Twitter user chi11eddog (opens in new tab) has shared photographs of an unreleased MSI motherboard. The upcoming MAG B660M Mortar Max WiFi DDR4 reportedly sports a Renesas external clock generator for driving both BCLK overclocking on non-K CPUs and PCIe 5.0 support. These two features aren't available on the existing MAG B660M Mortar WiFi DDR4.
The refreshed Intel B660 motherboard will carry the Max moniker to differentiate itself from the vanilla version. In addition, the Renesas RC26008 external clock generator is an excellent addition to MSI's budget-friendly B660 motherboard. The generator will open the doors to BCLK overclocking for Intels locked 12th Generation Alder Lake processors, such as the Core i5-12400. The hexa-core chip is already one of the best CPUs on the market, and the opportunity to overclock it would only make it better.
Overclockers have pushed the Core i5-12400 to as high as 5.2 GHz. Only the premium motherboards, such as the ASRock Z690 Aqua or the MSI MEG Z690I Unify, supported BCLK overclocking on Alder Lake. It's unlikely that consumers would pick up a locked processor and pair it with a high-end Z690 motherboard or expensive DDR5 memory. Offerings like MSI's upcoming MAG B660M Mortar Max WiFi DDR4 make more sense for buyers on a budget.
Another bonus of the Renesas controller is PCIe 5.0 integration with the MAG B660M Mortar Max WiFi DDR4. It's a big plus, considering the B660 chipset does not natively support the PCIe 5.0 standard and is limited to PCIe 4.0 speeds.
The photographs of MAG B660M Mortar Max WiFi DDR4 show the Renesas controller sitting right next to the primary M.2 slot on the motherboard, suggesting the primary M.2 slot and primary PCIe x16 slot could be getting Gen 5 support. If true, this will put the Max variant at an advantage over AMD's upcoming B650 chipset motherboards, which only feature PCIe 5.0 support on the primary M.2 slot.
With the new upgrades in mind, the MAG B660M Mortar Max WiFi DDR4 could be a competitive motherboard in the B660 landscape, featuring BCLK overclocking Intel's non-K Alder Lake chips and PCIe Gen 5.0 support. We don't have an official MSRP now, but the non-Max costs a respectable $159.99 on Newegg (opens in new tab). If MSI keeps the Max variant around this price, it would be an excellent option for budget gamers and overclockers or anyone looking for a cheap motherboard with PCIe 5.0 connectivity.