The renovation of a classic
The MAG B660M Mortar WiFi is a board that integrates the new Intel B660 chipset to achieve good performance without spending more than necessary.
Simple and functional design
Price / quality ratio
No built-in RGB lights
Without PCIe 5.0
This is the day when the new boards with the B660 chipset are presented for the latest generation of Intel processors and that is why for today’s review we have the MSI MAG B660M Mortar WiFi.
Packaging and accessories
First of all, the Mortar comes in a black and gray cardboard packaging that is decorated with a photo of the plaque on the front. On the back there is another similar photo but in this case with details about the main characteristics of this plate. Then I leave you with a list of what is inside.
- MSI MAG stickers
- MSI emblem
- User manual
- Fast guide
- WiFi antennas
- SATA III 6Gb / s cables
- Clips for M.2 ports
- Screwdriver keychains
Design and build
To begin with, I will tell you that the MSI MAG B660M Mortar WiFi is a motherboard Micro-ATX format (or mATX) which has a standard size of 24.4 x 24.4cm. It is built on a 6-layer black PCB with a few glossy black silkscreens that go quite unnoticed.
On the contrary, something that does not go unnoticed are the brushed aluminum heatsinks that it has has spread over its entire surface. These heatsinks have a generous size and attractive design with indentations and black lines that give the plate some charisma. Another thing that I was surprised to see is that both M.2 ports have their own heatsink, which MSI calls M.2 Shield Frozr.
Although as you can imagine the main innovation of this board does not reside in the heatsinks, but under one of them. Specifically, I am talking about that small heatsink that indicates the name of the model. And it is that under him is a brand new Intel B660 chipset compatible with 12th generation processors and most of their new features.
An example of these new features is in memory slots. At first glance they do not seem special but they can be installed up to up to 128GB of DDR5 memory in Dual-Channel configuration. Besides that and thanks to the Memory Boost technology of MSI, the speed that this memory can reach is of up to 6200MHz (OC).
Later, in the lower right corner is the area for the integrated audio. This is where the Realtek ALC1200 chip What is it 7.1 audio compatible and a pinch of japanese capacitors that give you the only note of color that this plate has.
Now, I have to say that the latter is not entirely true. And it is that the Mortar does not have any type of integrated lighting except for a few LEDs called EZ Debug LED. These LEDs light up and change color as the equipment starts up and indicates, in the event of an error, which part is causing problems.
However and although it does not have its own lights, the MAG B660M Mortar WiFi has some ARGB and RGB connectors in addition to being compatible with technology Mystic light by MSI.
In this regard, the Mortar is frankly well stocked as it has the latest technology. Specifically I am talking about a 2.5G LAN connection governed by a Realtek 8125BG controller and a 6E WiFi module with Bluetooth 5.2
The MAG B660M Mortar WiFi due to its small format does not have many PCIe ports. The first one is reinforced with metal, comes from the CPU and supports the connection PCIe 4.0 x16. Then there would be the second port that is x1 and the third one of x16, both come from the chipset and because of this they are PCIe 3.0.
For traditional storage units, the Mortar has 6 SATA III ports managed by the chipset. These ports are located in the lower right part of the board and are arranged horizontally and vertically.
However, if you are looking for something more modern, on this plate there are a couple of M.2 ports compatible with PCIe 4.0 x4 drives. These ports have different origins and while one is compatible with NVME and SATA drives, the other is for NVME drives only.
Internal USB ports
With the growing number of USB ports needed for our peripherals and devices in mind, MSI has equipped the MAG B660B Mortar WiFi with a good number of them. Most are on the rear panel but the internal connectors are:
- 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A connector (2 ports)
- 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C connector (1 port)
- 2 x USB 2.0 connectors (4 ports total)
VRM and power delivery
In addition to the necessary 24-pin ATX connector, this board has other 2 8-pin ATX connectors just like most modern license plates.
On the VRM, the Mortar has of 12 + 1 + 1 phases led by a RAA 229132 controller from the manufacturer Renesas. Each of these phases is made up of a ISL99360 chip, metal chokes and capacitors high perfomance.
A little above I mentioned that most of the USB ports on this board are on the rear panel. What I didn’t tell you is the surprising amount of them on this board. The complete list of connections and ports is:
- 4 x USB 2.0
- HDMI 2.1
- 3 x USB 3.2 Gen 2
- 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 × 2 (Type C)
- 2.5Gbps LAN (RJ45)
- WiFi + BT antennas
- Optical S / PDIF output
- 5x Audio jack (s)
BIOS and software
The manufacturer MSI is known for a multitude of things and among them is the simplicity and power of its BIOS. Its operation is divided into 2 modes. The first one is quite simple and intuitive and at a glance it allows you to see the main configuration options. The second mode is more traditional and is intended for Advanced users who want to fine-tune down to the smallest detail.
From the software MSI Center We can keep the drivers updated, modify the behavior of the RGB lights that we install or simply monitor the equipment among a multitude of things. Its operation is very simple and the best of all is that it is installed comfortably from windows store.
Overclock and temperatures
Before continuing to comment on the capabilities of this board, I have to comment on a few things first. The first is that the day I did the tests was an atypical winter day and the room was at a pleasant 21º. The second is that to check the stability I used the well-known OCCT software in linpack mode for half an hour about.
Unlike AMD, on the Intel platform only a specific chipset is capable of performing overclock to the processor, specifically I am talking about the Z series chipset. This board by integrating a B series chipset does not have the ability to modify the speed of the CPU but it does maintain all the potential to make it a good overclock to memories.
So determined to get a good result with my 5200MHz CL40 memory, I started to fiddle with the BIOS. The truth is that I was not long until I achieved a not inconsiderable figure speed of 6000MHz with CL38 at 1.35v.
At this speed, the memory gets a good rise in the score of any benchmark but unfortunately does not have much impact in daily use. In any case, depending on what type of applications we use, this increase in performance becomes more or less noticeable.
As I used a CPU with only 6 cores for the tests, I was expecting good temperatures in advance. And so it was when I was able to verify that the Mortar’s VRM had barely reached 44º. This makes me sure that this board would have no problem adequately powering a much more powerful CPU like the 12900.
Verdict and Alternatives
The MAG B660M Mortar WiFi is a mATX format board with a somewhat simple but very effective design that is at the forefront of technology. It has excellent connectivity as well as enough connections and ports to mount any type of PC. However, due to its capabilities and characteristics, it is intended to be used with processors that do not allow overclock, like the i5 12400 I have tested with.
It is precisely in these tests that it has become clear that this board has more than enough power for any 12th generation processor. Even so, it must be taken into account that the chipset that the Mortar mounts does not support the PCIe 5.0 standard that we will soon see in graphics cards and NVME units.
To this day I still cannot tell you anything about its price and much less about its availability in stores. However, I am sure that in the next few hours it will be in the main online stores with a really interesting price.