Last Updated on July 16, 2021 by James Smith
Today, we will be reading about two excellent gaming motherboards. They are the ASRock B450M Steel Legend vs MSI B450 Tomahawk Max units. Both the manufacturers come with their own production capabilities.
They specialize in gaming peripherals for the gaming market. Users have spoken very highly about them, so we have taken their budget models for today’s comparison review. Now, ASRock and MSI are not known for their budget or cheap models.
They usually produce top-of-the-line products that are priced above $300 to $400. You can find the higher priced too. That is why we feel that the B450 units from both the makers can change the game for many PC designers who are looking for capable motherboards.
Yes, you do not want to expect too much from them, keeping in mind they are priced under $150. The ASRock B450 Steel Legend is an affordable option for PC builders who are looking for an affordable choice.
They can now work on designing a new Ryzen or Athlon PC. It also comes with exceptional aesthetics for the price range. The unit has the latest connectivity for SSDs and hard drives. Besides, it also has a SATA M.2 slot, an Ultra M.2 (PCIe Gen3x4), 4 SATA 3 ports.
It also comes with 6 total USB 3.1 Gen1 ports and 2 USB 3.1 Gen2 on the rear I/O plate (Type A and C). The Gen1 ports come in 2 internal headers and 4 at the rear I/O plate. The 7.1 audio surround has a Realtek ALC892 chip.
It is much better than the ALC1220, as seen on the top-end products. You will also want to notice that the 3.5mm audio jacks come with the Nichicon Fine Series Gold audio caps. When durability is concerned, it does a decent job with the Steel Slot protection on the PCI-E slot.
The MSI B450 Tomahawk Max gives you a new dimension in gaming. Though this is a budget option, we were stunned by the design and performance. It is an ideal unit for providing adequate support for 3rd Gen Ryzen CPUs.
You need to install your CPU and components in your CPU. You are ready to start. We also found that it is suitable for older generation Ryzen processors. So, if you own or have a previous generation Ryzen processor, don’t hesitate to use the model.
Without further ado, let us read to find out more about the gaming motherboards.
|ASROCK B450M STEEL LEGEND||MSI B450 TOMAHAWK MAX|
|The board has a sublime build quality.|
The motherboard has LEDs and pleasing aesthetics.
It has SATA M.2 and Ultra M.2 sockets.
It comes with exceptional drivers and software.
The product is infused with DisplayPort connectivity for APUs.
|The build quality is outstanding.|
It comes with an exceptional dual-channel audio boost.
This unit is out of the box Ryzen 3000 ready.
It has a magnificent speed for overclocking.
The product is an ideal budget gaming motherboard.
|Sadly, the overclocking is lower than the cheaper ASRock B350M Pro4.||Users may not be able to access the M.2 sockets easily.|
ASRock B450M Steel Legend vs MSI B450 Tomahawk Max: Features & Layout
The features & layout of the ASRock B450M Steel Legend gaming motherboard are genuinely exceptional. There is not much to say about the colors infused with it, but the unit comes in white, black, and grey patterns.
It appears durable due to the stainless steel material used to produce it. Users can find them on the heat sinks and the LED software. Additionally, there is also the LED lighting present on the board found in and around the heatsink.
The LEDs are quite addressable, enabling you to set up efficiently. Our tester liked the fact that you could adjust it according to your preference as there are 3 headers. They include 1 AMD Fan LED Header, 1 addressable RGB, and 1 RGB header.
You can also find the 2oz copper inner layers that come with elegant 60A chokes. They immensely help in the VCORE stability. You may note that the LAN port, USB, audio come infused with what is called as the ASRock Full Spike Protection.
The Gigabit Ethernet utilized in the board is fantastic embedded with Realtek RTL8111H. However, display outputs come with HDMI and DisplayPort. Our tester felt that the texture infused in the motherboard is truly sublime.
The materials used in packaging were also fantastically done. We were quite surprised at that. It looks like manufacturers have taken steps in the right direction. Barring Asus and Gigabyte, we were not convinced with the packaging quality of the gaming motherboards.
Today, we may have to look the other way because they are top-notch. If you order the package from a reliable supplier, you will receive the product with a zip-tie. On the other hand, the MSI B450 Tomahawk Max gaming motherboard comes with stupendous features & layout as well.
Our tester was stunned by the elements infused in the motherboard. It can easily blend in for a top-end model line like the x470 and x570 units. If you are a gamer, you would love the overclocking of the 4+2 phase VRM that comes with it.
The model has 4 fan headers and 1 pump header. Additionally, it also comes with a regular CPU fan connector. There is RGB lighting found on the board and 2 additional RGB headers. They also have LED strips for outstanding show-off for the gamer in you.
As far as the connectivity is concerned, you can find an abundance of USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports for the peripherals. You also have 6 SATA 3.0 and 1 M.2 ports that immensely use all the servers placed in there with multiple RAID attachments.
Users would like to use the audio and Gigabit Ethernet as they sublime in performance. All in all, both gaming motherboards came with outstanding features & layouts for the price point. We were pretty impressed with the packaging and the colors used in both units.
They brought out the components from the models really well.
ASRock B450M Steel Legend vs MSI B450 Tomahawk Max: Software and Firmware
The software and the firmware on the ASRock B450M Steel Legend were not exceptional or came with massive firepower. For the price point, it worked well and got the job done. That is what you would want it to do.
When you do not want to pay for components, they won’t appear by magic on the product. However, we were pretty pleased to know that you can download standard A-tuning, UEFI apps, and PolyChrome LED from the ASRock shop, free of cost.
This was a wonderful gesture from them. You can now effortlessly control the fan curve, set the overclock, control LEDs, monitor thermals and voltages. Additionally, you can also reboot the UEFI BIOS seamlessly.
MSI is no stranger to software and firmware specifications. That is the benefit of having years of experience in the gaming market. These gaming laptops are quite a in demand as of now, and we can say the same about the gaming models.
The MSI B450 Tomahawk Max gaming motherboard is popular for spoiling its consumers with unique software for gaming. The maker has its own set of software and applications. Their Command Center provides you with access to overclock the system without the BIOS.
How cool is that? Additionally, you can also make use of the skin CPU-Z monitoring application, the MSI Live Update 6 software and Mystic Light RGB software. You also have the CPU frequency option letting you to click and drag the slider to the core clock speed.
You can do the same with the memory and CPU. It also comes with a hardware monitor similar to the BIOS. There is a fan profile selection tool. The latest version of the MSI Click BIOS 5 UEFI cannot customize the RGB lights.
You can choose close to 8 lighting effects. Sadly, our tester noticed that they do not come with the capability to set the LED areas in various tones. Each of them syncs automatically, and you may want to design a funky rainbow-themed light.
We were surprised to see that the unit comes with Click BIOS 5 firmware. You can find that firmware is separated into 2 areas. The easy and advanced mode. When you use it for the initial time, you enter the BIOS and the initial entry screen.
On the advanced mode, you can find basic information on the components inside it. They include storage, the CPU, and memory devices. Likewise, the Game Boost switch indicates that you can need to use the model of the processor you are installing with it.
For Ryzen 7 1800, there is a Game Boost of 3.6 GHz. All in all, we were quite happy with the software & firmware components provided in both the gaming motherboards. They make getting them time-worthy.
ASRock B450M Steel Legend vs MSI B450 Tomahawk Max: Overclocking
The overclocking on the ASRock B450M Steel Legend gaming motherboard was slightly disappointing. Though it is capable of doing great things, we are quite surprised with the pace at which things went with it.
During the Thermaltake Floe 360mm water cooling test, it should have been able to capitalize on the 4.2GHz of the Ryzen 5 2600 CPU. As you know, we usually test gaming motherboards using the Ryzen 5 CPUs as they are good bets.
Likewise, we used the Ryzen 5 2600 CPU here, and it was supposed to hit the sweet spot of 4.2 all-core overclock. Most of the other gaming boards were slightly costlier than they were able to do so.
However, in the case of the B450M Steel Legend, that was not to be. It was able just to hit the 4.1GHz. Though it was not way off the figure, our tester was not very convinced about the results from the motherboard.
On that note, please be informed that it comes with impressive specifications that can get the job done quickly. This mark is definitely not a black spot on the unit. We were just informing you about the results conducted on it.
We can say that MSI has provided consumers a magnificent motherboard over the years. They have diligently updated their components and power capabilities. You will be amazed to know that the MSI B450 Tomahawk Max unit can offer you knightly overclocking.
Our tester worked on it with the Ryzen 7 series chipset using The MSI Click BIOS 5 firmware. You can find the critical options for overclocking the processor in the OC section. A notable feature in this unit is power saving.
When you change the from auto, the Cool’n’Quiet power-saving feature is disabled. You may want to keep an eye on that feature. Our tester felt that if the users stay under 1.4 V for the core frequency, they can use the ideal power and temperature.
ASRock B450M Steel Legend vs MSI B450 Tomahawk Max: Price
The ASRock B450M Steel Legend gaming motherboard is priced under $110. Our tester thought that this price is adequate for a unit like the Steel Legend from ASRock. It comes with an excellent aesthetic and is affordable for PC designers without having to make compromises.
The unit is suitable for the budget AMD 2200G and 2400G processors infused using Vega graphics and the DisplayPort. This itself is quite beneficial for most users. It comes with all the specifications that can be expected from a model of its caliber.
The MSI B450 Tomahawk Max gaming motherboard is priced under $150. Our tester was convinced about its capabilities. The unit comes with stunning features & layout; besides, the overclocking was remarkable for the price range.
ASRock B450M Steel Legend vs MSI B450 Tomahawk Max: Verdict
We have ended our discussion on ASRock B450M Steel Legend vs MSI B450 Tomahawk Max gaming motherboards. Hope you found it helpful and were able to make your decision. If you haven’t yet, then no worries because we have given you the winner at the end.
The ASRock B450M Steel Legend is a decent motherboard. We found the negative reviews written by consumers were quite overhyped. While the performance and the overclocking were not up to the mark, our testing results on the PC came out well.
Please do note this is an under $150 budget unit and having too many expectations is not fair. We need to be practical and logical with it. We recommend that you design your new PC using the Ryzen processor for little performance improvements.
For what it is and the pricing, the manufacturer has pitched in it well. Likewise, the MSI B450 Tomahawk Max did a decent job. Though priced slightly higher than the B450M Steel Legend, it came with better performance and the overclocking was exceptional for the quote.
It supports the Ryzen 3000 series seamlessly right out the box. That was a huge shot in the arm. Besides, the unit has a 32MB BIOS chip that offers you a magnificent graphical interface compared to the other models when operating on the Ryzen 3000 series.
The only flaw was that it came with 2 RGB headers, 4 fan headers, 6 SATA ports, but only 1 M.2 slot. It’s cooling and VRM were outstanding. The unit offers you an excellent value proposition coming in under $150.
Our winner in the comparison review is the MSI B450 Tomahawk Max gaming motherboard.
James Smith has always been intrigued by electronic products since his childhood. After his post graduation in electronics from a popular university, he decided to pursue a career in the electronics sector. But his calling for writing about these marvellous pieces of work got the better of him. That is how UBG was started. With a writing career spanning more than 12 years, James has worked on several hundred product reviews. During his free time, he like to spend time with his pet dog and relax in the swimming pool.