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MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk Review: Dual Ethernet, Sub $200

The B550 Tomahawk includes solid power delivery, plus 2.5 and 1 GbE.

MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk
(Image: © MSI)

Software

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. 

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MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk

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MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk

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MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk

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MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk

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MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk

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MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Firmware

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. 

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MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk

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MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk

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MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk

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MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk

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MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk

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MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk

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MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk

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MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk

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MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk

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MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk

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MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk

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MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk

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MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk

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MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk

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 Test System and Comparison Products

Our test system uses Windows 10 64-bit OS (1909) with all threat mitigations applied. The motherboard BIOS used is the latest non-beta available to the public, unless otherwise noted. The hardware used is as follows: 

CPUAMD Ryzen R9 3900X
MemoryG.Skill Trident Z Neo 2x8GB DDR4 3600 (F4-3600C16Q-32GTZN)
GPUAsus ROG Strix RTX 2070
CPU CoolerCorsair H150i
PSUCorsair AX1200i
SoftwareWindows 10 64-bit 1909
Graphics DriverNvidia Driver 445.75
SoundIntegrated HD audio
NetworkIntegrated Networking (GbE or 2.5 GbE)
Graphics DriverGeForce 445.74

For this review, we’ll be comparing the MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk ($179.99) with the Gigabyte B550 Aorus Master ($279.99) and the Asus ROG Strix B550-F Gaming Wi-Fi ($209.99).  

Benchmark Settings 

Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
PCMark 10Version 2.1.2177 64
Essentials, Productivity, Digital Content Creation, MS Office
3DMarkVersion 2.11.6866 64
Firestrike Extreme and Time Spy Default Presets
Cinebench R20Version RBBENCHMARK271150
Open GL Benchmark - Single and Multi-threaded
Application Tests and Settings
LAME MP3Version SSE2_2019
Mixed 271MB WAV to mp3: Command: -b 160 --nores (160Kb/s)
HandBrake CLIVersion: 1.2.2
Sintel Open Movie Project: 4.19GB 4K mkv to x264 (light AVX) and x265 (heavy AVX) 
Corona 1.4Version 1.4
Custom benchmark
7-ZipVersion 19.00
Integrated benchmark
Game Tests and Settings
The Division 2Ultra Preset - 1920 x 1080
Forza Horizon 4Ultra Preset - 1920 x 1080

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  • Phaaze88
    That's a big jump in price from what used to be reasonably priced on the older B series...
    Overclocking is garbage on Ryzen 3000 too; there's a better performance tweak than that.

    Ehh, might as well get an Asus TUF Gaming X570 Plus for around the same price... ¯\(ツ)
    Reply
  • King_V
    Yeah, I'm not quite sure where $180 became a reasonable price for what was supposed to be a budget chipset, relative to the X570.
    Reply
  • CBOT
    The more expensive boards use the latest Realtek ALC1220 codec (or some variation of) while the Tomahawk uses a Realtek ALC1200, a slightly cut down version of the ALC1220.

    I think thats wrong, have the Board running and it says Realtek ALC S1220A.
    Reply
  • Nestea_Zen
    no fan control? wtf is this the 90s?
    but hey, disk cleanup:

    c4OpCCPU-D0:165View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4OpCCPU-D0&t=2m45s
    nxKivQwQSew:0View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxKivQwQSew&t=1m


    according to http://download.msi.com/manual/mb/DRAGONCENTER2.pdfthere should be fan control
    Reply
  • jrhansen
    Many of the B550 boards have considerably more features than the older B450. It is more expensive than what people is used to, but the MSI Tomahawk is a great board with almost the same features as many X570 boards, and more than half of the available X570 boards is actually crappy designed. It seems most board makers have produced some nice B550 boards that is miles better than the X570 counterparts and many of the X570 is just too steep for what they delivers. If AMD had put a PCIe 4.0 uplink to the CPU in the B550 chip it would render 80% of the X570 boards pointless, overpriced and also bad designed for really many off'em. And there is some cheap B550 on the horizon for supposedly under 100 $ so there will be MB for those on a tight budget. But if you are on the really low budget, you could go with a B450 as they won't disapear right away, and those should be sufficient if it is for an ultra budget build anyway.
    Reply
  • g-unit1111
    A PS2 port on a $200 motherboard? Do PS2 mice even still exist?
    Reply