If you're a gamer, you want a motherboard that will provide the best performance possible. The MSI B450 Gaming Pro Carbon AC motherboard has plenty of features and ports for your gaming needs, as well as the overclocking capability for those who want to take their rig to the next level.
The MSI B450 Gaming Pro Carbon AC motherboard is a great choice for gamers because it has overclocking capabilities, plenty of connectivity options, and an advanced thermal design. The board also comes with the Mystic Light RGB LED system that gives you full control over your colours.
MSI's B450 Gaming Pro Carbon AC motherboard is a straightforward choice for gamers looking for an affordable and reliable board. The MSI B450 Gaming Pro Carbon AC features a 12+2 phase VRM, providing the power needed with the most demanding components. It also supports up to 32GB of DDR4-3200MHz RAM, has six SATA ports as well as two M.2 slots that support PCIe Gen 3 x4 speeds up to 2Gbps (32Gb/s), one USB-C port, three USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A ports, one HDMI port and one DVI-D port. MSI B450 Gaming Pro Carbon AC motherboard review will be a big help in your decision making. There are still lots of other features that really make this board stand out from.
It is once again time to talk about a new chipset from AMD. This particular release, the B450 chipset, is no surprise. After the refresh of the X370 in the way of the X470 earlier this year, it was only a matter of time before the B300 series got the same treatment. The differences between the old B300 series and the new B400 series are pretty minor. However, the board we are looking at today is anything but minor. The MSI B450 GAMING PRO CARBON AC from MSI brings a lot more to the table than you might expect from a refreshed midrange board, and it is my pleasure to use it in this review as an introduction to the chipset.
The MSI B450 GAMING PRO CARBON AC is a fully sized ATX board featuring everything we have come to expect from mainstream performance motherboards. The board features two M.2 slots, which are covered by a thermal solution to increase drive performance and longevity. In addition, an impressive array of heatsinks cover the VRM and chipset to negate the risk of thermal throttling no matter the workload or climate. Add in a fully fleshed out audio solution, MSI Mystic Light, and Mystic Light Sync for expandable RGB support, and an especially beefy VRM design, and the MSI B450 GAMING PRO CARBON AC could be a true gaming powerhouse.
The MSI B450 GAMING PRO CARBON AC is actually fighting a battle on two fronts. On the one hand, as a midrange chipset board, it competes with boards like the ASRock AB350M Pro4 We looked at earlier this year, affordable boards that still offer good performance. On the other hand, the MSI B450 GAMING PRO CARBON AC offers the premium features you would expect from mainstream X470 boards. MSI has put itself on a tightrope balancing features with affordability. By the end of this review, we will see whether they made it.
Packaging and Contents
The front of the MSI B450 GAMING PRO CARBON AC's box is a graphic of a dark heatsink with RGB lighting peaking out and the "MSI B450 GAMING PRO CARBON AC" name superimposed on top. The MSI logo sits in the top left, while logos for key features are in the top right. The bottom right shows the relevant chipset information, and the bottom left shows more features.
The back of the MSI B450 GAMING PRO CARBON AC box is a dark and colourful take on what has become the standard layout: a picture of the board with prominent features highlighted dominates the top left, while more features are detailed out to the right. Along the bottom left is a detailed specification list, and the bottom right has the ever-important graphic showing the rear I/O offering.
The MSI B450 GAMING PRO CARBON AC box follows the standard model but does it in excellent form. The thematically dark tone matches the board's personality very well, and the graphics are flawlessly printed. Not much more can be said, and that in itself is high praise. The MSI B450 GAMING PRO CARBON AC box gets a 10/10; would read it again.
Often the more affordable motherboard means a slight reduction in available connectivity options and sizzle to go along with the steak. The MSI Carbon does have a slightly reduced count of connection options, but still more than enough to keep the average user happy and not endlessly swapping out peripherals. Additionally, MSI's Mystic Light combines well with the Carbon look of the, ahem, Carbon to ensure that you have plenty of flash and flair to go along with your performance. With twin M.2 slots, beefy heatsinks, both LAN and Wi-Fi options (the AC in the name) and MSIs Audio Boost and Nahimic3 audio, the B450 Carbon ticks an awful lot of boxes.
Frequently Asked Questions About MSI B450 Gaming Pro Carbon AC motherboard
Add in a fully fleshed out audio solution, MSI Mystic Light, and Mystic Light Sync for expandable RGB support, and an especially beefy VRM design, and the MSI B450 GAMING PRO CARBON AC could be a true gaming powerhouse. But, unfortunately, the MSI B450 GAMING PRO CARBON AC is actually fighting a battle on two fronts.
The B450 Gaming Pro Carbon AC AM4 ATX Motherboard from MSI is built on the AMD B450 chipset, supporting AMD Ryzen series processors with an AM4 socket. ... Other notable features include Realtek ALC1220 7.1-channel HD audio, Intel I211AT Gigabit LAN, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, and MSI Mystic Light RGB LEDs.
The MSI B450 GAMING PRO CARBON AC has no less than six fan headers. Four are standard 4-pin system headers, a CPU-specific header, and a high current header for water pumps.
A B450 will serve you just fine. Lots of them will be enough for OC if you're into it, or else it will be more than enough. Just look at the features, not the chipset. If it will do what you'll want from it, then that's a match, as easy as that.
Pulling the MSI B450 GAMING PRO CARBON AC out of the bag reveals a handsomely dark board with black carbon-textured heatsinks and a black PCB with white lines tracing it in the bottom-left corner. The board is uniformly black, and the heatsinks are much larger than expected on a B450 board. Overall, the layout lends the MSI B450 GAMING PRO CARBON AC a sleek, aggressive look. The back of the MSI B450 GAMING PRO CARBON AC is also a uniform black broken only by the backplate for the CPU cooler and a few warnings against misplaced standoffs. The MSI B450 GAMING PRO CARBON AC is a really good-looking board. The aesthetic is above and beyond what I would expect from a mid-range motherboard both in design and execution. The extended heatsink even serves as a partial rear I/O shield.
An Intel I211AT Gigabit LAN Controller powers the LAN on the PRO CARBON AC. The rear I/O on the MSI B450 GAMING PRO CARBON AC is mostly as expected and consists of the following:
- 1x BIOS Flashback+ button
- 1x PS/2 keyboard/mouse combo port
- 2x USB 2.0 Type-A (black)
- 1x DisplayPort
- 1x HDMI
- 1x LAN (RJ45) port
- 1x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-C
- 2x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A (blue)
- 1x Wi-Fi antenna connectors
- 5x Audio jack
- 1x Optical S/PDIF OUT connector
Fan Control and Options
Fan control for the MSI B450 GAMING PRO CARBON AC is handled in MSI Command Center or the BIOS. As I expected, the MSI B450 GAMING PRO CARBON AC offers plenty of customization, and the default curves were near-silent with my cooler. The software design is straightforward and has some UI consistency between the BIOS and in-OS software. A Nuvoton NCT6797 chip handles fan control on the MSI B450 GAMING PRO CARBON AC.
The MSI B450 GAMING PRO CARBON AC has no less than six fan headers. Four are standard 4-pin system headers, a CPU-specific header, and a high current header for water pumps. The first three are in the top-right corner, and the other three are dispersed across the lower half of the board. The overall control setup is well thought out and shows consideration for the enthusiast right from the design stage.
Product Description and UEFI
With tax season in the US in full swing, some of us are looking forward to dropping some of our refunds on upgrades to outfit our rigs with the latest and greatest in the PC hardware scene. With RTX, Radeon VII, and 3000 series processors on the horizon, it is easy to look past the motherboard when picking components. MSI hopes to change all that with an inexpensive ($140 US) overclocking board that's tough to pass up, thanks to its overclock-encouraging oversized heat sinks and elaborate onboard RGB lighting.
The product packaging presents a more toned-down aesthetic similar to a high-octane performance car rather than other B450 offerings on the market. In addition, the contents of the box are slim compared to our X470 "top-tier" expectations. Still, a B450 board covers all the bases with a padded backplate, pair of SATA cables, direct-attach Wi-Fi antenna, LED extension cable, case badge, driver disk, various documentation, and adhesive cable labels.
The MSI B450 Pro Carbon shares similar features to our previously reviewed Gigabyte B450 Aorus Pro Wi-Fi but sports a toned-down aesthetic and enhanced user experience. The MSI B450 is well rounded on the back panel, with five gold-plated analog audio, one S/PDIF, two USB3.1 10Gbps (1 Type-A, 1 Type-C), two USB3.1 5Gbps, two USB2.0 ports, and one RJ-45 port connected to the Intel I211AT Gigabit Network controller. HDMI and Display Port ports are available for builders who don't want or need a dedicated graphics card and support HDMI 1.4 and DisplayPort 1.3 bandwidth requirements. Wireless connectivity is provided through an Intel Wireless-AC 9260 add-in card with support for up to 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.2. Extra ports for this board include a PS/2 port and a BIOS Flashback Button in case you need to recover or upgrade the UEFI on your board.
Topside, the Corsair LED, CPU 4-pin fan, and 4 and 8-pin EPS power connectors have a decent amount of spacing for cable management. Stuck in below the primary VReg heatsink is the final 4-pin fan header. Finally, let us not forget to mention the dual-hinged DDR4 DIMM slots that are a step above a standard B450 bill of materials.
Since this is a higher-end mid-tier board, we decided to crank up some overclocking options. CPU Loadline Calibration has options from Mode 1 through Mode 8 (higher to lower load line settings, respectively). CPU Core voltages are settable up to an impressive 1.55V--which we would not recommend. Also, VCore voltages have a 12.5mV increment in case you want to adjust voltage manually. DRAM frequencies are selectable from a paltry DDR4-1600 up to an astounding DDR4-4200. And just in case you wanted to make sure you don't blow things up, the legs on this board allow for some levels of over-voltage and over-current protection, which is a nice differentiator in the B450 landscape.
The MSI B450 GAMING PRO CARBON AC has a typical complement of storage options for a full-sized board. However, I must note that populating the M.2 slots disables either the PCIe 2.0 x1 slots or two of the SATA ports (M.2_1 for the SATA and M.2_2 for the PCI). This limitation is a cost-saving measure to avoid engineering in additional storage controllers while still providing interface flexibility. The MSI B450 GAMING PRO CARBON AC performed well in most storage tests.
The MSI B450 GAMING PRO CARBON AC matched my other test components perfectly and left an overall impression of quality and potential. While the completely black aesthetic may seem played out, I have rarely seen it executed as well. Say what you will about it. It is handsome, and all black is just about the easiest possible colour to match components with.
The RGB implementation on the MSI B450 GAMING PRO CARBON AC is subdued compared to past boards—tastefully minimal but well executed. The two main RGB LED zones are the chipset and under the top-right edge of the board. My amateur low-light photography skills notwithstanding, it looks very good and doesn't ruin the dark tones of the rest of the board.