Courtesy of a premature listing, we now have our first look at board pricing for some of Intel's upcoming B660 chipset motherboards from MSI (via @momomo_us). The models listed include the B660M Mortar, B660M Bazooka, and B660M-A featuring much lower prices than most motherboards equipped with Intel's flagship Z690 chipset. This should make building a cheap Alder Lake system much easier on the budget, with budget-friendly B660 motherboards coming as an option in the near future.
ho-ho- pic.twitter.com/wcfC11p4AqDecember 22, 2021
|Model:||Price||Price Converted to USD:|
|MSI Mag B660M Mortar WiFi DDR4||186.87 Euros||$211.42|
|MSI Mag B660M Mortar DDR4||172.14 Euros||$194.75|
|MSI Pro B660M-A WiFi DDR4||162.32 Euros||$183.64|
|MSI Mag B660M Bazooka DDR4||155.44 Euros||175.86|
|MSI Pro B660M-A DDR4||148.29 Euros||167.77|
The listing includes three micro-ATX offerings from MSI, including the Mortar, -A, and the Bazooka. The B660M-A DDR4 is the cheapest board of the bunch at $167.77, while the B660M Mortar WiFi DDR4 is the most expensive at $211.
The low prices can be attributed to B660's large reduction in connectivity options compared to its higher-tiered Z690 brethren. B660 motherboards are limited to just a single PCI-e Gen 5.0 interface on the primary x16 slot and take a large hit to USB port connectivity and DMI lanes routed between the CPU and chipset, which have been reduced from eight lanes to four.
Intel cut the total number of PCIe 3.0 and 4.0 lanes and SATA 3 ports for B660 in half compared to Z690 motherboards. As a result, B660 has just six 4.0 lanes, eight 3.0 lanes, and four SATA 3.0 ports. Intel also cut the USB ports down significantly to just two USB 3 20Gbps ports, four 10Gbps ports, and six standard USB 3.0 5Gbps ports. Like the PCIe lanes, this means USB 3 connectivity is roughly cut in half for B660 boards compared to Z690 offerings. USB 2.0 connectivity is the only part of B660 that wasn't significantly downgraded, with a reduction from 14 ports to 12.
But for most people, B660 should have more than enough connectivity for standard use cases like gaming or basic work environments where mass connectivity isn't a concern. Most importantly, it also cuts down on motherboard prices and gives customers a lower barrier to entry for building a new Alder Lake system.
Despite B660's competitively low prices, there are DDR4 Z690 motherboards on the market that are as cheap as $180. But there are often a lot of sacrifices to reduce the pricing of these types of motherboards, such as cutting features and sometimes connectivity, especially around the rear I/O.
With B660 motherboards, we can expect more features and possibly more connectivity options for the same price as Z690's cheapest options, especially when it comes to audio. The only thing you'll be missing out on with B660 is CPU overclocking support, but with how cheap the power delivery systems are on sub-$200 Z690 motherboards, you probably wouldn't want to overclock on those boards anyway. You can overclock the memory to your heart's content, though.
With prices ranging from $167 to $211 for MSI's B660 motherboards, there's a good chance these prices are representative of most future B660 boards from all of Intel's partners. We hope to see some DDR5 options and PCIe Gen 4-only motherboards in the future, which could drive the cost down into the $120 range.