To recap, the initial glimpse of “Project Zero” was offered a year ago, showcasing MSI’s plan for a discrete motherboard design. This approach involved placing connectors at the rear, creating a seamless appearance. Despite initial doubts about its feasibility, MSI has recently introduced the B650M variant of its “Project Zero” motherboards, marking a significant step forward.
A noteworthy aspect of this release is MSI’s innovative approach to motherboard design, relocating all connectors to the back end of the motherboard. This includes essential connections such as the ATX power (24-pin and 16-pin), SATA ports, USB headers, and ARGB headers. As a result, the front of the motherboard primarily features RAM slots, PCIe slots, and the cooling solution.
The underlying concept of this ‘back-connect‘ design is to minimize cable clutter, leading to a visually cleaner and more organized system at the front. This approach offers not only a pleasing appearance but also facilitates easy access to components and the potential for improved airflow due to reduced obstructions.
Delving into the technical specifications of the MSI B650M Project Zero motherboard from the new lineup, it is equipped with the B650 chipset, designed for mid-range AMD processors. The motherboard’s specifications have been summarized below:
|B650M PROJECT ZERO
|Supports AMD Ryzen 7000 Series Desktop Processors
|1x PCIe 4.0 x16 slot, 1x PCIe 3.0 x1 slot
|AMD B650 Chipset
|4K@60Hz via HDMI 2.1, DisplayPort 1.4 (Processor Graphics required)
|2x M.2 Gen4 x4 64Gbps slots, 4x SATA 6Gbps ports
|4 DIMMs, Dual Channel DDR5-6400+ (OC)
|1x Realtek 8125BG 2.5Gbps LAN
|1x USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 20Gbps (Type-C),
|5x USB 3.2 Gen 2 10Gbps (3 Type-C + 2 Type-A),
|3x USB 3.2 Gen 1 5Gbps (4 Type-A), 6x USB 2.0
|8-Channel (7.1) HD Audio with Audio Boost
|AMD Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3
We anticipate that MSI’s pioneering approach to connector placements will serve as a catalyst, inspiring other vendors to revamp their motherboard designs. Over the past years, there has been a lack of significant changes in the aesthetics of emerging motherboards. The introduction of MSI’s “Project Zero” lineup is likely to encourage other manufacturers to offer similar options. An early example of this trend can be observed in Colorful’s CVN B760M motherboard. As for the B650M “Project Zero,” it is still pending release in the retail market, and its pricing details remain undisclosed by the company. It’s reasonable to expect a price increase compared to the existing B650M models, though the anticipated increase may not be substantial.