This MSI MAG B550 TOMAHAWK Gaming motherboard has been popular with users in the and special thanks to its combo of competitive pricing as well as a well-balanced feature set.
But, while the TOMAHAWK used to be more of an affordable or budget entry, the MSI MAG B550 TOMAHAWK setup up in its game to include more quality features like the 13-phase power digital design.
Letâ€™s dig into the motherboard and find out if it is deserving of a spot on our best motherboard list. In addition, this MSI MAG B550 stack is similar to the X570 enthusiast’s lineup in the motherboards are divided into many segments, in order from higher to lowest.
Although, the B550 uses MPG and MAG for pro gamers and pro motherboards for creators.Â However, MSI does not offer its highest-end MEG class motherboards on the B550 chipset leaving that segment with an X570 chipset on the AMD side.
As with the competitions, the motherboard comes in all sizes from mini ITX to ATX form factor with the gaming carbon WIFI as the current flagship and B550M Pro VDH motherboard on the budget side price. So, the product stack has plenty of variety, but a top-end price that is much lower than Asus motherboard and Gigabyte B550 motherboards.
Moreover, this MSI MAG B550 TOMAHAWK Gaming motherboard highlights include 10+2+1 power delivery and two Ethernet ports, two M.2 slots, comes with their own heatsink, and oversized VRM heatsink as well. The one and only thing about this motherboard is that there is no integrated Intel WIFI.
In our testing, this MSI MAG B550 TOMAHAWK Gaming motherboard performs very well and it has an amazing or robust performance as well, with results very close to all other B550 motherboards tested around the platforms that launch.
Thereâ€™re no significant outliers in the result, but in general, it seems to lean toward the quicker side of our recent B550 test group. With an optimized default in the BIOS and RAM set to DDR4 with a fast memory speed of up to 3600MHz.
This best motherboard pushed our AMD Ryzen 9 3900X to its 4.6GHz two cores boost without any issue. While overclocked, this motherboard ran the CPU at 4.3GHz along with 4x8GB DDR4 with a fast memory speed of up to 3600MHZ.
Overall, this MSI TOMAHAWK gaming motherboard behaved well throughout all tests and chopping through the benchmarks with ease.
- AMD AM4 CPU socket
- B550 chipset
- ATX form factor
- Display port
- An HDMI port
- DDR4 RAM memory
- Fast memory speed
- 6 SATA 3 6Gpbs
- RGB headers
- Ethernet Controller
- HD audio codec
- 3-year warranty from MSI
The accessory stacks are sparse, but itâ€™ll get you started. Here is a list of what ships in the box with the ATX MSI MAG B550 TOMAHAWK Gaming motherboard.
- Users manual
- Support DVD
- Fast installation
- 2 SATA cables
- Case badge
Additionally, at the first glance, after taking this MSI MAG B550 TOMAHAWK Gaming motherboard out of the box, we clearly see the noticeable difference from B450and a lot of similarities with the X570 TOMAHAWK.
However, the PCB is black with the motherboard using grey and black heatsinks along with the grey stenciled lines which sweeping diagonally through the motherboard. Outside of that and the B550 model losing the chipset fan, so that motherboard looks remarkably very similar.
In addition, the RGB lighting is housed under the chipset heatsink and illuminating the bottom half of the motherboard with bright or crispy saturated colors. Furthermore, zooming in to the top half of the motherboard, the dominant feature is the large VRM heatsink is on the left side as well.
These heatsinks are covered by the shroud, but here the shroud is the part of the heatsink. Although, the top VRM ban has a grey heatsink on it along with the MAG name on its top side. So, the motherboardâ€™s black and grey theme will easily blend into most builds.
Across the top edge to the left of the VRM heatsink is a single 8-pin power connector which is good for ambient overclocking. Above and to the right of the DIMMs slots are 4-pin DC fan headers respectively.
So, the top two headers, CPU-FAN1, and PUMP- FAN1 are both high-powered which listed as 2A/24W and 3A/36W as well. The latter is one of the highest values that I have seen on any motherboard.
Also, on the far right edge, there is a 24-pin ATX power connector, along with a front-panel USB 3.2 Generation header. Just above the 24-pin ATX power connector is the EZ debugÂ LED which is a set of four LEDs labeled boot, VGA, DRAM, and CPU as well.
If thereâ€™re any issues in these particular areas, the light that corresponds to the specific POST issue will stay lit and pinpointing where the system is currently stuck. While not as informative as a regular debug LED, then thisâ€™s still very helpful.
Power to the motherboard comes from the single 8-pin power connector which feeds the 13-digital VRMs. Power is controlled by the Renesas RAA229004 PWM controller which feeding the mirrored 10-phase CPU core.
Moreover, the power is then sent to the Intersil ISL99360 MOSFETs that are rated at almost 60 Ampere and this setup is plenty capable of handling our AMD Ryzen 9 3900X at stock and while the overclocked as well.
In addition, moving to the bottom half of the motherboard, we will start on the left side with the audio section. So, the more expensive motherboards use the latest Realtek ALC 1220 codec, while the MSI MAG TOMAHAWK uses the Realtek 1200 ALC codec.
Unless youâ€™re a true audiophile with expensive headsets and speakers and the chances are you would not be able to hear a difference. Although, itâ€™s worth noting the lack of shielding that we usually see on higher or expensive priced motherboards.
In the middle of this motherboard, thereâ€™re two full-length PCIe slots and two x 1 sized slot. The primary or top GPU slot is PCIe 4.0 x 16 slots, while the bottom slot is PCIe 3.0 x 1 with its lanes fed from the chipset.
The two x 1 slot lanes are also sourced from the chipset and the B550 TOMAHAWK supports 2-way Crossfire SLI users need or require not to apply. The top M.2 socket supports SATA and PCIe-based modules up to 110mm in length.
However, the socket itself receives its bandwidth from the CPU and it is PCIe 4.0 x 4 slots. Furthermore, The bottom M.2 socket supports PCIe drives only with up to four PCIe 3.0 lanes assigned to the device.
Note, if thereâ€™re devices in M.2Â as well as PCIe 2 and PCIe 4, then the PCIe 3 will be unavailable and M.2 2 drops to the PCIe 3.0 x 2 slots as well.
On the far right of this MSI MAG motherboard, there is a stable of 6 SATA 3 6Gbps ports. These ports are always available as the lane sharing is done with the M.2 slot and PCIe slots. The SATA ports also support RAID 0,1, and 10, and the NVMe also supports RAID 0 and 1.
Additionally, the bottom edge of this best MSI motherboard is loaded with headers covering audio, fan control, lighting, USB port, and many more. Below, there is a list of these headers and jumpers from left to right:
- Front panel audio
- RGB header
- System fan headers
- LED ON/OFF switch
- 2 USB 2.0 headers
- Front-panel USB 3.2 headers
- System panel headers
- RGB header
- AURA header
This MSI MAG B550 TOMAHAWK Gaming motherboard delivers a well-balanced feature set at an affordable or competitive price. The performance is up there with the higher expensive motherboards.
And, the VRMs held their own even when they overclocked. Overall, itâ€™s much cheaper on market. If you will have to live without WIFI and just 6 USB ports on the rear IO, then this is a fully-featured & capable option for you.