Best Budget Motherboards for Ryzen 5 5600X

MSI MEG X570 Unify Review

In this review, we look at the MSI MEG X570 Unify. Priced at $322, MSI delivers an all-dark X570 motherboard that has been loaded with features like 2.5 Gbit LAN and AX WIFI and looks that make this board seem like Batman himself.

Although taste differs, MSI offers something fabulous with this X570 motherboard and meets the MSI MEG X570 Unify. We check out this piece of hardware stacked with features. In combination with a Ryzen 9 3900 XT processor, AMD prepped the X570 chipset, which offers a more fine-tuned experience for your Ryzen Generation 3 processors and the new Ryzen Series 5000.

The MEG, however, is taking things to an entirely new level. Including PCIe Gen 4.0 and AX Wifi, and 2.5 Gbps Ethernet. The X570 motherboard is residing in a high-end motherboard spectrum for the 3rd generation AMD Ryzen processors.

With this release, you will spot a breathtaking motherboard loaded with features, DDR4 A-XMP functions, PCIe 4.0 PCI slots, and multiple PCIe 4.0 connected M.2. slots, with a massive heatsink.

AMD once again introduces a new line of processors starting at hexacore processors in the entry-level to mainstream segment (yeah, you read that right), eight and twelve cores for the mainstream high-end up to 16-core Ryzen processors for the enthusiast level.

It is batpoop crazy when you think about what AMD has accomplished in, what has it been, three years? Sure, the initial ZEN Ryzen processors had a bit of a rocky launch with the inter-core latency discussion, 1080p gaming performance, and memory support.

But the tide turned with each month that passed, and over time more and more people would actually consider an AMD processor-based PC for their next purchase. That shift in the paradigm is big when you think about Intel’s monopolized position in the desktop processor market. When AMD launched the 12nm update of Zen, called Zen+, the memory compatibility issues were mostly all gone, of course.

With the launch of Ryzen 5000, the 4th generation Ryzen product, AMD is about to rattle the cages once again with a massively strong and competitive processor lineup. A topic of discussion has been chipset compatibility. Basically, in short, if you have a Series 300 or 400 chipsets AMD motherboard, you should seek a BIOS/firmware update from your motherboard’s manufacturer.

Ryzen 3000 processors will (read: should) work fine, with one distinction, you have reverted to PCIe Gen 3.0, and that also goes for the x4 PCIe-based interlink between the CPU and chipset. For Ryzen, series 5000 initially supported are series 500 chipsets, and in January 2021, the 400 series (if compatible).

MSI MEG X570 Unify

RGB has been a trend that has developed big time and got implemented into anything you can give some power. Now, I’ve been saying to graphics card and motherboard manufacturers for years, make a motherboard of graphics card that is completely black with no added RGB bling. I mean, just a stylish design motherboard all dark and not extra color tones, wouldn’t that be cool?

Well, it seems that MSI took that comment seriously. A feature-rich motherboard, I might add. The network connectivity is fitted with 2.5 Gigabit LAN by Realtek “8125CG” and wireless LAN function of Wi-Fi 6 (IEEE 802.11ax) by Intel AX200, enabling high-speed network connection regardless of wired or wireless.

  • It supports overclocking the 3rd generation Ryzen series by combining a 6+2 phase (IR35201 ) digital power circuit, 8pin x 2 auxiliary power connector, large MOSFET heat sink, server-grade PCB, and so on.
  • Socket: Socket AM4
  • Chipset: AMD X570
  • Form factor: ATX
  • Memory slot: DDR4-4600 + x 4 (supports up to 128GB / dual channel)
  • Expansion slots: PCI-Express4.0 (x16) x2, PCI-Express4.0 (x4 / x16 shape) x1, PCI-Express4.0 (x1) x2
  • Storage: SATA3.0 (6Gbps) x 4, Lightning M.2 x 3
  • LAN: 2.5 Gigabit LAN x 1 (Realtek 8125CG), Wi-Fi 6 wireless LAN
  • Sound: 7.1ch HD audio (Realtek ALC1220)
  • Interface: 2.5 Gigabit LAN x1, USB3.2 Gen.2 x4 (Type-A x3 / Type-C x1), USB3.2 Gen.1 x2, USB2.0 x2, Audio terminal x5, Optical audio terminal x 1, PS / 2 x 1
  • External dimensions: W305 × H244mm

This is a properly outfitted motherboard with three full PCI slots available. You can see two 8-pin power connectors and onboard power button and reset buttons, as well as a 2.5 Gbps ethernet jack and AX WIFI6. MSI has been focusing a lot on cooling, including the three M2 slots having heatsinks.

The chipset fan is based on ZeroFrozer technology; ergo is passively cooling at normal load levels (to be honest, we haven’t even seen the chipset fan spin up once. Combine this motherboard with the Ryzen 3000 or 5000 series six up-to sixteen-core processors, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised as to what it offers. So if you go with a proper processor, you’ll like want a proper motherboard loaded with the latest and greatest. Let’s start up the review, shall we?

Note: this review was written prior to the Ryzen 5000 release and got snowed under with all GPU releases. This review is based on a Series 3000 processor.

Conclusion

The MSI MEG X570 Unify is a bit of a niche product. While it is a competently executed motherboard with a solid feature set, the lack of RGB LED lighting makes it a divisive product. There are plenty of enthusiasts who don’t care about RGB LEDs and as I said earlier, there is the crowd that is deeply offended by them.

This motherboard would be at home with either crowd. That said, RGB LED motherboards sell, and lots of people like them. I think RGB LED items have gone a bit overboard at times, but I still believe they can be used to showcase your system and can be done in a way that’s tasteful.

I’m glad the MSI MEG X570 Unify exists as it gives those who have ardent opinions about not paying for RGB LED lighting something they can purchase for a reasonable price. The MSI MEG X570 Unify has a solid VRM and a solid feature set that doesn’t make too many compromises to hit its price point.

Overclocking

Fortunately, or unfortunately, overclocking isn’t something that’s terribly interesting here. When you get down to it, as long as you have a reasonably good VRM and good environmental variables, it all comes down to the CPU. The settings and results I’ve seen and achieved on each motherboard using this same CPU have all been…..the same.

That is to say that each of them can achieve memory clocks in excess of DDR4 3600MHz. Each of them can drive this CPU to 4.3GHz on an all-core overclock using a voltage setting of 1.35v. You can achieve this result effortlessly in both the UEFI BIOS and via Ryzen Master.

Operating Temperatures

When it comes to motherboard temperatures, the MSI MEG X570 Unify did well enough. The MOSFET temperatures measured around 122F/50c according to MSI’s Dragon Center software. This seemed to be fairly accurate as the infrared thermometer showed a result of between 119F/48c and 124F/51c at different points on each MOSFET heatsink. Aluminum heats up fairly evenly as it’s a good conductor. So, it’s probably only slightly hotter at the base of the heat sink.

Furthermore, the chipset reported temperatures of 120F/49c without the chipset fan ever engaging. It seems that MSI chose to prioritize silence over thermal performance. I have no doubt that in an actual chassis, this fan would actually run more often than it did on my test bench.

Naturally, I also verified the temperatures with HWInfo64, which showed exactly the same data as MSI’s software. The heat pipe setup for the MOSFETs seems to be one of the most efficient I’ve seen, but in fairness, it’s an open-air test bench, and it’s winter right now and quite cold in the office.

BIOS

Using the UEFI BIOS, the user experience is quite good. There are plenty of overclocking options to choose from. However, the interface does show its age at times. As I said before, MSI does employ far too many sub-menus which are entirely unnecessary. Despite its price, the MSI MEG X570 Unify has everything you need to achieve a solid overclock. Sometimes, settings you need to dial an overclock in are reserved for more expensive offerings.

Value

With some motherboards, there are a lot of things to talk about. Really expensive motherboards almost need to be justified or compared to cars such as a Ferrari in order for it to make any sense. Sometimes all you can do is justify a board by it being super nice, or exclusive in some way.

On some ultra-low-end boards, you basically have to excuse several issues, design flaws, a lack of features, or whatever by its low price. “At least it’s cheap” becomes the reason for its’ existence.

The MSI MEG X570 Unify isn’t on the upper end of the cost spectrum so I don’t have to figure out where it fits in the market or try and isolate reasons why someone might want it. The MSI MEG X570 Unify is currently $299 at Amazon and $299 at Newegg.

This isn’t the cheapest X570 board by any means, but it also isn’t near the high-end pricing of many X570 boards. It is at a price that sits mid-way between X570 SKUs. Given the features and performance, it seems appropriately priced for such a sleek motherboard with a clear theme. It also has an outstanding VRM in the segment. One that’s better than some similarly priced options from other vendors.

Effectively, the reason why this motherboard exists is to cater to a very specific crowd of people who either don’t care about, or absolutely hate RGB LED lighting. There are several people who hate RGB LED lighting to a degree that’s bordering on obsessive or even irrational.

Even if you don’t care about RGB one way or the other, the blacked-out theme is aesthetically pleasing for sure. If that’s appealing to you, then the MSI MEG X570 Unify is definitely for you.

Final Points

The MSI X570 Unify motherboard is aesthetically pleasing as it is, so it is nice that it looks good despite being free of any lighting. The blacked-out theme will suit people well who are looking for a sleek yet simple design.

I can imagine this motherboard being used with EK’s zero maintenance tubing and acetal water blocks in a custom loop build and think something along those lines would look amazing.

I really liked the MSI MEG X570 Unify. It is one of those motherboards that takes a “less is more” approach. There is everything you need and almost nothing you don’t. The only extra you really get is wireless. Which, depending on who you are you might actually want that.

It did almost everything well and the only real technical complaint I have about it concerns the Realtek network controller. For the money, I can’t even fault MSI too much on that front.

At the end of the day, the MSI MEG X570 Unify is a very good mid-range motherboard that might just fit the bill if you’re looking for a high-performance motherboard without RGB LED lighting and a sleek aesthetic design.

I’m going to give this MSI gaming motherboard a silver award for two reasons. Primarily, it’s an excellent value as it provides the best VRM I’ve seen in its price range. The build quality is there and the feature set is fantastic aside from the Realtek NIC, which is still good on paper.

It’s not the best NIC in its class, but again it’s one of the things MSI had to compromise on to keep the price down. Secondly, MSI chose to buck the RGB LED trend and provide something that’s visually unique and caters to a market that felt as though they weren’t being heard. For that, I think MSI nailed the design of the MSI MEG X570 Unify.

MSI Meg X570 Unify Motherboard

MSI Meg X570 Unify Motherboard

Pros

  • 5000+MHz RAM overclocking
  • Three M.2 slots with efficient heat sinks
  • Well built with reinforced PCIe slots for large GPUs

Cons

  • No on-board RGB lightning
  • Generic audio drivers don’t work
  • IO shield bends easily and hard to unscrew

Similar Posts