MSI B150M Mortar

msi-logo

 

1. Introduction

Micro-Star International Co., Ltd or MSI is a Taiwanese multinational information technology corporation founded in 1986, headquartered in New Taipei City, Taiwan. It designs, develops and provides computer hardware, related products and services, including laptops, motherboards, graphics cards, All-in-One PCs, servers, industrial computers, PC peripherals, car infotainment products, and so on.

dscf7860

 

Official product link:

http://www.msi.com/product/motherboard/B150M-MORTAR.html#hero-specification

2. Packaging and accessories

The B150M Mortar model is packaged in a green box with red, black & white accents.
The front side of the box is meant to resemble a military case, in the middle there are printed both the manufacturer’s logo and the name of the motherboard. On the lower side there is placed the MSI Gaming emblem.

dscf7842

On the sides of the box we find printed both the name and logo of the manufacturer and the name of the product with its specifications.

dscf7850

The back of the box presents in detail the product and enumerates the specifications & features of the motherboard.

dscf7847

Accessories

The product comes with the following accessories:
–    1x Manual
–    1x Quick Installation Guide
–    1x Driver CD
–    1x I/O Shield
–    2x SATA cables

dscf7851

 

3. Specifications

CPU SUPPORT: 6th Gen Intel® Core™ i3/i5/i7 processors, and Intel® Pentium® and Celeron® processors for Socket LGA-1151.
CHIPSET: Intel B150 Chipset
INTEGRATED GRAPHICS: Dependent on Installed CPU
MEMORY: 4x DIMM, Max. 64GB 2133MHz
–    Supports ECC, un-buffered memory
–    ECC UDIMM memory (non-ECC mode)
–    Supports Intel® Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)
BIOS: AMI UEFI BIOS
MULTI-GPU: Supports 2-Way AMD® CrossFire™ Technology
Expansion Slots:
–    2x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots (support x16/x4)*
–    2x PCIe 3.0 x1 slots
HDD CONNECTVIITY:
–    6x SATA 6Gb/s ports
–    1x SATAe port
–    1x M.2 Wi-Fi module slot
NETWORKING: Realtek RTL8111H Gigabit LAN controller
PORTS:
–    1x PS/2 keyboard/ mouse combo port
–    2x USB 2.0 ports
–    4x USB 3.1 Gen1 ports
–    1x VGA port
–    1x HDMI™ port
–    1x DVI-D port
–    1x LAN (RJ45) port
–    1x Clear CMOS button
–    1x Optical S/PDIF OUT connector
–    5x OFC audio jacks
AUDIO: Realtek® ALC892 Codec 7.1-Channel High Definition Audio
FAN HEADERS: 3x 4-Pin
Dimension: 24.4 cm x 24.4 cm M-ATX Form Factor

Features:

–    Supports 6th Gen Intel® Core™ / Pentium® / Celeron® processors for LGA 1151 socket
–    Supports DDR4-2133
–    Intel® SBA Support: Improves Productivity, Management and Security
–    DDR4 Boost: Give your DDR4 memory a performance boost
–    GAMING LAN: The best online gaming experience with lowest latency
–    GAMING DNA: LED ambient lights are added to give it an awesome look & feel, ready for battle
–    Audio Boost: Reward your ears with studio grade sound quality
–    Military Class 4: Top Quality & Stability
–    Guard-Pro: Improved Protection and Power Efficiency
–    MULTI-GPU with VGA Armor: VGA Armor PCI-E slots. Supports AMD Crossfire™
–    SATA Express 16Gb/s + SATA 6Gb/s
–    Click BIOS5: Secure and Reliable UEFI BIOS solution
–    EZ Debug LED: Easiest way to troubleshoot
–    Overvoltage Protection: Prevent Unforeseen Damage
–    4K UHD Support: Ultra-high Definition Visual Experience
–    GAMING CERTIFIED: 24-hour on- and offline game testing by eSports players for the best gaming experience
–    WHQL CERTIFIED.WINDOWS 10 READY.

 

4. Visual inspection

The B150M Mortar model uses a M-ATX form factor and the Intel B150 chipset. The motherboard uses a black-silver color combination. The design of the motherboard is simple, the heatsinks which ensures the cooling of the VRM and chipset are entirely black.

dscf7860 dscf7921

 

The motherboard features 3(three) 4-Pin Molex connectors, their position is the following:
Also the motherboard measures 240mm in height and has a width of 240mm.

fanheaders

 

The heatsinks mounted around the CPU socket are small and use an angular design. On the upper left corner, we find the 8-Pin power connector for the CPU.

dscf7880 dscf7887

 

Between the CPU socket and the RAM slots we see the white traces.

dscf7877 dscf7879

 

On the right side, we find the 4 DIMM slots that support DDR4 RAM with speeds up to 2133MHz. The motherboard supports a maximum of 64GB.

dscf7875

 

Next to the DIMM slots we have a Debug LED used to troubleshoot problems with the system.

debugled

 

The motherboard uses two PCIe 3.0 x16 (x16/x4) slots and two PCIe 3.0 x1 slots. The first PCIe slot is reinforced with metal in order to support graphics cards with any type of cooling system.

dscf7861 dscf7869

 

The M.2 Wi-Fi slot is placed between the two PCIe 3.0 slots. Next to the M.2 slot we can see the NUVOTON NCT6793D controller responsible for system monitoring and controlling the connected fans.

dscf7862 dscf7871

 

The audio system is isolated from the rest of the PCB, this is highlighted by a yellow line traced on the PCB when the system is turned on the line is illuminated by a red LED. Also the capacitors used in the audio system are manufactured by Chemicon.

dscf7865

 

The audio system uses the Realtek ALC892 7.1-Channel High Definition Audio codec.

dscf7867

 

The B150M Mortar model uses 6 (six) SATA 6 Gb/s ports and one SATA Express port.

dscf7873

 

The chipset heatsink uses a similar angular design as the VRM heatsingks, also the chipset heatsink features the MSI name. Next to it there is the Bios battery.

dscf7864

 

The B150M Mortar model features one internal USB 3.0 port, it is placed on the lower side of the motherboard next to the front panel headers.

dscf7861l

 

On the back side there is the I/O panel.
The I/O panel is as follows (from left to right):
–    1x PS/2 Keyboard/Mouse port
–    2x USB 2.0 ports
–    1x VGA port
–    1x DVI-D port
–    1x HDMI port
–    4x USB 3.1 Gen1 ports
–    1x Clear CMOS button
–    1x Optical S/PDIF OUT connector
–    5x OFC audio jacks

dscf7889

 

Bios

The Bios of the new Skylake motherboards has received a new introductory section which allows the modification of base settings without changing important settings such as the CPU voltage.
This section is named “EZ Mode” and includes settings such as: boot order, fan speed and XMP Profiles for your RAM.

msi_ezmodemsi_ezfaninfomsi_gameboost

 

Like the Gaming line motherboards, the B150M Mortar model use a bios which offers numerous options, the UEFI interface offered by MSI is quite different from other manufacturers when we talk about the layout of the bios.

The main window of the Click Bios 5 displays the 6 main sections of the bios, these are placed on the sides of the window. On the upper side of the main window we find general information about the system such as the components & peripherals installed on the motherboard and various temperatures.

msi_general

Software

The B150M Mortar model comes with a rich software bundle, these pieces of software are meant to make things easier for the user.

Included in the software bundle we find a couple of applications with the purpose of allowing the user to customize the system settings and to increase performance. These applications can manage everything from controlling the fans connected to the motherboard up to update the Bios.

MSI Command Center

comcenter

 

MSI | Intel Extreme Tuning Utility

intextreme

 

MSI Gaming App

gamingapp

 

MSI Live Update 6

liveupdate6

 

RAM Disk

ram_screen

 

Other applications included in the bundle have a different role, they take care of the sound system, the LAN and wireless networks and starting the system directly into the bios.

MSI Fast Boot

fastboot

 

MSI Gaming Lan Manager

lanmanager

 

5. Testing

The following system was used to test the motherboard:
–    CPU: Intel i5 6600K @ 3.9 GHz
–    RAM: Crucial 8GB @ 2133MHz
–    GPU: MSI GeForce GTX 660 OC Gaming
–    HDD: Samsung SpinPoint F3 500GB
–    SSD:  Samsung 840 EVO 120GB
–    PSU: Antec Edge 550W Gold
–    CPU Cooler: NZXT Kraken x61
–    Display: AOC i2769VM
–    Case: Fractal Design Define R5
–    OS: Windows 7 64-bit Service Pack 1

dscf7987

 

The processor was used with the stock turbo frequency of 3.9 GHz.
The RAM module was used at its default frequency.

Software used for testing the motherboard:
–    3D Mark – FireStrike, CloudGate, IceStorm.
–    CineBench r11.5
–    SuperPi mod 1.5
–    wPrime v1.55
–    Grand Theft Auto V
–    Fallout 4
–    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
–    Tomb Raider 2013

The test results are as follows:

3D Mark
Overall Score

3dmarkoverall

 

Fire Strike

firestrike

 

Cloud Gate

cloudgate

 

Ice Storm

icestorm

 

CineBench r11.5

cinebench

 

SuperPi mod 1.5

superpi

 

wPrime v1.55

wprime

 

Grand Theft Auto V

gtav

 

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

witcher3

 

Tomb Raider 2013

tombraider

 

6. Final thoughts

The MSI B150M Mortar is a good solution for users who want an M-ATX form factor motherboard at an acceptable price. The performance of the motherboard is good, being just behind motherboards who use the Intel Z170 chipset.
The build quality is good and the motherboard offers a couple of features which are often found on more expensive boards from the Gaming line, some of these features are: the audio system which is separated from the rest of the PCB to prevent interferences, the Debug LEDs to help in troubleshooting the problems of the system and the metal reinforced PCIe slot which reduces the EMI interferences.
The Bios is easy to use & configure due to its intuitive interface and the beginner mode “EZ Mode”.
The Software bundle is rich, the motherboard is accompanied by software meant to help use & configure the motherboard, such as: MSI Command Center, LiveUpdate6 or RAMDisk.
The only inconvenient is the fact that the motherboard only supports AMD’s CrossFireX, but considering the price of this motherboard, not many users will have a Multi-GPU configuration.

Leave a Reply

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