an option to buying a motherboard – it’s the availability of its outdated COM and LPT interfaces and a rare part in the modern market. In our opinion, the main problem of the mATX MSI B350M MORTAR is it’s connected to the PCI-E slots.

Since the uppermost PCI-E x16 limits the width of the used cooler, and this can cause some inconvenience when choosing an effective cooling system. Furthermore, it lacks compatibility with high-frequency modules, eliminated through the release of new versions of the BIOS.

Pros:

  • Stylish design using red backlight
  • Support for RGB-backlight (Mystic Light)
  • The presence of a radiator in the power supply system
  • Steel Armor protection for PCI-E x16 3.0 slot
  • Availability of M.2 slot size 2242/2260/2280 (PCIe / SATA)
  • Support for AMD CrossFire mode (true asynchronous – x16 3.0 + x4 2.0)
  • Availability of COM and LPT interfaces
  • Clear UEFI interface Click BIOS 5
  • Good chances of overclocking
  • Great set of gaming software
  • Decent performance
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Unsuccessful layout of PCI-E x16 slots (the uppermost limits the width of the installed cooler)
  • Availability of compatibility issues with high-speed memory modules (gradually improved due to BIOS updates)

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Socket: AMD AM4
  • Supported processors: AMD Ryzen, 7th generation A-series and Athlon
  • Chipset: AMD B350
  • Operative memory: 4 x DIMM DDR4-1866 / 2133/2400/2667/2933/3200 MHz with a max up to 64 GB (for 7-generation A-series processors and Athlon 2400 MHz)
  • Expansion slots: 1 x PCI-E x16 3.0 (operating mode for Ryzen processors – x16, 7th generation A-series / Athlon – x8), 1 x PCI-E x16 2.0 (mode x4) and 2 x PCI-E x1 2.0
  • Built-in graphics: only for the processors of the 7th generation A-series, DVI-D (1920×1080 @ 60Hz), HDMI 1.4 (4096×2160 @ 24Hz), DisplayPort (4096×2160 @ 60Hz)
  • Multi-GPU support: 2-Way AMD CrossFire (for Ryzen processors – x16 / x4, for A-series / Athlon x8 / x4)
  • Storage system interfaces: AMD B 350 chipset – 4 x SATA 6 Gbps (RAID 0/1), 1 x M.2 slot M 2242/2260/2280 (PCIe 3.0 x4 for AMD Ryzen or PCIe 2.0 x2 processors for processors AMD 7-o generation A-series / Athlon)
  • USB ports: AMD B 350 chipset – 4 x USB 3.1 Gen1 (5 Gbps, available via internal connectors), 6 x USB 2.0 (480 Mbps, 2 on the rear panel, 4 are accessible via internal connectors), processor 4 x USB 3.1 Gen1 (5 Gbps, on the rear panel, 3 types A and 1 type C)
  • Sound: HD-codec 7.1, Realtek ALC892
  • Network card: 1 x 10/100/1000 Mbps, Realtek 8111H
  • Form factor: mATX
  • Dimensions: 24.3 cm x 24.3 cm

About the author

Millo

When he isn't enjoying the beautiful Australian outdoors, you can find Millo on business and tech sites, writing about the latest news, analyzing trends, and generally making the Internet a more interesting place.