Simultaneously with the expansion of the line of desktop Core 13th generation processors, the Intel company offered updated chipsets for the LGA1700 platform. Intel B760 replaces the popular Intel B660. Although there are not many fundamental differences from the predecessor this time, motherboard manufacturers are willing to offer their versions of devices on updated PCHs. As it usually happens, the features of the models are revealed in detail. Therefore, we will consider the possibilities of boards on the new chipset using the example of MSI MAG B760 TOMAHAWK WIFI. The TOMAHAWK series of models has a long and quite successful history. Devices of the line usually managed to “break” their way into the hearts and wallets of rational users, who are eager to get a balanced board at a reasonable price. Will a similar tactic work this time?
|Model||MSI MAG B760 TOMAHAWK WIFI|
|Processors||12/13 generation Intel Core, Pentium Gold, Celeron|
|Form factor||ATX, 305×244 mm|
|Memory||4×DIMM DDR5, up to DDR5-7000+; 192 GB max|
|Expansion slots||1×PCI-E 5.0 x16; 1×PCI-E 4.0 x16 (x4); 1×PCI-E 4.0 x1|
|Drives||2×M.2 PCI-E 4.0 x4; 1×M.2 PCI-E/SATA; 4×SATA 6 GB/s|
|Network||1×2,5 GbE LAN (Realtek RTL8125); 1×Wi-Fi 6E (Intel AX211, 802.11ax, Bluetooth 5.3)|
|Interface panel elements||4×USB 2.0; 4xUSB 3.2 Gen2; 1×USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 (Type-C); HDMI 2.1; DisplayPort 1.4; 2x antenna; 5x audio; S/PDIF; Wi-Fi antenna|
|Fans||7×4 pins (PWM/DC)|
|Estimated price||UAH 9,300 (~$240)|
In the box
The board comes in a fairly compact cardboard box, decorated in dark colors with a large name in the central area.
The device also comes with a short paper manual, one SATA cable with an angled connector, a set of stickers, booster antennas for the wireless module, and a retainer for mounting M.2 drives.
Design and layout
MSI MAG B760 TOMAHAWK WIFI has a full-format design of the ATX standard with classic dimensions for this form factor – 305×244 mm. The model is designed in dark colors – the printed circuit board is black, and the elements of the cooling system and interface/power connectors are the same color.
The board is based on the Intel B760 chipset and allows the use of any chips from the 12th and 13th generation Intel Core lines. The use of new PCH and BIOS firmware is a guarantee that the board will initially work with the Raptor Lake family of processors without the need for a previous microcode update. Judging by Intel’s previous plans, within the framework of the LGA1700 platform, the manufacturer will also offer the updated Raptor Lake Refresh, which will also work without problems on current motherboard models.
MSI MAG B760 TOMAHAWK WIFI received a rather powerful processor power stabilization subsystem. The board uses a 14-phase (12+1+1) circuit based on Renesas RAA220075R0 assemblies with an operating current of up to 75A. Renesas RAA229132 controller is used to manage VRM parameters.
Even though boards on Intel B760 do not allow overclocking the CPU with an unlocked multiplier, the top processors of the Core 12th and especially the 13th generations even in normal mode do not load the power stabilization subsystem, so the VRM module must have a certain margin of “strength”.
As you can see in the photo, the board has fairly large coolers for the power assemblies. This especially applies to the radiator covering the elements on the side of the interface panel. The idea of the MSI developers with a cooling jacket has proven itself many times in practice, so the engineers do not give up on such a solution. Radically increased heat dissipation area allows it to be removed from the MOSFET faster, reducing the temperature of the elements themselves.
Two 8-pin connectors are provided for connecting additional power.
The board has four slots for RAM modules of the DDR5 standard. We remind you that Core 12/13 generation chips have a controller that allows working with both DDR4 and DDR5, and the type of RAM that will be used for the platform depends on the motherboard. DDR4 models are usually a bit cheaper and also allow you to use more affordable memory modules. Versions of boards with DDR5 are usually better equipped and therefore cost more, along the way allowing the use of faster RAM kits.
In the case of MSI MAG B760 TOMAHAWK WIFI, the manufacturer claims support for modules up to DDR5-7000+ in overclocking mode. However, this applies to cases of using two peer modules in the system. The ability to use higher-speed modules is a feature of the models on the new PCH. For example, for the predecessor – B660 TOMAHAWK WIFI, support for modules up to DDR5-6200+ is officially indicated.
The DDR5 standard allowed memory manufacturers to increase the capacity of individual modules up to 48 GB. In this case, the four corresponding modules give a total of 192 GB. This is one and a half times more than what could be obtained with 32-gigabyte modules (128 GB). Of course, this capacity was sufficient for most cases, but now within the framework of desktop platforms, there are opportunities for those who need such volumes for specific tasks. To work with 48 GB modules, their support in the BIOS is required, for MSI MAG B760 TOMAHAWK WIFI this possibility is already implemented.
Despite the full-format execution, the board offers three slots for additional expansion cards – a pair of PCI-E x16 and one PCI-E x1. While composing the available connectors, the developers took into account the feature of modern powerful graphics cards with large cooling systems. So additional slots will remain available even with a three-slot graphics adapter.
The main PCI-E x16 slot supports the PCI Express 5.0 specification, which can be considered an update for the future. But what will come in handy right now is the additional reinforcement of the connector itself. Additional metal armor, in the interpretation of the manufacturer – Steel Armor, increases the strength of the connector, allowing it to withstand massive video cards.
The weight of powerful models of graphic adapters may well exceed 2 kg. Usually, in such cases, they are equipped with additional supports, but a reinforced slot will not hurt either.
Returning to the capabilities of the existing expansion slots, we note that the second full-size connector is served by the chipset and works in PCI-E x4 4.0 mode. The compact PCI-E x1 is also usually kept on the Intel B760 balance and complies with the PCI-E 4.0 specification.
MSI MAG B760 TOMAHAWK WIFI offers three M.2 connectors for connecting drives of the appropriate format. The first M2_1 uses PCI-E 4.0 processor lanes. The 12th/13th generation Intel Core chips have 16 PCI-E 5.0 lanes, which by default are only offered for the PCI-E x16 slot. Yes, some boards implement the possibility of splitting these links (x8+x4+x4), but usually, only top models offer such functionality on LGA1700.
In the basic version, communication with the drive is provided via PCI-E x4 4.0. This is the scheme implemented on the MSI MAG B760 TOMAHAWK WIFI.
Note that the landing platform M2_1 allows the use of drives up to 110 mm long.
The M2_2 and M2_3 connectors are served by the Intel B760 chipset. Both are ready to work with 2280 form factor SSD and PCI-E x4 4.0 connectivity. The increase in PCI Express 4.0 chipset lanes allows simultaneous use of all drives in the maximum speed mode. The M2_3 connector also allows you to connect M.2 drives with a SATA interface. Yes, similar models can still be found on sale, but buying one makes sense only in cases where another interface is out of reach. However, the board will allow you to connect a similar SSD to the system, which, for example, remained after upgrading the drive in a 5-7-year-old laptop.
Among the pleasant features, it should be noted the presence of additional coolers with thermal pads for all M.2 storage devices. Another useful option is the EZ M.2 Slip fasteners for fixing the SSD without the help of screws. However, a screwdriver will still be needed to fix the radiators.
For owners of SATA drives, the board offers four matching ports near the right side of the PCB. Note that one of the channels will be unavailable if an M.2 storage device with a SATA interface is connected via the M2_3 port.
Next to the SATA ports, you can see a medium-sized radiator that cools the Intel B760 chipset microcircuit directly. The estimated power consumption of PCH is 6 W, so a cooler of similar dimensions should be enough to maintain the operating temperature regime without additional blowing.
As for the general capabilities of the board for organizing cooling, MSI MAG B760 TOMAHAWK WIFI offers seven channels at once. A corresponding number of 4-pin connectors are located on the PCB. All connectors support control via voltage change or modulation (DC/PWM).
All channels nominally intended for connecting fans have increased power with a maximum current of up to 2A, while the connector for connecting the pump of the liquid cooling system is designed for 3A (power up to 36 W).
Among the board’s additional options, you can note the presence of the EZ Debug LED self-diagnosis mechanism with a set of signal indicators for displaying problem nodes at system startup.
Additional controls are not provided, because the board is initially not positioned as an enthusiast model for obvious reasons, and therefore the probability of working on an open stand here is almost zero.
Among the features of the layout, we highlight the location of the contacts for cleaning the CMOS memory near the bottom edge of the board, so you can get to the connector even when using an oversized graphics card.
For MSI MAG B760 TOMAHAWK WIFI, the technology of autonomous flashing of BIOS from a USB drive is not provided. It can be useful in cases where the appearance of next-generation chips within the framework of the platform is likely, with which the board may not initially work. However, this is no longer relevant for LGA1700. As we noted, Intel B760 boards are guaranteed to initially support Core 13xxx chip models, and the future Raptor Lake update promises only a certain increase in operating frequencies without architectural changes.
For connection to a wired network, the card is equipped with a Realtek RTL8125BG controller with a maximum bandwidth of up to 2.5 Gb/s. It was quite difficult to imagine that this controller on the Intel platform would be seen as a certain advantage. But taking into account the fact that with chips directly from Intel itself (i226-V) there are possible problems with the occurrence of connection continuity, which the developers have not yet been able to solve by software, then the alternative here turns out to be a desirable option.
The presence of the abbreviation “WiFi” in the name of the model indicates that the board has a controller for working with wireless networks. In this case, the Intel AX211 (AX211NGW) module is used, which provides support for WiFi 6E (802.11a//b/g/n/ac/ax) in the 2.4/5/6 GHz bands, as well as Bluetooth 5.3.
Frankly, it was somewhat unusual to see the use of the Realtek ALC897 codec to build the sound subsystem. Usually, boards of this level use the newer ALC1220 or its USB version – ALC4080. However, when it comes to integrated solutions, the final result mostly depends on the overall implementation of the node, and not directly on the codec. In the version under review, the approach is standard – isolation of the audio zone, separation of channels on different PCB layers, and specialized Nippon capacitors in the circuit.
The sound is bright and rich: compared to a high-quality DAC, the high frequencies seem sharper, and there is some excess of low frequencies and a somewhat booming bass in some compositions – but in general, such a sound will satisfy the vast majority of users who are not chasing the highest quality sound.
It seems that we are on the verge of another breakdown of ideas and beliefs about the belonging of devices to the game series. The presence of additional lighting becomes almost mauveton. Yet another motherboard that comes to us for review is not equipped with RGB illumination. Where is this world going…
Of course, the developers could not disappoint supporters of bright illumination, so MSI MAG B760 TOMAHAWK WIFI has two connectors for connecting RGB strips with 5050 elements (12 V) and a couple more connectors for addressable ARGB strips of the 2nd generation (up to 250 elements).
The illumination of all system devices can be configured and optionally synchronized in the Mystic Light section of the proprietary MSI Center utility.
The interface panel of the board is initially covered with a corresponding plug, as expected for a model of this level. The composition of connectors is quite diverse. There are four USB 2.0 ports (480 Mb/s) and the same amount of USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gb/s). For a single USB Type-C, the USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 standard interface with a bandwidth of up to 20 Gb/s is implemented – the desired connector for high-speed external SSDs.
DisplayPort 1.4 and HDMI 2.1 are provided for connecting screens. Of course, the image can be obtained only when using chips with activated integrated graphics.
The panel also has an Ethernet socket and two connectors for the amplifying antennas of the wireless module. Five 3.5 mm connectors are provided for connecting speakers, as well as optical S/PDIF.
A certain number of surface mounting elements are visible on the reverse side. The insulating track of the sound section is also clearly visible from this side. We note the screw fastening of elements of the cooling system.
BIOS and software settings
For basic system setup, the manufacturer offers the already well-known Click BIOS 5 shell with a fairly convenient location of parameters.
Key options are already available in EZ Mode, where you can prioritize boot drives, activate the XMP RAM profile, and adjust the cooling system.
More detailed settings are available in Advanced mode. The number of available options and parameters, although somewhat inferior to the sets of enthusiast models, but the difference is not so significant. Taking into account the fact that Intel B760 boards do not allow overclocking of chips with unlocked multipliers, practical experiments are usually reduced to adjusting power limits and setting up optimal parameters for working with RAM. For such tasks, the capabilities of the MSI MAG B760 TOMAHAWK WIFI are quite sufficient.
For settings already after installing the operating system, the manufacturer offers the MSI Center modular software complex.
Test bench configuration
Motherboard: MSI MAG B760 TOMAHAWK WIFI (Intel B760, LGA1700)
Processor: Intel Core i5-13400 (6/12+4; 2.5/4.6 GHz, 1.8/3.3 GHz; 20 MB L3)
Cooling: MSI MEG CORELIQUID S360
Memory: Kingston FURY DDR5-6000 32 GB (KF560C36BBEAK2-32 2×16 GB)
Graphics card: MSI GeForce RTX 4080 16GB SUPRIM X
Storage: Samsung 980 Pro 1 TB
For practical experiments, we used a Core i5-13400 processor. This is not the most powerful chip that will allow you to test the limits of the board, however, such a combination is as close as possible to realistic configurations.
The combination of an Intel B760 motherboard with a Core i5-13400/13400F processor is currently one of the optimal connections for mid-range gaming systems. Therefore, during the review of MSI MAG B760 TOMAHAWK WIFI, we’ll start a small “combat testing” in conditions close to real ones.
To begin with, a few words directly about the Core i5-13400, which first got into our hands. This is the younger model of the new Core i5 line, which nominally belongs to the Raptor Lake family, but in fact, is architecturally identical to the chips of the previous generation – Alder Lake. However, certain improvements allowed Intel to attribute this model to the 13th-generation Core. Unlike its predecessor – Core i5-12400, the new chip, in addition to the basic six productive cores (P-Cores), also received four additional energy-efficient cores (E-Cores). So the functional combination of Core i5-13400 took the form of 6/12 + 4.
Six performance cores with Hyper-Threading support work at 2.5/4.6 GHz, while four additional cores have a frequency formula of 1.8/3.3 GHz. In addition, the new CPU received 20 MB of L3 cache memory, instead of 18 MB in its predecessor. The younger Core i5-13400 model has become functionally identical to the top version of the previous generation – Core i5-12600K, only without an unlocked multiplier.
In general, this is quite a noticeable acceleration for this category of processors. Therefore, even though the initial chips of the new Core i5 line did not get the architectural improvements of Raptor Lake, their performance will increase compared to that of the previous generation models, especially in multi-threaded mode. This is already confirmed during the CPU-Z express test, where the Core i5-13400 scores 719/6468 points, while the Core i5-12400 scores 700/5000 points.
Here are some additional Core i5-13400 test results. We do not have the indicators of the predecessor for a visual comparison, but numerous reviews demonstrate the advantage of the new model in multi-threaded tasks at the level of 30%. In single-threaded systems, the advantage is relatively small and is provided only due to a slightly higher clock frequency of the productive cores.
For “dessertЄ, we left the popular stage with Cinebench R23 rendering, which has a wide comparative base. In this test, the Core i5-13400 scored 1,746 points in single-threaded mode and 15,147 points in multi-threaded mode. The predecessor at the same stage offers approximately 1700/11800 points. So here we also have a difference of ~28%.
We singled out Cinebench R23 for a reason. It was this stage that was used to evaluate the parameters of the system under load. The HWinfo64 screen gives enough information to evaluate the key parameters. First, we note that during the maximum load, all performance cores of the processor worked at 4100 MHz, while the efficient cores worked at 3.3 GHz. As you can see, the peak value for P-Core is 4600 MHz. The CPU supply voltage is 1.056V with a maximum of 1.123V.
By using the MSI MEG CORELIQUID S360 liquid cooling system, we removed the energy restrictions to get the maximum performance results. However, even in this mode, the processor warmed up to 56C. We note a spike in the chip’s power consumption at the level of 96 W, while the average value during the test is 87 W.
Well, the Core i5-13400 is quite an economical chip, so it is not even surprising that under load the VRM power elements of the MSI MAG B760 TOMAHAWK WIFI motherboard warmed up to only 44C. The temperature of the chipset microcircuit within working limits is 56C.
The possibilities to experiment with RAM modules are endless to at least partially quench the overclocker’s thirst. Of course, if it is there at all. In the test bench, the MSI MAG B760 TOMAHAWK WIFI board used a dual-channel Kingston FURY Beast RGB DDR5-6000 kit (KF560C36BBEAK2-32) with a base delay formula of 36-38-38-80 and a supply voltage of 1.35 V.
According to JEDEC standards, the initial mode for this kit corresponded to DDR5-4800 (40-39-39-77). The set has two XMP profiles – the main DDR5-6000 (36-38-38-80, 1.35 V), as well as an additional DDR5-5600 with the same timing formula, but a lower supply voltage – 1.25 V. By the way the kit also has EXPO profiles with identical settings for the AMD platform. On Socket AM5, you could be satisfied with DDR5-6000 mode, this is the optimal value for the operation of the memory controller. Better results could be achieved only by experimenting with timings.
In the case of the Intel platform, additional overclocking of the modules will not hurt and will bring benefits. Simplifying our task, we decided to achieve the maximum operating frequency, leaving the original timing formula – 36-38-38-80. To do this, we previously increased the supply voltage of the modules to 1.4 V and also raised the signal voltage on the memory bus (DRAM VDDQ Voltage) from 1.35 V to 1.4 V.
In such conditions, it was possible to achieve stable DDR5-6400 mode and almost stable DDR5-6600. In the latter case, the system underwent synthetic tests, and periodic crashes occurred during game battles. However, we have included this mode for information and practical clarity. Let’s take a look at the changes in memory bandwidth and latency when using DDR5-4800, DDR5-6000, DDR5-6400, and DDR5-6600 modes.
With each subsequent stage, the memory transfers change significantly. From 65-70 GB/s at DDR5-4800 to 88-97 GB/s at DDR5-6600. The difference in ROM is 30–38%. The total delay has also decreased significantly – from 89 to 67 ns.
To evaluate the practical benefits of such changes on a platform of this class, we used the stage of the 3DMark Time Spy test suite. As you can see, the total increase was only 4%. At the same time, the CPU Score increased by 7.2%.
In order to translate the obtained indicators into a practical plane, we measured the performance in several game projects. The test platform used an MSI GeForce RTX 4080 16GB SUPRIM X graphics card, which made it possible to reduce the influence of the graphics adapter on the indicators. In addition, modes with a resolution of 1920×1080 and medium image quality were set for games. We will also remind you that DDR5-6400 was the limit mode in games.
According to benchmark results, switching from DDR5-4800 to DDR5-6400 in projects such as Forza Horizon 5, Dirt 5 and Chornobylite brings an additional 3-7% performance, both in average and minimum fps values. At the same time, Shadow of the Tomb Raider received a performance increase of 12-13% after the acceleration of the memory subsystem. So obviously the actual difference will depend on the specific game. In addition, please note that the results are obtained in the configuration with the Core i5-13400 chip. When using faster CPU models, the performance delta will differ even more significantly.
As for the Core i5-13400 in general, it is a good option for optimal gaming configurations. Compared to its predecessor – the Core i5-12400 – absolute fps will increase minimally, but additional efficient cores overcome it with a certain reserve of “strength”, which pure six-cores may not always have. Well, in multithreaded mode additional 30% to performance is a very desirable and long-awaited acceleration. We approve.