MSI B450 Tomahawk
A POLISHED BUDGET WEAPON
MSI continue to relentlessly attack the gaming market, offering feature sets and speci cations designed to appeal to gamers above all. The B450 Tomahawk is one of MSI’s most important mid-range AMD boards and it promises to be a solid and reliable gaming board without the big price tag. The competition is tough though, so how does it stack up?
If you take a glance at the B450 Tomahawk, you wouldn’t believe this is a sub-$200 board. It looks really classy with its industrial design, and there’s also a splash of RGB lighting at the edge near the memory slots. There’s only a single M.2 slot, though we like the positioning of it above the primary PCIe slot, where it is less prone to getting blasted with hot GPU air. The VRM isn’t exactly extreme, but there’s still some headroom for a bit of overclocking. We wouldn’t want to push an eight-core processor hard on air cooling though.
“... we would have like to see the specification and feature list looking a bit better for its price point.”
While it de nitely looks the goods, we would have like to see the speci cation and feature list looking a bit better for its price point. The little ASRock is a tough act to follow in this regard. It does have a unique BIOS ashback capability, which will come into its own with future AM4 processors. Its purpose is to allow BIOS ashing without any CPU, memory or GPU plugged in.
The I/O area is adequate, but not remarkable. We have two USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports (Type-A and Type-C), two 3.1 Gen 1 ports and a pair of 2.0 ports. We’ve also got a CMOS clear button, a DVI-D port and a HDMI port. We’re a bit disappointed that this supports just HDMI 1.4 though, HDMI is really needed to get the best out of Ryzen 2000 series APUs. Finally there’s a Realtek Gigabit LAN port and a welcome set of six analogue ports, which are controlled by a Realtek ALC892 codec.
It seems clear that MSI has tried to keep the costs down by skipping the more expensive ALC1220 audio and Intel LAN, along with the missing HDMI 2.0. MSI does offer these kinds of options on its more expensive boards. At $189, the B450 Tomahawk is still good value, but it’s hard to ignore the overall spec in the face of stiff competition.
The benchmark results are right in line with the other boards, as expected. We also continue to be impressed with MSI’s BIOS, which remains arguably the best in the business.
MSI have produced a lovely looking motherboard that does exactly what it is expected of it. It’s particularly re ned and will serve well at the core of a powerful Ryzen-based gaming system. Our concern remains that there’s just a little too much compromise with the component choices at this price to give it an unequivocal recommendation. Like all the boards in this really tough roundup though, it has its own strengths and if you end up going with the B450 Tomahawk, it will not disappoint.
1 x PCIe 3.0 x16, 1 x PCIe 2.0 x16, 3 x PCIe x1 • Realtek ALC892 Codec 7.1-Channel High Definition Audio • 6x SATA 3, 1x M.2 (PCIe Gen3 x4) • 1x USB 3.1 Type-C, 1x USB 3.1 Type-A, 4 x USB 3.1 • Realtek 8111H Gigabit LAN
$189 • www.msi.com.au