Ahead of next month’s launch
Highly anticipated: AMD’s partners are expected to launch the AM4 B550 motherboards on June 16. With that date drawing closer, vendors have started listing models of the upcoming mobos, which offer many of the features found in the more expensive X570 platform.
News that AMD would be axing Zen 3 support on its 400-series motherboards didn’t go down well with owners of those boards, who hoped to upgrade without having to spend extra on a new mobo. But the company later backtracked, saying that it would supply board partners with a beta BIOS for B450 and X470 motherboards that enable Zen 3 support. But those who do opt for a 500-series board will have the advantage of PCIe 4.0 and full support for Zen 3.
Other B550 improvements over its predecessor include support for up to two USB 3.1 gen2 ports, dual GPUs, and the bandwidth of the motherboard’s general-purpose PCIe lanes doubling.
While the X570 platform that launched last year does have a few advantages over B550, including increased bandwidth, most gamers are unlikely to need the extra bells and whistles, especially as they can grab the upcoming boards at more reasonable prices—starting at $100.
As is usually the case with new-chipset motherboards, each manufacturer offers several models of B550 mobos with different features and at various price points.
Asus says it has eleven new B550 boards listed on its website at the moment. Covering the ROG, TUF, and Prime families, they include PCIe 4.0 M.2 and 16x slots, WiFi 6 (on ROG boards), 2.5Gbps Ethernet, and USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C, among other features.
Gigabyte/Aorus has six boards listed. These include up to Direct 16 phases of digital power design, pre-installed I/O shields, and advanced thermal solutions.
MSI has ten B550 motherboards on its website covering its MPG, MAG, and PRO series brands. These boast “aggressive” VRM power designs (up to 21 + 2 + 1), component shielding, and aRGB interfaces.
ASRock has the choice of 12 mobos. They include the B550 Taichi as the high-end flagship, which features a 16 Phase VRM design and support for memory speeds up to 4,733 MHz.
Finally, Biostar will be selling the B550GTA—an ATX board—and the B550GTQ for those after a mATX build. Both are part of the company’s Racing series.