- About the MSI B250M Mortar…
- How its tested??
- PCMark 8 and Memory Profile benchmark
- SATA Performance Testing
- Boot Load Timings
- Transfer Test
- Online Purchase Links
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Disclosure: The MSI B250M Mortar is provided by MSI
About the MSI B250M Mortar…
Its been a very long time since I’ve reviewed an mATX form factor motherboard. Apart from a lesser PCIe slot count, it shouldn’t be different from the standard ATX. The purpose is obvious- provide a slimmer form factor than standard ATX but have more function than a mini ITX. mini ITX motherboards also came a long way as manufacturers are able to have a sea of features on it.
The MSI B250M Mortar uses Intel B250 chipset, a desktop chipset that has enough function to keep most users happy. For some reason, Intel chose not to enable overclocking.
Packaging and Contents
The MSI B250M Mortar’s packaging is plain but it contains all the required information over at its back, including the IO options and basic specifications. It indicates some features that show this motherboard to be a bit above barebone motherboards as there are debug LED indicators, USB 3.1 Type C, RGB LED header and Intel LAN.
This connector support multicolor strip with a maximum power rating of 3 amps, which should be kept shorter than 2 meters. The LED effect can be manual set by using MSI’s gaming app.
The add-ons are restricted. Only four SATA ports (two one-sided right-angled SATA cables), some reading materials, an I/O shield and an installation disc.
|CPU||• Supports 7th/6th Gen Intel® Core™ i3/i5/i7 processors and Intel® Pentium® and Celeron® processors for Socket LGA1151
* This function will be supported depend on the CPU.
|Chipset||Intel® B250 Chipset|
|Main Memory||• 4 x DDR4 memory slots, support up to 64GB
– 7th Gen processors support DDR4 2400/ 2133 MHz*/ **
– B250 chipset + 6th Gen processors support DDR4 2133 MHz*/ **
• Dual channel memory architecture
• Supports Intel® Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)*** Please refer to www.msi.com for more information on compatible memory.
**DDR4 memory modules can only run at a maximum of 2400 MHz for 7th Gen processors and 2133 MHz for 6th Gen processors on XMP mode.
|Slots||• 2x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots (support x16/x4 mode)
• 2x PCIe 3.0 x1 slots
|Onboard Graphics||• 1 x DVI-D port, supporting a maximum resolution of 1920×1200@60Hz
• 1 x DisplayPort, supports a maximum resolution of 4096×2304@24Hz, 2560×1600@60Hz, 3840×2160@60Hz,1920×1200@60Hz
• 1 x HDMI™ port, supports a maximum resolution of 4096×2160@30Hz(7th CPU), 4096×2160@24Hz(6th CPU), 2560×1600@60Hz
|Multi-GPU||Supports 2-Way AMD® CrossFire™ Technology|
|Storage||• Intel® B250 Chipset
• 6 x SATA 6Gb/s ports*
• 1 x M.2 slot (Key M)
– Support up to PCIe 3.0 x4 and SATA 6Gb/s
– Supports 2242/ 2260 /2280/ 22110 storage devices
– Support PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe U.2 SSD with Turbo U.2 Host Card**
– Intel® Optane™ Memory Ready
• Supports Intel® Smart Response Technology for Intel Core™ processors
* The SATA1 port will be unavailable when an M.2 SATA SSD module has been installed in the M.2 slot.
** The Turbo U.2 Host Card is not included, please purchase separately.
|USB||• Intel® B250 Chipset
– 6 x USB 3.1 Gen1 (SuperSpeed USB) ports (3 Type-A ports + 1 Type-C port on the back panel, 2 ports available through the internal USB connector)
ƒ- 6 x USB 2.0 (High-speed USB) ports (2 Type-A ports on the back panel, 4 ports available through the internal USB connectors)
|Audio||• Realtek® ALC892 Codec
– 7.1-Channel High Definition Audio
|LAN||• 1x Intel® I219-V Gigabit LAN controller|
|Internal I/O Connectors||– 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
– 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
– 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
– 1 x M.2 slot
– 1 x USB 3.1 Gen1 connector (supports additional 2 USB 3.1 Gen1 ports)
– 2 x USB 2.0 connectors (supports additional 4 USB 2.0 ports)
– 1 x 4-pin CPU fan connector
– 3 x 4-pin system fan connectors
– 1 x Front panel audio connector
– 2 x Front panel connectors
– 1 x Serial port connector
– 1 x RGB LED connector
– 1 x TPM module connector
– 1 x TBT connector
– 1 x Chassis Intrusion connector
– 1 x Clear CMOS jumper
|Back Panel I/O Ports||– 1 x PS/2 mouse & keyboard combo port
– 2 x USB 2.0 ports
– 1 x DVI-D port
– 1 x DisplayPort
– 1 x HDMI™ port
– 1 x LAN (RJ45) port
– 3 x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A ports
– 1 x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-C port
– 6 x OFC audio jacks
|Dimension||• 9.6 in. x 9.6 in. (24.4 cm x 24.4 cm)
• Micro-ATX Form Factor
|Mounting||• 8 mounting holes|
Apart from the LAN and audio codec, all of its Input/output ports run natively via the Intel B250 chipset. This is a micro-atx form factor motherboard and yet it makes a good impression of having all the required connectors. Having an M.2 slot for low-to-mid end motherboards always help to grab a platform. While the motherboard does have a Type-C interface, it uses one of the six native USB 3.0 bandwidth.
With a vague glance, the motherboard has a spacious design with almost all the functionality a typical PC user will require- four DIMM slots, two PCIe x16 slots with two PCIe x1 slots, front panel headers, SATA ports and one USB 3.0 front panel header.
What you should know about the Intel B250 chipsets…
These Intel B250 chipsets viz. made for Sky Lake/Kaby LGA 1151 processors do not support overclocking and has a bandwidth for a single PCIe 3.0 x16 slot. The PCIe 3.0 lanes are reduced to 12 and 25 HSIO lanes, which Z270 carries 24 PCIe 3.0 lanes and 30 HSIO lanes. It does support Intel Optane technology and Intel Rapid Storage, but that’s it. It also supports six USB 3.0 ports and a standard six SATA 6 Gb/s support. Still, the chipset allows the motherboard manufacturer to provide a single M.2 provision via the x4 lanes. While Intel Optane SSDs would not be as cheap suitable for low cost-conscious system users, it provides that future readiness as it uses 3D XPoint, therefore providing significantly higher speeds than conventional SATA SSDs.
MSI mentioned that its first SATA port won’t work if you’re using an M.2 card. Judging by the basic difference, it should keep most of the hardware enthusiasts and gamers happy. It is such a shame that while Intel provides unlocked i3 and i5 processors, the B and H desktop chipsets don’t allow overclocking. C’mon!
You should also know that maximum memory support depends on the CPU architecture. Intel Skylake provides native support up to 2133MHz, while Kaby Lake is up to 2400MHz.
Power Delivery and Fan Headers
Apart from the gunmetal-black design with red highlights, it is worthy to note that the mounting holes are highlighted. As many may have experienced with the common all-black cases, screws, motherboards combo, it becomes very annoying to put a system together. It does a small bit to locate them. The motherboard has one four pin- CPU fan header and three system fan headers. All of them are PWM controlled which has an access in its UEFI to manually set a fan curve.
The CPU socket area appears to provide adequate clearance for most large CPU air coolers, especially with the first PCIe 3.0 x16 slot. There’s only a single CPU FAN header but for a non-overclockable motherboard of this class, this is adequate.
MSI B250M Mortar has a single Keyboard/ Mouse PS/2 port, with two USB 2.0, a DVI-D, HDMI and DisplayPort video outputs with a total of four USB 3.0 ports out of which one of them is Type-C. There are six audio ports but no Optical out. The Mic-In jack is highlighted in red.
M.2 and PCIe Slot Area
The m.2 support is up to 22110 devices and placed between the LGA socket and the PCIe x16 slot. The CMOS battery is placed towards the edge which would get covered if the GPU is installed. But there is a clear_CMOS header below it for better access. Two PCIe 3.0 x1 slots are provided along with the last PCIe 3.0 x16 slot restricted to x4 bandwidth.
Headers and Front Panel Options
From the base-left corner, there’s the front panel audio header, system fan, RGB LED header, COM port, two USB 2.0 ports that provide support for up to four USB 2.0 ports, front panel headers tagged JFP1 and JFP2 with the speaker buzzer header in between. MSI did not mention the function of JTBT1 but most likely it is for the 5 pin connection on the PCIe thunderbolt add-in cards.
JTPM1 is the TPM Module header and placed above the second PCIe x16 slot.
During the CPU heatsink installation using the NH-U14S, it is noticed that there would be a clearance issue between large CPU cooler and graphic card with backplates. However, chances of a large CPU cooler using in B250M Mortar seems unlikely as the chipset doesn’t support overclocking. Unless you have a spare lying around, chances of you using a large 140mm CPU cooler on this is slim. Still, you will notice a good amount of clearance around the motherboard without extending outwards the upper section.
Heatsink and Sub-component Overview
The common trend with MSI motherboard’s aluminum MOSFET sinks are that it is not sinked all the way through to allow better heat dissipation. This was observed even with the Z series motherboard. MOSFET sinks are secured by screws while the chipset sink is a push-pin.
MSI used Richtek RT3606BC PWM controller to control the high and low side MOSFETs. The only non-native controllers are the Intel I219-V gigabit controller and Realtek ALC892 audio codec that utilizes chemi-con capacitors on the ‘isolated PCB’ marked with a LED accent. There’s a single 128Mb chip for the UEFI and Nuvoton NCT6795D-M I/O controller.
The BIOS update is very straightforward. The process has become foolproof that no motherboard manufacturer can possibly screw it up.
The EZ Mode is the first UEFI interface you’ll see while the advanced can be accessed by pressing the F7. The EZ Mode has all the functions and monitoring tools you’ll need including the option to manual set a fan curve for any of the four-pin headers.
Advanced View- Settings