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Monday, 21 May 2018

NVIDIA launches GeForce GTX 1050 3GB

A GeForce GTX 1050 Ti and GTX 1050 2GB hybrid

It’s no longer a rumor. As originally reported by VideoCardz,  NVIDIA officially adds GeForce GTX 1050 3GB to their lineup. This means that the 3GB variant is not Asia-exclusive – otherwise it wouldn’t be listed like 1060 5GB wasn’t.

The GTX 1050 3GB has the same CUDA core count as GTX 1050 Ti, which is 768. Surprisingly, this card has 102 MHz higher base clock and 126 MHz higher boost clock than the Ti model. In other words, this card has higher theoretical computing power.

The biggest change can be seen in memory configuration. The GTX 1050 2GB has never been a good choice for 1080p gaming with higher textures. Such frame buffer is simply insufficient. The GTX 1050 3GB should become an interesting alternative here.

With 3GB GDDR5 memory on board and 96-bit memory bus, you can expect up to 84 GB/s of bandwidth. But who is this card for? Definitely casual gamers with a budget in mind. It should provide playable experience in most MMO games, not necessarily in more demanding titles (unless image quality is not important to you).

Question is, is this the last GeForce GTX 10 series graphics card before we get the taste of next-gen architecture?

Sunday, 13 May 2018

CORSAIR Launches Obsidian 1000D Super-Tower PC Case

Size Does Matter CORSAIR Launches Obsidian
1000D Super-Tower PC Case


BENGALURU, India - May 13, 2018

CORSAIR®, a world leader in PC gaming peripherals and enthusiast components, today announced the launch of its largest, most feature-rich PC case ever - the Obsidian Series 1000D. Building on the CORSAIR Concept Slate prototype that captured the imagination of PC enthusiasts, the Obsidian 1000D is the result of over two years of development and design to create the ultimate super-tower case. Clean exterior lines brushed aluminium details and four smoked tempered glass panels give the 1000D the iconic styling and superior build-quality enthusiasts have come to expect from the CORSAIR Obsidian Series.
Both a full E-ATX and Mini-ITX system can be installed simultaneously, cooled by 13 cooling fan mounts, powered by two PSUs (SFX and ATX) and equipped with 11 storage drives. Created to house the world's most epic PC builds, the 1000D is the ultimate super-tower PC case.
The 1000D is designed to house the most powerful, ambitious and jaw-dropping PCs on the planet, contained in a unique triple-chamber, dual-system layout. The primary E-ATX system is mounted on a raised motherboard island, lined by convenient cable routing holes and backed by a huge French-door-style rear compartment to easily hide away 2.5in drives, cabling and accessories. The Mini-ITX system sits rotated above the ATX PSU mount, providing an optional fully-equipped system to run as a file server, streaming capture system, or second gaming PC for player two.
With two systems worth of hardware to handle, the 1000D boasts a huge array of cooling options. Eight 120mm fan mounts to the front, three 140mm fan mounts in the roof and two 120/140mm fan mounts to the rear have the headroom to mount even the thickest liquid cooling radiators with fans in push/pull configuration. Fitted using replaceable telescoping fan trays* that make installation easy, the 1000D can equip up to 18 cooling fans and four 480mm liquid cooling radiators - the most liquid-cooling friendly CORSAIR case ever.
To power the huge array of cooling hardware it can carry, the 1000D includes a CORSAIR Commander PRO digital RGB lighting and fan speed controller, granting users precision speed control of up to six PWM fans, and lighting control for up to six CORSAIR RGB fans or CORSAIR RGB LED strips. The 1000D itself also boasts integrated RGB lighting, built into its front panel and front logo, as either a starting-point for a stunning RGB build, or as a subtle accent to your system.
Whether you go all-out on lighting or are building a more reserved system, CORSAIR iCUE software brings everything together, combining RGB lighting control for all iCUE compatible products including fans, RGB LED light strips, keyboards, mice and more. iCUE also provides in-depth customizable fan RPM curves to silence fans, downloadable profiles and advanced system monitoring, all controlled with a single easy-to-use interface.

Look closer behind the monolithic design and epic capabilities, and you'll find that the 1000D is loaded with extras to make building your system easy and ready for years of upgrades. The front panel offers dual USB 3.1 Type C ports, as well as four USB 3.0 ports, for multiple high-speed connections. Front, rear and roof removable dust filters ensure your system stays looking its best, while a rotatable GPU mount plate for the primary system lets you put your graphics card on show. When installing liquid cooling, you'll find a wide variety of pump and reservoir mounting points, with an exhaustive array of screws and cable ties included to add the finishing touch to your system.

Able to easily house today's most ambitious systems, cool them with room to spare, finish them with fine attention to detail and light them with stunning, or subtle, RGB lighting, the 1000D is the ultimate super-tower case.

*Additional fan mount trays sold separately

Availability, Warranty and Pricing
The CORSAIR Obsidian Series 1000D is available immediately from the CORSAIR worldwide network of authorized retailers and distributors.

The CORSAIR Obsidian Series 1000D is backed by a comprehensive two-year warranty and the CORSAIR worldwide customer support network.

For up-to-date and regional pricing of the CORSAIR Obsidian Series 1000D, please refer to the CORSAIR website or contact your local CORSAIR sales or PR representative.

###

About CORSAIR
CORSAIR is a world leader in providing high-performance PC peripherals and components to gamers, enthusiasts and e-sports athletes.

Founded in 1994, CORSAIR has won thousands of awards for its products including mechanical keyboards, precision gaming mice, wireless headsets, high-performance components that gamers use to build gaming PCs, and the CORSAIR ONE fully-integrated gaming PC.

Copyright © 2018 CORSAIR Components, Inc. All rights reserved. CORSAIR, the sails logo, and Vengeance are registered trademarks of CORSAIR in the United States and/or other countries. All other company and/or product names may be trade names, trademarks, and/or registered trademarks of the respective owners with which they are associated. Features, pricing, availability, and specifications are subject to change without notice. To know more please visit www.corsair.com

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Corsair Vengeance RGB 16GB 3000Mhz Review

Corsair Vengeance RGB - Stunning RGB...Striking Speed 


Corsair is no stranger when it comes to PC peripherals or even memory kits, while everyone who owns a PC or is an enthusiast knows about the former the latter portion is dictated by legendary kits such as the Dominator series of RAM kits which came in the DDR3 days and is still holding the top grounds in today's DDR4 era. While the Dominator is meant for those who want perfection with no holds on the price tag the other offerings include the Vengeance LPX and Vengeance LED that caters to lower section of buyers who have their own reasons to go for either of the kits. Last year Corsair took a step further in their Vengeance lineup and introduced the Vengeance RGB series which is ofcourse as the name suggests has RGB lights that replace the solid red light that the Vengeance LED came with.

While cosmetically the Vengeance RGB and Vengeance LED are same the same thing the real difference comes in the variety of kits the RGB lineup comes with including both memory size aswell as frequencies. The Vengeance RGB starts from a kit of 16GB and goes all the way upto 128GB rated from 2666Mhz to a whooping 4266Mhz! As of now these are available in white & black body colors and officially listed to be supported by Intel 100 and 200 series motherboards with no AMD Ryzen support listed whatsoever.

Our kit today is a white Corsair Vengeance RGB 16Gb kit which is rated at 3000Mhz CL16 at 1.35v and is priced in at $219 or Rs 17,000 in India which is on the premium end of the spectrum but with all the bells and whistles such as RGB LEDs, full aluminum heatspeders, matte finish on either sides, full white body and even temperature sensors that is all backed up by a robust 5 years of Corsair warranty its nothing too surprising as per the present trend.

What's in the Box!?


Corsair brings the Vengeance RGB in a sleek and slim box that is laced with Corsair gaming colors theme with a multi colored background depicting the product image in the center along with the name, size and frequency neatly printed on the bottom aswell as on the top left corner. The kits is certified to work with Intel 100 and 200 series platforms and nothing is said about AMD Ryzen so far.


At the back we see two slits in the middle from where one can take a peek inside the packaging to make sure the sticks are of the same model by reading the detailed sticker stuck on the backside of the module. Along with that we have a promotional message from Corsair on top and a Corsair Link logo at the bottom to signify that the lights can be controlled through that utility.
Open the box and we have the RAM securely packed inside a blister pack which is good enough to keep it safe during bumpy transit.

If you remember the Corsair Vengeance LED then probably you won't find any difference between that and the new Vengeance RGB as they both are similar from the outside down to the lowest bits. The body is completely white with the product name written write on the front side in the conventional font and fashion.

On the top we can see the vents for ventilation aswell as for the RGB lights to glow out through them. These are removable and can be stripped off easily revealing a single light bar at the bottom. Also on top we have textured and grained out sails logo of Corsair which are clearly visible inside a chassis when the lights are on. At the back we have the sticker with all the vital details here and out kit comes with a model number CMR16GX4M2C3000C16W which is version 3.32 of this category of kits. Oddly this kit is also rated different than what the official website of Corsair says and comes with a latency timing of 16-18-18-36 at 1.35v while the website rates this kit at 15-17-17-35 this is mainly because this particular model is not based on Hynix memory ICs but uses Micron memory chips which unfortunately gives it looser timings and also makes me apprehensive that this kit would be troublesome if used with a AMD Ryzen platform! Also its a disappointment since at this price point I expected Hynix chips if not Samsung B die which most of the competing models from other manufacturers use.

Benchmarks and Overclocking


Corsair Vengeance RGB uses SMBus and is meant to work with the Corsair Link utility for giving the user a control over the colors and behavior of the RGB lighting & I had absolutely no problem in getting the memory recognized right out of the box along with my Corsair H150i Pro RGB cooler. The utility gives the control to set colors and animation scheme either for one individual kit or to link both together depending on the user preference and style of usage. The control are pretty simple and straight forwards and the biggest USP is sadly a downside too as its a great news for people like me and other who already use a Corsair peripheral that uses the Corsair Link utility as it brings everything in one single place but the kit isn't just compatible with nay of the motherboard lighting apps and using Corsair Link solely for the RAM might appear as a hindrance to  majority of customers. It would be great if Corsair also made this kit compatible with motherboard based lighting apps for catering to a wider audience and giving the kit an added edge.

Coming over to testing the kit I've used the following setup -

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 1700 @3.6Ghz
Motherboard: Asus X370 Crosshair VI Hero
RAM: Corsair Vengeance RGB 16GB 3000Mhz
Cooler: Corsair H150i Pro RGB
Graphics Card: MSI RX580 Gaming X
Storage: Kingston A400 256GB
Secondary Storage: Corsair Neutron XTi 480GB
Power Supply: Corsair AX860i 860W
Case: Corsair Obsidian 750D
OS: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit

Now as this kit is not optimized for AMD Ryzen platform it was tough to get it to work on the rated frequency of 3000Mhz at CL16 moreover this kit is from Micron and not even Hynix which makes the job even so more tougher as the Infinity Fabric inside the Ryzen chips don't go well with Micron chips but lean more towards Hynix and Samsung B die respectively! With some tweaking around in the BIOS and latest Agesa update I managed to run the Corsair Vengeance RGB at 3000Mhz 16-18-18-36-1T using 1.4v rather than the 1.35v that the XMP profile is rated at.
I would like to see Corsair soon rolling out out of the box compatible kits for AMD Ryzen since the platform has gained unforeseen momentum and is popular among gamers aswell as content creators.
Overclocking the kit was impossible since no matter what voltage you put in or how much I tried to lower down the timings wrt frequency the result was unstable system or boot failures. So this kit is definitely not meant to be overclocked no matter which platform you are using and I'm not surprised to see this aswell since Micron ICs are not famous for being overclocking friendly but are meant to be used as they come out of the box!

AIDA64 Cache & Memory Benchmark 


AIDA64 implements a set of 64-bit benchmarks to measure how fast the computer performs various data processing tasks and mathematical calculations. Memory and cache benchmarks are available to analyze system RAM bandwidth and latency.

7-zip


This suite allows you to measure the performance of your computer. The benchmark shows a rating in MIPS (million instructions per second). There are two tests, compression with LZMA method and decompression with LZMA method. Once the total passes reaches 100, the score is taken. Higher the score better is the computer's overall performance.

SuperPi Mod 1.5


SuperPi is a simple program that utilizes the processing power and memory speed of the system to calculate the value of Pi upto 1 Million or 32 Million decimal point depending upon what you choose. The time is calculated in minutes and seconds, we'll take them both in seconds, so lower the score faster is your computer.

Cinebench R15


Cinebench uses Maxon's Cinema 4D engine to render a photo-realistic scene of some shiny balls and weird things (we miss the motorbike). The scene is highly complex, with reflections, ambient occlusion and procedural shaders so it gives a CPU a tough workout.
As Cinema 4D is a real-world application - used on films such as Spider-Man and Star Wars - Cinebench can be viewed as a real-world benchmark.

3DMark Fire Strike and Time Spy


Fire Strike by 3D Mark is a test suit that plays a cinematic scene to determine the FPS, GPU temperature and CPU temperature scaling everything via a cumulative score. It is a great tool to benchmark your GPU aswell as Memory since the render is GPU dependent and is highly sesnitive to RAM timings and frequency giving accurate measure as to how the components will perform in real life during graphics intensive tasks.

Rise of the Tomb Raider


The latest installation of Lara Croft in the spectacular Rise of the Tomb Raider 2016 with stunning graphics and rich location makes it a great game to benchmark with while enjoying in the due course! We used DX12 and settings were at Very High on full HD resolution.

GTA V


Grand Theft Auto V is an open world, action-adventure video game developed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games. If you like open world adventure then this is something that you don't wanna miss with great graphics, catchy story line and unlimited potential for mods that keep coming in and out every now and then on the web. Our settings are as follows with very high quality, 16xAF, 2xMSAA and FXAA enabled.

Far Cry 5


Far Cry 5 was developed by Ubisoft Montreal and Ubisoft Toronto. The developers built this open-world action/adventure first-person shooter using the company's own Dunia Engine, originally derived from Crytek's CryEngine and first introduced alongside Far Cry 2 back in 2008. Naturally, continuous improvement makes it far more advanced now than it was a decade ago. Settings here are at High presets with no customization at all running at 1080p.

My Verdict 

The Corsair Vengeance 16GB 3000Mhz memory kit is a decent offering coming in with a balanced set of features. The out of the box 3000Mhz frequency might not sound too exciting immediately but if we look at the RGB lights that it has to offer along with its integration to the famous Corsair Link utility then we have ourselves a thing to thoroughly consider especially if you are already a Corsair product user that makes use of the Link utility.
Coming in a wide variety of size and frequency this new range surely makes it self noticeable. Performance wise the kits are only Intel compatible and not meant for AMD Ryzen with no signs of a new lineup coming up even though the new Ryzen Gen 2 CPUs are retailing around the globe. Choice of Micron chips for this price point is something that I highly detest as one expects atleast Hynix if not Samsung B die for the premium price tag this kit comes with. I could make the kit work at 3000Mhz on AMD Ryzen but most people won't be making it a big negative mainly due to the choice of memory IC over here! I really don't know if I was the unlucky one who got this kit or its what Corsair is now rolling out since the Corsair website does not list the latency of this kit as that on my kit.
It sure is a slouch at overclocking but does a good job for the stock frequency that it comes with falling in the same performance bracket as its competitors. The biggest short coming of this kit right now is its price tag which puts it in line with higher frequency kits which obviously don't offer any LEDs but do offer better performance & even with a few RGB models rated at higher frequency at a marginally higher price but which use Hynix or Samsung B dies, hence shrinking the Vengeance RGB's market slice a bit.
"Corsair has done a commendable job with the Vengeance RGB in almost every department including product integrity proving a holistic appeal to the kit. Price tag is on the higher end so if you use an Intel platform and want a Corsair memory kit to complete your all Corsair setup then the Vengeance RGB is the thing for you, if not then you'll be better off looking at other options too!"
Pros - 
  • Brilliant RGB implementation
  • Compatible with Corsair Link
  • Striking looks
  • Solid Build Quality
  • 5 Years warranty 
Cons -
  • Micron Memory IC
  • A bit expensive
  • Only compatible with Intel Platforms
I give it a 7/10 earning our Silver Award!

Thursday, 10 May 2018

HyperX Unleashes Predator DDR4 RGB With Infrared Sync Technology

HyperX®, the gaming division of Kingston Technology, today announced the launch of Predator DDR4 RGB featuring industry-leading, patent-pending HyperX Infrared Sync technology. The new Predator DDR4 RGB features Intel XMP-ready profiles optimized for Intel’s latest platform, allowing gamers and overclockers to further personalize their gaming visual experience and customize their PCs and system builds. It is available as 8GB single modules and in kits of two or four with 16GB and 32GB capacities.

The new HyperX Predator DDR4 RGB comes equipped with a LED light bar with fluid RGB lighting effects. The memory is compatible with lighting control software from a range of motherboard vendors including ASUS Aura Sync, Gigabyte RGB Fusion, and MSI Mystic Light Sync. Additional information about software and motherboard compatibility is available online at respective partner websites.

Powered directly from the motherboard, the HyperX IR Sync Technology provides an enhanced visual experience by keeping the module lighting in sync. Designed to perform using DDR4 1.35V settings on a variety of DDR4 motherboards, Predator DDR4 RGB memory is 100 percent factory tested and backed by a lifetime warranty, free technical support and legendary reliability.
Availability

HyperX Predator DDR4 RGB will be available through HyperX’s network of retail and e-tail outlets later this month. For more information on HyperX DDR4 and global availability, please visit the HyperX memory webpage.


Capacities:
  • Singles: 8GB
  • Kits of 2:  16GB
  • Kits of 4:  32GB
Frequencies: 2933MHz

Latencies: CL15

Voltage: 1.35V

Operating Temperatures: 0°C to 70°C

Dimensions: 133.35mm x 42.2mm

The Ultimate SPEC - CORSAIR Launches New SPEC-OMEGA RGB

BENGALURU, India - May 9, 2018
CORSAIR®, a world leader in PC gaming peripherals and enthusiast components, today announced the launch of the new CORSAIR Carbide Series SPEC-OMEGA RGB enthusiast PC case. Building on the award-winning angular tempered glass design of the SPEC-OMEGA, the SPEC-OMEGA RGB adds stunning RGB lighting courtesy of two CORSAIR HD120 RGB LED fans and a custom 30-LED RGB lighting strip integrated into the case's front fascia. Powered by an included CORSAIR Lighting Node PRO digital RGB lighting controller, a total of 54 RGB LEDs illuminate your PC in stunning lighting effects and patterns, fully customizable using CORSAIR iCUE software and ready to go right out of the box.
Available in either white or black, SPEC-OMEGA RGB boasts unmistakable asymmetrical design and tempered glass panels to the front and side, making it the perfect backdrop for 54 RGB LEDs of customizable lighting. There's a lot more to see behind the sharp angles and lighting though; a new removable PSU cover and a wealth of cable tie-downs, routing holes and grommets make hiding cables and connectors out of view easy. SPEC-OMEGA is also built with maximum compatibility in mind, able to fit up to a huge 360mm liquid cooling radiator, such as that used on the CORSAIR Hydro Series H150i PRO, so there needn't be compromises on parts when your building system. Created to show off, and light up, your PC, this is the ultimate SPEC.
Availability, Warranty and Pricing
The CORSAIR Carbide Series SPEC-OMEGA RGB is available immediately from the CORSAIR worldwide network of authorized retailers and distributors as well as direct from the CORSAIR webstore.

The CORSAIR Carbide Series SPEC-OMEGA RGB is backed by a comprehensive two-year warranty and the CORSAIR worldwide customer support network.

For up-to-date and regional pricing of the Carbide Series SPEC-OMEGA RGB, please refer to the CORSAIR website or contact your local CORSAIR sales or PR representative.

###

About CORSAIR
CORSAIR is a world leader in providing high-performance PC peripherals and components to gamers, enthusiasts and e-sports athletes.

Founded in 1994, CORSAIR has won thousands of awards for its products including mechanical keyboards, precision gaming mice, wireless headsets, high-performance components that gamers use to build gaming PCs, and the CORSAIR ONE fully-integrated gaming PC.

Copyright © 2018 CORSAIR Components, Inc. All rights reserved. CORSAIR, the sails logo, and Vengeance are registered trademarks of CORSAIR in the United States and/or other countries. All other company and/or product names may be trade names, trademarks, and/or registered trademarks of the respective owners with which they are associated. Features, pricing, availability, and specifications are subject to change without notice.

MSI unveils a 32-inch 1440p gaming monitor with a 144Hz refresh rate

Another fast monitor with FreeSync support

 
Over on MSI's website is a new product page for its Optix AG32CQ, a 32-inch class monitor with a curved VA panel and 2560x1440 resolution. It's essentially a higher resolution variant of the 1920x1080 non-Q model (AG32C) that came before it, as both share the same overall design and feature set.

The only other notable difference between the two is the refresh rate—it's 144Hz on the new AG32CQ, versus a slightly higher 165Hz on the AG32C.

MSI's new monitor also sports a rated 1ms response time and is compatible with AMD's FreeSync technology for smoother gameplay. As to the image quality, MSI claims the AG32CQ covers 110 percent of the sRGB color space, and 85 percent of the NTSC color space.

This is not an HDR display—brightness is rated at 250 nits, which is lower than the 400 nits required for VESA's entry-level DisplayHDR 400 certification. Other specs include a 3,000:1 contrast ratio (100,000,000:1 dynamic) and 178 degrees viewing angles.

There three display inputs—DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 2.0, and DVI. As with the non-Q model, there's no built-in USB hub or speakers.

The Optix AG32CQ doesn't appear to be widely available yet, though we did spot it on Amazon's website in Spain for €499.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

MSI wraps its newest mid-tower case in tinted tempered glass

This case will highlight (or expose) your cable management skills

 
As reported by PCGamer, MSI is rolling out a new Mag Pylon mid-tower case that it's positioning under its "Gaming Gear" umbrella of products. It has three tinted tempered glass panels—both sides and the front—to show off your build, and supports the company's Mystic Light Sync feature to synchronize lighting across other MSI products.

The case comes with three 120mm RGB fans aligned in the front. You could swap them out for a pair of larger 140mm fans if you wanted to, and there is also room to install up to two 140mm or 120mm fans (or a liquid radiator and fans) in the top and a 120mm in rear.

Cable management is a bit more important in a see-through case like this, unless you're a honey badger and just don't care what your build looks like. Assuming you do, you'll find four large cable cutouts to the right of the motherboard tray. There are also several cable tie downs on the back of the tray.

The Mag Pylon sports a dual-chamber design that is pretty common these days. There are two drive bays supporting 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch storage drives tucked into the bottom, and around back are mounts for two more 2.5-inch drives.

You can install a graphics card up to 14.57 inches long in the Mag Pylon. The case supports mounting it vertically in front of the side panel, though it's not clear if the "construction kit" that makes this possible is included with the case or will be sold separately.

The front I/O consists of two USB 3.0 ports and two USB 2.0 ports, along with separate headphone and microphone jacks. Power and reset buttons sit on top as well.

The case looks attractive and offers plenty of features. Unfortunately, MSI did not announce pricing or availability yet.

Friday, 20 April 2018

MSI B360M Mortar Review

MSI B360M Mortar - Small in Size, Big in Performance


Last Year in 2017 Intel dropped their latest consumer grade CPU lineup by the name of Coffee Lake which happened to be their first ever six core processors for the consumer lineup which was earlier restricted to only four cores. Being an answer to the AMD Ryzen CPUs which are processing juggernauts in their own rights the Coffee Lake CPUs suffered from one major flaw, they only support the newer chipset motherboards with no backward compatibility to the last generation LGA1151 motherboards restricting users to the then and now expensive Z370 PCH motherboards making Coffee Lake sensible for those who wish to buy the upper segment K series processors.
Now since the AMD Ryzen G series APUs are out Intel wisely released two new chipsets for their current Coffee Lake lineup namely as the B360 and H370 giving the budget CPUs of the lineup a new lease on life!

While the difference between the H370 and B360 chipset is nominal the with just a few USB ports more in the H370 than the B360 the main difference is in terms of the PCIe lanes which are 24 in Z370, 20 in H370 and only 12 in B360 making the B360 the ultimate choice for gamers on budget who desire a basic gaming PC with one graphics card only.

Alright so that was some insight into the past and present of Coffee Lake for you now moving ahead, today thanks to MSI India I have with me their latest offering in the B360 chipset lineup in form of the MSI B360M Mortar motherboard which happens to be our second B360 under the lens so far and our first ever mITX motherboard across every possible platform till date! Priced in at $99 or Rs 9,700 in India the B360M Mortar is pretty sleek and feature rich for the price featuring dual M.2 ports, extended heatsink for better cooling, Military Class IV components and Mystic LED support to go well with all that.

Packing and Accessories


MSI brings the B360M Mortar in a solid and slim grey cardboard box which looks like a armored briefcase to go with the theme of the product. The product name, MSI logo and an abstract Mortar is neatly printed on top and the Arsenal Gaming logo is at the center of the bottom end.

At the back we have all the features nicely printed in their graphical format along with a product image and labeled diagram of the IO panel and its ports. Overall the packing is to the point and informative enough with enough protection to the contents inside.

Inside the box under a tray we find all the accessories which are generous in number, we have the installation manual for the CPU, instruction manual for the motherboard, driver DVD, a Thank You note, stand offs and M.2 SSD screws, two non-braided SATA cables, IO shield and a MSI decal. For a motherboard of this stature these accessories are sufficient and enough to get you started immediately.

A Closer Look


The MSI B360M Mortar obviously being a mITX is smaller than what we are used to here but I must admit that MSI did a great job at how they've designed it through making it perfect for the name it comes with and the Arsenal branding to which it belongs.

The motherboard is primarily black with military themed grey laced all over the heatsinks, both the VRM and PCH ones. The heatsinks are massive especially the extended one on the IO panel side with a Mortar brnading on top while the PCH heatsink is atrociously small! The PCB has abstract markings and decorations to give it a feel of a military motif which is quite interesting. As a whole this motherboard is true to its branding atleast in terms of outer appearance which is great.

At the back of the motherboard we don't have anything special and even on the logos and branding end we just have the AMD CrossFire Logo which the motherboard ofcourse supports.

For the IO panel we have four USB 2.0 and one USB 3.1 ports, one USB Type-C port, LAN port, gold plated 7.1 channel audio ports, one PS2 port, a DVI port, display port and an HDMI port.
Resolutions up to 1920×1200 at 60Hz are supported on the single-link DVI-D port, while HDMI offers 4K at a low refresh rate or lower resolutions (such as 1080P) at 60Hz.

The CPU are is quite clean even though the motherboard is a mITX but due to the low profile of the heatsinks used beefy air coolers can be used here including those of Noctua which I don't expect anyone to use here as they'll hide half of the motherboard easily but still juts in case one wants to.
Socket over here is obviously the LGA1151 which supports all the Coffee Lake CPUs till date including the locked and unlocked K series. The motherboard doesn't support overclocking so sticking to a locked CPU is what you should be doing here even though it supports K series CPUs since you can't overclock them.

The MSI B360M Mortar comes with four DIMM slots that are non reinforced and support RAM upto a maximum capacity of 64GB working at 2667Mhz which is the norm from Intel on these motherboards so if you plug in a memory rated higher than that it would still be locked at 2667Mhz which is hurting but then its Intel's guidelines and no motherboard manufacturer can do anything about it. Along side the 24-pin ATX power connector are the EZ Debug LED lights to help with troubleshooting and stuff.

Four SATA III ports are provided here out of which two are vertical and two are horizontal which is great fro cable management. None of them support RAID which is fine with me for this category and all these can work when all four are populated which is a good thing as multiple SATA devices is common these days.

Turn your gaze towards the PCIe slot areas now and we see that the motherboard has two full size PCIex16 slots, two smaller PCIex1 slots and two M.2 ports all of which are rated Gen 3.0. The top PCIe 3.0x16 slot is reinforced, wired directly to the CPU  and can support a full sized graphics card working at x16 while the bottom full sizes PCIe 3.0 slot is x4 only and shares its bandwidth with the second M.2 PCIex4 slot which is PCIe drive exclusive hence if populated the bottom PCIe slot would be disabled. The top M.2 port is PCIe 3.0x4 and can support SATA drives to but when using a SATA drive here you'll compromise one SATA port so be sure to check the manual first  to avoid any confusion or hassle.
Overall the PCIe lanes are well implemented here without any major drawbacks that I see one can face while using this motherbord if build a fast gaming system using one graphics card and a bunch of SATA and a NVMe storage. My only gripe is that the top M.2 slot doesn't come with a M.2 shield which could've been added in this price tag adding both functionality and aesthetics.

Since the B360M Mortar is quite feature rich but also a near $100 motherboard a few cost cutting features are bound to brought into effect, the most prominent being the use of the Realtek ALC892 audio codec over the more conventional ALC1220 which is not that good when powering larger speakers over the latter but works flawlessly if not better when paired with gaming headsets.


The power delivery system here is a 4+2 phase both for the CPU vCore and the iGPU rails which are channeled through a Richtek RT3607C chip that allocated four channels to the CPU power delivery while two channels for the iGPU inside. An arrangement such as this when cooled by ceramic heatsinks is enough for a motherboard which doesn't support overclocking and will ensure stable performance using CPUs as such.


Among all the chips present on the motherboard a few are noticeable such as the Intel i219v for the LAN functionalities, the use of two ASMedia ASM1480 to switch the PCIe 3.0x4 lanes between the bottom full sized PCIe slot and the second M.2 slot.

BIOS and Bundled Software

BIOS Overview


UEFI BIOS is getting more and more common with each manufacturer opting for it due to its simple and flexible interface along with the option to navigate via a mouse rather than a keyboard exclusive BIOS. MSI is no different and has offered not one but two versions of BIOS, EZ and Advanced versions, with the MSI B360M Mortar so as to suit every customer's needs.
On boot up by default you'll be greeted with a more comprehensive and detailed EZ BIOS screen. This is a crammed up screen that has the details about all the components installed on the board along with options laid out neatly under clear tabs on the left side. If you want to change fan speeds, maybe boot devices, or use its automated overclocking function, you can do so quickly and easily.








This is a much preferred version for the beginners and though it comes with a Game Boost Knob on the top left its useless since the Gaming Plus doesn't support this feature. The "Memory Try It" feature is present but won't be helpful since its a B360 PCH motherboard the restriction of 2667Mhz is applicable in every way possible.
On pressing the F7 key you'll be teleported into the Advanced BIOS version or the traditional MSI UEFI BIOS version. This is a version that all the overclockers will love since the settings are broadly laid out with tab heading like Over Clocking Settings itself but sadly these won't work here as its a no overclocking motherboard. A plethora of features are there out of which I'm showing you a selective few.
However there is a bit of an issue with the MSI current BIOS as of now which is related to RAM frequencies about which we'll talk in the next section.

Bundled Software 

This is the era when manufacturers provide customers with not just a motherboard and utility softwares that act more like blotwares if nothing else. Gigabyte App center is already what I've reviewed a lot of time & it has never failed to impress but MSI is no less rather  a bit more refined in their approach.
The heart of the software set is the MSI command set which gives you general features and information regarding the CPU, GPU, Fan Speed, IGP and the Game Boost knob...again!

Also one beautiful graphical window is there that provides you with temperature readings of each component & even tell you where they are located on the board.
The gaming app section is something that you'll  be familiar to if you are a MSI graphic card owner. It give you all the information and tweaking options related to your GPU and you can select which vital stat you want to see on your screen. Also you can adjust mouse sensitivity and assign hot keys to your gaming mouse from here making it a one stop solution for gaming.

Another added feature this time is the support of wireless control over the MSI Command Center which can be achieved via an App for your cell phone that allows full control over the features of the motherboard including adjusting voltages and frequencies aswell!
Some extra software include the SteelSeries Engine 3 for Steelseries gaming accessories, MSI version of CPUZ, XSplit Gamecaster with one year free subscription etc

Benchmarks and Overclocking  


Putting all the components together and booting up into Windows was a breeze with the MSI B360M Mortar. Everything worked properly out of the box which is a very good sign and since MSI had released no new BIOS by the date of review I'll be using the BIOS the motherboard came out of the box. Even though the motherboard features almost no RGB or non-RGB LED with the audio isolation strip being illuminated it looks quite impressive by its sheer looks.
For the benchmarks we used the following test setup configuration --

CPU: Intel Core i5 8600K
Motherboard: MSI B360M Mortar
RAM: Kingston HyperX Predator 16GB DDR4 3000Mhz
Cooler: Cooler Master MasterLiquid Pro 280
Graphics Card: Gigabyte GTX 1050 G1 Gaming OC
Storage: Corsair Neutron GTX 480 480GB
Secondary Storage: ADATA XPG SX8000 256GB M.2 SSD
Power Supply: Cooler Master MasterWatt Lite 700
OS: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
GPU Driver: ForceWare 375.70
BIOS: 1.0F

Now even though Intel has put a strap of 2667Mhz on the B360 chipset which means no matter how high frequency kit you pair with this platform it would come down to work at 2667Mhz only even with higher frequency XMP profile enabled. Sadly in my case the HyperX Predator kit which comes with two XMP profiles of 2666Mhz and 3000Mhz couldn't work on either and I had to settle for the default 2133Mhz here. This is an issue with the initial BIOS and even MSI had the same issue with its Z370 platform when it first came out with stock factory BIOS but that was fixed with the second BIOS that rolled out so I expect the same for the B360 platform aswell in the days to come but for now we'll settle for the 2133Mhz only along with the Intel i5 8600K working at stock frequency and boost enabled.

AIDA64 Cache & Memory Benchmark


AIDA64 Extreme Edition is a great tool to bench your CPU and RAM in terms of their read-write-copy abilities. Our i5 8600K showed an impressive score along with the HyperX Predator kit.
Bear in mind that the MSI B360M Mortar couldn't go past the 2133Mhz mark on the available BIOS at the time of testing so the results are accordingly.

AIDA64 GPGPU


The reason for including this benchmark was to simply observe the AES and Hash Test which is a determent of how easily your CPU or GPU can crunch complex calculations and higher score is always regarded better. We've compared the CPU score over here since I had homogeneous data of the CPU for all four motherboards.

Cinebench R15


Cinebench uses Maxon's Cinema 4D engine to render a photo-realistic scene of some shiny balls and weird things (we miss the motorbike). The scene is highly complex, with reflections, ambient occlusion and procedural shaders so it gives a CPU a tough workout.
As Cinema 4D is a real-world application - used on films such as Spider-Man and Star Wars - Cinebench can be viewed as a real-world benchmark.

wPrime v2.10


wPrime is a leading multithreaded benchmark for x86 processors that tests your processor performance by calculating square roots with a recursive call of Newton’s method for estimating functions.

SuperPi Mod 1.5


SuperPi is a simple program that utilizes the processing power and memory speed of the system to calculate the value of Pi upto 1 Million or 32 Million decimal point depending upon what you choose. The time is calculated in minutes and seconds, we'll take them both in seconds, so lower the score faster is your computer.

3DMark Fire Strike & Time Spy


Fire Strike by 3D Mark is a test suit that plays a cinematic scene to determine the FPS, GPU temperature and CPU temperature scaling everything via a cumulative score. It is a great tool to benchmark your GPU since the render is GPU dependent.

PCMark 10


The latest offering from PCMark is the PCMark 10 and unlike its predecessor the new suite evaluates the entire system performance through just one long test, though you can always opt for the quicker and smaller ones, but the test for modern offices and home is the perfect replica of what one professional would do in their daily lives.
The performance is evaluated through basic tests like video conferencing and web browsing to complex tasks such as graphic and video editing or even rendering through POV Ray!

Rise of the Tomb Raider


The latest installation of Lara Croft in the spectacular Rise of the Tomb Raider 2016 with stunning graphics and rich location makes it a great game to benchmark with while enjoying in the due course! We used DX12 and settings were at Very High on full HD resolution.

Battlefield 1


The latest installation to the Battlefield franchise and mind it the grandest one of them all aswell, Battlefield 1 is a prequel to the infamous Battlefield 1942 placing the players right in the middle of World War 1. Based on the latest Frostbite Engine by EA-DICE, Battlefield 1 takes advantage of DirectX 12 with asynchronous compute to weave together richly detailed worlds. It is heavily taxing on current-generation hardware, and you're handsomely rewarded for investing more into your graphics setup. Settings are at High preset with full HD resolution.

CrystalDiskMark 5.0.2


CrystalDiskMark is a disk benchmark software that analyses different types of hard drive. Giving sequential benchmark write and read statistics in MB/s. A simple program that is very useful here, the above benchmark is for the ADATA SX8000 M.2 SSD and we see the desired speeds using the MSI B360M Mortar.

My Verdict 

The general perception about mITX motherboards has always been a smaller motherboard with cut down features but all that has lately changed and the MSI B360M Mortar is one leading the pack when it comes to the B360 division here. The motherboard is well perceived and designed with unique aesthetics that catches ones eye even when the motherboard is not connected or powered on and the best part is that some of those aesthetics are actually functional such as the extended heatsink on the IO panel side effectively keeping the power delivery system cool even under full load.
The lack of onboard RGB lights on this board is a double edged sword which might please a few while disappoint another few but that's a subjective topic and better left untouched. Implementation of the PCIe lanes on the motherboard is well thought of with two M.2 ports, one PCIe slot and four(three) SATA ports all working at the same time which is more than enough for any gaming PC or HTPC build that one can expect building in this price range. About performance there are no complaints whatsoever as the motherboard performs as expected in every synthetic and real life benchmark placing the B360M Mortar right next to more competition.
BIOS is an issue right now but I'm sure by the time you'll buy this motherboard new BIOS will roll out which will address the memory compatibility issue for sure. One gripe that I have here is that none of the M.2 ports are shielded which should've been an addition here as its inexpensive but adds both looks and functionality.
"The MSI B360M Mortar is physically small and technically strong, offering a great balance of attractive looks, solid performance and to the point pricing making it a force to reckon with. A must have on every gamer's shopping list for building a fast and powerful gaming PC on a budget."
Pros -
  • Distinct Looks
  • Solid build quality
  • Good Performance 
  • Aptly priced
Cons - 
  • No M.2 shield
I give it a 8/10 earning our Gold Award!