• Slots: LGA1151
  • CPU: Intel B150
  • RAM Slots: 4
  • RAM Type: DDR4 2133MHz
  • Ports: 1x LAN, 4x USB 3.1, 4x USB 2.0, 5x Audio jacks, 1x Optical S/PDIF, 1x HDMI, 1x DVI
  • Pros:
  • Overall design and performance
  • Cons:
  • No MSI Steel Armor
  • Benchmark Results
  • PCMark 8 (Home): 4,237 points
  • PCMark 8 (Creative): 4,652 points
  • PCMark 8 (Work): 43,748 points

B Doesn’t Mean B-Grade

After a wave of Z170 motherboards filling the market for the enthusiasts, B150 chipset motherboards are finally getting their fair share of attention. MSI brings over features that are found on their higher end mother boards, and made them available on their consumer grade gaming hardware, bringing more power to the people.

As on many of MSI’s gaming motherboards, DDR4 Boost is also featured on the B150 GAMING M3 on their four DDR4 DIMMs, this helps ensure that the system is working optimally and stable. The board features six SATA III ports, one SATA Express port and an M.2 slot for all your storage expansion needs. Not only that the board also sports two PCIe 3.0 x16 which are AMD CrossFire ready, and the PCIe slots are protected with MSI’s VGA Armor that held our heavy graphic cards with no bending noticed.

The motherboard comes with an ample amount of I/O ports in the back ranging from USB 3.1 to USB 2.0. One feature we always come to love is the EZ DEBUG LED, which helped us figure out that we were using faulty RAM sticks when we first tried to bootup the test bench. The LED’s are separated to CPU, DRAM, and VGA so you can always pinpoint the issue when you fail to boot your computer. Additionally, the B150 GAMING M3 has a nice number of features that support overclocking, like the Slow Mode.

What it does is that, it allows you to decrease your CPU ratio if you’ve reached an extremely high frequency, that has caused you to be unable to boot successfully. It will decrease your CPU ratio below stock settings to create a stable environment to safely boot into Windows. We tested it by slowly overclocking our Intel 6700K to the point of failure and just flicked the switch, allowing us to boot safely once again.

Something usually left out from being reviewed is the BIOS of the latest motherboards, in the past motherboards had very clunky and not really user-friendly interfaces. But the MSI B150 GAMING M3 has their latest CLICK BIOS 5 which displays settings and functions sharply in a high resolution. This is an important factor because if you’re overclocking, since you’ll be spending a lot of time in your BIOS a clear and easy-to-use BIOS can greatly improve your overclocking experience.

CHIP CONCLUDE: Sporting features that aren’t much lacking from their Z170 boards, MSI has done right with the B150 GAMING M3 fitting into a nice spot for gamers and regular users.

(previously published in issue March 2016)