As we hurtle towards the official Intel CES 2022 keynote (10am PT), eager motherboard partners, media contacts and retailers seem to have let slip some new motherboards, based on the unannounced B660 and H610 chipsets. Below you will find some interesting juicy pre-show revelations from the likes of Gigabyte, MSI and Asus.
Gigabyte B660 Aorus and Gaming M-ATX motherboards
Gigabyte has prepared a range of new Intel 600 series chipset motherboards, ready to match up with the price/performance of mainstream 12th Generation Core (Alder Lake S, or ADL-S) processors. As expected, the motherboards are based on the B660 and H610 chipsets, which have strategic specification snips to make them affordable yet remain appealing. These new motherboards are outlined in a press release that seems to have been shared somewhat early on ocworkbench.com, and spotted by Momomo_us. Until these boards are officially announced, take the news with a pinch of salt.
According to the leaked press release, Gigabyte says it will be releasing B660 motherboards under the Aorus and Gaming sub-brands in ATX and Micro-ATX form factors. It asserts that its B660 motherboards will deliver a "formidable yet price-competitive platform," to buyers. For example, the new B660 boards will feature up to a 16+1+1 phase Dr.MOS VRM design, with each phase capable of handling up to 60 Amps. Moreover, the thermal designs take a leaf from the Gigabyte/Aorus Z690 book, with ample heatsinks and strategically placed thermal pads. These design choices should ensure efficient heat dissipation and system stability.
The influence of the high-end Z690 line-up doesn't stop there. Although the B660 chipset isn't designed for multiplier unlocked (K) processors and CPU core overclocking, users will still be able to tweak memory using the DDR5 Unlocked Voltage feature, and further optimize memory performance with the DDR5 Auto Booster and DDR5 XMP Booster. Some boards will be DDR4-designs, but Gigabyte doesn't really shine a spotlight on them.
Motherboards in the B660 Aorus and Gaming families will all feature at least two M.2 slots, one with Thermal Guard, delivering PCIe 4.0 speeds of up to 7 GBps using an appropriately capable M.2 SSD. Other attractive common features of B660 designs from Gigabyte include; 2.5 Gb Ethernet and 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6/ 802.11ac networking, up to USB 3.2 Gen2x2 Type-C at 20 Gbps, and front USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C headers.
Gigabyte hasn't revealed much about H610 boards, as yet. Hopefully we will get a flood of further details with confirmed features and connectivity very shortly. Keep an eye on Gigabyte's official motherboard product pages for full model specs and announcements. Last month we published a chart comparing the alleged H670, B660 and H610 Chipset specs, if you can't wait.
MSI MAG B660M Mortar WIFI Motherboard Review Published
In related news to the above, HKEPC has seemingly jumped the gun with a review of the MSI MAG B660M Mortar WIFI motherboard. This is an appealing and premium looking B660 design featuring large brushed aluminium plated heatsinks above all the heat-generating surface mount components, on a black PCB.
Like the Gigabyte B660 boards outlined above, this MSI example features a 12 + 1 + 1 phase 60A Dr.MOS VRM. HKEPC got their hands on a SSR5 version of this motherboard and noted that it supports up to DDR5-6200+ memory overclocking. In its testing the Hong Kong based tech site managed to run a 32GB Kingston Fury Beast DDR5-5200 CL40 memory kit at DDR5-6400 CL40.
HKEPC's review was quite thorough and includes a close look at motherboard components, M.2 SSD passive cooling, wired/Wi-Fi networking, and noted that the Mortar comes with a decent Realtek ALC1200 chip for 7.1 audio. In summary the reviewer reckoned that the MSI MAG B660M Mortar WIFI was a good upgrade on the previous gen, and thus a solid choice, with excellent memory OC potential.
At the time of writing there are still six hours until the MSIology: MSI Gameverse presentation starts at CES 2022.
Asus H610M Prime-A D4 Motherboard Hits Amazon
In related news, an Asus H610M Prime-A D4 motherboard has been spotted, listed on Amazon's German site (opens in new tab) at €124 ( ~$140). This is a Micro-ATX motherboard with VRM heat sink, PCH heat sink and Fan Xpert 2+, 32 Gbps M.2 slot, Intel 1Gb Ethernet and USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports, as well as Aura Sync RGB headers.
Add an Intel Core i5-12400 for the Foundation of a Great Value Gaming Rig
We expect a whole host of mainstream and entry level ADL-S processors to be officially unveiled soon – ideal for pairing up with a B660 or H610 motherboard. Tom's Hardware managed to acquire an early retail sample of the Intel Core i5-12400 and published a thorough review of this CPU. Our review is well worth a look if you are pondering a new desktop platform in 2022, as we reckon this CPU is a budget gaming champ.