- Highlighted Features:
- Supports 12th Gen Intel® Core™, Pentium® Gold and Celeron® processors for LGA 1700 socket
- Supports DDR4 Memory, up to 4800+(OC) MHz
- Premium Thermal Solution: Extended Heatsink Design and M.2 Shield Frozr are built for high performance system and non-stop works
- 2.5G LAN and Intel Wi-Fi Solution: Upgraded network solution for professional and multimedia use. Delivers a secure, stable and fast network connection
- Lightning M.2: Running at PCIe Gen 4 maximizes performance for NVMe based SSDs
- Lightning USB 20G: Built-in USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 port, offers 20Gbps transmission speed, 4X faster than USB 3.2 Gen 1
- AUDIO BOOST
- Multi-GPU: With Steel armor PCIe slots. Supports AMD Crossfire™
The MSI MAG B660 TOMAHAWK WIFI DDR4 Review. Chipsets for popular bands such as the Non K-series Alder Lake and the H670/B660/H610 were released in early January. In particular, the latter attracts the attention of users looking to keep costs down and build their own PC based on Alder Lake, which performs well. Introducing this time is the MSI MAG B660 TOMAHAWK WIFI DDR4. This is a model equipped with the Intel B660 “TOMAHAWK” chipset, which is representative of mainstream gaming motherboards, and it is attracting a lot of attention.
The Alder Lake Motherboards for Mainstream with a focus on power circuits
While Alder Lake launched last year, performing well, one of the reasons it’s not so easy to migrate may be the soaring price of PC parts in general. Even though production systems have been affected by the COVID-19 disaster and global demand for PCs is increasing, it is very difficult to get hold of a video card due to the need for mining. In addition, the supply of DDR5 memory is not very abundant, and the price per capacity is high because of the new standard that has just emerged.
MAG B660 TOMAHAWK WIFI DDR4 adopts B660 which is cheaper than Intel Z690 at the chipset level, and also adopts DDR4 which can be said to be mainstream for memory. Not as versatile as the Intel Z690 as a chipset feature, the B660 can keep costs down even at motherboard design levels. DDR4 memory is already a dead technology in terms of circuit design, so no need for ambitious designs here.
Part of the cost that is reduced in this way is allocated to the power supply circuit and functions that can be said to be the main parts of a gaming motherboard. Since this is a game model, it must be designed to ensure stability and durability even when used as a game, which requires a long time with high 3D loads.
The power supply circuit has 12 + 1 + 1 phases, and Renesas “RAA229132” is used for the PWM controller. The MOSFET to be combined is the 60A-compatible Intersil “ISL99360” Smart Power Stage. While this is not a direct drive model, it is a cost oriented model, but uses the Duet Rail Power System, which is highly efficient and does not use phase multipliers. Also, the combination of PWM controller and MOSFET is a class that can be seen in mid to high-end models. It is clear that the MAG B660 TOMAHAWK WIFI DDR4 emphasizes the power supply circuit while keeping the cost in mind.
It should also be noted that the CPU power supply circuit is an 8-pin EPS12V x 2 unit. The Intel B660 cannot be over-rated by changing the CPU magnification. However, Power Limit can be set. The CPU power supply terminals are 8 pins x 2 units, and the point that there is a margin in the power supply is to be expected in terms of performance.
The Power Limit can be set in the BIOS, but when the MAG B660 TOMAHAWK WIFI DDR4 is started for the first time, the screen to select the installed CPU cooler will be displayed, so you can also set it here. “Boxed Cooler” is a retail CPU cooler or low profile CPU cooler, “Tower Air Cooler” is a single/twin tower air cooled CPU cooler, and “Water Cooler” is water cooled CPU cooler.
Each Power Limit is 241W / 280A for Boxed Cooler, 288W / 512A for Tower Air Cooler, and 4096W / 512A for Water Cooler. Of course, it is better to connect both CPU power terminals. Even if only one EPS12V x 1 is connected, it works, but even if the Power Limit is set to 4096W, there is a fushi that works with minimal pressure.
Cooling is also important for CPU power circuits. MSI uses a large aluminum heat sink. In particular, the heat sink on the left side of the CPU socket has a structure that protrudes toward the side of the back panel. Because it’s made of aluminum, the model is simpler than a plastic cover, but incorporates a satin finish and a hairline layer, and also adds paint. As the name TOMAHAWK suggests, it looks a bit military rather than simple, and would be perfect for gaming purposes.
Let’s take a look at the performance of the CPU power circuit and VRM heatsink in the logs during the CINEBNECH R23 Multi Core test. The combination is a Core i7-12700K CPU, twin tower CPU cooler, and dual fan air cooled type. Side flow aside, since this is a lab test, the VRM is barely exposed to the wind, so I want you to consider it primarily as a value in natural convection. Both EPS12V are connected, and the Power Limit setting is 4096W.
Benchmarking starts at the far left, barely noticeable, but at point “1” on the horizontal axis (count), and CPU usage rates (Total CPU Usage) and CPU temperature (CPU Pack Temperature) increase sharply. Compared to that, the VRM Temperature rose slowly. The point is the softness of this rising curve. MAG B660 TOMAHAWK WIFI DDR4 was almost flat at 54 ± 0.5 in the last 40 counts during the 10-minute benchmark. It seems that the heat generation at 100% load of the CPU power supply circuit and the heat dissipation performance of the VRM heat sink are in balance at around 54°C.
As soon as the benchmarks finished, the temperature dropped to the mid-40°C range. The CPU load was dissipated, the heat generated by the CPU power supply circuit quickly subsided, while the VRM heatsink continued to dissipate heat. It will take some time to get back to 37.5°C before benchmarking (benchmark is run before measurement and idle is set for 10 minutes), but as far as this behavior goes, CPU power supply circuit is also efficient and VRM heat sink. It can be seen that the heat dissipation performance is also very good. This will effectively lower the VRM temperature, even in actual operation with the case fan.
Reduced “the exclusive use”, easy to understand and expandability more than necessary and sufficient
MAG B660 TOMAHAWK WIFI DDR4 is an ATX form factor. The MAG B660 TOMAHAWK WIFI DDR4 expansion slot is set quite conservatively with PCI Express 5.0 x16 x 1, PCI Express 3.0 x16 (4 lane operation) x 1, and PCI Express 3.0 x1 x 1. Speaking of ATX, you can imagine an upgrade, but there’s a point that the bus width between the CPU and the chipset are halved where the Intel B660 differs from the Z690.
In other words, even if you are too greedy, the expansion slots and Serial ATA and M.2 will be used exclusively. MAG B660 TOMAHAWK WIFI DDR4 will hate such complicated rules. The only ones that will be used exclusively are Port 7 Serial ATA 3.0 and the M.2 slot 3.
There are 3 M.2 slots. The first slot above connects to the CPU and a PCI Express 4.0 x4 connection is available, and the second slot is a chipset connection, but the connection supports PCI Express 4.0 x4. Slot 3 is connected to the chipset and supports PCI Express 4.0 x2. Serial ATA 3.0 has 6 ports (starting with number 5). Chipset connection for ports 5-8.
In addition, ASMedia “ASM1061” is used to add ports A and B. Intel B660 supports only 4 Serial ATA 3.0 ports, and MAG B660 TOMAHAWK WIFI DDR4 is supported by installing an additional chip to make it the same 6 ports as conventional models.
USB has one USB 3.2 Gen2x2 Type-C on the back panel, four USB 3.2 Gen2 (also equipped with Type-C x 1 as an internal header), two internal USB 3.2 Gen1 headers, and USB 2.0. In addition to the expansion slots and Serial ATA, the number of USB ports has been reduced in the Intel B660, but the MAG B660 TOMAHAWK WIFI DDR4 is supported by adding the “GL3590” USB 3.2 Gen2 hub chip from Taiwan Genesys Logic.
And the network is 2.5GbE and Wi-Fi 6. Realtek “RTL8125BG” is adopted for 2.5GbE chip. In the high-end models, Intel chips and Killer brand chips are adopted even in the same Intel, but RTL8125BG has also been adopted from the beginning of 2.5GbE and has a track record. It seems cheap in terms of cost, but you can rest assured that it is stable. By the way, it is mounted on the back side of the motherboard.
Since we’re verifying energy this time, let me introduce some benchmark scores on the Core i7-12700K at the end. Since the video card is CPU-centric and the Radeon RX 460, video card is quite old, please take a look at the CPU scores and high CPU dependency scores.
First of all, CINEBENCH R23 has 22611 for Multi Core and 1920 for Single Core. By the way, if the Power Limit is set to 288W or the CPU rating is 190W, the score will drop significantly. On the other hand, since it is a twin tower air-cooled CPU cooler, the CPU temperature at that time will reach 70°C.
Due to the nature of gaming, I would like you to use Power Limit 4096W with a powerful CPU cooler, but on the other hand, if you aim for performance / watts and quietness, you can refrain from Power Limit or lower the CPU magnification below the rating (less than the rating), then it can be set with Intel B660.
Overall is 7398 for PCMark 10 (Standard). Well, PCMark 10 is also a benchmark that uses the GPU, so it’s just for reference, but with the performance of the Core i7-12700K it has a balance score that can be said to be universal.
Also, 3DMark’s Time Spy is 1487. This is because I’m using a pretty old video card. However, it seems that the CPU is operating at quite high clocks in some places. If you cut your motherboard costs down with MAG B660 TOMAHAWK WIFI DDR4 and allocate your budget to a video card or CPU, you’ll be able to build the ideal gaming PC.
By the way, the maximum VRM temperatures during PCMark 10 and 3DMark execution are 41.4°C and 40.5°C (room temperature 24°C).
This time I tried MAG B660 TOMAHAWK WIFI DDR4, but the focus is still on the CPU power supply circuit. We do not compromise on the cost of this part. Even though it is an Intel B660, it consists of parts that can be installed in the mid-range Z690. As a result, heat generation is suppressed even when load is applied in benchmarks, and a ceiling of around 55°C due to temperature rise combined with a high-performance VRM heat sink, makes it a highly secure product, even for gaming applications.
It’s hard to talk about cost unless it actually goes on sale, but for those who feel that the gaming model with the Intel Z690 chipset is over budget, the MAG B660 TOMAHAWK WIFI DDR4 will make for a satisfactory cost performance. Costs can also be reduced if DDR4 memory can be used. Or, if you feel DDR5 is close to performance, you can combine it with DDR4 OC memory.
Although only for mainstream gamers, MAG B660 TOMAHAWK WIFI DDR4 might be a very attractive choice at this time considering the DDR5 transition period and the soaring price of PC parts. For those who want to make their own with DDR5 memory, MAG B660 TOMAHAWK WIFI has been prepared in its line, so you can choose according to the memory.
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