MSI MAG B660M Mortar WIFI DDR4 Review: B660 Chipset Bliss?

An inexpensive entry into Alder Lake, with full (stock) performance.

MSI MAG B660M Mortar WIFI DDR4
(Image: © MSI)

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Firmware

Like the other MSI BIOS configurations, you start with an informational EZ Mode that allows editing some high-level functions that enable XMP profiles, adjust fan speeds, and more. The main menu is informational up top, while the bottom two-thirds is where the adjustments happen. You select the section you want on the left or right sides, and the details show in the middle. You don’t have to dig down several screens to reach the overclocking options as they are chiefly found on the main page. Some digging is inevitable, but overall we find this BIOS full of options and easy to read and get around.

Software

For software, the theme these days is to place a lot of the functionality in one program. MSI’s take on this is called Dragon Center software. This application allows you to download all or individual applets. Some of the programs include Mystic Light (RGB control), LAN Manager, User Scenario (overclocking, monitoring, and fan control), Super Charger, MSI Companion (help record games), and many more.

Test System / Comparison Products

We’ve updated our test system to Windows 11 64-bit OS with all updates applied. We kept the same Asus TUF RTX 3070 (opens in new tab) video card from our previous testing platforms but updated the driver to version 496.13. Additionally, our game selection was updated, as noted in the table below. We use the latest non-beta motherboard BIOS available to the public unless otherwise noted. The hardware used is as follows:

Swipe to scroll horizontally
CPUIntel Core i9-12900K
MemoryKingston Fury DDR5 5200 CL40 (9KF552C40BBK2-32)
Row 2 - Cell 0 GSkill Trident Z DDR5 5600 CL36 (F5-5600U3636C16GX2-TZ5RK)
GPUAsus TUF RTX 3070
CoolingMSI MEG Coreliquid S360
PSUEVGA Supernova 850W P6
SoftwareWindows 11 64-bit (21H2, Build 22000.282)
Graphics DriverNVIDIA Driver 496.13
SoundIntegrated HD audio
NetworkIntegrated Networking (GbE or 2.5 GbE)

EVGA supplied our Supernova 850W P6 power supply (appropriately sized and more efficient than the outgoing 1.2KW monster we used) for our test systems, and GSkill sent us a fast and good-looking DDR5-5600 (F5-5600U3636C16GX2-TZ5RK) memory kit for launch day testing.

Benchmark Settings

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Synthetic Benchmarks and SettingsRow 0 - Cell 1
ProcyonVersion 2.0.249 64
Row 2 - Cell 0 Office Suite, Video Editing (Premiere Pro), Photo Editing (Photoshop, Lightroom Classic)
3DMarkVersion 2.20.7290 64
Row 4 - Cell 0 Firestrike Extreme and Time Spy Default Presets
Cinebench R23Version RBBENCHMARK330542
Row 6 - Cell 0 Open GL Benchmark - Single and Multi-threaded
BlenderVersion 2.93.1
Row 8 - Cell 0 Full benchmark (all six sub-tests)
Application Tests and SettingsRow 9 - Cell 1
LAME MP3Version SSE2_2019
Row 11 - Cell 0 Mixed 271MB WAV to mp3: Command: -b 160 --nores (160Kb/s)
HandBrake CLIVersion: 1.2.2
Row 13 - Cell 0 Sintel Open Movie Project: 4.19GB 4K mkv to x264 (light AVX) and x265 (heavy AVX)
Corona 1.4Version 1.4
Row 15 - Cell 0 Custom benchmark
7-ZipVersion 21.03-beta
Row 17 - Cell 0 Integrated benchmark (Command Line)
Game Tests and SettingsRow 18 - Cell 1
Far Cry 6Ultra Preset - 1920 x 1080, HD Textures ON
F1 2021Ultra Preset - 1920 x 1080, HBAO+, RT Med, TAA + 16xAF, Bahrain, FPS Counter ON

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Joe Shields
Motherboard Reviewer

Joe Shields is a Freelance writer for Tom’s Hardware US. He reviews motherboards.

  • Co BIY
    How is this review not on the front page?
    Reply
  • render.man
    This b660 motherboard is overpriced. It costs like a Gigabyte gaming z690
    Reply
  • Xtremepr0
    Inexpensive? Now 190$ for a mobo is inexpensive, oh jeez, the market...
    Reply
  • shady28
    So if I read this correctly, B660 does in fact allow overclocking? That's pretty big news actually.
    Reply
  • render.man
    shady28 said:
    So if I read this correctly, B660 does in fact allow overclocking? That's pretty big news actually.
    only memory oc, not cpu
    b460 and b560 motherboards were released at a reasonable price ; B660 doesn't make sense at all at these prices
    Reply
  • shady28
    render.man said:
    only memory oc, not cpu
    b460 and b560 motherboards were released at a reasonable price ; B660 doesn't make sense at all at these prices

    Article says they were able to do all core OC. They just couldn't control the V/F curve.
    Reply
  • render.man
    shady28 said:
    Article says they were able to do all core OC. They just couldn't control the V/F curve.

    you can run all cores at stock maxium speed
    you can't change the multiplier with a B chipset
    Reply
  • shady28
    render.man said:
    you can run all cores at stock maxium speed
    you can't change the multiplier with a B chipset

    Ok, I see the distinction. Technically correct, however most people are lucky to be able to set all core at max turbo. 10850K for example has a max single core turbo 5.2Ghz at stock, most people who 'overclock' on these shoot for 5.1Ghz all core. In my book this is actually a form of overclocking as the 10850K would never do all core 5.1Ghz by default.

    It's just that you are limited to the max (5.2Ghz) single core speed, but can set all cores to that max. You probably won't be able to cool the thing without something like a $400+ custom open loop water setup beyond that anyway.
    Reply
  • render.man
    Another miss: this motherborad doesn't have PCIe 5.0 for GPU
    There are also news about motherbords with b660 ( Asus, Asrock) with bclok overclock potential 8diXDeTDCboView: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8diXDeTDCbo
    If this motherboard doesn't have this feature it's another miss.
    Reply
  • Ai90
    render.man said:
    Another miss: this motherborad doesn't have PCIe 5.0 for GPU

    Not big loss to be honest. There are no GPUs in Market, which require such bandwidth.
    Reply