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MSI B350 Tomahawk AM4 Motherboard Review

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Feature Testing: Mystic Light

Feature Testing: Mystic Light


Much like the X370 XPower Gaming Titanium, this model does not have an RGB LED lighting feature in the strictest sense since its onboard LEDs are all one color: red. Thankfully, unlike on that higher-end model, there are no other different coloured LEDs to ruin the overall look.

While the red "Ambient LED lights" - MSI's term - do indeed look great on the B350 Tomahawk, if you so choose you can disable all of the red LEDs and instead use your own lighting since the onboard RGB LED header will allow you to plug in an 5050 RGB LED light strip, have it fully powered by the motherboard, and have it controlled from within the MSI LED utility.

Let's take a peek at the LED utility again:

B350_Tomahawk-42.gif

The LED utility is obviously the piece of software in charge of controlling the Mystic Light LED lighting feature. Whether you like LED lighting or not, you will need to install this piece of software (which is integrated into the Gaming App) since there is basically no LED settings in the UEFI. If you want to disable this feature, it is as simple as clicking the icon in the top-right corner.

Using the LED utility you can customize the lighting with your choice of five lighting effects, such as breathing, flashing, double flashing, random, or you can enable the extended effects (tied to the header) and it can react to your music or your CPU temperature. You can also choose to disable all effects, and just display a static colour. The Extend LED Effects area reveals small number of colours and additional effects that, but they don't actually apply to this particular motherboard, at least not in stock form. We suspect that they might only work when you install a LED light strip.

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Click on image to enlarge

While the green lighting from our graphics card and Corsair pump/block unit gives the system kind of a Christmas theme, you can still get a pretty good idea on how much lighting the B350 Tomahawk puts out.

There are RGB LEDs under the audio isolation line, under the right edge of the motherboard, and there's even one near the CPU socket. We do wish that there were some integrated into/under the chipset heatsink, since that would have really brought the whole look together.

Overall, it is a perfectly fine LED lighting implementation for such an affordable motherboard, especially for those who like RED lighting.
 

SKYMTL

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Feature Testing: Onboard Audio

Feature Testing: Onboard Audio


Since fewer and fewer consumers seem to be buying discrete sound cards, the quality of a motherboard's onboard audio is now more important than ever. As such, we figured that it was worthwhile to take a closer look at just how good the analog signal quality is coming out of the Audio Boost implementation that is found on the B350 Tomahawk. As mentioned earlier, this model features an older Realtek ALC892 codec, a bunch of Nippon Chemi-Con audio-grade capacitors, and a PCB-level isolation line that should help protect from electromagnetic interference (EMI).

Since isolated results don't really mean much, but we have also included some numbers from the plethora of motherboards that we have previously reviewed. All of the Z170 models feature onboard audio solutions that are built around the Realtek ALC1150 codec, while the X370 and Z270 motherboards all feature the newer Realtek ALC1220 codec. While they may all have similar codecs, there are vastly different hardware implementations that feature different op-amps, headphone amplifiers, filtering capacitors, secondary components and layouts.

We are going to do this using both quantitative and qualitative analysis, since sound quality isn't really something that can be adequately explained with only numbers. To do the quantitative portion, we have turned to RightMark Audio Analyzer (RMAA), which the standard application for this type of testing.

Since all modern motherboards support very high quality 24-bit, 192kHz audio playback we selected that as the sample mode option. Basically, what this test does is pipe the audio signal from the front-channel output to the line-in input via a 3.5mm male to 3.5mm male mini-plug cable, and then RightMark Audio Analyzer (RMAA) does the audio analysis. Obviously we disabled all software enhancements since they interfere with the pure technical performance that we are trying to benchmark.

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Perhaps unsurprisingly since they both share the same Realtek ALC892 codec, the MSI B350 Tomahawk and Biostar X370GTN achieved very similar audio results. While not in the same league as the results achieved by the ALC1220-powered X370 motherboards, we really have no complaints about this model's audio output. We listened to a variety of music and spoken word content using a mix of Grado SR225i and Koss PortaPro headphones, Westone UM1 IEMs, and Logitech Z-5500 5.1 speakers, and the playback was clean and loud. Frankly, we have no criticisms whatsoever. We suspect that your average user will be perfectly satisfied with this motherboard's onboard audio capabilities.
 

SKYMTL

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Feature Testing: M.2 PCI-E 3.0 x4

Feature Testing: M.2 PCI-E 3.0 x4


One of the more disappointing aspects of this new Ryzen + X370 combo is the limited amount of PCI-E lanes. While the processors themselves have a respectable 24 PCI-E 3.0 lanes - compared to 20 total on Kaby Lake - the AMD X370 chipset itself only has eight PCI-E 2.0 lanes. By comparison, the Intel Z270 PCH has an incredible 24 PCI-E 3.0 lanes, and thus almost 6 times the bandwidth capabilities. This disparity makes itself apparent when divvying up the lanes for high-speed storage.

Now what is interesting is that unlike Intel which leans heavily on its chipset for all storage connectivity, AMD made the decision to allocate four of those CPU-based PCI-E 3.0 lanes for storage purposes, which every motherboard manufacturer is using to add one full-speed M.2 slot to their AM4 models. While we don't have an SSD capable to testing the upper limits of a PCI-E 3.0 x4 interface (~3.5GB/s), we settled on one that can crack the 2000MB/s barrier: the Samsung SSD 950 PRO 256GB.

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Despite now being usurped by the SSD 960 PRO, this high performance NVMe PCI-E SSD combines Samsung's awesome UBX controller with its industry-leading 3D V-NAND and is capable of sequential read speeds of up to 2,200MB/second and write speeds of up to 900MB/sec.

One of the ways that we will be evaluating the performance of a motherboard's M.2 interface is by verifying that is capable of matching or exceeding these listed transfer rates. The other is by checking to see whether the slot performs as well as a ASUS Hyper M.2 x4 expansion card plugged directly into a PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot. As mentioned above, on this platform the PCI-E lanes that the M.2 slot requires directly come from the processor, and we are interested to see whether there is any unusual lane splitting/switching occurring.

Without further ado, here are the results:

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M.2 x4 3.0 slot vs. PCI-E x4 3.0 card

As can see, the M.2 slot performed on-par with the M.2 adapter in the PCI-E slot. Obviously, this is a sign that the M.2 slot has been properly implemented. Now you might be wondering how exactly we even managed to run the PCI-E x4 3.0 card since this model only has one PCI-E 3.0 slot. Well the simple answer is that we moved the graphics card to the PCI-E 2.0 x4 slot, and installed the M.2 expansion card in the primary PCI-E x16 slot. We didn't bother testing the M.2 expansion card in the PCI-E 2.0 x4 slot since we already know that that the end result would be bandwidth limited to about 1.6GB/s.

While transfer rates are obviously an important metric, we figured that it was also worthwhile to take a peak at instructions per second (IOPS) to ensure that there wasn't any variance there either:

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M.2 x4 3.0 slot vs. PCI-E x4 3.0 card

Once again, the differences are essentially non-existent and well within the margin of error for this benchmark. As a result, it is clear that the M.2 interface on the B350 Tomahawk has been very well implemented and should ensure that you get optimal performance from any current or future M.2 x4 solid state drive.
 
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SKYMTL

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Auto & Manual Overclocking Results

Auto & Manual Overclocking Results


The B350 Tomahawk has a simplified version of the Game Boost feature found on some MSI's pricier motherboards, so we are going to be test automatic overclocking unlike on some AM4 motherboards. As you will see below, it's actually pretty good given the inherent frequency limitations of these eight-core Ryzen processors. Overall, squeezing that little bit of extra performance is exceptionally easy even for a novice overclocker. Simply set the CPU voltage to 1.35V-1.40V and start increasing the CPU multiplier until it crashes in your preferred stress test, then back off a little bit. Next is the memory speed, if you have a good memory kit that are rated at/under DDR4-3200, you can probably just try to enable the XMP or A-XMP profile. If XMP doesn't work, set the SOC voltage to between 1.05V and 1.20V and the memory voltage to 1.35V. If you aren't familiar with your RAM's capabilities, you might as well start off with loose 19-19-19-19-39 timings, and start manually increasing the memory speed from DDR4-2400 to DDR4-3200. Once you have found your the highest memory speed, it's time to start tightening the timings. A simple HyperPI 32M run on all available threads should be sufficient to give you a good indication of whether that memory configuration is stable or not.

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Click on image to enlarge

In the top-right corner of the UEFI BIOS or the Command Center app, you can find the Game Boost auto-overclocking feature. On this mainstream-level model it only offers one Game Boost preset, which is 4.0Ghz for an R7 1800X, 3.8GHz for an R7 1700X, and 3.4GHz for an R7 1700. All you need to do to enable the overclock is click on the off/off button and a simple reboot locks in the overclock. The whole process takes only few seconds. It is very well implemented, though we do wish that there were multiple levels, like on the MSI X370 XPower Gaming Titanium.

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Click on image to enlarge

Enabling Game Boost pushed our Ryzen 7 1800X to 4.0Ghz as advertised. This is 4.0GHz across all eight cores, so while you might lose the 4.1GHz XFR frequency advantage, it is still better than XFR's occasional boost. It set core voltages ranging from 1.448V for single-threaded workloads to 1.456V while multi-threading, which is high but not unreasonable.

The memory speed was left untouched, but that is to be expected until the memory overclocking and compatibility situation improves significantly.

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Click on image to enlarge

Just like we have on all X370 motherboards, we were able to overclock our Ryzen 7 1800X to 4.1GHz on this B350 Tomahawk. Basically, we were able to match the 1800X's XFR frequency, but applied to all eight cores instead of just two. This is essentially a 500MHz overclock over the stock 3.6GHz that the CPU would normally operate at when all the cores are loaded.

In order to achieve this overclock we obviously needed to tweak the system voltages a bit, and we set the CPU voltage to 1.40V, the SOC voltage to 1.20V, and the RAM voltage to 1.35V. The SOC voltage relates to the system-on-chip (SoC), which is to say the part of the processor that features the memory controller, PCI-E controller, and on-die storage connectivity. While the SOC voltage usually defaults to around 0.85-0.86V, we needed to increase that to 1.20V in order to run at DDR4-3200 with full stability. While that is quite the increase, we have been told that is safe for 24/7 use.

The memory kit that we used was half of a 4x8GB G.Skill Trident Z F4-3200C14Q-32GTZSW kit, which features a DDR4-3200 XMP profile with 14-14-14-34 timings. This motherboard has an option to enable XMP profiles, and it had no problems setting the appropriate memory frequency, timings, and voltages to run our memory at its full DDR4-3200 potential.

Overall, the MSI B350 Tomahawk was a pleasure to overclock. It did not give us any troubles when we set our manual overclock, and obviously the automatic overclock was a flawless process as well. Even when we intentionally pushed things too far, the boot failure detection mechanisms worked perfectly and we were able to easily reenter the BIOS and alter the settings as required.
 

SKYMTL

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System Benchmarks

System Benchmarks


In the System and Gaming Benchmarks sections, we reveal the results from a number of benchmarks run with a Ryzen 7 1800X and MSI B350 Tomahawk at default clocks (with the three different memory speeds) and using own our manual overclock. This will illustrate how much performance can be achieved with this motherboard in stock and overclocked form. For a thorough comparison of the Ryzen 7 1800X versus a number of different CPUs have a look at our "AMD Ryzen 7 1800X Performance Review" article.


SuperPi Mod v1.9 WP


When running the SuperPI 32MB benchmark, we are calculating Pi to 32 million digits and timing the process. Obviously more CPU power helps in this intense calculation, but the memory sub-system also plays an important role, as does the operating system. We are running one instance of SuperPi Mod v1.9 WP. This is therefore a single-thread workload.

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wPRIME 2.10


wPrime is a leading multithreaded benchmark for x86 processors that tests your processor performance by calculating square roots with a recursive call of Newton's method for estimating functions, with f(x)=x2-k, where k is the number we're sqrting, until Sgn(f(x)/f'(x)) does not equal that of the previous iteration, starting with an estimation of k/2. It then uses an iterative calling of the estimation method a set amount of times to increase the accuracy of the results. It then confirms that n(k)2=k to ensure the calculation was correct. It repeats this for all numbers from 1 to the requested maximum. This is a highly multi-threaded workload.

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Cinebench R15


Cinebench R15 64-bit
Test1: CPU Image Render
Comparison: Generated Score


The latest benchmark from MAXON, Cinebench R15 makes use of all your system's processing power to render a photorealistic 3D scene using various different algorithms to stress all available processor cores. The test scene contains approximately 2,000 objects containing more than 300,000 total polygons and uses sharp and blurred reflections, area lights and shadows, procedural shaders, antialiasing, and much more. This particular benchmarking can measure systems with up to 64 processor threads. The result is given in points (pts). The higher the number, the faster your processor.

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WinRAR x64


WinRAR x64 5.40
Test: Built-in benchmark, processing 1000MB of data.
Comparison: Time to Finish

One of the most popular file archival and compression utilities, WinRAR's built-in benchmark is a great way of measuring a processor's compression and decompression performance. Since it is a memory bandwidth intensive workload it is also useful in evaluating the efficiency of a system's memory subsystem.


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FAHBench


FAHBench 1.2.0
Test: OpenCL on CPU
Comparison: Generated Score

FAHBench is the official Folding@home benchmark that measures the compute performance of CPUs and GPUs. It can test both OpenCL and CUDA code, using either single or double precision, and implicit or explicit modeling. The single precision implicit model most closely relates to current folding performance.


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HEVC Decode Benchmark v1.61


HEVC Decode Benchmark (Cobra) v1.61
Test: Frame rates at various resolution, focusing on the top quality 25Mbps bitrate results.
Comparison: FPS (Frames per Second)

The HEVC Decode Benchmark measures a system's HEVC video decoding performance at various bitrates and resolutions. HEVC, also known as H.265, is the successor to the H.264/MPEG-4 AVC (Advanced Video Coding) standard and it is very computationally intensive if not hardware accelerated. This decode test is done entirely on the CPU.


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LuxMark v3.1


Test: OpenCL CPU Mode benchmark of the LuxBall HDR scene.
Comparison: Generated Score

LuxMark is a OpenCL benchmarking tool that utilizes the LuxRender 3D rendering engine. Since it OpenCL based, this benchmark can be used to test OpenCL rendering performance on both CPUs and GPUs, and it can put a significant load on the system due to its highly parallelized code.


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PCMark 8


PCMark 8 is the latest iteration of Futuremark’s system benchmark franchise. It generates an overall score based upon system performance with all components being stressed in one way or another. The result is posted as a generalized score. In this case, we tested with both the standard Conventional benchmark and the Accelerated benchmark, which automatically chooses the optimal device on which to perform OpenCL acceleration.

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AIDA64 Memory Benchmark

AIDA64 Extreme Edition is a diagnostic and benchmarking software suite for home users that provides a wide range of features to assist in overclocking, hardware error diagnosis, stress testing, and sensor monitoring. It has unique capabilities to assess the performance of the processor, system memory, and disk drives.

The benchmarks used in this review are the memory bandwidth and latency benchmarks. Memory bandwidth benchmarks (Memory Read, Memory Write, Memory Copy) measure the maximum achievable memory data transfer bandwidth. The code behind these benchmark methods are written in Assembly and they are extremely optimized for every popular AMD, Intel and VIA processor core variants by utilizing the appropriate x86/x64, x87, MMX, MMX+, 3DNow!, SSE, SSE2, SSE4.1, AVX, and AVX2 instruction set extension.
The Memory Latency benchmark measures the typical delay when the CPU reads data from system memory. Memory latency time means the penalty measured from the issuing of the read command until the data arrives to the integer registers of the CPU.


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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Gaming Benchmarks

Gaming Benchmarks



Futuremark 3DMark (2013)


3DMark v1.1.0
Graphic Settings: Fire Strike Preset
Rendered Resolution: 1920x1080
Test: Specific Physics Score and Full Run 3DMarks
Comparison: Generated Score


3DMark is the brand new cross-platform benchmark from the gurus over at Futuremark. Designed to test a full range of hardware from smartphones to high-end PCs, it includes three tests for DirectX 9, DirectX 10 and DirectX 11 hardware, and allows users to compare 3DMark scores with other Windows, Android and iOS devices. Most important to us is the new Fire Strike preset, a DirectX 11 showcase that tests tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading. Like every new 3DMark version, this test is extremely GPU-bound, but it does contain a heavy physics test that can show off the potential of modern multi-core processors.


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Futuremark 3DMark 11


3DMark 11 v1.0.5
Graphic Settings: Extreme Preset
Resolution: 1920x1080
Test: Specific Physics Score and Full Run 3DMarks
Comparison: Generated Score


3DMark 11 is Futuremark's very latest benchmark, designed to tests all of the new features in DirectX 11 including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading. At the moment, it is lot more GPU-bound than past versions are now, but it does contain a terrific physics test which really taxes modern multi-core processors.


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Futuremark 3DMark Vantage


3DMark Vantage v1.1.2
Graphic Settings: Performance Preset
Resolution: 1280x1024

Test: Specific CPU Score and Full Run 3DMarks
Comparison: Generated Score

3DMark Vantage is the follow-up to the highly successful 3DMark06. It uses DirectX 10 exclusively so if you are running Windows XP, you can forget about this benchmark. Along with being a very capable graphics card testing application, it also has very heavily multi-threaded CPU tests, such Physics Simulation and Artificial Intelligence (AI), which makes it a good all-around gaming benchmark.


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Valve Particle Simulation Benchmark


Valve Particle Simulation Benchmark
Resolution: 1920x1080
Anti-Aliasing: 4X
Anisotropic Filtering: 8X
Graphic Settings: High

Comparison: Particle Performance Metric

Originally intended to demonstrate new processing effects added to Half Life 2: Episode 2 and future projects, the particle benchmark condenses what can be found throughout HL2:EP2 and combines it all into one small but deadly package. This test does not symbolize the performance scale for just Episode Two exclusively, but also for many other games and applications that utilize multi-core processing and particle effects. This benchmark might be a little old, but is still very highly-threaded and thus will keep scaling nicely as processors gain more and more threads. As you will see the benchmark does not score in FPS but rather in its own "Particle Performance Metric", which is useful for direct CPU comparisons.


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X3: Terran Conflict


X3: Terran Conflict 1.2.0.0
Resolution: 1920x1080
Texture & Shader Quality: High
Antialiasing 4X
Anisotropic Mode: 8X
Glow Enabled

Game Benchmark
Comparison: FPS (Frames per Second)

X3: Terran Conflict (X3TC) is the culmination of the X-series of space trading and combat simulator computer games from German developer Egosoft. With its vast space worlds, intricately detailed ships, and excellent effects, it remains a great test of modern CPU performance. While the X3 Reality engine is single-threaded, it provides us with an interesting look at performance in an old school game environment.


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Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward Benchmark


Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward
Resolution: 1920x1080
Texture & Shader Quality: Maximum IQ
DirectX 11
Fullscreen

Game Benchmark
Comparison: Generated Score

Square Enix released this benchmarking tool to rate how your system will perform in Heavensward, the expansion to Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. This official benchmark software uses actual maps and playable characters to benchmark gaming performance and assign a score to your PC.


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Grand Theft Auto V


DirectX Version: DirectX 11
Resolution: 1920x1080
FXAA: On
MSAA: X4
NVIDIA TXAA: Off
Anisotropic Filtering: X16
All advanced graphics settings off.

In GTA V, we utilize the handy in-game benchmarking tool. We do ten full runs of the benchmark and average the results of pass 3 since they are the least erratic. We do additional runs if some of the results are clearly anomalous. The Rockstar Advanced Game Engine (RAGE) is ostensibly multi-threaded, but it definitely places the bulk of the CPU load on only one or two threads.


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Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor


Resolution: 1920x1080
Graphical Quality: Custom
Mesh/Shadow/Texture Filtering/Vegetation Range: Ultra
Lighting/Texture Quality/Ambient Occlusion: High
Depth of Field/Order Independent Transparency/Tesselation: Enabled

With its high resolution textures and several other visual tweaks, Shadow of Mordor’s open world is also one of the most detailed around. This means it puts massive load on graphics cards and should help point towards which GPUs will excel at next generation titles. We do three full runs of the benchmark and average the results.


B350_Tomahawk-153.jpg
 

SKYMTL

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Voltage Regulation / Power Consumption

Voltage Regulation

Since it is a value-oriented model, we aren't surprised that the B350 Tomahawk does not have any onboard voltage measurement points, which is what we usually rely on in order to accurately measure the various system voltages. As a result, in this abbreviated overview, we utilized the AIDA64 System Stability Test to put a very substantial load on the system while also monitoring the stability of the all-important CPU vCore line. This was achieved with a 90 minute stress test, and in order to further increase the strain on the motherboard's voltage regulation components, we overclocked our Ryzen 7 1800X to 3.9Ghz with the CPU voltage as close as possible to 1.35V. We also utilized the Load-Line Calibration (LLC) settings in order to see if this motherboard is able to maintain a rock steady vCore line.

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Although the above only represents an approximately 15 minute portion of the 90 minute test, it perfectly represents how the CPU voltage line acted throughout the stress test. The Vcore stayed at 1.344V at all times, except for one for the very occasional spike up to 1.352V. By the way, all that we needed to do in order to get a load Vcore that was as close to 1.35V as possible for this test all that we had to do was set the Vcore to 1.350V in the UEFI and set Load-Line Calibration (LLC) to Mode 3.



Power Consumption

For this section, every energy saving feature was enabled in the BIOS and the Windows power plan was changed from High Performance to Balanced. For our idle test, we let the system idle for 15 minutes and measured the peak wattage through our UPM EM100 power meter. For our CPU load test, we ran Prime 95 In-place large FFTs on all available threads, measuring the peak wattage via the UPM EM100 power meter. For our overall system load test, we ran Prime 95 on all available threads while simultaneously loading the GPU with 3DMark Vantage - Test 6 Perlin Noise.

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While the B350 Tomahawk had the lowest stock idle numbers that we have seen, it also had the highest load numbers too. The differences that we are talking about are in the 3-4% range, so ultimately it doesn't mean much. When you add overclocking into the equation, things definitely start evening out a bit, with this model posting consumption numbers that place it in the middle of the pack. Overall, nothing significant to report here.
 

SKYMTL

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Conclusion - With B350 Around, Why X370?

Conclusion - With B350 Around, Why X370?


After having reviewed this motherboard, we definitely have a new appreciation for the B350 chipset. The fact that AMD even developed this chipset is an incredibly consumer-friendly move. It has the right mix of features and connectivity for your average user, and even for your above average user who happens to want to overclock.

As luck would have it, we also found the MSI B350 Tomahawk to be a great showcase for this mainstream chipset. At $110 USD / $145 CAD, this motherboard really doesn’t disappoint. Now obviously it can only support one graphics card, but that’s perfectly fine for the overwhelming majority of system builds. In fact, it’s unlikely that either of the two PCI-E x1 slots or the PCI-E x4 slot will ever be used. Having said that, in this price range, it is not uncommon for users to be carrying over a PCI sound card from a previous build, and thankfully this motherboard does feature two legacy PCI slots.

B350_Tomahawk-156.jpg

On the connectivity front, the Tomahawk has a perfectly adequate four SATA ports, it can handle one high-speed M.2 NVMe solid state drive, and it can support up to fourteen USB ports. While that number is impressive for such an affordable motherboard, we do wish that there was at least one high-speed USB 3.1 Gen2 port since native USB 3.1 Gen2 support is a key feature of the AM4 platform. Clearly, this is one area where the necessary cost-cutting made its mark. The other is in the use of a Realtek controller for the gigabit LAN port and the use of an older Realtek audio codec. Thankfully, despite being not being class-leading in any respects, both Realtek chips are competent enough to offer a seamless experience for your average user.

Since overclocking support is what makes this chipset so unique – Intel has no second-tier overclocking-enabled chipset – we were obviously excited to see what the capabilities of this motherboard were. As it turns out, this model proved to be every bit as good an overclocker as any of the X370 motherboards that we have tested. Without any issues whatsoever, we were able to push our Ryzen 7 1800X to 4.1GHz and run our G.Skill memory kit at its rated DDR4-3200. Any AM4 motherboard that reaches those two milestones gets a thumbs up from us, as long as its MOSFET heatsinks aren’t searing hot.

Now while the aforementioned lack of USB 3.1 Gen2 ports and the Realtek controllers might be negatives in our book, they appear to be the norm in this class of motherboard. Literally the only B350 motherboard that we are aware of that fixes all of those shortcomings is MSI's own B350 Gaming Pro Carbon, but it does carry a price premium. For $25 USD extra, you get the latest Realtek ALC1220 audio codec, a highly compatible Intel I211AT LAN controller, and both Type-A and Type-C USB 3.1 Gen2 ports. Whether it’s worth is ultimately up to you, but it’s nice that the option is there.

Overall, if you’re scoping out a Ryzen build and don’t want to spend a small fortune on a motherboard, the MSI B350 Tomahawk should definitely be on your radar. It features a really attractive design, a nice basic feature set, strong overclocking capabilities, and a price tag that should give everyone looking at X370 motherboards a moment of pause. Last, but not least, it even has a twin - the B350 Tomahawk Artic - which has a white PCB, white colour scheme, and white LEDs, and it even retails for the same price.

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