MSI B450 GAMING PRO CARBON AC Review 5

MSI B450 GAMING PRO CARBON AC Review

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Final Thoughts and Conclusion

  • The MSI B450 GAMING PRO CARBON AC is available for US$129.99
  • Awesome performance for the price
  • Sleek black aesthetic
  • Serious overclocking potential
  • Power hungry in idle
  • Driver disc includes bloatware
  • Limiting storage interface options
The MSI B450 GAMING PRO CARBON AC performed pretty averagely throughout my tests. It didn't top anything and didn't bomb anything either. The real benefit of this board over others is the immense amount of tweaking and excellent software MSI bundled with it. Don't misunderstand, the MSI B450 GAMING PRO CARBON AC will work perfectly out of the box, and with cool temperatures and quiet fan curves to boot. In some ways, the MSI B450 GAMING PRO CARBON AC is at risk of flying under the radar when only the benchmark numbers are examined, and that would be a mistake.

The MSI B450 GAMING PRO CARBON AC does have some drawbacks with the storage interfaces being one of the greatest. I think MSI really did a great job here even though I am listing this as a con. The B450 chipset only supports four SATA ports and one M.2, though the Ryzen CPUs can pick up some of that slack. So to increase the SATA offering to six ports and include two M.2 slots, MSI had to share bandwidth between interfaces. In short, the MSI B450 GAMING PRO CARBON AC has a lot of options for storage, but not all of them can be populated at once. It is a pretty common practice as it offers flexibility without the added cost of engineering in extra storage controllers. However, it can be hard to convey to the customer that these limitations exist and exactly how they interact.

So, other than storage, which is more of a budgeting compromise, the MSI B450 GAMING PRO CARBON AC is also pretty power hungry, most especially at idle, consuming several times the typical wattage with default settings. I think this is something MSI should consider addressing with a BIOS update. It will not impact performance, longevity or stability, but cost of ownership is part of budgeting too.

The MSI B450 GAMING PRO CARBON AC is one of the quietest boards I have had on my bench, and even when the fan curves were ramped up for overclocking, it was still very quiet. The MSI BIOS and software suite are also excellent, offering great diagnostic and tweaking options. A modern and well-equipped rear I/O rounds out a very thorough, competent motherboard.

The MSI B450 GAMING PRO CARBON AC comes in at just under US$130, a bargain for this much motherboard. The full, undiluted overclocking experience, excellent audio performance, and dark, sleek look all come together to create a very attractive package.
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