While the X570 chipset is AMD's best enthusiast offering, high prices of X570 motherboards meant that budget PC builders were left with only the B450 chipset option from last year. With the B550 chipset, AMD has ensured that even non-enthusiast users can access new platform technologies such as PCIe Gen4. The B550 chipset is compatible with all current and upcoming Ryzen 3000 and 4000 CPUs and APUs.
The primary difference between the X570 and B550 chipsets comes down to the number of PCIe lanes. The B550 chipset itself offers only PCIe Gen3 lanes. However, B550 boards can make use of the PCIe Gen4 present in Ryzen 3000 series processors. The reduction in PCIe lanes also affects the number of I/O peripherals that can be connected at once.
That being said, there are still plenty of expansion options available that should suffice a majority of PC builders without having to sacrifice performance.
What Should You Look for While Purchasing an AMD B550 Motherboard?
While most B550 motherboards offer a standard feature set, the following points must be kept in mind to ensure you are getting the most value for your money.
Form Factor: It is important to know which form factor you would be primarily using. Most B550 motherboards usually come in ATX, Micro ATX, and Mini ITX form factors. The smaller the form factor, the lesser space that is available for expansion.
Expansion: It is also important to know your current and future workflow needs so that peripheral expansion can be accounted for accordingly. Most B550 boards come with at least two PCIe slots, one of which can be used for a dedicated GPU. These boards also offer at least one M.2 NVMe expansion slot for PCIe SSDs. If you are planning on adding more storage, ensure that the board offers enough SATA ports. Additional niceties such as RGB headers, pump headers, and fan headers may be useful if you are into extensive customization and cooling..
B550 boards usually tend to have lesser USB connectivity compared to their X570 counterparts. Nevertheless, most boards can be expected to offer at least one USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A and Type-C port, each with the rest being USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports. These ports are often offered in a combination of rear I/O ports and internal USB headers. Apart from regular USB connectivity, also look out for built-in HDMI or DisplayPort-outs.
Coming to networking, Gigabit LAN is almost a definite feature that can be seen, although many OEMs are now offering 2.5 GbE as standard. 10 GbE is usually not found on B550 boards. Many models come with built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, though some may choose to skip it to save on costs.
The Best AMD B550 Motherboards in 2020
With that information, let's take a look at the 5 best AMD B550 motherboards to buy in 2020.
1. Best B550 Motherboard for Ryzen 9 3900X — Gigabyte B550 Aorus Master
|Features||16-phase VRM; Advanced thermal design; Triple NVMe M.2 PCIe Gen4 slots; Realtek ALC1220-VB codec; Smart Fan 5; RGB Fusion 2.0; Pre-installed I/O shield|
|PCIe Slots||1x PCIe Gen4 x16; 2x PCIe Gen3 x4|
|USB Ports (including internal headers)||5x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A; 1x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C; 2x USB 3.2 Gen1; 10x USB 2.0|
|Networking||Realtek 2.5 GbE LAN; Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200 with Bluetooth 5.0|
|Dimensions (W x H)||12 x 9.6 in|
Features: The Gigabyte B550 Aorus Master is packed to the brim with features that rival even some of the cheaper AMD X570 boards. The B550 Aorus Master is the flagship Aorus B550 board and offers 16-phase power delivery for highly stable overclocking. The design of the board is minimalist, with no wasted space. There are some RGB effects integrated on the I/O shroud that covers the VRMs. The board supports up to 128 GB of DDR4-5200 RAM. The Realtek ALC1220-VB codec handles audio. The board also features a dedicated headphone amplifier that can sense the connected headphone's impedance and adjust volume levels accordingly.
Connectivity: The B550 Aorus Master offers excellent connectivity and expansion abilities. Cooling and customization enthusiasts will appreciate that the board offers eight 4-pin PWM/DC fan headers and five RGB headers. There are three full-length PCIe slots along with three M.2 NVMe slots. Of the three PCIe slots, the first slot is capable of Gen4 speeds and is wired directly to the CPU, while the other two slots are Gen3 x4 routed via the B550 chipset. A total of six SATA ports are available for connecting SSDs and HDDs.
Networking is handled by the Realtek 2.5 GbE LAN and integrated Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200 chipset with Bluetooth 5.0. The rear I/O offers an array of USB connectors across various generations. There is also an HDMI-out port if you plan to use the Ryzen APUs with integrated Radeon Vega graphics.
Performance: The performance of the B550 Aorus Master is excellent in all synthetic and real-world benchmarks, including gaming. The board is usually on par with most other high-end B550 boards on the market. The B550 Aorus Master also offers excellent overclocking capabilities, though the actual Ryzen CPUs themselves are somewhat limited when it comes to pushing clocks. It is possible to push the Ryzen 3900X CPU to an all-core 4.3 GHz overclock at 1.35 V with this board.
Overall, if you are looking to get the best AMD B550 motherboard to complement your flagship Ryzen 9 3900X or even the Ryzen 9 3950X, the Gigabyte B550 Aorus Master is one of the best boards available.
- Pros: Good power delivery; Excellent feature set; Excellent connectivity
- Cons: Expensive; No PCIe x1 slots; Could have had more SATA ports
2. Best B550 Motherboard for Ryzen 3000XT Series — Asus ROG Strix B550-E Gaming
|Features||14+2-phase VRM; Dual NVMe M.2 PCIe Gen4 slots; ROG SupremeFX S1220A audio codec; Fan Xpert 4; Aura Sync; Pre-installed I/O shield|
|PCIe Slots||2x PCIe Gen4 x16; 1x PCIe Gen3 x4; 2x PCIe Gen3 x1|
|USB Ports (including internal headers)||3x USB 3.2 Gen2; 1x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C; 2x USB 3.2 Gen1; 9x USB 2.0|
|Networking||Intel 2.5 GbE LAN; Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200 with Bluetooth 5.0|
|Dimensions (W x H)||12 x 9.6 in|
Features: The Asus ROG Strix B550-E Gaming offers every imaginable feature that mainstream enthusiasts would like and actually even rivals many of the X570 chipset-based motherboards out there. The board exudes a gamery look, with neat RGB effects splattered on the I/O shroud and the chipset cover. The B550-E Gaming offers a 14+2 VRM design and six PCB layers for efficient overclocking and improved heat dissipation, and there is also a debug display for quick diagnosis. Audio is handled by the Realtek ALC1220 codec and comes with Asus's SupremeFX audio design, which is shielded from the rest of the components.
Connectivity: The ROG Strix B550-E is very generous when it comes to offering connectivity options. The board offers two PCIe Gen4 x16 slots, which means it is possible to run dual GPUs in SLI or CrossFire x8 modes. There is also a full-length PCIe Gen3 x16 slot and two PCIe Gen3 x1 slots — these go directly to the B550 chipset. The B550-E Gaming also offers two M.2 NVMe slots, one of which is Gen4 that is connected to the CPU, while the other is Gen3 connected to the chipset. A total of six SATA ports are available, and also two Aura Sync connectors and a dedicated AIO pump connector.
Networking is made possible via the Intel I225-V 2.5 GbE LAN and Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200 chipset. The rear I/O includes both DisplayPort and HDMI-out, making it possible to use Ryzen APUs with Radeon iGPUs without investing in a dedicated graphics card. The USB connectors on the rear are minimal compared to some of the other B550 offerings, but there are enough internal headers for expansion, including one for Thunderbolt - which is a rarity in AMD boards.
Performance: The ROG Strix B550-E Gaming performs admirably in most benchmarks. In gaming, the Strix B550-E Gaming offers a slightly better performance in some titles over the Asus TUF Gaming B550-M Plus W-Fi and is often found to be a hair's breadth away from the MSI MAG B550M Mortar. A similar pattern is seen in synthetic benchmarks such as 3DMark and SiSoft Sandra as well. Overclocking on this board is fairly stable, but there have been some issues pertaining to memory overclocking profiles. Hopefully, this can be addressed with a BIOS update.
Overall, the Asus ROG Strix B550-E Gaming offers excellent performance but comes with a hefty price tag, putting it in the league of some of the X570 boards. That being said, the sheer expandability options make this board a great companion for those new AMD Ryzen 3000XT series CPUs.
- Pros: Excellent connectivity options; Great for gamers; Dedicated pump header
- Cons: Memory overclocking can get unstable; Expensive
3. Best B550 Motherboard for Ryzen 5 3600X — MSI MAG B550M Mortar
|Features||8+2+1-phase VRM; MSI Core Boost; Dual NVMe M.2 PCIe slots; Realtek ALC1200 audio codec; Pre-installed I/O shield|
|Form Factor||Micro ATX|
|PCIe Slots||1x PCIe Gen4 x16; 1x PCIe Gen3 x16; 2x PCIe Gen3 x1|
|USB Ports (including internal headers)||3x USB 3.2 Gen1; 1x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-C; 1x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A; 1x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C; 6x USB 2.0|
|Networking||Realtek 2.5 GbE LAN|
|Dimensions (W x H)||9.6 x 9.6 in|
Features: The MSI MAG B550M Mortar makes for an excellent no-frills B550 motherboard for gaming and multimedia. Since it is targeted at budget gamers, the MAG B550M does not offer any flashy RGB effects or debug LEDs. Where the MAG B550M does focus on is thermal design, with an extended heatsink on the 8+2+1 VRMs. The MAG B550M comes with MSI's Core Boost technology that supplies clean power to the CPU.
Connectivity: Despite being a midrange B550 motherboard, the B550M Mortar covers all connectivity essentials. There are two PCIe x16 slots, one of which is Gen4, along with two PCIe x1 slots. Six SATA ports are available for connecting HDDs and SSDs. There are two M.2 NVMe slots, one of which operates at Gen4 speeds. Only this slot gets to use the MSI M.2 Shield Frozr heatsink. Coming to the USB interface, the I/O plate offers sparse connectivity compared to some of the other B550 boards we've seen in this list. However, the essential ports, including a Type-C connector, DisplayPort, and HDMI-outs, are available.
The Realtek 2.5 GbE LAN controller handles networking, and there is no integrated Wi-Fi solution. However, users can add a Wi-Fi card into a PCIe slot if needed.
Performance: The MSI MAG B550M Mortar does make up for its feature deficits in performance. The board performs great in both synthetic and real-world benchmarks and offers some of the highest frame rates in gaming, edging out some of the more expensive Asus and Gigabyte offerings. Power draws are also considerably lesser than many other B550 boards. Overclocking is fairly standard, but pushing high memory clocks via XMP profiles can be a hit or miss. Ensure that properly validated memory modules are used for maximum compatibility. CPU overclocks are not really outstanding, but a fair amount of frequency boost can be achieved with appropriate BIOS tweaks.
The combination of features and price makes the MSI MAG B550M Mortar one of the best AMD B550 motherboards for midrange builds featuring the Ryzen 5 3600 or Ryzen 5 3600X.
- Pros: Great for gaming; Decent VRM design
- Cons: Not well-suited for overclocking; Only one M.2 slot comes with a built-in heatsink
4. Best B550 Motherboard for Micro ATX Builds — ASRock B550M-HDV
|Features||6-phase VRM; Hyper M.2 PCIe Gen4 slot; 2x DDR4-3200 slots; Realtek ALC887 audio codec|
|Form Factor||Micro ATX|
|PCIe Slots||1x PCIe Gen4 x16; 1x PCIe Gen3 x16; 1x PCIe Gen3 x1|
|USB Ports (including internal headers)||4x USB 3.2 Gen1; 2x USB 2.0|
|Networking||Realtek GbE LAN|
|Dimensions (W x H)||9.0 x 7.9 in|
Features: The ASRock B550M-HDV is a budget-oriented Micro ATX board that looks to get the basics right. All essentials are covered, including PCIe Gen4 expansion for a dedicated GPU and M.2 NVMe storage. The B550M-HDV is a rather dull-looking board and does not offer any enthusiast features. There are only two memory slots, so there is a limit to how much RAM you can add. The CPU is supplied with just a four-pin power, which, while adequate, does not offer enough headroom for overclocking. In fact, there is only a 4-phase VRM setup, so using high-end AMD CPUs is not recommended.
Connectivity: The budget nature of the board continues to be evident in its connectivity aspect as well. There is only M.2 NVMe slot, but thankfully, it supports PCIe Gen4 speeds. Additionally, there are four SATA connectors as well. The B550M-HDV is aimed at multimedia and HTPC users who can make do with the fairly decent integrated Radeon graphics found in Ryzen APUs. Interestingly, we find the old D-Sub and DVI ports along with an HDMI 2.1 port. The B550M-HDV uses a somewhat dated Realtek ALC887 codec, though it should be just fine for most needs. The rear panel is rather bland with a few USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports. There is no pre-mounted I/O shield like we find in some of the more expensive offerings.
Networking is limited to the onboard Realtek Gigabit LAN. There is no integrated Wi-Fi or USB Type-C connector.
Performance: Though the ASRock B550M-HDV lacks in terms of connectivity or bling, its performance is more than adequate for the intended use case some times even coming close to its bigger brother, the ASRock B550 Taichi. The board easily sails through several CPU and GPU benchmarks, and most users will not be aware that they are using a pretty budget B550 board. Overclocking is not really a characteristic of this board, so it is best paired with some of the lower-end processors, such as the Ryzen 3 3100.
If you are looking for the best cheap AMD B550 motherboard and are satisfied with the basic feature set, the ASRock B550M-HDV is the best option on the market.
- Pros: Good performance; Highly affordable
- Cons: Limited expansion; Bland design; No integrated Wi-Fi and USB Type-C
5. Best B550 Motherboard for Mini ITX Builds — Asus ROG Strix B550-I Gaming
|Features||8+2-phase VRM; Dual NVMe M.2 PCIe slots; SupremeFX S1220A audio codec; Fan Xpert 4; Aura Syn|
|Form Factor||Mini ITX|
|PCIe Slots||1x PCIe Gen4 x16|
|USB Ports (including internal headers)||3x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A; 2x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C; 1x USB 2.0 Type-C; 2x USB 3.2 Gen1; 3x USB 2.0|
|Networking||Intel 2.5 GbE LAN; Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200 with Bluetooth 5.1|
|Dimensions (W x H)||6 x 6 in|
Features: There are not too many quality Mini ITX B550 motherboards available, but the Asus ROG Strix B550-I Gaming fills an important void in this form factor. The Strix B550-I is best suited for extremely compact cases for workspaces or as HTPCs. The Strix B550-I offers an 8+2 VRM layout and is one of the few boards to offer active cooling to keep them from heating. There are two DDR4 DIMM slots and a single 6-pin power connector for the CPU.
Connectivity: The Mini ITX form factor does not offer too much room for connectivity and expansion. You get just one PCIe Gen4 x16 slot and a couple of M.2 slots for NVMe SSDs. There are four SATA connectors and some headers for connecting RGB lights and an AIO pump. The number of USB ports on the back is fairly limited, but you get a few front panel connectors for USB 2.0, USB 3.2 Gen 1, and USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C. There are two USB Type-C ports at the back. However, one of them works at USB 2.0 speeds and is actually used for audio-out.
Network connectivity is offered by Intel 2.5 Gb Ethernet, along with an Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200 for dual-channel Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.1.
Performance: The performance of the Strix B550-I Gaming is excellent in most synthetic and gaming benchmarks. Due to the Mini ITX form factor's size limitations, achieving proper cooling can be a challenge, especially in space-constrained cabinets. Therefore, the Strix B550-I is best suited for pairing with low-end or mid-range Ryzen processors or APUs.
Those primarily into productivity applications or even light video or multimedia editing will find the Strix B550-I Gaming to be the best Mini ITX board for their workflows.
- Pros: Small form factor; Feature-rich
- Cons: Limited expansion options; Lesser number of USB ports
That was our round-up of the best AMD B550 motherboards to buy in 2020 across various form factors. Be sure to thoroughly evaluate your current and future work and expansion requirements before settling on one of these options. Feel free to let us know if you have any questions.