MSI MAG B660M Mortar WiFi Review — Alder Lake and DDR5 without breaking the bank

Vyncent Chan
20 Min Read
MSI MAG B660M Mortar WiFi Review — Alder Lake and DDR5 without breaking the bank
  • Appearance - 8.3/10
    8.3/10
  • Features - 8.2/10
    8.2/10
  • Materials - 8.8/10
    8.8/10
  • Performance - 8.8/10
    8.8/10
  • User Experience - 8.8/10
    8.8/10
  • Value - 8.5/10
    8.5/10

Summary

The MSI MAG B660M Mortar WiFi crams all the features you need for a great 12th Gen Intel Core-based gaming system in a nice, compact mATX form factor.

Overall
8.6/10
8.6/10

Pros

+ Bright silver heatsinks add some “pop” to the overall aesthetic
+ Effective heatsinks on VRM and M.2 slots
+ Well thought-out I/O ports
+ EZ M.2 Clip is great to have
+ Fast wired and wireless networking support!
+ Excellent VRM thermals
+ Full-featured BIOS
+ MSI Center is a great all-in-one suite
+ Good bang for buck

Cons

– More USB 3.0 ports would have been welcome

MSI’s MAG series of motherboards are pretty great options for anyone looking to set up a gaming build. Featuring some pretty decent specifications that should satisfy just about everyone, it’s probably the best balance of cost to features for gamers. What happens when we take the value-oriented Intel B660 chipset and have MSI give it the MSI MAG treatment? Well, we get the MSI MAG B660M Mortar WiFi. Let’s see what it has to offer.

Unboxing

MSI MAG B660M MORTAR WIFI Review-4

MSI MAG B660M MORTAR WIFI Review-4

On the front of the box, you can see that the military-inspired motif, if the name “MSI MAG B660M Mortar WiFi” wasn’t enough to cue you in. You can also see that MSI highlighted the TPM 2.0 support and Windows 11 compatibility, just in case you are worried about that.

MSI MAG B660M MORTAR WIFI Review-1

MSI MAG B660M MORTAR WIFI Review-1

Over on the back we have about all the highlighted features. It packs quite a few nice features, including WiFi 6E, 2.5GbE LAN and USB 3.2 Gen 2×2, which are definitely great features to have in any motherboard.

MSI MAG B660M MORTAR WIFI Review-5

MSI MAG B660M MORTAR WIFI Review-5

The contents of the MSI MAG B660M Mortar WiFi’s box is pretty similar to the MSI MAG Z690 Tomahawk WiFi we checked out recently. There’s a nice assortment of documentation that includes some brochures listing MSI’s other products as well. Aside from that, you also get two EZ M.2 Clips, although I somewhat doubt you will need to use them with the MSI MAG B660M Mortar WiFi, and there’s a screwdriver set as well so you don’t have to hope your Swiss Army knife has one. The overall kit is pretty nice, but I do wish MSI gave us a USB drive instead of a driver DVD…

Appearance

MSI MAG B660M MORTAR WIFI Review-6

MSI MAG B660M MORTAR WIFI Review-6

Fans of white builds will probably find the MSI MAG B660M Mortar WiFi to be a pretty good compromise. While it isn’t actually white per se definitely contrasts very well against the black PCB. You can see the same outlines marked onto the heatsinks, which are there to help you add some camo to your board to help it stand out more. Yes, that’s not the use of camo, but that’s how it is.

MSI MAG B660M MORTAR WIFI Review-7

MSI MAG B660M MORTAR WIFI Review-7

You can see that while this is a more value-oriented motherboard, MSI went with the same chunky VRM heatsinks that they used for the MSI MAG Z690 Tomahawk WiFi. The top one is a little small, but the one that’s to the left of the socket doubles as an I/O shroud, making for plenty of surface area.

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MSI MAG B660M MORTAR WIFI Review-26

Both M.2 heatsinks on the MSI MAG B660M Mortar WiFi are also covered by heatspreaders, or what MSI calls the M.2 Shield Frozr thermal solution. Quite a good touch, considering that both are PCIe 4.0 capable, and those drives can get quite toasty if left unchecked. The PCIe 4.0 x16 slot is reinforced here as well, ready to accommodate chonky graphics cards and live to tell the tale.

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MSI MAG B660M MORTAR WIFI Review-12

Over on the back we can see the contrasting “Avoid Collision” warnings around all the screw points. The memory slots are also SMT-mounted, which improves signal integrity. The PCIe slot isn’t, however, as it only supports PCIe 4.0 and not PCIe 5.0. Not really a major issue though since PCIe 5.0 devices aren’t available in the market yet anyway.

MSI MAG B660M MORTAR WIFI Review-10

MSI MAG B660M MORTAR WIFI Review-10

And here we have the I/O. Overall, I really quite like what I am seeing here. Three USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports, one USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C port, and four USB 2.0 port is decent enough, but I wish we had USB 3.0 ports instead of the USB 2.0 ones. For display outputs, you have both HDMI and DisplayPort, making the MSI MAG B660M Mortar WiFi a pretty good fit in case you want to take advantage of Intel’s QuickSync, or just to troubleshoot your system with your processor’s integrated graphics.

MSI MAG B660M Mortar WiFi Specifications

CPU support Intel LGA1700
12th Gen Intel Core, Pentium Gold, Celeron Processors
Power 1 x 24-pin ATX
2 x 8-pin EATX 12V
RAA229132 PWM controller + MP2940A
12 x ISL99360 (60A) powerstage for VCore
1 x ISL99390 (60A) powerstage for VGT
1 x MPS MP87992 (70A) powerstage for AUX
Chipset Intel B660
Memory 4 x DDR5 DIMM, max. 128GB un-buffered memory
Up to DDR5-6200+
Multi-GPU Support 2-way AMD CrossFire
Expansion slots PCIe 4.0 x16 (x16 electrically – from CPU)
PCIe 3.0 x1 – from chipset
PCIe 3.0 x16 (x4 electrically – from chipset)
Storage 6 x SATA 6 Gb/s, supports RAID 0,1,5,10
1 x M.2 PCIe 4.0 x4 – from CPU
1 x M.2 PCIe 4.0 x4 – from chipset
Network Intel Wi-Fi 6E AX211 (802.11ax) + Bluetooth 5.2
Realtek RTL8125BG 2.5GbE LAN controller
USB Rear I/O:
1 x USB 3.2 Gen2x2 Type-C (20Gbps)
3 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A (10 Gbps)
4 x USB 2.0
On-board headers:
1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C (10 Gbps)
1 x USB 3.0 (5 Gbps) (2 ports each)
2 x USB 2.0 (2 ports each)
Audio Realtek ALC1200 CODEC
5 x audio jacks (rear)
1 x Optical S/PDIF out
1 x front panel audio connector
Display output 1 x HDMI 2.1 (4K60)
1 x DisplayPort 1.4 (4K60)
Other onboard connectors 1 x CPU fan header
1 x Pump fan header
2 x Chassis fan headers
1 x RGB headers
2 x ARGB headers
1 x TPM module connector
1 x Thunderbolt connector
1 x chassis intrusion connector
Overclocking features EZ Debug LED
BIOS reset jumper
Tuning Controller connector
Included accessories User’s manual
Quick installation guide
Driver DVD
WiFi Antenna
2 x SATA 6Gb/s cable
2 x EZ M.2 Clip
Case badge
MAG Stickers
Product registration card
Reward Program / Shout Out Flyer
Screwdriver set
Form factor mATX (24.4 x 24.4 cm)

Test System

CPU Intel Core i5-12400
Cooler MSI MPG CoreLiquid K360
Motherboard MSI MAG B660M Mortar WiFi (BIOS ver. A06)
GPU NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti Founders Edition
Memory 2 x 16GB Kingston FURY Beast DDR5-5200 CL40
Storage 2TB Kingston FURY Renegade SSD
Power Supply MSI MPG A650GF
Case Cooler Master MF700
OS Windows 11 Pro

MSI MAG B660M Mortar WiFi Review — Alder Lake and DDR5 without breaking the bank 6

MSI MAG B660M Mortar WiFi Review — Alder Lake and DDR5 without breaking the bank 6

Before we get further into the review, I would just like to give MSI, Intel and Kingston a shoutout for sending us the MAG premium kit. The kit came with not just the MSI MAG B660M Mortar WiFi, but also the Intel Core i5-12400 and also the Kingston FURY Beast DDR5-5200 RAM that we are using for this review. They also sent along the MSI MPG A650GF power supply to help us complete the test system we are using.

MSI MAG B660M Mortar WiFi Review — Alder Lake and DDR5 without breaking the bank 7

MSI MAG B660M Mortar WiFi Review — Alder Lake and DDR5 without breaking the bank 7

And here’s a look at our test system, comprising of the Intel Core i5-12400, MSI MAG B660M Mortar WiFi, Kingston FURY Beast DDR5-5200 and the MSI MAG A650GF.

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MSI MAG B660M MORTAR WIFI Review-29

A Closer Look

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MSI MAG B660M MORTAR WIFI Review-19

With the motherboard stripped naked, we can see that there’s quite optimal use of space within the confines of the mATX form factor.

VRMs

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MSI MAG B660M MORTAR WIFI Review-9

It seems that MSI decided to go slightly overkill with the MSI MAG B660M Mortar WiFi, as it is equipped to handle more than what you would expect most people to use an Intel B660 motherboard with. The MSI MAG B660M Mortar WiFi gets two 8-pin EPS power connectors, ready to feed even the Intel Core i9-12900K without breaking a sweat. You can also see the thick fins of the VRM heatsinks from this angle, which are perfect for dissipating heat with just incidental airflow.

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MSI MAG B660M MORTAR WIFI Review-14

Under them lie the ISL99360, each rated for 60A. The MSI MAG B660M Mortar WiFi uses a Duet Rail Power System, which means that you have six phases for Vcore, but each phase is handled by two of these power stages to enable higher power handling capability. With the VRM here rated for 720A, you have plenty of headroom to handle even the flagship Intel Core i9-12900K. Obviously, I don’t think you will use an Intel Core i9-12900K with an Intel B660 board, but the MSI MAG B660M Mortar WiFi is ready for it, if you want to. The iGPU gets a single phase, while the aux rail gets an MP87992 which is rated for 70A, and is handled by a separate PWM controller, the MP2940A.

Audio

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MSI MAG B660M MORTAR WIFI Review-28

For audio, you have the Realtek ALC1200 that a pretty common sight in the mid-range board segment. With 7.1-channel audio support, there really isn’t much more that you can ask for from the onboard audio of a motherboard of this caliber. The audio circuitry is separated from the rest of the motherboard as well, to avoid any interference from the rest of the circuitry. Pretty standard stuff here.

Storage

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MSI MAG B660M MORTAR WIFI Review-20

Speaking of standard, the MSI MAG B660M Mortar WiFi supports just two M.2 PCIe SSDs, which is par for the course. That is until you realize that they both support PCIe 4.0 x4 NVMe SSDs, and that this is a mATX motherboard. One slot is controlled by the CPU, and the other is by the Intel B660 chipset. A pretty good use of the PCIe 4.0 lanes available from the chipset. You can use a SATA SSD with the second M.2 slot, but that will disable one of the SATA ports.

Now, remember when I mentioned that the EZ M.2 Clip isn’t going to be that useful here? That’s because the MSI MAG B660M Mortar WiFi only has room for M.2 2280 SSDs, and most consumer SSDs in the market will be held down by the mounting posts for the M.2 heatsinks. The only times they will come in handy is if you use a M.2 SSD that has a built-in heatsink, or you want to use less common M.2 2260 or 2242 SSDs with the dugi. Kudos to MSI though for thinking of all the possibilities and still including them with the MSI MAG B660M Mortar WiFi.

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MSI MAG B660M MORTAR WIFI Review-11

Moving on, there are a total of six SATA ports, four of which are from the Intel B660 chipset, and two from an ASMedia ASM1061 controller. Six SATA ports should be plenty for most people unless you are a really serious storage hoarder.

Connectivity

MSI MAG B660M Mortar WiFi Review — Alder Lake and DDR5 without breaking the bank 8

MSI MAG B660M Mortar WiFi Review — Alder Lake and DDR5 without breaking the bank 8

For wireless connectivity, you have the Intel Wi-Fi 6E AX211 adapter here, for some sweet 6GHz WiFi action. Now, at the time of writing, I am not exactly sure how many Intel B660 motherboards will offer support for WiFi 6E, but this is a pretty premium feature that I definitely didn’t expect to see here on the MSI MAG B660M Mortar WiFi. The only difference with the more ubiquitous Wi-Fi 6E AX210 is that this is a CNVio2 solution, so if you extricate the WiFi adapter out of the MSI MAG B660M Mortar WiFi and plug it into a system without CNVio2 support, it won’t work. Since the MSI MAG B660M Mortar WiFi does support CNVio2, this will work exactly as you would expect it to.

MSI MAG B660M Mortar WiFi Review — Alder Lake and DDR5 without breaking the bank 9

MSI MAG B660M Mortar WiFi Review — Alder Lake and DDR5 without breaking the bank 9

If for some reason WiFi is not your cup of tea, even though it is capable of 2.4Gbps, well you have 2.5GbE LAN as well. This is powered by the proven Realtek RTL8125BG NIC. While I personally don’t use LAN, this is a pretty nice touch, if you want a fast, stable LAN connection.

Performance

For a relatively affordable motherboard, the MSI MAG B660M Mortar WiFi’s VRMs thermals are extremely low, being measured at just 43ºC at all times. Notably, we are running an Intel Core i5-12400 here, which doesn’t even begin to stress the VRMs when you consider that it only has a 65W TDP and even with maxed out PL1 and PL2 limits via the motherboard settings, it still runs below 70W even under a heavy workload like Realbench. MSI could probably have gone with smaller, cheaper heatsinks for the VRMs, but I am glad they didn’t.

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MSI MAG B660M MORTAR WIFI Review-30

On the other hand, the MSI MAG B660M Mortar WiFi’s cooling for the Intel B660 chipset is a bit on the weaker side. It’s not to say that it is overheating, but it does reach close to 60ºC even when doing nothing. There’s probably nothing to worry about though as I have seen boards with their PCH hitting in excess of 80ºC running happily all the time.