Last Updated on May 18, 2021 by James Smith
MSI is a popular brand among many professional gamers. There is no surprise when you notice that several gamers globally prefer their boards for designing PCs. Besides that, MSI is also known for producing outstanding peripherals in the market.
Today, we will be reviewing two of their most popular products, the MSI B450 Tomahawk Max vs MSI B450 Tomahawk Max 2. The Max is the predecessor of the Max II. So, what does the new motherboard have in it for us?
What was the need for the manufacturer to bring out the new version of the Max board? This is the first question that came to mind before we have even begun our review. Well, you will be amazed to know that the Max 2 is the third revised version of the original B450 unit.
The first B450 Tomahawk Max was released in the market in 2018 with the 2nd generation Ryzen CPUs. They are also known as the Ryzen 2000 series and come manufactured based on the Zen+ microarchitecture.
The 2 suggests that it is the second version released in the market. That is not the case because it is the successor of the B450 Tomahawk Max. The Max succeeded the first B450 Tomahawk. Since we have cleared it for you, let us read about them briefly before delving into them.
The first thing we noticed about the Max motherboard was that it comes as the most recommended board in the gaming PC market. Reviewers have spoken highly about it, and so did the consumers.
It is a capable motherboard that is also priced right at $150 for its features. The MSI B450 Tomahawk Max supports 64GB dual-channel DDR4, has several ports on the board, and effortlessly supports Windows 7.
The unit comes with outstanding support for the Ryzen 3rd generation processor. Our tester also liked the excellent VRMs present on the heat sinks. They worked really well and ensured that it stayed excellent for long periods of time.
We were able to operate 3200 MHz RAM with XMP present on the board. Besides, the 3 MB BIOS chipset also has stable ABBA BIOS available. You will be glad to know that it comes with several ports on the rear of the board.
The MSI B450 Tomahawk Max 2, on the other hand, supports the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd generation AMD Ryzen processors. Its heatsink design was second to none. As you read in the software & firmware section, you will be blown with the powers.
It comes with an extended PWM heatsink, and the circuit design is enhanced. The Max 2 processors are able to operate at exceptional speed. We were also stunned by the immersive experience when gaming.
It also comes with a decent layout and digital power design. All summed up, the Max 2 comes with an ideal combination of power and exceptional features added to it. Finally, the unit’s price is less than that of the Max.
Let us try to understand more about these two models sold in the market. In the end, we have also mentioned the winner based on the review.
|MSI B450 Tomahawk Max||MSI B450 Tomahawk Max 2|
|The product comes with 6 fan headers.|
It has powerful VRMs for an excellent cooling effect.
It comes with several ports for easy transfer of data.
The board supports Windows 7 operating system.
The unit has an affordable price point.
|It comes with Ryzen 3000 support.|
The BIOS is easy to use on this unit.
The mystic light is beautiful and pleasant to look at.
It offers you good value for money.
The instruction manual was easy to follow.
|Sadly, it does not come with a secondary M.2.||Few users complained that the mounting screws were not given in the package.|
FEATURES & LAYOUT
The MSI B450 Tomahawk Max comes with great features infused in it. You do not get to see most of the unwanted bells and whistles. For example, the Wi-Fi and RGB lighting, which are notably present on Asus models, are clearly lagging here.
This is a no-nonsense motherboard, just like most of us like our gaming. We want the stuff without those unwanted lighting. The sober design and appearance got us in. It comes in fantastic grey color.
You do not have to be a fan of the color grey. But our tester adored the color as it gelled well with the processor. The maker has set the standards of design and layout exceptionally well. They have provided you with a branded aluminum and not more of the paper sticker you get to see in many products.
Overall, the Max has exceeded our expectations in the features & layout. The MSI B450 Tomahawk Max 2 is another excellent board based on the Max design. So, we really cannot say much about it.
The Mystic Light features on the MSI B450 Tomahawk Max 2 are quite exciting to look at. It comes with a zillion features in it. Let us take a look at them. You can notice the color cycle and flashing color cycle on it.
Users get to choose the flashing color, double flashing, and breathing colors. We went with the white. There is no animation, which did not matter to us. The temperature on the CPU is visible, and so it the audio features.
We did not find too many drawbacks in either of the MSI B450 models. However, you may want to keep few things in mind if you have made up your mind on the MSI B450 Tomahawk Max 2. The unit does not come with mounting screws.
This does not have to be a flaw as such. But you might not want to get surprised when you open the package. So, you may want to be prepared with the screws. Apart from that, this is a stunning model to use for designing your very own PC.
SOFTWARE AND FIRMWARE
The software and firmware on the MSI B450 Tomahawk Max and the Max 2 are almost on par with each other. We tried the board on a smaller NZXT H440 case as a trial. We did the same with the Asus motherboard, but it was tedious.
However, the Max just glided in with ease. One of the hallmarks of a good board is that they fit inside any case or work flexibly on motherboards. Since the MSI motherboard comes with the backplate, you can find ample space between the memory slot and the CPU.
You do not have to be concerned when the RAM does not fit at times—coming to the board’s firmware. The fan headers are almost on par with the Asus motherboards that relatively expensive than the MSI Max models.
On the Max, you can find 4 chassis fan headers. That is not a problem because you can easily remove the fan splitter. When you want to save space, all you need to do is remove the headers fitted on there.
Among the 6x ports found on the model, we did not feel the use of the USB-C. All in all, our tester was happily working on the Max board. The installation was a breeze, the setup did not cause any issues, and the design was sublime.
MSI has done a credible task in designing this motherboard. On the other hand, the MSI B450 Tomahawk Max 2 is another exceptional device with excellent features. The software and firmware present on it is truly fantastic.
It comes with an RGB light strip that is controlled by the mystic light software. However, we noticed that it could not control the RGB using the RTX graphics cards. You will need to make use of other software to sync it.
Users who want to upgrade to the Ryzen 4 or 5 can do without any changes. We felt that this was a major benefit of the Max 2 board. You can also make use of the robust VRMs, which help in overclocking the PC.
Notably, you can install any generation of Ryzen you want on this AM4 socket-based motherboard. The user-friendly nature of the MSI BIOS completely took us by surprise. You can find this kind of flexibility only on the Asus or Gigabyte models priced around the $200 range.
The MSI B450 Tomahawk Max motherboard works sublimely on most of the AMD’s other AM4 chipsets. When you want to push your components when designing your PC, then you would require this kind of firepower.
When you look at the board specifications, they come with different power delivery and packaging. The Max and the latest model come with an exceptional capability. MSI has clearly worked on the overclocking abilities of their motherboards.
We tried using it on the Ryzen 7 1700, and the Max worked quite well. The overclock speed of the Max processor was good. Gamers who want to use the game boost pre-defined feature can do so with ease.
The chipset was able to overclock to 3.2 GHz, coming with a CPU core voltage of 1.2 V. These were good figures. You will be delighted to know that the maximum CPU the Max supports is 1.55 V.
Likewise, using the MSI B450 Tomahawk Max 2 on the Ryzen 7 1700 processor did not give us much difference in the overclock speed. The variables on the boards came slightly different using the 1.2 V CPU VCore.
We found that the Max 2 board was able to handle everything that we threw at it with ease. The power delivery heatsinks work much better than the earlier AM4 motherboards. That is thanks to the fact that it comes well equipped.
All in all, the Max 2 came with exceptional software and firmware that was easy to install and simple to operate. We also found the establishing of the PC seamless because of the placement of the ports.
The cooling technology and the durable board make it stunning to work with. You could even set your BIOS to your requirement. We set the RAM to 3000Mhz. Few users complained that the music quality was not up to the mark.
We did not think the same as it was quite audible. The mids, highs, and lows could be clearly heard, and the music quality is good. When you are specific about your audio performance, then we suggest you opt for a dedicated sound card.
When comparing the prices of two models of the same brand, we often get into a huge dilemma about the purchase. This can lead to unwanted confusion. It happens. The MSI B450 Tomahawk Max is priced less than $150.
We felt that it is not priced too high but comes accurate for the features embedded into it. Likewise, the MSI B450 Tomahawk Max 2 is priced under $130. That means it is priced $20 lesser than the Max.
Can that make a difference for you? Yes, it is cheaper by $20, but overall, we are quite satisfied with the Max 2 too. It comes with stunning features and specifications. Besides, the overclocking was exceptional for the price tag.
This is it we have ended our comparison review on MSI B450 Tomahawk Max vs MSI B450 Tomahawk Max 2. Both the boards come with remarkable features and specifications embedded in them.
We did not find too many drawbacks in either of the MSI B450 models. We were delighted to read the feedback and reviews on both models. The MSI B450 Tomahawk Max is one of the best in the market in the price range. It comes with a powerful B450 chipset.
Besides, we found the BIOS to be quite robust, and it came with all the necessary connectors. Not to mention, there are high-quality capacitors. The cooling system embedded in it was exceptionally enabling you to work adequately.
You find the overclocking outstanding too, and it is suitable for gamers, programmers, and a wide range of users. However, we felt that it got dismantled pretty fast. Besides that, there is nothing else negative to say about this model.
The Max 2 is a sublime motherboard, too, and comes with stunning specifications. The board has magnificent Ryzen 3000 support, the BIOS is easy to use, and it is elegant to look at. However, you may want to keep few things in mind if you plan to buy the MSI B450 Tomahawk Max 2.
The unit does not come with mounting screws. These small things could have been taken care of. However, the motherboard comes with exceptional features to design a new PC. Our winner would be the MSI B450 Tomahawk Max 2.
It was a tough one to decide as both motherboards came with exceptional features.
At the end of the day, it is going to be your decision.
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.