Test report MSI MAG B660M MORTAR WIFI DDR4 Everyone wants

Test report MSI MAG B660M MORTAR WIFI DDR4: Everyone wants such a board

If we look at the LGA1700 platform, boards based on the B660 chipset look like the most balanced devices in their class. We talked about this in detail in the article Best Mainstream Gaming Platform – 2022: Core i5-12400F + DDR4 + B660. Yes, the Junior chipset has a number of limitations compared to the same Z690, such as: B. the impossibility of overclocking the central processor. But they don’t prevent the user from building a gaming PC or workstation at almost any level. The performance hardly suffers and the functionality is a parameter that has to be considered individually. Therefore, it does not surprise us at all that there are already many motherboards based on the B660 chipset and that there will only be more of them with time.

The MSI MAG B660M MORTAR WIFI DDR4 model is an example of a high quality motherboard based on Intel’s Junior chipset. It can do a lot – and in this review we will tell you what is so successful about it.



specifications and equipment

At the time of writing, MSI’s website listed nine B660 boards that the manufacturer considers gaming. Interestingly, there are four versions of the MAG B660M MORTAR: one with support for DDR5 memory, the second with DDR4, the third with DDR4 and DDR5 and with a wireless module. And finally ours with radio module and DDR4. At the same time, models with built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are made in black and silver, while the rest of the mortars are completely black. The table below shows the specifications of the tested MSI MAG B660M MORTAR WIFI DDR4.

Supported processors 12th Gen Intel Core, Pentium Gold, Celeron
chipset B660
storage subsystem 4 × DIMM, up to 128GB DDR4-4800
expansion slots 1 x PCI Express x16 4.0
1 x PCI Express x4 3.0
1 x PCI Express x1 3.0
drive interfaces 1 × M.2 (Socket 3, 2242/2260/2280) with PCI Express x4 4.0 support
1 × M.2 (Socket 3, 2242/2260/2280) supporting PCI Express x4 4.0 and SATA 6Gb/s
4 x SATA 6Gbps
The local network 1 × Realtek RTL8125BG, 10/100/1000/2500Mbps
audio subsystem Realtek ALC1200 7.1 HD
Internal interfaces 1 x SPI TPM
1 x F Audio
1 × Thunderbolt (RTD3)
2 x USB 2.0
1 x USB3.2 Gen1
1 x USB3.2 Gen2
Interfaces on the back 1 x HDMI
1 x display port
4 x USB 2.0 Type A
3x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type A
1 x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C
1 * RJ-45
1 × S/P-DIF output
5 × 3.5mm
form factor mATX, 244×244mm
Price No data available

The device came with a lot of useful and not very wasted paper, a CD with various software and drivers, two SATA cables, Wi-Fi / Bluetooth antennas and fasteners for an SSD. Interesting and rare – there were two small screwdrivers in the box.

Motherboard design and features

MSI MAG B660M MORTAR WIFI DDR4 motherboard is in mATX form factor. Within the framework of the standard, this is a full-fledged device in the sense that a 244 mm long circuit board is used here.

Motherboards are a type of device that you can understand a lot about from a photo. MSI MAG B660M MORTAR WIFI DDR4 looks impressive on them.


If you intend to use a large sub-cooler like the Noctua NH-D15 in your build, be prepared that it will cover all DIMM slots as well as the M.2 socket closest to the CPU socket.

Four DIMM slots are great. Let me remind you that Alder Lake chips support up to 128GB of DDR4 RAM. The maximum effective frequency of the modules is 4800 MHz – as indicated in the characteristics of the “mortar”. True, the operation of RAM is accompanied by a number of nuances, which will be discussed later.

MSI MAG B660M MORTAR WIFI DDR4 received three expansion slots:

  • PCI Express x16 works in PCIe 4.0 mode and is the main and only PEG port that connects directly to the CPU. The plug is additionally reinforced with metal.
  • PCI Express x4 operates in PCIe 3.0 mode but is housed in a PCI-E x16 chassis.
  • PCI Express x1 works in PCIe 3.0 mode.

So, if we are talking about a gaming assembly, then here we can install a graphics card of any class. However, it is worth remembering that a powerful graphics accelerator with a three-piece cooler blocks the PCI Express x1 and M.2 slots.

There are two M.2 connectors on the device and the location of both suits me perfectly. It is particularly pleasing that both SSD seats are equipped with aluminum heat sinks. MSI MAG B660M MORTAR WIFI DDR4 supports SSD form factors 2242, 2260 and 2280 – in both cases we are talking about four lanes of PCI Express 4.0. The second (bottom) M.2 can work in SATA mode, but then the SATA8 port will be disabled.

At the same time, the board has only six SATA 6 Gb/s connectors – only the numbering of the pads starts with number 3.

The hero of the review received four connectors for connecting fans. All are 4-pin, but motherboards have long been able to regulate the speed of “Carlson” both with and without PWM, that is, with 3-pin connectors. The connector sandwiched between the processor socket and the top M.2 is poorly positioned. However, using the ASUS TUF GAMING B660M-PLUS WIFI D4 as an example, it becomes clear that one would rather be there than somewhere on the “edge” of the circuit board. Because with a classic assembly with a tower housing, a fan mounted on the rear wall is connected to it in 99% of the cases.

The position of the remaining connections suits me well. The only problem is that there may not be enough ports. For example, I wanted to use maintenance-free liquid cooling with a two-piece radiator in the system. With this option, a cable from the pump is “hung” on one connector, and two fans with dropsy are hung on the CPU_FAN connector. Then you need to make sure the matching splitter comes with the LSS before you buy it. Or does it need to be purchased separately.

Likewise with the body. Here you buy a midi tower with three fans at the “mouth” – and if the case does not offer a hub, then all three fans must be connected to the only free connector that is soldered to the bottom of the board. In general, a few more connectors would be added here – and nobody would suffer: neither the users nor the cost of the motherboard.

On the whole, the layout of the components in the MSI MAG B660M MORTAR WIFI DDR4 is successful, losses in the connections are inevitable when using overall discrete devices.

A row of EZ Debug LEDs peek out from behind the 4-pin connectors. Flashing lights clearly indicate what stage the gear initialization is at during system boot.

Modern motherboards are equipped with an increasing number of connectors for connecting all kinds of backlit devices. So, MSI MAG B660M MORTAR WIFI DDR4 received three at once: one 4-pin connector (for standard 12-volt tapes) and two 3-pin connectors (addressable backlight).

As you can see, the case cover is not required for the MSI MAG B660M MORTAR WIFI DDR4 I/O panel. A full list of internal and external connectors can be found in the table at the beginning of the article, but personally I’d like to highlight the following:

  • the simultaneous presence of three USB 3.2 Gen2 A-type (10 Gb / s) and one USB 3.2 Gen2 C-type (20 Gb / s) on the I / O panel;
  • presence of DisplayPort 1.4 and HDMI 2.1 outputs;
  • internal USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-C (10 Gb/s);
  • Missing USB 3.2 Gen1 on the I/O panel.

And something else I like: MSI MAG B660M MORTAR WIFI DDR4 uses a Realtek ALC1200 sound chip. Testing another not very affordable board for the LGA1700 platform, I was really afraid to see some Realtek ALC897 here that has noticeably lower sound quality.

The Realtek RTL8125BG controller with a bandwidth of 2.5 Gbps is responsible for the wired connection. The Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 processor (bandwidth up to 2.4 Gbps, support for Bluetooth 5.2) is involved in wireless communication with the World Wide Web.

The CPU is powered via two 8-pin EPS connectors. I’ve said many times that even a 16-core Core i9-12900K runs stably with a single power cable – especially when we’re dealing with a motherboard that doesn’t support CPU overclocking.

The MSI MAG B660M MORTAR WIFI DDR4 Power Subsystem works according to the 12 + 1 + 1 scheme (VCore + VCCAUX + VCCGT). Each phase responsible for the operation of the processor cores and integrated graphics includes a Renesas ISL99360 power stage (load – 60 A). The VCCAUX channel is powered by a Monolithic Power Systems MP87992 FET (70A). The phases are controlled by a 20-channel PWM controller RAA229132 from Renesas.

It turns out that the power supply circuit of the mortar works directly, without doublers and parallel flows. Well, even without testing, it is clear that MSI MAG B660M MORTAR WIFI DDR4 with such a power subsystem will ensure the stable operation of all existing Alder Lake processors.

The cooling of the circuit board is to be emphasized. One of the radiators turned out to be gigantic – its metal part doubles as a decorative case covering the I/O panel connectors.

The pressure of the radiators on the transistors and chokes is quite strong, since the metal rods are attached to the circuit board with screws. There are quite thick thermal pads between the transistors and the aluminum soleplate.


About the author

Dylan Harris

Dylan Harris is fascinated by tests and reviews of computer hardware.

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