MSI launches B650M Project Zero motherboard with rear-mounted connectors

You can’t see them, but they are there.

MSI B650M Project Zero motherboard with connectors on the back

MSI has added the B650M Project Zero motherboard to its lineup, featuring hidden power cables for those chasing clean aesthetics.

The B650M Project Zero is an mATX board measuring 243.84mm x 243.84mm, built with a six-layer PCB with 2oz thick copper. It boasts 10+2+1-phase design for CPU, SOC, and miscellaneous power, cooled by large heatsinks connected via 7W/mK thermal pads.

Like Asus’s TUF Gaming B760M-BTF WIFI D4, B650M Project Zero is a board that relocates all power, SATA, and fan headers to the rear, leaving the front clean and looking nice.

This approach should also make cable management easier, since all wires – except GPU power – are quickly accessible from the back, where we have more room, instead of fighting with a CPU cooler to plug an 8-pin EPS or HDD cage to hook a frontal USB. That said, chassis compatibility will be extremely limited, as each brand positions connectors however it sees fit due to the lack of any standards.

The board is based on AMD’s B650 chipset, supporting Zen 4 Ryzen 7000 processors plus up to 128GB of DDR5-6400 – note the absence of 192GB (4x48GB) RAM kit support, for some reason. Due to the chipset choice, there is a sole PCIe 4.0 x16 slot for graphics, enough for existing cards, one PCIe 3.0 x1 for add-on boards, and two PCIe 4.0 M.2 slots for fast NVMe storage.

On the back, we find one 24-pin header, two 8-pin CPU EPS, four SATA, and five PWM fan connectors (one supporting pumps), plus four USB 2.0, two 3.2 Gen 1, one USB 3.2 Gen 2, and power / reset for the chassis.

Rear I/O comprises one DisplayPort 1.4, one HDMI 2.1, two USB 2.0, two USB 3.2 Gen 1, three USB 3.2 Gen 2, one USB 3.2 Gen 2, one USB 3.2 Gen 2×2, three 3.5mm audio jacks, one 2.5Gb LAN, Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3, plus a BIOS flash and clear CMOS buttons. Ooof…, that’s a lot of ports.

While pricing is still unknown, we expect it to be somewhere around £200, and don’t forget to set aside at least £100 or so for a compatible chassis.