Motherboards PC Hardware

REVIEW | MSI B360M Mortar Titanium

Just in time for gamers and PC enthusiasts looking to move into Intel’s Coffee lake platform, MSI has released several motherboards that will support Intel’s latest 8th Generation processors. MSI sent over one of these new motherboards from their Arsenal Gaming lineup for us to check out: the MSI B360M Mortar Titanium.

What’s in the box?

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The front of the box has the usual Mortar logo but keeping the industrial/militaristic white aesthetic of the Arsenal Gaming line up.

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The contents of the box are as follows:

  • MSI B360M Mortar Titanium
  • 2x sata cables
  • I/O Shield
  • the usual paperwork
  • screws for the M.2 slots
  • driver CD
  • MSI case badge

Aesthetics

The MSI B360M Mortar Titanium is a black and white themed Micro-ATX form-factor motherboard. It has a white PCB with industrial/militaristic print aesthetics on the PCB itself. The VRM and chipset heatsinks are chunky with the robust military inspired design. This is also one LED lighting zone on the lower left of the motherboard and an RGB header for your lighting needs.

There also the armor support for the DIMM slots and the PCIe x16 slot.

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The MSI B360M Mortar looks impressive the massive heatsinks on the VRMs gives it a lot of character. Overall, we feel like this is going to be a flexible motherboard design for any creative themes a PC enthusiast would like to use especially since the white color will blend easily with any RGB lighting.

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Main motherboard specifications and features

  • Model Name -B360M MORTAR TITANIUM
  • CPU Support – Supports 8th Gen Intel® Core™ / Pentium®Gold /Celeron® processors
  • CPU Socket – LGA 1151
  • Chipset -Intel® B360 Chipset
  • Graphics Interface -2 x PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot, Supports 2-way CrossFire
  • Display Interface – DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI-D – Requires Processor
    Graphics
  • Memory Support -4 DIMMs, Dual Channel DDR4 up to 2666MHz
  • Expansion Slots -2 x PCI-E x1 slots
  • Storage -2 x Turbo M.2 slots, supports Intel® Optane Technology, 4 x SATA 6Gb/s
  • USB ports – 3 x USB 3.1(Gen2, A+C) + 2 x USB 3.1 (Gen1) + 6 x USB 2.0
  • LAN – Intel® I219-V Gigabit LAN
  • Audio -8-Channel(7.1) HD Audio with Audio Boost

Official Product Page

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I/O connectivity

For the back panel connections, we have the following:

  • PS/2 Combo Port
  • DisplayPort
  • LAN Port
  • USB 3.1 Gen2 Type A
  • HD Audio Connectors
  • USB 2.0 Port
  • DVI-D Port
  • HDMI Port
  • USB 2.0 Port
  • USB 3.1 Gen2 Type C
  • Optical S/PDIF OUT

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Internal connectivity

  • Delivering power to the CPU is one 8-pin ATX 12v.
  • Standard 24-pin ATX power connector.
  • four SATA 6Gb/s connectors.

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  • one USB 2.0 connector
  • one USB 3.1 Gen1 connector.
  • one USB 3.1 Gen2 connector.
  • one 4-pin CPU fan connector
  • three 4-pin system fan connector.

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  • It also has one RGB LED strip 12v connector and the RGB lighting can be controlled with MSI’s Mystic light software.
  • Then finally, we have the Clear CMOS jumper.

Those are some of the internal connections that are commonly used but there are others as well that we didn’t list down.

Memory support and expansion slots

  • The motherboard has 4-DIMM slots that supports up to 64GB of DDR4 memory, with frequencies  up to 2666Mhz.
  • There are also a number of PCIe slots:
    • PCIe 3.0 x16,
    • two PCIe 3.0 x1,
    • one PCIe x4 slots
  • This motherboard also has two M.2  SSD slots for additional storage and Intel Optane memory.

    Do take note that SATA 2 port will be unavailable when using the first M.2 slot and the second M.2 slot will unavailable when you install a PCIe device in the PCIe 3.0 x4 slot. This is mainly for the reason the PCI Express Bus are shared between the second M.2 slot that only supports in PCIe mode. You can refer to the diagram below for more information.

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VRM power delivery and cooling

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Underneath the VRM heatsink, we can see that the VRM is in a 4+2 phase configuration for the CPU core voltage and iGPU core voltage. The Richtek RT3607C multi-phase PWM controller is used for the two voltage rails.

The power stages of the CPU Vcore uses the two-high, two-low MOSFET configuration while the iGPU uses the one-high, two-low MOSFET configuration.

This setup seems pretty efficient because they have massive heatsinks to keep them cool, aside from the fact that Intel’s B360 chipset can’t overclock CPUs.

During our CPU stress tests with the provided Intel Core i5-8600k process (stock CPU speeds, default BIOS settings), the VRM heatsinks did a decent cooling sitting around 58ºC-59ºC with our room temp at around 33ºC. This is not bad at all as dangerous temperatures would be anything above 80ºC at stock speeds.

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Top view without the VRM heatsinks

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On-board audio

For audio, the MSI B360M Mortar Titanium uses the Realtek ALC862 that supports 7.1 surround sound playback, as well as both analog and SPDIF input and output. They also used Japanese audio capacitors made by Nippon Chemi-Con, which are specifically designed for audio applications. The PCB layers for both the left and right audio channels are separated for a much cleaner stereo separation creating a better sound stage.

The on board audio uses the Realtek HD Universal driver which doesn’t have much features in  terms of tweaking the audio unlike the Nahimic 2/3 software.

Listening to the sound using our 320kbps playlist using our Kurzweil KS40 Active Studio Monitor speakers, we can say that the sound delivery and the stereo separation are clean enough but the sound quality can further improve with software enhancements.

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UEFI BIOS features

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The UEFI BIOS is pretty straightforward since Intel’s B360 chipset doesn’t support CPU overclocking, but it allows you to control the Intel CPU enhancements. The other important features here are being able to enable the XMP profile easily through the XMP switch, as well as the BIOS M-FLASH, which allows you to flash a new BIOS without any hassle, and finally, the HARDWARE MONITOR that allows you configure your cooling fans with different fan curves or settings.

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Conclusion

The MSI B360M Mortar Titanium is one of the best looking gaming motherboards from the Arsenal Gaming line up if you’re looking for something aesthetically pleasing. The black and white Industrial/Militaristic theme gives it an edgy look and will complement most PC builds, especially those who are going for the white color scheme.

The RGB lighting options is quite limited but that can be easily overlooked if you have additional RGB hardware. The armor slots on the DIMM and PCIe slots are also a nice touch and adds up to the aesthetic.

Performance-wise, this motherboard is not lacking since Intel’s very own CPU enhancements will work out of the box, and setting up the XMP profiles is a breeze with just a click of a button. Though this motherboard can only support up to 2666mhz memory, it will not be a limiting factor because the memory speed does not impact Intel CPUs as much as it would on an AMD Ryzen CPU.

We therefore conclude that with the Intel B360 chipset package, this motherboard does not offer much in terms of features but for those who are more aimed towards PC gaming and aesthetics, this is definitely a good choice.

Pros:

  • Aesthetically pleasing with the military inspired theme
  • Entry level price range
  • Expansion options: RGB, dual M.2 SSDs, USB 3.1, multi-gpu, Intel Optane

Cons:

  • Not enough fan headers
  • No POST code LCD. only LED debug.

 

Ira James
Editor-in-chief | Tech Journalist | AMD Ryzen and AOC Gaming influencer | PC Hardware Enthusiast | Mixed Martial Artist

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