In our first spherical of Intel B660 motherboards, we checked out 10 entry-level boards priced at or under $140. Of these merchandise, solely the MSI Pro B660M-A was an excellent performer, nevertheless it was additionally one of many costlier choices at $140 for the non-Wi-Fi model. All different cheaper alternate options had points that made them lower than ideally suited.
An different of types have been the Gigabyte B660M DS3H and B660M D3H, each of which suffered from weak performing VRMs that closely restrict CPU efficiency past the Core i5-12400, and due to this fact do not provide a lot of an improve path. The Gigabyte boards do provide strong characteristic units although, so if all you require is as much as Core i5-12400 efficiency, and for no matter cause by no means plan to improve, then they’re viable choices, however not price saving a mere $20 in our opinion.
That’s the price range boards in a nutshell. Now it is time to discover costlier choices.
We have 8 new Intel B660 motherboards that go for from $150 to $250. We’ll briefly go over every board after which bounce into the check system setup and outcomes.
Spoiler alert: We’re a hefty 70% distinction between the quickest and slowest B660 boards utilizing a mid-range to high-end CPU.
Asus Prime B660-Plus D4 – $150
The Asus Prime B660-Plus D4 retails for $150, which is identical worth because the Wi-Fi model of the MSI Pro B660M-A we appreciated probably the most in our price range roundup. This is an ATX board however you are not getting a lot in the way in which of extra options when in comparison with cheaper mATX fashions. The PCIe slots are identical and the one noteworthy addition is an additional M.2 slot restricted to x2 bandwidth.
The I/O panel is first rate, you get two USB 3.2 gen 2 ports, a Gen 1 port and a a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type C. There’s two USB 2.0 ports, 2.5 Gbit LAN, an HDMI output, DisplayPort output and that is about it when it comes to connectivity price mentioning.
Of course, what we’re most all for for this check is the VRM and we’re comfortable to report that we now have full heatsink protection with this board, although you’d hope so at this worth level. The VRM is not wonderful, it is a 6-phase vcore utilizing On Semi MOSFETs, on the high-side is a single 4C10B fet and on the low-side two 4C06B fets.
This is a slight enchancment over the less expensive B660M-Ok, although the Prime will get an additional fet on the low-side and heatsinks overlaying all VRM elements, and that ought to assist loads.
Asus TUF Gaming B660M-E D4 – $160
Asus did not ship us the TUF Gaming B660M-E D4 however we purchased one from retail. This is a costlier board right here in Australia the place we purchased it, and it would not seem like on sale within the US but, although we consider it can are available in round $160.
Looking on the board options, you do not get Wi-Fi, it is lacking a VRM heatsink solely providing half protection, and the pre-installed I/O defend is gone, and the VRM itself has been closely downgraded. The vcore portion of the VRM makes use of 4 phases with double the elements utilizing a single On Semi 4C10C on the excessive aspect and two 4C06B fets on the low-side.
This is an identical configuration to the Prime B660-Plus D4, you are simply getting an additional two units of fets.
Asus TUF Gaming B660M-Plus Wi-Fi D4 – $180
And then we now have the TUF Gaming B660M-Plus Wi-Fi, which is a way more spectacular trying board. Though it is available in a little bit costlier, you get all of the bells and whistles: 2.5 Gbit LAN, Wi-Fi 6, eight USB ports on the I/O panel, 4 of that are USB 3.2 gen 2 ports with a further Type-C and also you additionally get a sturdy VRM.
You additionally get a pre-installed I/O defend with I/O cowl and heatsinks overlaying your complete VRM, it is a candy trying board.
This time Asus has achieved with a 5-phase vcore utilizing two 50A energy phases per section, so a doubling of elements right here. The powerstage of alternative is the Vishay SiC654, which has a 50A capability, so this board ought to be capable of deal with even the Core i9-12900K with relative ease.
Asus ROG Strix B660-A Gaming Wi-Fi D4 – $240
The final Asus board we now have to take a look at is the ROG Strix B660-A Gaming Wi-Fi D4. This is an outrageously costly B660 board at $240 US, nicely into Z690 territory. However do word that the Z690 model of this board prices $350.
There’s no denying that this is a wonderful trying motherboard that’s filled with a great deal of prime quality options. Over on the I/O panel — which after all encompasses a pre-installed I/O defend — you will discover a complete of 9 USB ports, three USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports with a Type-C and two USB 3.2 gen 2 ports, once more one in every of which is a Type-C, after which there are 4 USB 2.0 ports.
For audio you get ROG SupremeFX 7.1 encompass sound utilizing the Realtek ALC4080 codec and for networking Intel 2.5 Gbit LAN is included together with Wi-Fi 6. The VRM vcore will get 6 phases with doubled up elements. Asus has used Alpha & Omega 55A energy phases that means there’s 12 of those in complete.
All are lined by giant aluminum heatsinks. Asus has additionally opted to extract warmth from the inductor, which is nice, so much less warmth is dumped into the PCB. This board ought to carry out exceptionally nicely in our exams.
Gigabyte B660M Aorus Pro AX – $180
The B660M Aorus Pro AX from Gigabyte at the moment retails for $180, coming in as a direct competitor to the TUF Gaming B660M-Plus Wi-Fi D4 (we all know, these names…).
Frankly, we desire the look and design of the Aorus Pro AX and extra importantly, it is higher geared up, particularly round on the I/O panel. Gigabyte has managed to squeeze in 10 USB ports, there is a USB 3.2 gen 2 Type-C port together with a Type-A, 4 USB 3.2 gen 1 ports and 4 USB 2.0 ports. Gigabyte has additionally included Intel 2.5 Gbit LAN, Wi-Fi 6 and ALC897 audio.
It’s a really nicely geared up mATX board that appears good and packs very giant VRM heatsinks. Under them you will discover a 6-phase VRM with doubled up elements utilizing On Semi NCP302155 55A powerstages, so there is a dozen of them in complete. We count on this board to carry out very nicely in our testing.
MSI B660M Bazooka – $160
From MSI we now have the B660M Bazooka, additionally at $160 so it competes with the Gigabyte and Asus TUF Gaming boards. The Bazooka is a unique-looking board with inexperienced heatsinks, so it’s kind of on the market when it comes to appears. You get full VRM heatsink protection and a pre-installed I/O defend, aside from that it is similar to the TUF Gaming when it comes to options.
The Bazooka’s VRM contains Alpha & Omega MOSFETS. The vcore is configured in 6 phases with doubled up elements per section, every section options 2 AONS36308 fets on the excessive aspect, and two AONS36303 fets on the low aspect. That’s a dozen high-side and a dozen low-side fets in complete.
MSI B660M Mortar Wi-Fi – $180
For an additional $20, B660M Mortar turns into an choice and that is yet one more very nice trying mATX B660 motherboard. This is a Wi-Fi solely mannequin, with Wi-Fi 6 help supplied out of the field, together with 2.5 Gbit LAN and loads of USB ports, 8 in complete and that features a Type-C.
The motherboard is littered in heatsinks, there’s a big heatsink over the B660 chip, two M.2 heatspreaders and two giant VRM heatsinks, which additionally extract warmth from the inductors. Ohh, and the I/O defend comes pre-installed.
The VRM is somewhat mighty on this one, packing a 6-phase vcore with two Renesas ISL99360 60A powerstages per section, so for the vcore there are a dozen 60A powerstages. Couple that with the large heatsinks and you’ve got a recipe for a excessive efficiency VRM.
MSI B660 Tomahawk Wi-Fi – $190
For these after an ATX board on the high-end, the MSI B660 Tomahawk Wi-Fi is a strong alternative for simply $10 extra. It’s basically a bigger model of the Mortar, utilizing the identical VRM configuration, identical large VRM heatsinks, however with extra enlargement choices and extra USB ports.
There’s now three M.2 slots, and all are lined with heatsinks. The all-black design appears superior and that is most likely the perfect trying B660 board we have reviewed up to now.
How We Tested, System Notes
For this check and all future LGA 1700 VRM thermal testing, we have constructed a devoted system contained in the Corsair iCUE 7000X case. Powering it we now have the HX1000 energy provide and for cooling the iCUE H170i Elite Capellix.
The iCUE 7000X has been configured with a single rear 140mm exhaust fan and three 140mm consumption followers, which is the inventory configuration for this case. Then on the high of the case we now have the H170i 420mm radiator with three 140mm exhaust followers. This is a high-end configuration, airflow is nice and in a 21 diploma room we might say that is an optimum setup, which we’ll name “customary airflow.”
We have a second “direct airflow” configuration, which incorporates a further 120mm fan overlaying the VRM. This is with out query a finest case situation for any system.
For recording temperatures we’re utilizing a digital thermometer with Ok-Type thermocouples and we’ll be reporting the height rear PCB temperature. We’re not reporting Delta T over Ambient, as an alternative we preserve a room temperature of 21 levels and guarantee a constant ambient temperature with a thermocouple is positioned subsequent to the check system.
For stress testing the techniques we’re utilizing Cinebench R23 looped for an hour, at which level we’re reporting the utmost PCB temperature and the ultimate Cinebench rating. Do word the rating is just for the ultimate cross and never a median of all passes accomplished within the hour-long loop, so the rating may not symbolize what was seen throughout heavy throttling, although most often it’s totally correct. Let’s now get into it!
Starting with the Core i9-12900K information utilizing our customary airflow setup, all boards ran extremely popular, however fortunately most have been in a position to push the 12900K to its limits, scoring round 27,000 pts. That’s an excellent end result for B660 class boards. The MSI Tomahawk was the perfect performer, adopted by the Asus ROG Strix, which we have to say for the worth wasn’t that spectacular when it got here to VRM thermals, solely matching MSI’s Mortar.
The Gigabyte B660M Aorus Pro AX wasn’t wonderful both, however at the very least it is priced under $200. The Asus TUF Gaming B660M-Plus did enable the 12900K to hit peak efficiency, nevertheless it got here at the price of excessive VRM temperatures. The TUF Gaming B660M-E wasn’t practically as spectacular, dropping efficiency by 14% which hitting very excessive VRM temps.
Then we now have the Asus Prime B660-Plus which is a little bit of a dud at $150, closely limiting the efficiency of the 12900K with excessive temperatures. This made it a lot worse than the cheaper MSI Pro B660M-A which we checked out beforehand.
Providing direct airflow with a 120mm fan made an enormous distinction, particularly to the ROG Strix B660-A Gaming which dropped to 51C. Meanwhile, MSI’s Tomahawk was once more spectacular, peaking at simply 55C.
Under these check situations, boards did handle to extract most efficiency from the 12900K, with the Asus Prime B660-Plus D4’s out of the field configuration being the one exception. This board comes with a PL1 restrict of 165W out of the field, however you possibly can manually take away it. Doing so noticed temperatures rise to 78C, however the board did get probably the most out of the i9 processor.
This is probably crucial check for B660 boards because the Core i7-12700 is a superb high-performance half for these boards, or a possible improve choice sooner or later.
Most of the entry-level B660 boards struggled with this processor, however fortunately these mid-range fashions work very well — all of them besides one. The exception was the Asus Prime B660-Plus which ran method too sizzling and throttled the 12700, leading to ~11% decrease efficiency.
The standout boards have been the MSI Tomahawk, Asus ROG Strix (the most costly although), the MSI Mortar, Gigabyte Aorus Pro, and MSI Bazooka. The Asus TUF boards did okay, they definitely handed, however cheaper choices from MSI and Gigabyte ran cooler.
If you possibly can feed the VRM an excellent quantity of cool air, all boards will deal with the Core i7-12700 with ease. The higher-end boards will run under 50C, whereas the lesser high quality fashions just like the Asus Prime B660-Plus will hold under 70C, if solely simply.
For round 120-130W masses, these boards all handed, permitting the 12600K to realize most efficiency. Though it have to be mentioned, the Asus Prime B660-Plus was fairly unhealthy as compared. The TUF Gaming B660M-E was additionally common, that means you have to spend at the very least $180 on an Asus B660 board for strong VRM efficiency.
MSI took the highest spot with the Tomahawk, which has confirmed to be a strong performer in our testing, whereas the Mortar does nicely for $180. The Gigabyte B660M Aorus Pro AX has additionally confirmed to be a strong choice.
Blasting the VRM with air noticed them deal with the 12600K’s 120-130W load with ease and even the Asus boards managed to remain nicely under 60C.
One Graph, 18 Intel B660 Motherboards
Here’s a have a look at all of the B660 boards we have examined which involves a grand complete of 18. We’re solely going to take a look at the Core i7-12700 information from our customary airflow check as we consider that is probably the most related and life like information. It’s about as high-end as most will go on these boards. You could argue for the Core i9-12900 as nicely, however we do not have the non-Ok model of that chip but.
By far and away the perfect worth board right here is the MSI Pro B660M-A, which hit simply 70C, placing way more costly boards such because the TUF Gaming Plus and E to disgrace, in addition to the Prime B660-Plus.
This information reveals how messy Intel’s ecosystem is. We’re a hefty 70% distinction between the quickest and slowest B660 boards utilizing a mid-range to high-end CPU.
Buying an inexpensive B660 board that may get probably the most out of an element just like the 12700 for extended all-core workloads is difficult enterprise and with out exams like this you’d mainly don’t know what works and what would not.
What to Buy (and What to not)
It’s stunning to see the form of efficiency distinction there’s between numerous Intel B660 motherboards. It’s equally mind-blowing that Intel hasn’t addressed this but. We will not go too deep into that now as we now have a future piece within the works, which can discover this in clear and correct depth.
For now, let’s discuss extra in regards to the motherboards we simply examined. The king of the B660 efficiency hill (with out going silly on pricing) is the MSI B660 Tomahawk Wi-Fi because it carried out exceptionally nicely in our testing. The MSI Mortar is a superb mATX choice, too, as is the Gigabyte B660M Aorus Pro AX.
Beyond that, it is onerous to get enthusiastic about the remainder of the pack. The Asus TUF Gaming B660M-E was subpar when it comes to VRM, and the costlier TUF Gaming B660M-Plus did not wow us both. The Prime B660-Plus was weak. The Asus ROG Strix B660-A Gaming Wi-Fi definitely labored nicely, nevertheless it’s $50 costlier than the Tomahawk. MSI has dominated with B660 which is nice to see as a result of they’re taking VRM efficiency severely.
We ought to word, in case you’re solely all for working one thing just like the Core i5-12400 (or slower) and haven’t any plans to improve, then VRM efficiency is a non-issue and never one thing you have to fear about. If you are solely gaming, then VRM efficiency can be much less of a priority, because it’s unlikely your CPU will probably be maxed out for lengthy intervals of time.
But in case you’re tossing up between two motherboards at an identical worth level, and each provide the options you need, if one packs a considerably higher VRM, then that is what you’d go together with. It will afford you a extra versatile improve path and can probably run a lot cooler.
By evaluating motherboards in comparable worth ranges, you possibly can work out which boards provide robust VRM efficiency. Everything else being equal, it turns into a simple alternative.
For instance, in case you wished to spend not more than $140 on a B660 board, you possibly can choose between the MSI Pro B660M-A or Asus Prime B660M-A D4, and primarily based on our VRM thermal information, we all know which of these boards you want in your system.
- MSI B660 Tomahawk Wi-Fi on Amazon
- MSI B660M Mortar Wi-Fi on Amazon
- Gigabyte B660M Aorus Pro AX on Amazon
- Intel Core i9-12900K on Amazon
- Intel Core i7-12700K on Amazon
- Intel Core i5-12600K on Amazon