Shopping for a budget motherboard can often be an exercise in frustration. That is until you just give in an buy the one that looks nice in your case. When it comes to the MSI B350M Gaming Pro, it has the looks, and a few extras that might make it jump to the top of your list.
To start things off, this is a Micro ATX AM4 socket motherboard, that boasts an AMD B350 chipset, allowing overclocking on all of AMD’s first and second generation Ryzen CPUs and APUs. A pair of red DDR4 DIMM slots, (2) 1x PCIe slots, a Turbo m.2 NVME slot, and a single 16x PCIe slot with Steel Armor reinforcement, which is a welcome addition given the Gaming Pro’s price of just $65 at the time of writing.
I mentioned looks, because this board definitely appeals to some of the gamer crowd with its aesthetics. There is of course an RGB controller built in here, and is compatible with MSI’s Mystic Light Sync utility, but the board itself only features color and LEDs from one of those letters.. If you like red, you’re in for a treat. Everything from the DIMM slots, to the VRM heatsink, GPU slot, northbridge cover, red LEDs border the PCI slots, and provide an underglow to the Gaming Pro B350m. Heck, even the ethernet and USB ports around the rear are red, and feature a matching red on black IO shield.
Speaking of the Rear IO, the MSI B350m Gaming Pro features three video outputs, with one each of VGA, DVI and HDMI. Gigabit Ethernet and audio are provided by Realtek controllers on the board, and we also see a pair of USB 2.0, and 4x USB 3.1 Type-A ports. For you IBM Model M enthusiasts, there’s also a PS/2 port for your keyboard or mouse.
Back to our internal connections, we see Front Audio, 2x USB 2.0, a single USB 3.1 Type A header, our front IO for power, reset, and lights, and an RGB 4-pin header. Surprisingly, there are only 4x total SATA ports available on board, all of them the SATA-3 6Gbps variety. There are only three total fan headers, but thankfully all of them are PWM for added control, which is again a very nice feature in a starter motherboard.
Performance-wise, I ran through my usual suite of gaming and synthetic benchmarks, including running my HTC Vive on this system for about the past week, and wound up with exactly what I expected. And that is just a solid performing gaming PC. The Ryzen 5 2400G and RX580 is a killer combo, should video cards ever come back down in price…
There are a few cons to this board. There are only two DIMM slots, which while allowing you to run dual channel, don’t allow you the option of simply buying more ram later and expanding. Instead you need to replace your memory to upgrade, which given current pricing can be an expensive proposition.
On the positive side, I am a big fan of the layout of the PCIe ports on this board. All three of the PCIe slots can be populated and used without interfering with one another. I much too commonly see a 1x slot sitting directly below a 16x slot, making the 1x useless if you use a discrete GPU in your build. The M.2 NVME is also accessible directly under the GPU, rather than being stuck on the back of the board, or installed vertically. All in all, the board layout is nearly perfect.
What you have in the MSI B350m Gaming Pro is a very well featured and affordable motherboard for entry and mid level computer builds. This is a rock solid motherboard with great overclocking support, at least from the BIOS (see the video for an overview on MSI’s Command Center, Gaming Apps, and in-Windows overclocking tools), and a price that’s going to be very hard to beat.