Msi b150m mortar arctic

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The B150M takes one more step upscale from the recently reviewed H110M Grenade. Is Intel’s higher market B150 chipset worth the extra money?

ByJoe Trott06 February 2017

Comments (3)

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Our Verdict

This is a nice board, & I don’t like the implication that withholding an award means that it isn’t, but our awards have sầu a significant value component. You’re paying a heavy premium for aesthetics on this one, so for most builders, the simple truth is they’ll find greater value from a different product.

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ForFeature-complete for this chipsetSame solid feel from a unique board and componentsReinforced PCIe slot for heavy cardsDiagnostic LEDsNice look & LED effectsAdditional M.2 slot for WLAN cardThree chassis fan connectorsReasonable trade-offs if the primary M.2 slot is usedHeatsinks on VRMs
AgainstA little pricy (but the non-Arctic is $7 less)4-pin chassis tín đồ headers are NOT PWMLimited PCIe slot connectivity

Introducing MSI"s B150M Mortar Arctic

Last summer’s H110M Pro D Review successfully tested my theory that even the cheapest motherboard can provide full graphics performance when all of the CPU"s 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes are connected lớn the primary graphics thẻ slot. My subsequent H110M Grenade Reviews showed that for a few dollars more you could get an M.2 slot and some additional ports. Intel’s H170 offers RAID và even more ports at the top of the mainstream motherboard segment, and the B150 sits between it & the H110.


Today"s question, then: Is MSI’s B150M Mortar Arctic worth its premium over the company"s own well-equipped H110M Pro D?

The most notable improvements appear lớn be that we’re gaining some USB 3.1 Gen 1 (aka USB 3.0) ports, another pair of DIMM slots, & a PCIe x4 slot. We’ll have lớn go to lớn the tests khổng lồ look for more differences.

One More Step Up in the Mainstream

A quality look fits the Arctic name, và looking at it actually made me feel a chill. Even the CPU socket cover is snow White. The board is nice & thichồng, with no notable flex, even if picked up by a corner. The primary PCIe slot also has a metal frame to lớn reduce any flex from a heavy graphics card. There is plenty of finger room where needed, & clearly silk-screened pin-outs near the front panel và speaker headers make referring to the manual unnecessary.



Looking at it from the front edge & starting at the left rear, the audio circuitry is surrounded by an LED-illuminated border, which can be given a breathing effect (I just think it’s a good pilot light). Moving forward along the edge are the front audio header và the SYSFAN1 header. Next is a JLED1 header, which is intended khổng lồ provide power khổng lồ a single color LED strip controlled by MSI’s Gaming App software. COM1 và TPM headers are next, then a two-pin JME1 header that is not described.


The single USB 2.0 header comes next, with a shroud around it. Intrusion detection và the CMOS-clearing pins (labelled JBAT1) are next, then the front panel headers. These have sầu clearly silk-screened labels near them, making references to manual images unnecessary. There is no manual entry for a JSPI1 header near the front corner.

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Along the front edge, the SATA 6Gb/s và USB 3.0 headers are angled to lớn face the front of the board. The SATA ports bởi not alternate, so you’ll need lớn remove sầu the top one to access the latch on the one beneath. The ATX power connector is next, followed by four diagnostic LEDs for each of four subsystems, boot device, card VGA, DRAM, & CPU. If the board won’t boot, one of these may tell you why not. Another undescribed two-pin header labelled “J1” is next, and the SYSFAN2 header finishes the front edge.

The SYSFAN3 header is the first feature moving back along the right edge, và the CPUFan Hâm mộ header is behind the right DIMM latches. Both sides of the DIMM slots have sầu latches. The CPU nguồn connector is the only other feature on the right edge, & has plenty of finger room between it & the I/O panel connectors. Behind those and lớn the left of one VRM heatsink is the M2_2 connector, meant for a WLAN card. The rear panel I/O plate has punch-outs for a pair of antennas. The first PCIe slot has a metal frame around it. The M2_1 slot is to lớn its left, và will be covered by a double-slot graphics card. There is only one PCIe x1 slot on this board, và there"s a full length PCIe slot that is only wired to lớn four lanes.



In addition to the board you get a pair of SATA cables, driver CD, a quichồng installation guide, and an 8-1/4” x 5-1/2” manual. It has 36 pages in each of only four languages: English, German, French, và Russian. It is glue bound and won’t lie flat, but the type was easy on my older eyes, và there are also some good diagrams.

Firmware

Some of those pages were given over to more descriptions of the BIOS than I’ve sầu been used lớn seeing recently. Here are some of the screens from that BIOS:



It is worth pointing out that the M.2 drive I installed never appeared here, even after it had been partitioned, formatted, & tested.


The only thing I typically change here is to turn off the abominable NumLoông chồng. If that dates me khổng lồ the original IBM PC keyboard, so be it. (As an overclocker, I love NumLoông xã -ed.)


This is the default tín đồ curve sầu, which starts out very low at low temperatures. I tweaked this a little, as a mere 13% seemed too low. There will be a comment about this later in the results; it made a difference.


Here, you can cliông chồng over any highlighted area & see what is installed there. It’s not perfect. As you can see I have sầu highlighted the M.2_1 connector, và it does not show the installed drive sầu. Everything else was there.

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