MSI B360 Gaming Pro Carbon review

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Final Words & Conclusion


If value is what you are looking for, but you need something properly capable and good looking, well, I mean this is a good looking motherboard. A B360 motherboard is more limited though with its PCIe lanes and tweaking. Other than that, I personally might even prefer it over the H370 as really, you can install a full speed M2 SSD, one full x16 Gen 3.0 PCIe lanes, you'll have enough of USB 3.x options and still get six SATA3 ports. The one caveat is that if you use a full speed M2 SSD, the PCIe lanes of that second x16 slot (which really runs at x4) is used. Hey, would you have used it anyway? So if you pair this mobo with a proper processor (say a non-K Core i5 8600), really all your bases have been covered (as long as you can live with that PCIe lane limitation). But for any regular Joe, you can reach flagship gaming performance on this 100 Euro motherboard. And that is not a bad proposition really. For B360 you normally expect a very dull motherboard, but yeah even at an aesthetic level this motherboard looks absolutely gorgeous plus it ticks all the right boxes.

Since it is as fast as Z370, Intel needed to cut away and limit some stuff, that being tweaking options, a fixed DDR4 memory frequency at 2667 MHz and I'll mention it once more, some chipset limitations in the form of a few less PCIe Gen 3.0 lanes. In the end though, if you are savvy with one graphics card at x16, one full speed M2 SSD at x4 and a SATA3 SSD/HDD or two then hey; you still are looking at the same perf level as a non-tweaked Z370 platform, that fixed 2667 MHz memory speed really isn't that dramatic for anything with an Intel chip. I'll say it again, pair it with say a Core i5 8600 (non-K model), and you'll have a beast of a gaming rig as long as you are willing to stick to just one graphics card, of course. 

Performance & tweaking

Paired with the right processor, you can get near flagship performance, again the Core i5 8600 (review) I find to be a terrific choice here as a K model proc does not make sense with B360 and H370. Even with the cut-off on DDR4 memory frequency, you need to realize Intel has been able to refine their memory controllers, pop in anything XMP 2.0 So yes, CPU performance based on this chipset, in the baseline we cannot complain about. SATA3, USB 3.x, and NVMe also reveal proper perf. 


Power consumption

We actually tested both the 8600 non-K and 8700K on this motherboard but use the 8700K for the baseline test, and yeah with a six-core, twelve threaded proc equals a 95 Watt TDP processor. With the system at idle with a GeForce GTX 1080 installed / 16 GB memory / SSD and the H370 motherboard, I hovered at roughly 30~35 Watts in IDLE. That's just impressive, the load values are okay as well, fairly similar for both procs. When we stressed the processor 100% run we reach roughly 135 Watts with the 6-core 8700K part. When we game we hover at ~250 Watts with the GeForce GTX 1080, but obviously that factor is dependent on the type of graphics card you use of course and sure, most games certainly do not utilize the six CPU cores. Overall I have no worries here.


DDR4 Memory

For Coffee Lake (8th Gen Intel procs) DDR4 may be clocked a notch faster at 2400 MHz as per Intel reference, there is, of course, a hard lock at 2666 MHz. We always say, volume matters more than frequency. A 3,200 MHz kit, for example, is more expensive, does offer better bandwidth but the performance increases in real-world usage will be hard to find towards a cheaper 2677MHz kit. Unless you transcode videos over the processor a lot. On an Intel platform, as always, my recommendation is to go for slower clocked DDR4 memory with decent timings, but simply get more of it. Don't go for 8 GB, get yourself 16 GB. 

Final words

I'll say it again, B360 is sufficient and even an excellent choice if you are willing to accept it's limitations. if you are the guy running one dedicated graphics card, an M2 SSD and perhaps a few HDD/SSDs on SATA3, well then all your bases are covered. There is, of course, the memory frequency limitation of 2667 MHz, however on Intel, you'll be hardpressed to notice a difference. The second limitation obviously is the fact that B360 and H370 strip away the easy tweaking options. So if you are an overclocker, Z370 remains your domain.  At an initial launch price of give or take 119 USD/EURO this board offers proper value, these B360 motherboards offer every bit of baseline performance the Z370 chipset can offer, yet has some features sliced away. I praised the H370 chipset, but if it is value you are after, the B360 will offer true value for money. All the bases have been covered, it's a nice build and looking motherboard, paired with the right processor you can create a screamingly fast monster of a PC, and that's a true fact. Tweaking really was the one thing that hindered me, and probably can be considered the biggest limitation, but we also understand that most people do not overclock at all. And that's where the MSI B360 Gaming Pro Carbon can make a lot of sense. The MSI B360 Gaming Pro Carbon is a fine and appealing proposition, and let me say it, the B series motherboards have never looked this good from an aesthetic point of view as well. The new B class chipset motherboard series from MSI profoundly may carry that B for Budget and good value.

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