If you are planning on building a new system for the arrival of AMD’s next generation of processors, you’re going to want to start with a solid base. While it was originally announced that AMD wouldn’t be supporting Zen 3 on its 4000-series of motherboards, this has since been changed to allow support through a beta BIOS version.
If you want to avoid any complications, purchasing a new B550 motherboard is definitely the best bet, especially given some of the improvements they have over their predecessors. But where do you start? With the motherboard being such an important part of the system and information on B550 motherboards still being a bit light, we’re going to look at what seem to be the best options for the future.
We’ll also take a look through some of the key things to look for in a motherboard. Even if you’re not shopping for a B550 motherboard, or even a board for an AMD processor, these are still important points to consider.
Our Top Picks
Best B550 Motherboards: First Look
An impressively powerful motherboard with great RGB lighting.
If you’re looking for a robust gaming motherboard, the MSI MPG is ideal in terms of power and the cooling system which can help you achieve a stable overclock.
A premium option with plenty of room to expand in the future.
AORUS products have always been fan favorites and it’s not hard to see why. This motherboard builds on past successes by giving users ample amounts of performance and upgradability.
It doesn’t matter what type of component we are looking at for these guides, we put the same amount of careful consideration and research into everything we do. Choosing these products can be tricky, especially when you have to figure out what exactly makes them the ‘best’.
While we couldn’t test these B550 motherboards personally this time around, we did make sure to read as much information as we could about them to get the best indication of how they will perform. In most cases, this involved reading as many reviews as possible as well as poring through the product pages to see exactly what they offer.
We know just how tricky it is picking up a new product, especially if you need to do a lot of research beforehand. Only once we’ve gone through all of the information we’ve found can we be confident in putting it in an easy to understand guide for our readers. We aim to make our guides as informative as possible and would never recommend something that we wouldn’t include in one of our own builds.
What Budget Should I Set For A B550 Motherboard?
How much a motherboard costs can really impact the budget you have remaining for the rest of your build. While it’s always important to shop with a firm budget in mind, you’ll want to aim for a little bit of room for future-proofing if possible.
There has been a bit of worry about the pricing of B550 motherboards in the leadup to their release, especially with some options seemingly costing more than X570 motherboards.
Currently, it looks like you’ll be able to pick up a B550 motherboard for around $120-280. Some of the main features that can have an effect on the price of a motherboard generally include the form factor, the chipset, the level of overclocking you can achieve, and how much you can expand. For example, budget motherboards may only offer two RAM slots whereas a premium model would offer a few more.
This is perfect for those who want to run a high-specification machine, but if you already know what your plans for the future of your build are, you could save a decent chunk of cash here.
When talking about motherboards, one of the most important things to consider is the size of the case you are putting it in. Depending on whether you have already bought your case, you’ll want to take a look at what form factor motherboard it supports.
There are a few different types of form factors available for motherboards, ranging from eATX down to Mini-ITX. If you need specifics, we’ve listed the measurements of the most common form factors below.
- Mini-ITX – 6.7” x 6.7”
- Mini-ATX – 5.9” x 5.9”
- microATX – 9.6” x 9.6”
- ATX – 12” x 9.6”
- eATX – 12” x 13”
A smaller board typically sacrifices a few features to cut down on size, but they are easier to use for those looking to create small PC builds. If you want the best of the best, an eATX board is perfect for those looking to create impressive systems, although it is the largest option.
Each motherboard that you look at is also going to have a specific socket type, this is the physical slot on the motherboard which holds your CPU. It’s important to remember that you must match the socket of the motherboard to the model of processor you will be using otherwise they won’t work.
We’re only looking at AM4 sockets in today’s list which are suitable for AMD processors only. If you are looking to include an Intel processor in your build, you’ll need to look for motherboards that sport the LGA 1151 socket type instead. To confuse things a bit further, if you’re looking at 10th generation Intel CPUs, you’ll need to look for a motherboard with an LGA1200 socket.
Another important factor to consider when shopping for a new motherboard is the type of chipset it uses. The type of chipset that your motherboard has will determine the key features that your motherboard can provide.
This ranges from the number of PCIe lanes available, SATA ports, and even the generation of USB slots. With technology advancing faster than ever, you’re going to want to make sure that the motherboard you choose has some breathing room for the future, as well as plenty of options for expandability.
To keep your system running as cool as possible, you’re going to want to make sure your motherboard has a variety of fan headers to cope. These PWM headers are used to connect the fans in your case to the motherboard.
While most motherboards these days will have enough fan headers to cope with your hardware, it’s an important factor you’ll want to double-check on before you make your purchase.
When looking at memory, you’ll need to pay attention to the maximum amount of memory each motherboard supports, the speed of the memory, and the level of multi-channel support.
Each manufacturer’s website will tell you exactly what the motherboard supports as well as a list of specifications for quick reference. This can be vital when planning out a build.
Depending on how much you spend on your motherboard will dictate how many slots you have to hold your components. One of the main things to try and work out, first of all, is how many PCI slots you’ll require. These slots will allow you to connect things such as graphics cards, Wi-Fi cards, sound cards, and extra USB slots to your system.
Not only will you want a couple of these spare, but you’ll also want to make sure that there’s adequate spacing between them if you plan on installing two large components next to each other. A perfect example of this would be if you want to run with multiple graphics cards. It’s definitely worth the time to plan out exactly what you want to include and if you have the space on the motherboard to facilitate it.
The Best B550 Motherboards
Fancy design and RGB lighting aren’t just for graphics cards these days. Motherboards such as MSI’s lineup are built with a flashy design in mind. The MSI MPG B550 motherboard is no exception. The MPG series allows gamers to fully personalize their motherboard, with multiple uses of RGB lighting on the board. This motherboard will look fantastic in any clear-sided case.
This isn’t just a pretty face though. The MPG B550 has an impressive 12 + 2 + 1 phase power design, which features 12 digital power phases, dual power connectors, and exclusive Core Boot technology.
This motherboard has an impressive cooling system onboard including an aluminum cover, M.2 Shield Frozr technology, and full fan control.
You will be able to control everything with the help of MSI’s great Dragon Center software. Dragon Center is a suite of MSI utilities in a single application. From here, you can control all the RGB lighting, the fans, the OC setting, and even set up one-click user scenarios settings.
MSI has equipped this motherboard with a good host of connectivity options including advanced 2.5 Gbps LAN networking capabilities, USB ports, and enhanced audio – pretty much everything you need for a modern gaming PC.
Tying for the lead on interesting design, ASUS once again goes head to head with MSI. ASUS’ ROG Strix series has always had some fun and interesting design, particularly with its graphics cards. We see the same unique branding here on this B550-E motherboard. We can see the bold ROG eye logo and a futuristic “cyberpunk-inspired” aesthetic.
This motherboard features the latest PCIe 4.0 through one of the two M.2 slots on the board. This is designed to provide the best storage flexibility and data speeds. The ROG Strix is designed with 3rd generation AMD Ryzen CPUs so it’s the perfect match if that’s your CPU of choice.
The cooling system features ASUS’ ProCool power connector, a CPU fan header, and an AIO pump fan header. The motherboard is also kept cool with a 6 layer PCB which helps to dissipate heat quickly around the VRM to give you a more stable overclock.
Also included is a host of ROG-exclusive software that will deliver great gaming and audio enhancements. These include the ASUS’ 5-Way Optimization utility which you can use for overclocking among other things. The RAMCache III is impressive because it can boost game-load times – something we can all benefit from.
The first thing to mention about the ASRock B550 Taichi motherboard is just how impressive it looks. This black and gold motherboard really doesn’t hold back in the look department. There are sharp angles throughout and barely any of the motherboard is visible due to the number of brushed gold shieldings used. There are also elements of RGB on the motherboard that can be customized using ASRock’s Polychrome Sync software.
When it comes to Wi-Fi, this ASRock motherboard comes equipped with the latest Intel Wi-Fi 6 802.11ax adapter that allows for working speeds of up to 2.4 Gbps as well as the ability to use both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands simultaneously. For wired connections, the Intel 2.5G ethernet configuration is included to allow better throughput performance and a greater network experience.
For connectivity, there are eight SATA3 ports, one PCIe Gen 4 x4, one PCIe Gen 3 x4 & SATA3 as well as three USB 3.2 Gen2 and eight USB 3.2 Gen1 which consist of four on the front and four at the rear.
Gigabyte’s premium offering this time around is the impressive-looking B550 AORUS MASTER. As with the other motherboards on this list, it is a high-end offering that aims to give gamers the highest levels of performance as possible.
This board comes in a black and brushed metal design with sharp angles throughout. The AORUS logo is easily visible throughout and there is also an element of RGB that can be customized in a number of different ways. The RGB Fusion software allows you to toggle from static, pulse, flash profiles as well as many more. There are also three RGB LED and two Digital Addressable LED light strip support ports on the board to give you even more customization options.
For great future-proofing, you’ll have access to 2.5 GbE LAN onboard as well as three NVMe PCIe 4.0/3.0 slots, three PCIe 4.0 M.2 slots and four DDR4 DIMM memory sockets that support up to 128 GB. There is support for DDR4 XMP up to 5400 MHz on this board as well as a Q-Flash Plus Update BIOS button.
Now that we’ve come to the end of our list today, just how well did we do? We’re sure to get more information about these motherboards as they become more readily available, but for now, let us know which one you think deserves a spot in your PC.
Want to chat further? Why not head over to our Community Hub to catch up with all your fellow readers. Until next time, be sure to keep checking back for all the latest gaming and technology news.