As we’ve done previously, we’ll start off our look at the MSI B550M Pro-VDH Wi-Fi with detailed specifications followed by a board overview.
Specifications - MSI B550M Pro-VDH Wi-Fi
|Voltage Regulator||7 Phase (4+2+1)|
|Video Ports||HDMI (v2.1), DisplayPort, D-Sub port|
|USB Ports||(4) USB 3.2 Gen 1, Type-A, (2) USB 2.0|
|Network Jacks||(1) 1 GbE|
|Audio Jacks||(3) Analog|
|Other Ports/Jack||Wi-Fi Antenna|
|PCIe x16||(1) v4.0 (x16)|
|PCIe x1||(2) v3.0 x1|
|DIMM slots||(4) DDR4 - Supports up to DDR4 4400+(OC)|
|M.2 slots||(1) PCIe 4.0 x4 / SATA + PCIe (up to 80mm), (1) PCIe 3.0 x4 / PCIe Only (up to 80mm), *NVMe supports RAID0, 1|
|SATA Ports||(4) SATA3 6 Gbps, * Supports RAID0, 1 and 10|
|USB Headers||(1) USB v3.2 Gen 2, (1) USB v3.2 Gen 1, (2) USB v2.0|
|Fan/Pump Headers||(5) 4-Pin|
|RGB Headers||(2) 3-pin ARGB, (2) 4-pin RGB|
|Other Interfaces||FP-Audio, RGB-LED|
|Diagnostics Panel||Yes (4 LED)|
|Internal Button/Switch||LED on/off|
|Ethernet Controllers||(1) Realtek 8111HN|
|Wi-Fi / Bluetooth||Intel 3168 Wi-Fi (802.11ac, 2.4 / 5 GHz) / BT 4.2|
|HD Audio Codec||Realtek ALC892|
|DDL/DTS Connect||✗ / ✗|
Like the Gigabyte board, the MSI B550M Pro-VDH Wi-Fi box didn’t come with a lot of accessories, but enough to get going. Below is a list of what’s included, along with the board.
- Installation Guide / Registration / Promotion card(s)
- Driver DVD
- (2) SATA cables
- Wi-Fi Antenna
- MSI Case badge
- I/O Shield
The MSI B550M Pro-VDH Wi-Fi sports an all-black PCB and sockets / connections, forgoeing stenciled patterns. The simple styling fits in well with any build theme. If you would like RGB lighting you’ll have to bring your own, but there are plenty of headers. The Pro-VDH Wi-Fi also has a switch on the bottom of the board to easily turn off/on said RGB lighting. Not that hitting a switch on the board is easy once the system is built in a case. But it’s certainly handy when building and troubleshooting.
Focusing on the top half of the board, we’re thankful to see a heatsink screwed on (as opposed to push-pins) the left VRM bank to help keep the power bits cool. Also located in the same area is a single 8-pin EPS connector sending power to the processor. The socket area is fairly clean, while above it is the rest of the VRM (the SOC), this time fully exposed. Since this is for the SOC it isn’t a big deal, but we’d still like to see heatsinks on all of the VRMs, regardless.
To the right on top is the first (of five) four-pin fan headers. All ports support both PWM and DC modes for speed adjustment via the BIOS. Outputs on the System fan headers are 1A/12W, 2A/12W on the CPU header, and 3A/36W on the PUMP_FAN1 header. There’s plenty of power available here to connect fans and pumps.
The four DIMM slots support up to 128GB of DDR4 RAM at speeds up to DDR4 4400 MHz (OC). As always, your mileage may vary depending on the RAM and CPU used. We were able to set our four sticks (32GB total) at DDR4 3600 MHz without issue during testing.
On the right edge of the board, there’s a lot going on. In the top-right corner, we spy two more fan headers, the PUMP header and SYS_FAN1 header. Hiding in the same area is the first (of four) RGB headers, in this case a 3-pin ARGB. Just below the system fan header is a debugging section with 4 LEDs. During the POST process, these LEDs light up and turn off as it successfully passes each phase (CPU, DRAM, VGA, Boot). If there is a problem with one of those steps, an LED stays lit identifying the problem area. This is a great value add, especially on motherboards that do not have the 2-character debug display. Below this is the 24-pin ATX power connector, SYS_FAN2 header and finally, a front-panel USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C header.
The MSI board’s power delivery is set up in a 4+2+1 configuration for the Vcore, SOC and Memory. The Vcore and SOC use a combination of two high and two low side MOSFETs for each phase. In this case an On Semiconductor 46A 4C029N on the high side and 78A 4C024N for the low side. While not the most robust we’ve seen, it is par for the course at this price point and the setup handled our Ryzen 9 3900X at stock speed and while overclocked, which is more than we can say for some of the other motherboards in this review.
Sliding down to the bottom half of the board, on the left side is a fully exposed audio section showing off the mid-range Realtek ALC892 codec, along with four Chemicon brand audio caps. This isn’t the best audio solution we’ve seen, but again, par for the course on the budget end and sufficient for most users.
In the middle, there are a total of three PCIe slots. One is full-length, CPU-fed x16 lanes and uses slot reinforcement while the other two are x1 size with bandwidth fed from the chipset. Since there is only one full-length slot, multi-GPU support isn’t even a consideration here.
Just above the full-length PCIe slot is the first of two M.2 sockets. The top socket supports both PCIe- and SATA-based modules up to 80mm in length and runs up to PCIe 4.0 x4. The bottom slot supports up to PCIe 3.0 x4 devices only and does not have a heatsink on it. These M.2 slots support RAID0 and 1.
On the far right edge of the board past the pushpin-attached chipset heatsink are four SATA ports. The SATA ports support RAID0, 1 and 10. Just below the SATA ports a front-panel USB 3.2 Gen1 header. There is no port sharing with M.2 sockets.
Across the bottom of the boards are several headers and a switch. These are all listed from left to right below.
- Front panel audio
- (2) 4-pin RGB headers
- System fan header
- TPM header
- (2) USB 2.0 headers
- Front panel headers
- LED on/off switch
- 3-pin RGB header
The rear I/O area is full of ports, plugs and buttons. On the video front, our MSI includes D-SUB, DisplayPort, and HDMI (v2.1) ports (for use with an APU). There are six USB ports, four USB 3.2 Gen 1 from the CPU, and two USB 2.0 ports fed from the chipset. Six rear ports can be cutting things close for some users, so make sure you know your USB needs. Outside of that is the Gigabit Ethernet port, Wi-Fi antenna mounts, a 3-plug analog audio stack and finally, a Flash BIOS button.
MSI doesn’t offer an excessive amount of software, but it covers all the bases. In the utility section of MSI’s support section for this board is an MSI-skinned version of CPUz, Realtek Audio control and Dragon Center. Dragon Center (DC) is a one-stop-shop to monitor the system, control RGB lighting (Mystic Light), LAN, and gaming highlights. DC is relatively comprehensive, though it is missing software-based overclocking and fan control.
To give you a taste of the Firmware, we’ve gathered screenshots showing a majority of the BIOS screens. MSI’s layout is informative and simple to use in EZ Mode or Advanced, with the latter separated into the more familiar sections on the main page. When overclocking, the most frequently used options are located on the opening BIOS screen in the OC section, so you don’t have to dig down for most common functions.
Overall, the MSI BIOS is easy to navigate and read, with plenty of options to tweak your system. The difference between the BIOS here is more or less the color scheme. Where the gaming and higher-end boards are black/red, this is a simpler black and white.
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