- Great set of features for the $260 price
- Three M.2 slots, 20Gb/s USB, PCIe Gen 4
- Good networking and audio options
- Stealth design looks great, plus Integrated I/O shield and screwless M.2
- Would be great to see M.2 slot covers on all areas
- Price means some limitations (no PCIe Gen 5) don’t take full advantage of AM5
It’s nice to see a feature-rich option, that’s stylish to boot, at a more affordable price range. Not every gamer and content creator needs the bells and whistles—and premium price!—of higher-end motherboards. The MSI MAG B650 Tomahawk WiFi has the chops (pun intended).
Price When Reviewed
Best Prices Today: MSI MAG B650 Tomahawk WiFi
AMD’s Ryzen 7000 CPUs bring with them next-generation performance and features. Higher platform pricing is an unfortunate side effect—but is there a way to have your next-gen motherboard cake and eat it too?
For your consideration: the MSI MAG B650 Tomahawk, which aims to fulfill that performance promise without breaking the bank. With an MSRP of $259.99, is this enough to help alleviate some of the costs associated with AM5?
We’ll go over the specs, and talk about the board’s features, performance chops, and design attributes. For those wanting to take advantage of the new goodies in AMD’s AM5 platform, while saving a few bucks, the Tomahawk B650 could fit the bill.
MSI MAG B650 Tomahawk WiFi: The Specs
Thiago Trevisan / Foundry
The MSI MAG B650 Tomahawk blends the popular Tomahawk series with B650. While the price has gone up to $259.99 MSRP from the B550, it’s still among the more affordable AM5 motherboards.
This ATX motherboard will work exclusively with AMD’s Ryzen 7000 CPUs, and it also brings to the table most of the good stuff like DDR5. The B650 chipset differs from B650E and X670E—the “extreme” variants—mainly by having less theoretical USB and SATA ports, and no PCIe Gen 5. You’ll still have plenty of PCIe Gen 4 here, such as three onboard M.2 slots. (Granted, you’ll see some parity with the more basic X670 motherboards without the “E,” such as the Asus X670-P Prime.)
In the real world, these theoretical differences between X670E and B650 often don’t show themselves unless you’re really pushing your system.
The unboxing experience is basic, as you’d expect for $259. You do get Wi-Fi and a Wi-Fi antenna, some stickers, EZ M.2 clips, and the usual SATA cables.
- ATX form factor
- Supports AMD AM5 Ryzen 7000 CPUs
- 14+2+1 Phase Design with six-layer PCB
- DDR5 RAM, dual channel up to 4 DIMMs (up to 128Gb)
- 3x onboard M.2 slots (PCIe Gen 4)
- 2x PCIe 16x slot (PCIe Gen 4, 16x/4x)
- HDMI and DisplayPort out
- 10 USB ports on back (including 20Gb/s)
- Realtek 2.5GbE LAN
- AMD Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2
- RGB headers for Mystic Light
- 6 SATA 6Gb/s ports
- 8 PWM fan headers
- BIOS Flashback button
- Preinstalled I/O shield
- Realtek 7.1 ALC 4080 Audio
- MSRP $259.99
Thiago Trevisan / Foundry
MSI MAG B650 Tomahawk WiFi: Features
With it’s $259 MSRP, the Tomahawk’s feature set has most of the good stuff. For networking, you’ll have both Wi-Fi 6E, along with 2.5GbE LAN—just like on much more expensive motherboards.
On the I/O side, you’ll be missing PCIe Gen 5, but since there isn’t much hardware to even saturate those ports yet, PCIe Gen 4 is more than sufficient. With three onboard M.2 slots, you’ll have more than enough speed and space for gaming. This is also a gift for content creators who don’t need more than that and can therefore save some serious bucks! (There are six SATA ports here as well for hard drives.)
DDR5 is here, and while that may add to the platform costs, prices have been steadily going down as more kits are available on the market.
Ryzen 7000 CPUs give you an integrated iGPU—which is great for diagnosing issues without needing a discreet GPU. You’ll get both HDMI and DisplayPort in the back. Together with BIOS Flashback, and the EZ debug LEDs, you have the handy tools that much more expensive motherboards also offer (albeit in a more basic fashion—no fancy debug display here).
Audio is also well represented, with the Realteck 4080 codec, and a good offering of inputs/outputs on the back including optical S/PDIF.
I/O is also well represented in the rear—with an abundant 10 USB ports. USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 type C with 20Gb/s is also here, for those needing one of the fastest ports available. You won’t find USB4 with 40Gb/s, but that’s not expected at this price range.
MSI also gives us M.2 slots that are “screwless,” plus an integrated I/O shield—making the build experience much better! We are glad to see these features work their way into even more affordable motherboards.
With surprisingly few compromises, the MSI MAG B650 Tomahawk delivers on most of the features of much more expensive options—leaving very little on the table. Only those more hardcore gamers or content creators who need additional PCIe Gen 5 lanes, M.2 slots, faster 10GbE, or more substantial cooling may need more—but you’ll also have to pay more.
Thiago Trevisan / Foundry
MSI MAG B650 Tomahawk WiFi: Design
The MSI MAG B650 Tomahawk sports a decidedly streamlined design—nothing frivolous here! The mostly blacked-out, simple aesthetic is quite impactful, and will fit in with virtually any build.
Starting at the top: The I/O shield area and VRMs are stealth and give the motherboard a high-end look. The right side, for its part, is bare—at this price point there’s not a lot of “armor” on tap.
Making our way to the Tomahawk’s lower regions, we’re greeted with a nice M.2 “Frozr” Shield over the top slot as well as towards the bottom. This helps keep your drives cool—and it’s a shame the feature wasn’t applied to the last exposed M.2 slot as well. The screwless M.2 slots themselves are a nice design choice at this price class. Besides the simple “Tomahawk” lettering above the slots, the overall look is minimal, but tasteful.
Thiago Trevisan / Foundry
Overall, there’s enough here for it to be very attractive, and the areas that don’t have much going on will be blocked by large GPU coolers anyway. There are no native RGB effects, but you do get RGB headers for adding whatever you wish.
The integrated I/O shield sports USB ports that color-coded by speed. Well done!
MSI MAG B650 Tomahawk WiFi: Performance, Software, and BIOS
The MSI MAG B650 Tomahawk has a 14+2+1 power stage and six-layer PCB. While this looks less impressive on paper compared to higher-end motherboards, it’s more than enough. You wouldn’t necessarily pair a Ryzen 9 7950X with this board—but you could, and it would handle it fine without going crazy. For its $259 MSRP, this motherboard makes more sense with the Ryzen 5 7600X or Ryzen 7 7700X—a perfect complement.
The I/O shield area and VRM heatsinks are substantial enough for almost anything, and the M.2 slots’ “Frozr” cooling amor adds confidence (though we wish it was on all M.S slots).
You’re missing out on PCIe Gen 5 performance, but PCIe Gen 4 is more than enough to meet your needs. You get to take advantage of next-gen performance with the DDR5 memory support.
Even the USB ports are plenty fast, with 20Gb/s speeds—which is only beat by the 40Gb/s found on a few select premium motherboards.
The MSI BIOS is easy to use, with plenty of tweaking options, such as for the CPU and RAM settings. We recommend at least setting the “Expo” RAM profiles in order to take advantage of your DDR5 kit’s performance. Ryzen 7000 can also benefit from some “Eco mode”-style tinkering if you’re up for it, reducing heat and power draw while maintaining most performance. (Check out our Ryzen 7000 Eco Mode tips here.)
Automatic overclocking such as AMD’s Precision Boost Overdrive (PBO) are found here along with with MSI’s own settings—but keep an eye on your CPU temperatures as they can quickly get hot! (Ryzen 7000 is more likely to be limited by your CPU cooler, than the motherboard itself!)
For AM5 B650 motherboards, frequent BIOS updates are probably a good thing since it’s a new platform and there are bound to be fixes and refinements over time.
MSI Center is a software option for those who prefer to stay out of the BIOS. Here you can adjust your fan curves, create RGB effects, and monitor system-critical information. You can also check for driver and software updates! Motherboard companies have been working to simplify these software solutions. While they’re still not perfect, it’s worth a look for some functions. Otherwise, the BIOS or separate bespoke software can take care of your settings.
Should you buy the MSI MAG B650 Tomahawk WiFi?
With a price tag of $259.99, it’s no longer a budget offering—but still much more affordable. Many AM5 motherboards are well over $300, and here’s the kicker: The MSI MAG B650 Tomahawk gives you most of the same features as its more costly competitors!
It has competent networking, USB and M.2 options, plus DDR5. It could even run the Ryzen 9 7950X if you wanted that.
Sure, you may not get 10GbE networking, or USB4, or even RGB “armor” plates. Those are premium options that come with a premium price.
For gamers and content creators who know their needs and can do without a few bleeding-edge amenities, you’ll be rewarded with a healthy collection of specs and decent pricing. Plus, we think its stealth and minimalist design looks pretty snazzy!