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MSI B350 TOMAHAWK Socket AM4 AMD Ryzen 7th Gen Athlon DDR4 USB 3.1 ATX Motherboard - Black
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This MSI GAMING motherboard supports all the latest storage standards. This allows you to connect any ultra-fast storage device, giving you in-game benefits. Start games faster, load levels faster and have a real advantage over your enemies. Outsmart and outperform your opponents in-game using an array of unique MSI GAMING tools. Clever hardware & software tools, created to keep you one step ahead of the competition and boost your skills. Get the most immersive sound experience when gaming. MSI Audio Boost delivers the highest sound quality through the use of premium quality audio components. This lets you enjoy breathtaking, game-changing sound to create the most exciting gameplay.
1 x Motherboard and manuals/IO/cables
From the manufacturer
Stay Cool While Gaming
Cooling your PC is essential for reliable performance. We've made sure to include enough fan headers with full control to allow you to cool your system any way you want. Include 6x Fan Headers, DC/PWM mode, Full Fan Control, and Watercooling Ready.
Lan Protect To Shield Your System Against Power Surges
Experience smooth networking with Intel LAN. Intel LAN is optimized for championship level online and LAN eSports by reducing CPU overhead and offering exceptionally high TCP and UDP throughput. This means your CPU can be used more effectively, giving you more FPS when gaming.
Amplify Your Game With Audio Boost
Built on years of experience in building motherboards dedicated to giving gamers true Hi-Fi sound. Audio Boost has developed into a high quality audio unit, offering a clear advantage over your opponents when gaming. Locate your enemies with your eyes closed using Audio Boost 4.
MSI motherboards are crammed with features to fuel your gaming rig's memory with more speed, higher overclockability and increased stability. Optimized traces and a fully isolated memory circuitry ensures perfect stability and performance, so you never have to worry about your system crashing during games.
Fortify Your System With PCI-E Steel Armor
MSI PCI Express Steel Armor slots are armed with more solder points on the motherboard for a stronger hold, preventing any damage due to heavy-weight graphics cards. Steel Armor also protects PCI Express signals against electromagnetic interference for a pure gaming experience and even higher overclocking.
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I have it paired with a RYZEN 5 1600 and 16GB (8GB x 2) of ADATA XPG Z1 memory and it runs perfectly fine.
As an added bonus, with this board I was able to overclock my memory from 2400MHz all the way up to 3200MHz! and its stable!
Haven't overclocked my CPU just yet, awaiting my CPU cooler, however I don't think it will be an issue.
Cool looking lighting
Latest BIOS (v2.5) runs smooth
Easy memory overclocking
Slow POST at boot. 20 seconds before the windows boot loader begins. As I've read, this seems to be the case with many AM4 boards.
Could use a better manual, some knowledge is assumed, and the diagrams could be better because the tiny writing on the motherboard is grey on green and khaki which looks nice but is really hard to read (esp. if you are over 40). I had to use a torch, so best to build your rig outside the box first to give yourself elbow room and good light for testing. There is no trouble shooting section in the manual, which was a surprise when it didn't work, although there are diagnostic LEDs on the board (manual does not show orientation and LEDs not labelled either I think). I have built rigs before so not new to the experience. Check the GPU and CPU/ATX power carefully as these are partially reversible.
Finally got everything working ok, but its a nightmare getting Windows installed (it works from a prebuilt disk but not a fresh install) - I gather this is something to do with MBR and GPT, but that's a struggle at the moment. Could have used something in the manual about that!!
- can't get windows on it yet as above, stops and complains 31% of the way in. Tried DVD and USB, different formats etc.
- cant get the BIOS to clean the SDD - just gets an error and stops. disk works OK elsewhere.
- make sure you update BIOS, as others have said, it can make all the difference. Easy to do from USB or OS
- webpage initially had the 'English' manual in Russian, but claim to have fixed that now.
- System kept returning to UEFI (BIOS) when switched to Boost (overclocking default) mode, but haven't tried that since BIOS update
So I think MSI really need to do some 'secret shopper' experiments to get the service right, but overall looks to be a competent motherboard.
Finally - if you are at all uncertain about building, do not go for a cheap AM4 compatible cooler - you will potentially waste a lot of time. I went for the Cooler Master Hyper 212x (with AM4 compatible bracket) and it was a Royal Pain with screws jamming. Changed for Noctua NH-U12S SE-AM4 which fitted easily and perfectly in minutes. Around £10 dearer but worth it.
If I ever get Windows on it again, I'll update with any issues. Its a nice looking and performing board (if Boost works) but has some niggles.
1. If you have problems installing windows, you might have to default the UEFI (BIOS) and clean the drive using a different PC via DISKPART (search). I couldnt get W10 on, had to use W7 and upgrade. Wasted many hours on this (search GPD / MBR). Windows error messages are meaningless.
2. If you have no USB support at the windows login screen, but have a PS2 mouse, you can use the accessabilty settings on the login screen to get in using the onscreen keyboard. Lifesaver... once you install the MSI drivers, you can use a USB keyboard. I tried all the different USB UEFI settings and USB ports - no luck. I think its at least possible that the board defaults to USB 3 somehow which means the legacy ports dont work [the mouse and keyboard work ok in UEFI].
If you are in the market for a Micro ATX B350 board, I can heartily recommend this one :)
I liked the look of this board and accessories immediately, a proper gamer board, well presented and good quality. I was slightly perturbed by the lack of "Dr Debug" style bios code and CMOS reset buttons etc at this price point. I now know very few of these AM4 boards seem to have these frills. In fact, its over a year since they launched the Ryzen and chipsets etc and to me they still feel a little bit, well "beta" across all brands. With patches, memory compatibility issues, and bios glitches etc. I have one now after going through 3 boards, and its running fine, but I am half expecting a Rev #2 of all this stuff next year and if you can, I would wait.
Installing this board was easy apart from an extra faff of attaching the AM4 cooler plate (holding the plate on the back while screwing the cooler into it). I did a quick power on with nothing attached and it worked! I then plugged everything in and did the same thing and was met with a blank screen for about 20-30 seconds... I was gutted and turned it off and re-checked things a few times and then 3rd time lucky it suddenly sprung into life! UPDATE YOUR BIOS ASAP, all the MSI boards have these ridiculously long POST times in earlier versions.
I updated my BIOS and the POST time wasn't exactly fixed but improved, still a long post time for a modern board which annoyed me but I persevered. I installed the OS, MSI drivers and utils which are actually pretty reasonable and well maintained so I started to feel better about it. I had a couple of random instances where it wouldn't power on, but I knew the case and PSU were fine from the old system. I hoped it would go away, but it didn't, it got worse and I re-seated and checked stuff and I realised it never had a problem turning off, only turning on. As an aside, it also reported high temperatures on the CPU despite re-seating the cooler and replacing the paste. I now know this was probably a fault too.
Anyway after a bit more testing I found the board was faulty so I used Amazon's excellent returns service replaced it with another MSI as I liked the quality and presentation of the hardware, and figured I was unlucky. So I replaced it with the next model up (MSI AMD AM4 B350 Gaming Pro Carbon Ryzen), I have reviewed this separately. Sadly, needless to say it also had a BIOS issue and I eventually replaced THAT with a Gigabyte board which has been great from day one.
You may have more luck than me with this board, but after two dud MSI's its made me think twice about the brand.
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