MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk Review
In our endless quest to bring you reviews of nearly every B550 motherboard of note it’s time to turn our heads towards MSI and a pair of motherboards that fit into the affordable price point that we would expect from the newest AMD chipset.
First up we have the MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk. MSI models are largely split between MEG and MAG models, with the MEG usually being the more premium types – Godlike etc – whilst the MAG is their more mid-range offerings. We recently saw the Tomahawk in Z490 guise, so it was no great surprise when it turned up in our office sporting the B550 chipset.
Despite being a MAG model there is plenty of connectivity on offer from the Tomahawk, as well as sporting the popular PCI Express 4.0 layout we’ve seen throughout our time with the B550 chipset, namely a single PCIe 4.0 slot alongside one PCIe 4.0 M.2 socket. As always we’ll be putting it through its paces with our Ryzen 9 3900X, but before that let’s cast our eyes over the specifications and take a look at it in the flesh.
Technical Specifications and Block Diagram
If you’ve been with us through all of today’s B550 reviews you’ll know that the major difference between each motherboard has been the arrangement of PCI Express 4.0 and 3.0 lanes, as well as the distribution of the USB between the superspeed and more normal types. The Tomahawk backs up the high speed devices with thicker copper traces, bracing on the primary PCI Express slot, and a high W/mk thermal pad to help keep the VRMs cool under hefty loading. Combine that with two RJ45 ports for networking at 2.5G and 1G, a quality power 10+2+1 power design and the famous MSI Mystic Light and there is a lot on offer. However, rather than tell you, let’s look at the pictures and we can go over it all with pictorial accompaniment.
MSI eschew the more usual presentation of the block diagram for the Tomahawk. Thankfully as you can see above the primary PCI Express slot is PCIe 4.0, whilst the top M.2 slot – in keeping with the format of the MSI Mortar – is PCIe 4.0 for those super tasty fast transfer rates. The other slot and M.2 socket are PCI Express 3.0, which is hardly a slouch as we’ve discovered in the many years we’ve been using it.