MSI B450 Gaming Pro Carbon AC Review
Published: 23rd August 2018 | Source: MSI | Price: |
With the launch of the 2nd Generation of Ryzen CPUs and their attendant Zen architecture AMD really placed their flag back in the thick of the action when it came to desktop solutions. Rather than stick to their philosophy of adding more cores because they couldn't compete in raw clock speed with the Intel rivals, or even pricing their products low enough to be of interest to those on restricted finances, they went back to the drawing board and, with the initial Ryzen release and particularly this refined model, come out with products which require no qualifying statements or caveats. It's not "the Ryzen range is great*" *if you're on a budget and understand it's going to be hotter, slower and with lower performance. It's just great. Full stop. End discussion.
Naturally any time a desirable product appears everyone goes off to their bank balance and checks out how likely it is that they can adopt it. Who wouldn't want to run an 8 core 4GHz monster at the heart of their system, yet still enjoy the benefits of USB 3.1, M.2 NVMe and DDR4? Perhaps, however, the pricing of the flagship X470 models is still a little outside of your income. If this is the case then the B450 chipset can provide all that you desire, and in the guise of the MSI B450 Gaming Pro Carbon AC we discover that the it puts out scores of sufficient quality that it's difficult to see why anyone with even minor budgetary restrictions would need the step up to the X470 unless they really needed somewhere to plug in eight storage drives, three GPUs and all the USB devices you can think of during a good pub lunch. Although if that sounds like you then you probably aren't in the kind of financial straights which would require a step down.
Thus the B450 is going to be of most interest to those of us with heavy burdens placed upon their purse, but who still consider sitting in front of a computer - gaming or creating - to be the most fun use of their leisure time. If you count yourself amongst those then you can rest assured that the MSI Carbon ticks a massive amount of boxes and doesn't leave you looking enviously at anything else and wishing you had another £50 to step up to the Gaming 7 or what have you. There are two M.2 slots if you're fortunate enough to own one of the blazing fast drives, as well as six SATA ports if you aren't. USB ports are probably the area you'll be tightest on, but even here if you make use of the onboard USB connectors to expand the selection at the rear then you still shouldn't run out. With the MSI Audio Boost 4 audio and Nahimic accessories the audio is really good too, and the inclusion of RGB lighting and plenty of fan headers mean that your system looks as cool as it performs.
Most impressive is the performance. Not only does the Carbon rock hard at stock but it is a breeze to overclock and the scores we saw in all of our benchmarks were such that the overclock isn't merely good for a lesser chipset, it's simply good for any 2nd Generation Zen setup. All of which means that if you've been seeking a step up from your current AMD rig or looking for your first go at a Ryzen arrangement the MSI B450 Gaming Pro Carbon AC ticks all the boxes a prospective purchaser could have and wins our OC3D Performance Award.