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MSI B150M Mortar Review

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MSI B150M Mortar Conclusion:

As part of MSI's Arsenal Gaming series, the B150M Mortar is a solid piece of hardware. It does what it should without any concerns. It's the kind of thing you expect when the B150M Mortar is an Intel SBA supported motherboard. Starting at the hardware level, the B150M Mortar comes with all the Military Class IV components you have come to expect from MSI's Gaming series wrapped up in a cost conscious solution. MSI includes a lot of the hardware level concepts seen on the Gaming series boards into this Arsenal series board. One shining example would be the Steel Armor solution, which provides additional support for the PCIe 16X slots so your more robust video cards do not have a chance at breaking the slot. Steel Armor is said to minimize EMI interference with the PCIe signals. Pretty cool if it does what it is supposed to. MSI's Guard Pro technology is used to provide long term usability by reducing moisture intrusion, shielding components, and adding ESD protection to each of the I/O ports.

As noted earlier, we know that the MSI B150M Mortar is not an overclocking-enabled motherboard and that's fine because the vast majority of users will just plug in the components and play to get up and going as quickly as possible. Even so, you can use an Intel K-SKU processor in the board without any issues. Regardless, the B150M Mortar delivers comparable performance to the overclocking-enabled motherboards in the comparison. Again, this is what it is designed to do and do well. The only real weakness by comparison is the memory results due to the 2133MHz limit on memory speed. If you are spending $88 for your system board, you most likely will not be slapping down the extra coin for really high speed memory modules anyhow, so again this is not a problem since the board is maxing out its potential.

As an M-ATX motherboard, the B150M Mortar will allow the user to scale back the case requirements and use a smaller form factor chassis. Most of the smaller chassis still have room for large video cards since that's where you will be getting the most performance from your gaming centric system. In those smaller chassis, the red glow from the LEDs on the bottom of the PCB surrounding the board will be all that much more visible and set off the look.

The hardware level build quality is just part of the package and the performance bears that out. However, it's no longer about just the hardware, it's about the entire package. That package includes the utilities that complement the hardware. In this respect, MSI is bundling some pretty decent software packages that add functionality and are integrated really nicely with the board's capabilities. Tools such as RamDisk, Gaming Hotkey, Audio Boost, Click BIOS 5, and Gaming LAN controller, just to name a few. The only real negative is that the board only officially supports AMD's multi-GPU solution, CrossFireX. That being said, when you think about the price point targeted, will users be installing a pair of GPUs in the board? Doubtful. All the hardware and tools are packed into a military themed board that currently sells at an $88 price point. If overclocking is not your forte, don't worry; MSI has you covered with the Arsenal Series B150M Mortar.

 

Pros:

  • Performance
  • Form Factor
  • Steel Series Certified
  • Small Business Advantage 
  • Price
  • Military Class IV Tech
  • Click BIOS 5
  • Gaming-centric applications

 

Cons:

  • CrossFireX is the only dual-GPU solution officially supported


 

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