👤by Tony Le Bourne Comments 📅19-04-17
The MSI TOMAHAWK B350 gives the X370 chipsets a run for their money, delivering fantastic performance with a well rounded set of features at a reasonable price. The design is attractive and mostly neutral, allowing it to suit most setups, and if red isn't your thing, you can easily disable (most of) the onboard LED lighting, and connect your own RGB LED strip which can then be controlled via the Mystic Light Sync App. Alternatively you could opt for the 'Artic' version with white LEDs.

The layout is mostly hassle free to work with and the addition of a right angle USB 3.1 Gen1 header is pleasing to see, though we were left scratching our heads over why they only gave uses 2x right angle SATA ports. It is here we feel we should get a little more objective about it. The TOMAHAWK B350 lacks the 2x native USB 3.1 Gen2 ports, negating them completely without even providing a 3.1 Gen2 front panel header, and the rear IO only affords 5x USB ports (Type A), and it seems MSI failed to realise that the addition of a Type C port is an added bonus, not an essential requirement, putting a serious restriction on your USB connectivity. Sure, we could argue that there are two internal USB 3.1 Gen1 headers and their usefulness will depend on your system chassis. The 4x SATA ports for storage is more of a limitation of the B350 chipset and for the modern PC, unless you are still rocking several optical drives this should be plenty. The SATA limitation seems geared to encourage users to take advantage of the high-speed M.2 port, and if you are looking to build a new system this is something you should consider.

Finally, there are some points to remember that almost intentionally place the B350 in the 'mainstream' category, making it the perfect partner for Ryzen 5 CPUs. Little things like missing out the RGB header for the Ryzen 7 coolers seems more punitive, while the slow-to-react Smart Fan feature could put a dampener on those eager to overclock, though this could also be/have been fixed with later BIOS updates.

In light of everything, MSI have made a well rounded motherboard that is equipped with enough for the majority of peoples needs, ensuring that they are able to get a high-performance experience at a significantly lower price than the X370 is currently available for.

Cruising in at an attractive price point, the MSI TOMAHAWK B350 is a solid motherboard that has everything you need for a contemporary mainstream gaming PC.

+ Attractive design
+ Solid performance
+ M.2 socket
+ Attractive, easy to use BIOS
+ Glowing Red LED lighting
+ Dedicated features for gamers and VR
+ EZ Debug LED

- Slow reacting 'Smart Fan'
- Features no USB 3.1 Gen 2

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