MSI B450i Gaming Plus AC Motherboard Overview
This board is of course a mini-ITX motherboard so it has a pretty small footprint, but perfect for those small form factor builds. MSI does keep the gaming theme on this board with a black PCB with black and red accents. The two heatsinks are black and have a red “zig-zag” design on them.
Taking up a good part of the board is AMD’s AM4 CPU socket. This socket supports first and second generation Ryzen processors, but since this is a B450 chipset you will get the second generation features like XFR2 and Precision Boost Overdrive. The board has a 6+2 power phase design (6 CPU, 2 Memory) and and power delivery components are cooled by a pretty large heatsink. Above the CPU socket are your 4-pin CPU fan and optional CPU fan fan headers. Beside those you have your EZ Debug LEDs which will help you troubleshoot any issues if your system is not booting. Hiding at the top of the board is your 8-pin EPS connector.
Moving over from the CPU socket you have your two DDR4 DIMM slots, which support up to 32GB of DDR4-3466+(OC) memory. Along the edge of the board you’ll find a single USB 2.0 header. USB 3.0 header, 24-pin ATX power connection, four SATA ports, and two 4-pin RGB headers. The RGB headers can be controlled by MSI’s Mystic Light software.
Along the bottom of the board you of course have your single PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot which is metal reinforced. This is good as this is such a small board and if you install a larger graphics card you are going to want the stability. Right above the PCI-Express slot is the heatsink for the chipset.
At the bottom corner of the board is the audio solution. MSI has gone with the Realtek AL887, which offers 7.1-channel High Definition audio. There are a couple of high-end audio capacitors visible here as well as the PCB isolation traces.
Moving on to the rear I/O from left to right we have two USB 2.0, combination PS/2 port, DisplayPort, HDMI, four USB 3.1 gen 1 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, wireless Antenna connectors, and audio connections. It does look like MSI did run out of room for full 7.1 audio connection, but remember digital audio can be put through HDMI or DisplayPort on your graphics card. MSI has gone with Intel’s Dual Band Wireless-AC 3168 module.
Flipping the board over we will find the single M.2 slot. This is a turbo M.2 slot running at PCI-Express 3.0 x4 slots so your NVMe solid state drives will run at their full speeds here.