Although AMD launched its new B450 chipset motherboards, we chose the B350 motherboards as anyone who might look at to buy an APU, clearly in a very low budget and buying a B350 can save few bucks to spend elsewhere. Though do remember you need to update the bios or check the box if it has a sticker saying it support this CPU, as most newer supply boards come with an updated Bios which has a sticker on top saying its ready for this CPU.
The boards we take a look today are MSI B350 Gaming Plus and MSI B350 PRO-VDH. Both based on AMD B350 chipset and has all the display outputs to connect any monitor old or new. The reason to test two boards as we wanted to if going with an entry-level motherboard impact the APU performance in any way as you should know most entry-level boards cheap out on VRMs which very crucial for APU as it needs power for both the CPU and GPU.
MSI B350 Gaming Plus comes in a typical cardboard box with naming and branding on the front and features description with a full spec list at the back. Inside we find the board itself, User’s manuals, driver disk, back IO shield and two SATA cables.
The MSI B350 Gaming Plus being an ATX motherboard which is priced at ₹7000 or $100. Which is mid-range board under B350 series board, and for APU use, it has three GPU outputs onto the rear IO panel, including VGA (D-SUB), DVI and HDMI. The MSI B350 Gaming Plus looks pretty good with matt black PCB with red accent. For the price, the board offers solid features like USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A and Type-C ports, better audio, and networking. The MSI B350 Gaming Plus also has 6x 4-pin fan header and LED debug which may not something sound impotent, but having them on a budget motherboard is very rare and having them makes your experience that much better. The board comes with two X16 PCI-e Gen3 slots, first one is wired to x16 and another one is x8. Top tow x16 slots are metal reinforced for heavy graphics cards. There are two old legacy PCI slots as well.
For storage, it features one M.2 slot which uses PCI-Express Gen3 x4. There also 4x SATA ports for standard storage. The audio setup is powered by Realtek ALC892 Codec with Chemi-Con Audio Capacitors all of which mounted on a separated PCB layer for noise isolation.
The VRM design of MSI B350 Gaming Plus is pretty basic with 4+2 phases and PK616BA MOSFETs controlled by RT8894A controller for CPU VCC. The VRM is powered by 8-pin connector.
The second board is MSI B350M PRO-VDH, which is very basic, no-nonsense motherboard price at ₹6000 or $70. As the name suggests, B350M PRO-VHD is M-ATX board and unlike B350 Gaming Plus, it is a very basic, gone matt black PCB replaced by brown PCB and only one PCI-e X16 with two 1x slots. The B350M PRO-VHD also have same storage config with one M.2 and 4x SATA ports. The board only has three fan header and the audio setup also pretty basic.
Though good things are MSI B350M PRO-VDH retain the debug LEDs and pretty much same VRM setup as B350 Gaming Plus, but loss the top heatsink. Underneath B350M PRO-VDH comes with same VRM design with 4+2 phases and PK616BA MOSFETs controlled by RT8894A controller. Even though both VRM seems the same, but will the performance also the same? Let see.