AMD X470 is the top motherboard chipset for AMD’s AM4 socket but it comes with a noticeable price premium over the second-tier B450 chipset motherboards which, for most applications and users, can be difficult to justify. And unlike Intel, which intentionally removes overclocking from all chipsets below Z370, AMD fully support and endorse overclocking for the B450 platform.
That means motherboards like this MSI B450 Tomahawk can offer an attractive suite of connectivity and features, including overclocking capability, for a surprisingly modest price point. Intel’s second tier chipsets for LGA1151v2, like H370 and B360, just can’t compete.
The MSI B450 Tomahawk is able to deliver a lot at an introductory price point of around £100/$100, owing to AMD’s generous standard connectivity for the B450 chipset. MSI has ensured all the latest connectivity is utilised including M.2 32Gbps, USB 3.1 10Gbps and RGB LED strip headers.
MSI has thought carefully about other design elements with debug LEDs to help with the initial system setup as well as an “Extended Heatsink Design” for the CPU VRM to help allay any concerns about thermal performance of the VRMs. On the subject of which the 4+2 phase VRM is definitely good enough for the intended audience, especially when paired with the decent-sized heatsink.
AMD’s B450 chipset offerings are, more generally, delivering a significantly more attractive proposition than Intel’s second tier motherboards for the mainstream segment.
Consumers looking to build a new system could choose a six-core AMD Ryzen 5 1600 processor (£140) and pair it with a motherboard like this MSI B450 Tomahawk (£100). The equivalent Intel option based on the six-core Intel Core i5 8400 (£180) with a similar motherboard like the MSI B360 Gaming Plus (£90) is more expensive and has no overclocking support.
So AMD’s B450 chipset may be putting Intel under pressure in the mainstream portion of the market, but is MSI’s take on AMD’s B450 chipset any good? Let’s find out.
|MSI B450 Tomahawk|
|Form Factor||ATX, 30.5cm x 24.4cm|
|CPU Socket||AMD AM4|
|Memory||DDR4, 4 DIMMs up to 64GB, up to 3466MHz+ with OC|
|On-board Graphics||Radeon Vega Graphics (Supported APUs only)|
|Discrete Graphics||Up to 2-Way AMD CrossFire, Single Nvidia GPU Configurations only|
|Expansion Slots|| 1 x PCIe 3.0 X16
1 x PCIe 2.0 X16 (x4 electrical)*
3 x PCIe 2.0 X1
*Runs at x2 mode when two PCIe X1 slots are populated
|Storage|| 6 x SATA 6Gbps (4 from B450 chipset, 2 from Ryzen CPU)
1 x M.2 (PCIe 3.0 X4 32Gbps or SATA III 6Gbps, via CPU)*
*When M.2 device is used, CPU SATA ports are unavailable
|USB|| 2 x USB 3.1 (Type-A and Type-C 2 Rear, via AMD B450 Chipset)
4 x USB 3.0 (2 Rear via AMD Ryzen CPU, 2 Front via AMD B450)
6 x USB 2.0 (2 Rear, 4 Front, via AMD B450)
|Networking||Realtek 8111H Gigabit Ethernet|
|Audio||Realtek ALC892 7.1 Channel HD Audio|
|RGB|| 2 x 5050 12vGRB RGB Connectors
1 x Onboard Lighting Zone (Side Strip near MB 24-pin)
|Fan Headers||6, all support 3/4pin fans (4 x SYS, 1 x CPU, 1 x W_PUMP)|
-BIOS FLASHBACK+ Button
|UEFI||256Mb UEFI AMI BIOS|