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MSI B650 GAMING PLUS WIFI Review – The “Good Enough” Option
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MSI B650 GAMING PLUS WIFI Review – The “Good Enough” Option

by February 5, 2024
Overview
Warranty

3 years

Price

$199.99 (US MSRP)

Positives

+ Decent VRM
+ HDMI & DisplayPort outputs for onboard graphics
+ Good value

Negatives

- I/O shield not pre-installed
- No heatsink for second M.2 slot

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Pokde Rating
Appearance
7.8
Features
7.5
Materials
8.0
Performance
8.0
User Experience
8.0
Value
8.3
Bottom Line

The MSI B650 GAMING PLUS WIFI is fairly basic as far as B650 motherboards go - value is its strength here.

7.9
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For the Ryzen 5 8600G review we did earlier, AMD has also provided the MSI B650 GAMING PLUS WIFI for us to take a look at. From the get-go, this looks like a motherboard for the budget-minded, so let’s see if it’s got the value going for it.

Click here to purchase the MSI B650 GAMING PLUS WIFI motherboard via Shopee

Unboxing

The unboxing experience is pretty much standard with budget MSI motherboards, where you’re greeted with the ESD-packaged motherboard as you open the box, with all the items sitting under the lower compartment.

MSI B650 GAMING PLUS WIFI Review - The "Good Enough" Option 24

Box contents

These are the items you’ll get – which include a separate I/O shield that you’ll have to install into your case of choice. Aside from that, you’re only getting a single SATA cable, two M.2 standoff screws, and a Wi-Fi antenna. As far as included accessories are concerned, this is as bare-bones as you can get.

Appearance

Right out of the gate, the motherboard already looks slightly different than the usual premium offerings, where big chunks of metal cover most of the surface in the name of cooling. Here, you’re getting VRM heatsinks (a two-piece design), a single M.2 heatsink for the primary slot, and the FCH (chipset) heatsink that surprisingly uses a screw-less (plastic fastener) design similar to CPU stock coolers.

MSI B650 GAMING PLUS WIFI Review - The "Good Enough" Option 25

VRM/FCH heatsinks (disassembled)

Here’s how the heatsinks look like when disassembled from the motherboard. The top side VRM heatsink is considerably smaller than the left side VRM heatsink, which could create uneven temperatures if they’re loaded equally.

MSI B650 GAMING PLUS WIFI Review - The "Good Enough" Option 26

Motherboard rear I/O

I/O is decent, I’d say. For onboard graphics, you have the option of HDMI 2.1 or DisplayPort 1.4 depending on your monitor of choice; and elsewhere you’re still getting decent amounts of USB outputs for all kinds of peripheral connections. You also have a USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C port for devices that support it.

Specifications

MSI B650 GAMING PLUS WIFI

Full specification is available on the MSI website.

CPU Support Socket AM5 (AMD Ryzen 7000, 8000 Series)
Form Factor ATX (12 x 9.6 in / 305 x 244 mm)
Chipset AMD B650
Power & VRM 2x EPS 8-pin
12+2+1 stage (Vcore+SoC+Misc)
Sinopower SM4503NHKP (80A per powerstage)
Sinopower SM4337NHKP (55A per powerstage)
Alpha & Omega AOZ5016QI (55A per powerstage, Misc)
Richtek RT3678BE PWM controller
Memory 4-slot Max. 192GB DDR5-5200 unbuffered
Overclocking support up to DDR5-7200+
PCIe Expansion Slots 1x PCIe 4.0 x16 (CPU)*
1x PCIe 3.0 x1 (PCH)
1x PCIe 4.0 x16 (PCH, x4 bandwidth)
*Primary slot limited to x8 for Ryzen 7 8700G & Ryzen 5 8600G; x4 for Ryzen 5 8500G
Storage 4x SATA 6Gb/s
2x M.2 slots (onboard):
– 2x PCIe 4.0 x4 (CPU)*
*Secondary slot fallback to PCIe 4.0 x2 for Ryzen 5 8500G
Networking AMD RZ616 Wi-Fi 6E (MediaTek Filogic 330 / MT7922) (M.2 2230)
Realtek RTL8125BG 2.5GbE LAN
Bluetooth 5.3
USB Outputs Rear:
1x USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 (20Gbps) USB-C
3x USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gbps) USB-A
4x USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5Gbps) USB-A
Front (headers):
1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gbps) USB-C
1x USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5Gbps) header (splitting to 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1)
2x USB 2.0 headers (splitting to 4x USB 2.0)
Onboard Display 1x HDMI 2.1
1x DisplayPort 1.4
Audio Realtek ALC897 codec
De-pop protection
1x S/PDIF (TOSLINK optical out)
1x front panel audio header
Peripheral Headers 1x Power Connector(ATX_PWR)
2x Power Connector(CPU_PWR)
1x CPU Fan
1x Pump Fan
4x System Fan
2x Front Panel (JFP)
1x Chassis Intrusion (JCI)
1x Front Audio (JAUD)
1x Com Port (JCOM)
1x Tuning Controller connector(JDASH)
2x Addressable V2 RGB LED connector (JARGB_V2)
2x RGB LED connector(JRGB)
1x TPM pin header(Support TPM 2.0)
Accessories EU Regulatory Notice
Quick installation guide
2x EZ M.2 Clips
Wi-Fi antenna
I/O shield
1x SATA cable
Click here to purchase the MSI B650 GAMING PLUS WIFI motherboard via Shopee

Test System

CPU AMD Ryzen 5 8600G
Cooling Cooler Master MasterLiquid PL360 Flux 30th Anniversary Edition
Cooler Master MasterGel Maker
Motherboard MSI B650 GAMING PLUS WIFI
GPU NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition
Memory Kingston FURY RENEGADE RGB DDR5-6400 CL32 (2x16GB)
Storage Samsung SSD 980 PRO 256GB (Boot)
Kingston NV1 1TB
Power Supply Cooler Master MWE Gold 1250 V2 Full Modular 1250W
Case VECTOR Bench Case (Open-air chassis)
Operating System Windows 11 Home 22H2

Teardown

VRMs

MSI B650 GAMING PLUS WIFI Review - The "Good Enough" Option 27

VRM layout (heatsink removed)

MSI has given this motherboard a pretty decent array of MOSFETs and VRM components to form this 12+2+1 powerstage layout. For one, it comes with two EPS 8-pin connectors, which is arguably overkill; and elsewhere you’re getting a combination of Sinopower MOSFETs (80A & 55A) all orchestrated by the Richtek RT3678BE PWM controller.

Audio

MSI B650 GAMING PLUS WIFI Review - The "Good Enough" Option 28

Audio filter capacitors & Realtek ALC897 CODEC

For audio, it’s using the Realtek ALC897 CODEC commonly found on budget motherboards. Four audio filter capacitors complete this island of audio components.

Storage & Expansion

MSI B650 GAMING PLUS WIFI Review - The "Good Enough" Option 29

For storage and expansion options, the diagram above should give you a good idea of each connection’s bandwidth capabilities – however, it’s not quite straightforward.

For any Ryzen 7000 processors, the primary GPU slot stays at x16 bandwidth. However, the Ryzen 8000G “Phoenix” chips will drop that to x8 instead, while Ryzen 8000G “Phoenix 2” chips (such as Ryzen 5 8500G, the one with Zen 4c cores in it) further drop this down to x4 – so bandwidth bottlenecks will creep in if your GPU is too fast for the CPU’s PCIe controller to keep up. Phoenix 2 processors will also limit the second M.2 slot to PCIe 4.0 x2.

Connectivity

For connectivity, the Wi-Fi is courtesy of AMD’s RZ616 (effectively a MediaTek MT7922) Wi-Fi 6E module, which uses the standard M.2 2230 (key A+E) form factor. The Realtek RTL8125BG is responsible for 2.5GbE LAN connections.

I/O

Like usual, most of the I/O is managed by ASMedia’s controllers, with all the downstream communications handled via the AMD B650 chipset. (Note: a chunk of thermal pad broke off to the heatsink, hence the image you saw.)

Other Features

The motherboard also comes with a BIOS flash button located at the top of the rear I/O, with status LEDs on the right side of the motherboard. As far as creature comforts go, this is a pretty basic one.

Thermals

MSI B650 GAMING PLUS WIFI Review - The "Good Enough" Option 30

We gave the motherboard a full 10-minute run of Cinebench R23 with the AMD Ryzen 5 8600G pulling ~86W for the entire length of the stress test. In this case, we see the VRM reaching 54°C at the end of the run. Plenty of headroom available – the VRM should be able to manage 105W (142W PPT) and 120W (162W PPT) classes of chips just fine.

BIOS & Software

MSI’s BIOS menu is slightly more difficult to navigate with just the keyboard, so a mouse is recommended if you aren’t familiar with the menu. The EXPO profile is located on the top left side, in this case selecting Profile 1 will immediately activate the 6400MT/s profile from our pair of DDR5 RAM.

As for the software, the MSI Center app works as a “shell” for various modules, including the ‘User Scenario’ module which I think should be pre-installed as soon as it detects the motherboard’s presence. Someone unfamiliar with the interface might not be able to navigate through this initial process, so hopefully there are improvements to be made here.

Conclusion

MSI B650 GAMING PLUS WIFI Review - The "Good Enough" Option 31

The MSI B650 GAMING PLUS WIFI is not yet available in Malaysia – as our unit is provided by AMD – though the known pricing from the US is the MSRP of $199 (although market pricing seems to be lower currently). This puts the motherboard into the budget category, and as you’ve seen by now, you don’t get a lot of bells and whistles out of it. Still, it’s good enough if getting a system running is what you’re looking for.

If I have to be picky, I think a pre-installed I/O shield would be nice, even if it’s just a small detail that most people likely won’t care too much (and it only adds a few extra seconds of build time). But for what it’s worth, this board will serve any budget builders just fine – as long as the expectations are kept reasonable.

Pokde-Bronze

Click here to purchase the MSI B650 GAMING PLUS WIFI motherboard via Shopee

Special thanks to AMD for providing the MSI B650 GAMING PLUS WIFI for this review. 

About The Author
Low Boon Shen
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