The best B550 motherboards come with so many fancy features to compliment your AMD Ryzen 5000 CPU, it's easy to mistake some of them for those sporting a top-tier X570 chipset. With a B550 motherboard, though, there's hardly a tradeoff in terms of features and they often come in at a lower price point.
Almost a year after the original 500-series AMD Ryzen motherboard was launched, this more mainstream chipset hit the market, potentially bringing a more affordable way of adding PCIe 4.0 support to your PC. Not always though. Some B550 mobos cost more than the X570 models—that's a symptom of the B550 motherboards lagging behind in price drops, with existing X570 boards usually getting cheaper around 12 months post-launch. However, many B550 boards are able to deliver performance that's pretty much on par, so are worth a little extra spend.
These boards should support the rumored Zen 3+ refresh too, which are expected to lay siege to our best CPU for gaming list. But for now, here are our recommendations for the best B550 motherboard today.
Sure, the Asus ROG Strix B550-E costs as much as some X570 motherboards; in fact, it pretty much matches our favorite of AMD's top-end boards, the MSI MPG X570 Gaming Pro Carbon. But it's a premium motherboard, with all the trappings you'd expect from Asus' Republic of Gamers stables, such as 14+2 power stage, M.2 heatsinks, and pre-installed backplates. You also get Wi-Fi 6 wireless networking as well as Intel 2.5Gb ethernet too. And RGB LEDs, of course.
Performance too is typically good for a high-end Asus board, matching X570 motherboards for gaming performance without issue. That said, of the B550 boards we've tested, it's the far more affordable MSI board that actually comes out top in our straight performance testing. But the Asus can overclock far better, even if it does chew up more raw power from the plug on the whole.
The Asus ROG Strix B550-E Gaming is the whole package then, and right now is our all-around pick for the best B550 motherboard. Though that still feels like a tough recommendation when X570 boards are the same price…
Please read our full Asus ROG Strix B550-E Gaming review.
The best premium B550 motherboard might seem like a bit of an oxymoron, but the Razer Edition of the ASRock B550 Taichi is just that. It eschews the yin/yang, steampunk aesthetic of traditional Taichi boards favoring a more stylish, more RGB-lead, more Razer design. And it looks great.
It also performs well and packs in all the high-end motherboard features you'd expect from a top-end B550 board. Hell, even a top-end X570 mobo too. With the heady VRM support, ASRock has dropped into the Taichi Razer Edition, you can happily run an overclocked Ryzen 9 5950X—and we have—as well as push your high-performance memory as fast as it'll go.
Unfortunately, when you're offering X570-level performance and features, that means you're also going to be demanding a whole lot of cash for the privilege. And honestly, that's our only real issue with this board and the only reason it's not sitting there right at the top of the list. For nigh-on $300, it's a lot of money for a mobo, let alone a second-tier chipset.
But if you're a paid-up member of the Cult of Razer, then you've probably drunk all the Chroma RGB Kool-Aid and will be champing at the bit to get that from your motherboard too.
Read our full ASRock B550 Taichi Razer Edition review.
When it comes to gaming performance above all else, then MSI's micro-ATX MAG B550M Mortar is your best bet for an affordable next-gen Ryzen machine. It comes in around the $140 mark, making it cheaper than a great many X570 and other B550 motherboards on the market right now.
The gaming frame rates of the MSI B550 Mortar put it above the rest of the B550 crew we've tested so far, and indeed its straight CPU performance puts it up there with some of the best X570s. That bodes well if you're looking for an affordable home for your AMD Zen 3 CPU; this B550 has a great chance to ensure it performs to its fullest stock-clocked potential without breaking the bank.
But you will be missing out on extra PCIe 4.0 M.2 and x16 graphics slots if those extras mean a lot to you. You can also opt to ditch wireless networking too, depending on whether you pick the straight Mortar or the more expensive Mortar Wi-Fi version. The 8+2+1 power phase design is arguably a more unwelcome miss, however, as that results in a board that isn't going to spark any overclocking joy in your heart. But, as an affordable gaming board without OC pretensions, it's a great shout.
Please read our full MSI MAG B550M Mortar review.
The geared aesthetic of ASRock's premium Taichi motherboards makes this the best-looking of all the B550 boards we've checked out, though that premium nature does make it also the most expensive. Indeed it's priced higher than the ASRock X570 Taichi, which makes this a difficult recommendation until the almost inevitable price correction will surely happen over time.
But it's got the same sort of specs list as the excellent Asus ROG Strix B550-E, and it means you get all the networking niceties and the gaming performance to put it around the top of the list. It's also got some overclocking chops, too, allowing us to hit 4.2GHz on the Ryzen 3 3100 budget gaming chip.
It's also incredibly well-built, with a metal structure that makes it one of the most robust B550 motherboards around. But yeah, it's tough to look at that price and feel this second-tier chipset is where you want to put your Ryzen money.
Read our full ASRock B550 Taichi review.
Clocking in at around $70, the Asrock B550M-HDV sits far more comfortably with the B550 as a value proposition than most. It doesn't try to hide that it's a budget board either, with its limited feature set and its absence of heat spreaders—this is a motherboard for anyone that needs the bare minimum, and we don't mean that in a bad way. If you want to build a Ryzen system on a tight budget, you could do a lot worse, basically.
However, this isn't a motherboard for overclockers, but given how tricky it is to overclock Zen 2 and Zen 3 chips, that's not too much of a negative either. You get a solitary four-pin supplementary CPU power connector, and the VRMs are bare, too, while the power delivery is merely four-phase with just two fan headers are available.
That single M.2 slot has you covered for speedy PCIe 4.0 storage, though, and the PCIe 4.0 x16 slot supports those graphics cards that are in such short supply. If you're looking to use your CPU's integrated graphics, then you have the choice of VGA, DVI, and HDMI outputs as well. It's a shame there are no USB 3.2 Type-C connectors present, and only having one M.2 is a bit limiting, but overall these seem like reasonable sacrifices to keep that price low.
Check out our full Asrock B550M-HDV review.
Best B550 motherboard FAQ
Should I buy a B550 or X570 motherboard?
When it comes to straight performance, there really isn’t a lot of difference between the top two AMD 500-series motherboard chipsets. The main difference is AMD has replaced the PCIe Gen 4 interface used on the X570—which connects the CPU socket to the platform controller hub (PCH) chip at the heart of the chipset—with a PCIe Gen 3 version for the B550.
The Ryzen 3000 and 5000 CPUs can still offer PCIe 4.0 support itself, delivering 16 high-speed lanes for a GPU and a further four for lightning-fast SSDs, but means the B550 can't support secondary PCIe 4.0 SSDs or graphics cards.
The tighter bandwidth does affect other sensitive areas, such as USB connectivity, but on the whole, it doesn't actually affect gaming performance. The CPU itself is still offering a PCIe 4.0 connection to the main graphics slot and the primary M.2 SSD connection, ensuring all the bandwidth you could need for a standard AMD gaming PC.
And there are B550 motherboards, such as the Asus ROG and ASRock Taichi boards above, which offer the sort of power componentry to deliver overclocking performance too. AMD has also confirmed that both B550 and X570 will support the next generation of Ryzen CPUs.
Where they really differ, however, is in the extended feature set. While those two premium B550 boards do have an impressive feature list, the B550 chipset means that bandwidth-sensitive connections on the motherboard will be behind the top range of boards. That's thanks to the connection between the PCH on the chipset and the CPU using PCIe Gen3, as opposed to the complete Gen 4 solution across the X570s.
|B450 Chipset||B550 Chipset||X570 Chipset|
|CPU Graphics Support||x16 PCIe Gen 3||x16 PCIe Gen 4||x16 PCIe Gen 4|
|CPU Storage Support||PCIe Gen 3||PCIe Gen 4||PCIe Gen 4|
|CPU USB Ports||USB 3.1 Gen 1||USB 3.2 Gen2||USB 3.2 Gen2|
|Dual Graphics Support||No||Yes||Yes|
|General Purpose Lanes||PCIe Gen 2||PCIe Gen 3||PCIe Gen 4|
|CPU Chipset Uplink||PCIe Gen 3||PCIe Gen 3||PCIe Gen 4|
In general, the B550 motherboards are a tad more expensive than we'd like, with the ASRock B550 Taichi being the most obvious example. It's actually around the same price as the ASRock X570 Taichi, which is arguably the better board or the more fully featured.
There are cheaper B550 boards out there, such as the ASRock B550 HDV, but then you really are losing out on luxuries like decent power phase design and potentially then overall performance. That might be a cut too far if you're aiming for an affordable home for your next AMD Ryzen CPU purchase.
Your best bet is to keep in mind what features really mean the most to you. Do you need wireless networking, will you be overclocking, and how many Gen 4 SSDs are you likely to drop into your new AMD PC? If the answers are no, no, and one, then a B550 will be a good shout. Just make sure the one you pick doesn't have a similarly specced, similarly priced X570 twin lurking around.