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MSI Pro B660M-A DDR4 Motherboard Review: Pro Board on a Budget

MSI’s Pro B660M-A DDR4 is a reasonably priced (sub-$140) and capable Micro-ATX motherboard.

MSI Pro B660M-A DDR4
(Image: © MSI)

Firmware

Like other MSI BIOS configurations, the Pro B660-A starts you out with an informational EZ Mode that allows editing of some high-level functions, including enabling XMP profiles, adjusting 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 mostly 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, which lets you download 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. Though updates should fix this down the road, it’s worth noting that you cannot overclock the system with the version I had. But serious overclockers will want to do their tweaking in the BIOS anyway.

Test System / Comparison Products

We’ve updated our test system to Windows 11 64-bit OS with all updates applied. We kept the same (opens in new tab)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 has been updated, as noted in the table below. We use the latest non-beta motherboard BIOS available to the public unless otherwise noted. The hardware we used is as follows:

Test System Components

CPUIntel Core i9-12900K
MemoryGSkill Trident Z DDR5-5600 CL36 (F5-5600U3636C16GX2-TZ5RK)
ADATA XPG Lancer DDR5-6000 CL40 (AX5U6000C4016G-DCLARBK)
GSkill Trident Z Neo DDR4-3600 (F4-3600C16Q-32GTZN)
GSkill Trident Z Royal DDR4-4000 (F4-4000C18Q-32GTRS)
GPUAsus TUF RTX 3070
CoolingCoolermaster MasterLiquid PL360 Flux
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)

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

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 G.Skill sent us a DDR5-5600 (F5-5600U3636C16GX2-TZ5RK) memory kit for launch day testing.

Benchmark Settings

Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
ProcyonVersion 2.0.249 64
Office Suite, Video Editing (Premiere Pro), Photo Editing (Photoshop, Lightroom Classic)
3DMarkVersion 2.20.7290 64
Firestrike Extreme and Time Spy Default Presets
Cinebench R23Version RBBENCHMARK330542
Open GL Benchmark - Single and Multi-threaded
BlenderVersion 3.0.1
Full benchmark (all 3 tests)
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 21.03-beta
Integrated benchmark (Command Line)
Game Tests and Settings
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
Joe Shields

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

  • shady28
    It's interesting how much difference motherboards make to both performance and power consumption. There's a 35% difference in system power draw from top to bottom in that power chart.
    Reply
  • Udyr
    If the product doesn't include RGB in the naming or marketing, RGB should not be either a pro or con in the final result.
    Reply
  • Co BIY
    Great review. I think Raptor Lake will benefit from having these low end boards appropriate to the lower end chips available at release. Alder Lake was hampered by only very high priced premium Z-series boards being available. Hopefully the needed BIOS updates will be quickly available.


    What does this board do that allows for superior performance in the Office and Excel tests? It's beating the top Aorus/Hero/Taichi boards in these tests. I would expect these results to follow the others or at least be even across the boards. It's like a Toyota Camry actually handled a daily commute faster than a Corvette.


    Edit note:
    I think that is meant to be two full-length slots.
    Reply
  • Tom Sunday
    Co BIY said:
    I think Raptor Lake will benefit from having these low end boards. It's like a Toyota Camry actually handled a daily commute faster than a Corvette.

    Good Point…Toyota Camry qualified! If I could only convince my girlfriend in giving-up her 5-year old HP laptop, I would consider this kind of ‘economy class’ MB in building her a new daily driver. Going from her HDD 5200RPM to NVME! After all her laptop never leaves her one-room apartment and she has steadily refused for me in offering her new 27-inch monitor for the bigger picture. Her Corvette upside: “She can walk that walk and talk that talk and has other attributes which are uniquely visible.
    Reply
  • toooooot
    Tom Sunday said:
    Good Point…Toyota Camry qualified! If I could only convince my girlfriend in giving-up her 5-year old HP laptop, I would consider this kind of ‘economy class’ MB in building her a new daily driver. Going from her HDD 5200RPM to NVME! After all her laptop never leaves her one-room apartment and she has steadily refused for me in offering her new 27-inch monitor for the bigger picture. Her Corvette upside: “She can walk that walk and talk that talk and has other attributes which are uniquely visible.
    I used to have a 6 yo HP laptop. I loved that huge bulky baby.
    I did not use it often but sometimes I did. It looked so well that I did not have a problem selling it
    for good money.
    I think when you use a laptop all your life, you nevr know how comfy a PC feels at home.
    Reply