Review of MSI MPG B550I Gaming Edge
5
(4)

The new B550 chipset is interesting not only for fans of very powerful AMD Ryzen 3900 processors, but also for those who prefer mid-range or even budget solutions based on the latest AMD Zen2 architecture.

It has already been found out that Ryzen 1st and 2nd generation processors work quietly on motherboards with B550, despite the fact that AMD strongly recommends using motherboards based on B550 with Ryzen 3xxx series processors (and of the next generation, of course). It is clear that in this case there will be no PCIe 4.0 bus at all (the B550 itself only supports PCIe 3.0 and lower), which is why AMD advises owners of motherboards on this chipset to install Ryzen 3xxx processors in them, since then PCIe 4.0 will be present in both PCIe x16 slots and at least one M.2 port.

I conducted the first materials on motherboards based on the B550 together with the Ryzen 5 3500 processor, but still the price realities somehow broadcast that it would be more logical to combine such motherboards with processors of a slightly more expensive segment – 3600X or even 3700. Therefore, we got a completely new Ryzen 5 3600XT

It is well known that AMD planned the B550 to be something like a cross between the X570 and the B450 (not to be confused with the B460, this is Intel). The PCI-e lanes of the B550 are PCI-e 3.0, not 2.0 like the B450, but not 4.0 like the X570. Plus, the presence of lines and ports in the B550 will be slightly richer than in the 450th analogue.

I repeat that AMD wants the B550 + Ryzen tandem to have at least a little PCI-e 4.0 (otherwise the B550 versus the B450 will seem extremely insignificant), which is why there are calls to use motherboards on the B550 only with Ryzen 3xxx (well, with the next generation).

At the time of the appearance of motherboards on the B550 on sale, there was a very bad situation for this chipset, when the flagship variants of motherboards on the B550 (yes, this chipset also has both very low-cost solutions and top-end ones) cost more than simple (non-top) options for motherboards based on X570, so the only thing that could put off buying a motherboard based on X570 was the presence of a fan (sometimes noisy) on the chipset. Gradually, the situation began to improve, and prices for motherboards with B550 went down, so I hope that all these incidents with prices will soon become a thing of the past, and the assortment of motherboards on B550 will fall into its price niche.

As for MSI products, I will remind you again that this company has three main lines of gaming motherboards: MEG (MSI Enthusiast Gaming) – all flagship products are collected here; MPG (MSI Performance Gaming) – there are also very expensive motherboards with an abundance of chips for gamers, but without super-bells and whistles; MAG (MSI Arsenal Gaming) – here the motherboards have fewer chips, the peripherals are simplified, and the emphasis is on reliability, because this series uses some components that are usually used in defense production.

Today the board I am reviewing belongs to the intermediate series – MSI MPG B550I Gaming Edge WiFi. That is, it has basic overclocking options (something that many gamers love), but at the same time there are no “baubles” for extreme overclocking or other functions that are usually attached to flagship solutions from the MEG series.

msi motherboard
MSI MPG B550I Gaming Edge

The MSI MPG B550I Gaming Edge WiFi comes in a small but thick cardboard box with MSI’s signature dragon design.

Inside the box there are traditional compartments: for the motherboard itself, and the rest of the kit.

The delivery set is banal. In addition to the traditional elements such as a user manual and SATA cables, there are: a CD-type drive with software, screws for M.2 drives, papers for participating in any programs from MSI, a bonus sticker and antennas for a wireless connection.

.  Cooler Master PC Power Supply: V1000

It has already become fashionable to pre-mount a “plug” for the rear panel with connectors on the board itself (it is customary to throw it separately into the box with the kit only for the cheapest motherboards). Do not forget that the software becomes outdated during the travel of the board to the buyer, so you will have to download it from the manufacturer’s website immediately after purchase.

msi motherboard

It has already become fashionable to pre-mount a “plug” for the rear panel with connectors on the board itself (it is customary to throw it separately into the box with the kit only for the cheapest motherboards). Do not forget that the software becomes outdated during the travel of the board to the buyer, so you will have to download it from the manufacturer’s website immediately after purchase.

MSI motherboard form factor

MSI MPG B550I
MSI MPG B550I

The Mini-ITX form factor measures up to 170 × 170 mm, the MSI MPG B550I Gaming Edge WiFi motherboard has exactly the same dimensions, so it fully matches the form factor, and it has 4 mounting holes for installation in the case.

MSI MPG B550I

On the reverse side of the elements there are: M.2 port, a number of controllers, signal amplifiers and other small logic. The textolite is processed well: at all soldering points, the sharp ends are cut off. In place of the VRM on the back, an additional cooling plate is installed.

Specifications

MSI MPG B550I

Traditional table with a list of functional features.

MSI MPG B550I motherboard

Main functionality: chipset, processor, memory

Obviously, this board belongs to the mid-budget (this can be seen both in the number of ports and the presence of a wireless network connection).

Review of MSI MPG B550I Gaming Edge WiFi Mini-ITX motherboard based on AMD B550 chipset

The scheme of the chipset + processor bundle operation.

Review of MSI MPG B550I Gaming Edge WiFi Mini-ITX motherboard based on AMD B550 chipset

Ryzen 3xxx processors have a total of 24 I / O lines (including PCI-e 4.0). 4 lanes (in this case, turning into PCI-e 3.0) are connected to the B550 chipset. Another 16 lines are PCI-e slots for video cards. There are 4 lines left: they can be configured by the motherboard manufacturers to choose from (either):

  • operation of one NVMe drive x4 (high-speed PCI-E 4.0)
  • two SATA ports x1 each + 1 NVMe port x2
  • two NVMe x2 ports
  • Also, Ryzen 3rd Generation processors have built-in 4 USB 3.2 Gen2 ports.

In turn, the B550 chipset supports a total of 18 PCI-e 3.0 lanes. Of these, again, 4 are needed to communicate with the CPU (total x8 link). There are 14 I / O lines left, of which 4 are occupied by SATA ports, and the remaining 10 lines can be freely configured. It is clear that there will most likely be a shortage of PCI-e lines to accommodate all the necessary peripherals, and resources will have to be divided.

The B550 also supports 2 USB 3.2 Gen2 ports, 2 USB 3.2 Gen1 ports, 6 USB 2.0 ports.

Thus, in total from the B550 + Ryzen 3000 tandem, we get:

  • 16 PCI-e 4.0 lanes for video cards (from the processor);
  • 4 PCI-e 4.0 lanes from the processor + 10 PCI-e 3.0 lanes from the chipset, which can form different combinations of ports and slots (depending on the motherboard manufacturer);
  • 4 SATA 6Gb / s ports (from chipset)
  • 6 USB 3.2 Gen2 ports (4 from processor, 2 from chipset);
  • 2 USB 3.2 Gen1 ports from the chipset;
  • 6 USB 2.0 ports (from the chipset).
  • Total: 14 USB ports, 4 SATA ports, 14 free PCI-e lanes.
Review of MSI MPG B550I Gaming Edge WiFi Mini-ITX motherboard based on AMD B550 chipset

MSI MPG B550I Gaming Edge WiFi supports AMD Ryzen 3rd Generation Socket AM4 (PGA 1331) processors. But, as practice has shown, processors of previous generations are also supported.

Review of MSI MPG B550I Gaming Edge WiFi Mini-ITX motherboard based on AMD B550 chipset

The board has two DIMM slots for installing memory modules. The board supports unbuffered DDR4 (non-ECC) memory and has a maximum memory capacity of 64GB (using the latest 32GB UDIMM). XMP profiles are of course supported.

Review of MSI MPG B550I Gaming Edge WiFi Mini-ITX motherboard based on AMD B550 chipset

DIMM slots do not have metal edging, which prevents deformation of the slots and the printed circuit board when installing memory modules and protects against electromagnetic interference, and which is usually always part of the flagship motherboards.

.  Review and testing of the motherboard ASUS TUF Gaming A520M-Plus

Peripheral functionality: PCIe, SATA

Review of MSI MPG B550I Gaming Edge WiFi Mini-ITX motherboard based on AMD B550 chipset

In addition to USB ports, which we will look at later, the B550 chipset has 14 PCIe lanes (plus 4 lanes per uplink with a processor). We count how many lines are spent on support (communication) with this or that element (it should be borne in mind that due to the shortage of PCIe lines, some peripheral elements divide them, and therefore cannot be used simultaneously: for these purposes, the motherboard has multiplexers):

  • M.2_2 slot (4 lines);
  • Realtek RTL 8125B (Ethernet 2.5Gb / s) (1 line);
  • Intel AX200 (WiFi / BT) (1 line);
  • 4 ports SATA_1,2,3,4 (4 lines)
  • 10 PCIe lanes are busy.

Now let’s look at how the processors work in this configuration above. All CPUs of this plan have only 20 PCIe lanes (plus 4 lanes for downlink with a chipset). And in this case, you won’t have to divide resources into two PCIe x16 slots, since there is only one. Well, plus the M.2_1 slot. Ryzen processors have a built-in High Definition Audio (HDA) controller, communication with the audio codec is carried out by emulating the PCI bus (there is a limitation on sound according to the 7.1 scheme: up to 32-bit / 192 kHz). The options for switching PCI-e x16 slots are as follows:

  • PCIe x16_1 slot has 16 lanes (only one video card);
  • The PCIe x16_1 slot has … 16 lanes, plus an optional riser (allowing you to connect two PCIe x16 slots (then we can get two PCIe x8, which means two video cards, Nvidia SLI / AMD CrossFire modes)
Review of MSI MPG B550I Gaming Edge WiFi Mini-ITX motherboard based on AMD B550 chipset

This card does not have a distribution of PCIe lines between slots (due to the presence of only one), therefore there are no multiplexers.

Unlike memory slots, the PCIe1 x16 slot has a metal reinforcement made of stainless steel, which increases reliability (which can be important in the case of fairly frequent video card changes, but more importantly: such a slot will more easily withstand the bending load if a very heavy video card is installed top-level). It also protects the slot from electromagnetic interference.

Review of MSI MPG B550I Gaming Edge WiFi Mini-ITX motherboard based on AMD B550 chipset

There are no amplifiers (re-driver) for the bus.

The next step is storage devices.

In total, the board has 4 Serial ATA 6 Gb / s connectors + 2 slots for drives in the M.2 form factor. The 6 SATA ports are implemented via the B550 chipset and support RAID creation.

Review of MSI MPG B550I Gaming Edge WiFi Mini-ITX motherboard based on AMD B550 chipset

The SATA ports on this board do not share resources with anything.

Now about M.2. The motherboard has 2 slots of this form factor.

The first M.2_1 slot is located on the front side of the board, it supports modules with any interface (up to 2280 in size inclusive), receiving data directly from the CPU, so there is support for PCI-e 4.0.

Review of MSI MPG B550I Gaming Edge WiFi Mini-ITX motherboard based on AMD B550 chipset

The motherboard has the technology of “cold” BIOS flashing (RAM, processor and other peripherals are optional, you just need to connect the power) – Flash BIOS.

Review of MSI MPG B550I Gaming Edge WiFi Mini-ITX motherboard based on AMD B550 chipset

For such a BIOS update, the firmware version must first be renamed to MSI.ROM and written to the root on a USB flash drive, which is inserted into the specially marked USB port. Well, start through the button, which must be held for 3 seconds. During the process of flashing a new BIOS, the motherboard starts up, after successful completion (as indicated by the extinguished LED next to the Flash BIOS button) it turns off.

To reset CMOS to factory settings there is a familiar jumper, but !! It is located under the heatsink of the rear unit, and you cannot reset the BIOS settings without removing it !! What the developers thought is not clear!

Audio subsystem

Usually, in all modern motherboards, the audio codec Realtek ALC1220 manages the sound, but in order to reduce the cost of the motherboard in this case, a slightly simpler version is used – ALC1200. However, up to 7.1 circuits are provided.

.  Review Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 compact notebook (GA401IV)
Review of MSI MPG B550I Gaming Edge WiFi Mini-ITX motherboard based on AMD B550 chipset

The audio path does not contain any operational amplifiers or DACs. The audio circuits of the board use Nichicon Fine Gold audiophile capacitors.

Review of MSI MPG B550I Gaming Edge WiFi Mini-ITX motherboard based on AMD B550 chipset

The audio path is placed on the corner of the board and does not intersect with other elements. It is reported that the left and right channels are routed to different layers of the PCB. All audio connectors on the rear panel do not have the usual color scheme, but are marked with inscriptions.

In general, it is obvious that this is a common standard audio subsystem, capable of satisfying the minimum requests of users who do not expect miracles from the sound on the motherboard.

Power, cooling

For powering the board, it has 2 connectors: a regular 24-pin ATX plus EPS12V (8-pin).

Review of MSI MPG B550I Gaming Edge WiFi Mini-ITX motherboard based on AMD B550 chipset

The power circuit is quite good for such a small motherboard, we see 10 phases in total.

Review of MSI MPG B550I Gaming Edge WiFi Mini-ITX motherboard based on AMD B550 chipset

All phase channels have a set of super ferrite coil and MOSFET MP86936 from Monolithic Power Systems with a maximum current load of 60A.

Backlight

Despite the fact that motherboards in the MPG series are usually equipped with backlighting (albeit not super-pompous, like in MEG), in this case there is none at all on a very small board. Of course, we remember about the connector for connecting external ARGB lighting, and it can already be controlled through the Dragon Center program.

Review of MSI MPG B550I Gaming Edge WiFi Mini-ITX motherboard based on AMD B550 chipset

A number of backlit modded case manufacturers “certify” software support from leading motherboard manufacturers, including MSI. And who doesn’t like it – you can always turn off the backlight through the same software (or in the BIOS) or with a switch on the board itself.

Conclusions

MSI MPG B550I Gaming Edge WiFi is a very small mid-budget chipset motherboard, referred to the mid-range MPG series, designed for entry-level gamers and enthusiasts who need regular overclocking. At the same time, the board showed itself just fine, the stability even at very high operating frequencies is just excellent.

The functionality for the Mini-ITX form factor board is very good: 11 USB ports of different types (though there are only two USB 3.2 Gen2), 1 PCIe x16 slot (with 16 lines from the processor), 2 M.2 slots, 4 SATA ports. The power system is capable of operating any compatible processor even in turbo mode (however, this requires a good cooler). The board has few connectors for fans and pumps, which is typical for solutions in its format. Two network controllers complement the picture perfectly: fast wireless Wi-Fi 6 and 2.5 Gigabit wired. It is worth noting the backlighting implemented for third-party devices such as ARGB.

There are also disadvantages: poor placement of the USB 2.0 connectors and the front panel of the case, and the ARGB socket sits too close to the PCIe x16 slot lock. Well, and a strange decision to combine the B550 chipset and the M.2_1 slot, the drive in which is heated by the chipset and in turn heats the chipset. However, there is a heatsink with a fan above them.

Review of MSI MPG B550I Gaming Edge WiFi Mini-ITX motherboard based on AMD B550 chipset

Let me remind you that the AMD B550 chipset provides support for Ryzen 3rd and future (4th) generations with PCIe 4.0, but it only implements PCIe 3.0 in hardware. This must be taken into account when installing, for example, drives in M.2 slots (because one of them is connected to the processor and therefore implements PCIe 4.0, and the other to B550, and therefore the data exchange rate there is limited by the PCIe 3.0 interface). Also, motherboards based on B550 work perfectly with Ryzen processors of previous generations (of course, taking into account the capabilities of these processors in terms of supporting the same USB ports).

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 5 / 5. Vote count: 4

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

By Vinceslav

Journalist, writer. I write articles and reviews on equipment such as cars, computers, games. Worked for 6 years in the auto and auto parts business. And all my life I have been engaged in computer technology.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.