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MSI B360 Gaming Pro Carbon Motherboard Review

Consumers looking to build an Intel-based system using 8th Generation Coffee Lake processors have a raft of motherboard chipsets to choose from, each with different capabilities and limitations. B360, for the most part, appeals directly to the value-minded audience that is happy to sacrifice CPU overclocking, high-speed memory, RST RAID and multi-GPU configurations.

Intel B360 has a few more limitations than H370 but still offers a potent level of performance for the mid-range desktop user. MSI’s B360 Gaming Pro Carbon, for example, can happily host a flagship Core i7-8700K, 32GB of RAM and a high-end graphics without issue.

That said, the target market for B360 is cost-conscious and more likely to be using a Core i3-8100/8300 or Core i5-8400/8500, 8 to 16GB of DDR4 memory and a Nvidia GTX 1060 / AMD RX 580 or lower. In any case, the MSI B360 Gaming Pro Carbon has proven itself perfectly capable of handling whatever hardware can be thrown at it.

The overall feature-level of MSI’s B360 Gaming Pro Carbon is impressive for the price point. Particular highlights include the audio solution, which uses high-quality components, and the onboard RGB lighting which is bright, plentiful, expandable and easily configurable.

There are more benefits in the way of a front panel USB 3.1 header, debug LEDs for diagnosing problems and a hefty 7 fan headers. For an affordable motherboard the level of included USB, SATA and M.2 storage connectivity is also admirable.

A few issues are present with the MSI B360 Gaming Pro Carbon including the lack of an M.2 cooling solution for both of the M.2 slots, this means high performance PCIe NVMe M.2 drives may well throttle under sustained loading.

Furthermore, the VRM implementation and component choices aren’t the best we’ve seen and the inability to change voltage and LLC options in the UEFI environment seems like a major oversight, even if the B360 platform doesn’t support overclocking. The inability to remove references to overclocking from UEFI and software environment feels lazy and rushed, though MSI is not the only guilty vendor in this regard for the current wave of B360 and H370 products.

On the whole though, the MSI B360 Gaming Pro Carbon is a good value option and is a feature-packed foundation for any gaming system built around Intel Coffee Lake. The lower price point of the B360 chipset means MSI’s offering is slightly better equipped and better value than some similarly priced H370 options.

The MSI B360 Gaming Pro Carbon has a retail price of £112.98 at Ebuyer and is sold with a 3 year warranty as standard.

Pros:

  • Fully-featured RGB lighting system with headers.
  • Sleek aesthetics.
  • Ample M.2 and USB connectivity.
  • High quality audio and network controllers.
  • 7 fan headers.
  • Debug LEDs.
  • Competitively priced.
  • Front Panel USB 3.1.

Cons:

  • No M.2 cooling provided.
  • vCore and LLC not adjustable in UEFI.
  • B360 chipset limitations.

KitGuru says: A good-value foundation for an Intel Coffee Lake Gaming system, the MSI B360 Gaming Pro Carbon is well worth considering for an audience not requiring overclocking, RST RAID or multi-GPU configurations.

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Rating: 8.0.

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