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With the dawn of the latest in-the-middle chipsets—AMD’s B550 and Intel’s H470 and B460—midrange desktop motherboards just keep getting better. That arguably goes without saying, but in this generation we’re seeing more pronounced improvements. Case in point: MSI’s MAG B550 Tomahawk ($179.99), which might be mistaken at a glance for a premium ATX pick. And the similarities go deeper than just appearances—with PCI Express 4.0 support, a 2.5Gbps NIC, and two 10Gbps USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports on the back panel, this board has a modern feature set that’s comparable to what we have seen on many AMD X570 and Intel Z490 motherboards. This makes the Tomahawk a hard option to pass up in the midrange market, and our latest winner among mainstream Ryzen desktop boards.
The MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk is a solid value at $179.99. It’s not quite as feature-rich as a deluxe motherboard, and it wasn’t able to handle my Corsair Vengeance LPX RAM kit at its full speed, but this is a midrange board, not a high-end one.
It’s not likely that the board will need to operate with RAM clocked that high, and while it may not have all the latest bells and whistles, it has enough of them not to feel lacking. Its 2.5Gbps LAN connection is excellent for a midrange board, as are the two high-speed USB ports. This board nails the B550 balance and delivers exactly what a midrange platform should. It’s a fine complement to the value monster that is the late-model Ryzen CPU family.