AMD B550 vs X570 Motherboards: Which Should You Buy?

AMD’s much-awaited B550 chipsets have finally arrived replacing the B450 chipset from two years ago. The B550 chipset carries over much of the higher-end X570 features making it a viable option if you are in the market for a motherboard to use with your Ryzen processor. So, the question arises, B550 vs. X570: which should you buy? In this article, we will discuss the significant differences and find out which of these motherboards is better for you.

Differences between B550 and X570 Motherboards:

The differences at a glance:

Chipset PCIe connectivity: PCIe 4.0 is the next generation of connectivity between the motherboard’s different components. Whereas X570 motherboards make use of PCIe 4.0, B550 motherboards use of PCIe 4.0 connectivity is quite limited (more info below). Though, the B550 limited use of PCIe 4.0 is a step up from B450 motherboards which have no PCIe 4.0 connectivity. 

Performance and Overclocking: The X570 series of motherboards come equipped with a higher number Voltage Regulator Modules or VRMs for better and more regulated power delivery to your CPU, allowing for more stable overclocking and better performance when compared to B550 motherboards.

Nvidia SLI and NVLink Support: If you are looking for a dual GPU configuration, you will need a motherboard that supports Nvidia’s SLI or NVLink technology. Most X570 motherboards will support them while the only the more premium B550 offerings have the option.

Price: X570 motherboards are the more premium option and offer more features than B550 making them significantly more expensive.

10 Gbps USB and SATA connectivity: The B550 chipset supports much less 10 Gbps high-speed USB lanes and SATA ports than the X570, resulting in much fewer USB 3.0 ports when compared to the X570. But this is not really a deal-breaker, as USB 2.0 ports are perfectly fine for your peripherals.

The differences in more detail:

PCIe 4.0 Support

PCIe 4.0 support will enable a maximum bandwidth of 16 GT/s per lane over the 8 GT/s of the older PCIe 3.0, which means that it will require half the number of lanes for running your GPU or SSD. The advantage is that there will be free lanes for extra SSD slots and even Nvidia’s SLI or NVLink certification. The main difference is that the B550 chipset connects to the processor via a four-lane PCIe 3.0 connection while the X570 uses PCIe 4.0. This allows AMD to add 16 PCIe 4.0 lanes to the X570 chipset while the B550 has none.

However, for the B550 chipset, PCIe 4.0 connectivity will run on the CPU directly to the primary PCIex16 and M.2 slots meaning that B550 motherboards will support PCIe 4.0 for up to two devices, unlike B450 motherboards. The manufacturer can use these PCIe 4.0 lanes to provide a variety of features like extra PCIe 4.0 M.2 slots which makes the X570 a more appealing buy but at a higher price.

Connectivity

Continuing from the difference in the number of PCIe 4.0 lanes from the chipset, the X570 allows for more 8 USB (3.0) 10 Gbps ports than the B550, meaning that most ports on your PC can make use of faster data transfer speeds when compared to the two on the B550. Also, an additional eight reconfigurable SATA ports on the X570 are excellent if you are looking for a motherboard with a more significant number of storage options, but keep in mind that this will need to be configured by the manufacturer, so check the amount of SATA ports before purchasing.

VRM Power Phases

The VRMs of your motherboard regulates the amount of power delivered to your CPU by splitting the total energy. The more VRMs, the better since there is more control over the exact power delivered and reduces the load on the individual VRMs, reducing the possibility of failure. X570 motherboards always have a higher number of VRMs than their B550 counterparts, although some premium B550 boards provide more than the usual. This allows you to overclock even the more powerful processors like Ryzen 9 while maintaining a stable system allowing you to squeeze out more performance.

Supported Chipsets:

Before you decide to go out and buy these motherboards for your processor, you need to make sure that your processor is supported. Here is a comprehensive list of processors that have support on both systems:

X570:

  1. Zen 3 Ryzen Processors
  2. 3rd Gen Ryzen Processors
  3. 3rd Gen Ryzen Processors with Integrated Graphics
  4. 2nd Gen Ryzen Processors
  5. 2nd Gen Ryzen Processors with Integrated Graphics
  6. 1st Gen Ryzen Processors (Only AF models)

B550:

  1. Zen 3 Ryzen Processors
  2. 3rd Gen Ryzen Processors
  3. 3rd Gen Ryzen Processors with Integrated Graphics

Ryzen 4000 Support

Both motherboards will support the upcoming 4th Generation of Ryzen processors allowing for reasonable future-proofing, and although the older B450 and X470 will support these chipsets, it will involve a flashing process making them incompatible with current processors. Now that you know the differences between both chipsets and the CPU support for each, head on below to find out what is best for you.

Who is the AMD B550 chipset for?

ASUS ROG Strix B550-F Gaming AMD AM4 (3rd Gen Ryzen ATX Gaming Motherboard (PCIe 4.0, 2.5Gb LAN, BIOS Flashback, HDMI 2.1, Addressable Gen 2 RGB Header and Aura Sync)

You should buy a B550 motherboard if you are looking for a cheaper X570 alternative with better VRMs than B450 motherboards, PCIe 4.0 support, and future-proofing at a lower price point.

Why you should buy a B550 motherboard:

Cheaper Yet Very Capable X570 Alternative

If you have a budget of about $200 or less for a motherboard, the B550 is most likely the best choice for you. The B550 chipset offers excellent value for your build as it manages to port over most of the features from the X570 at a considerably lower price when compared to more premium X570 boards. So unless you need the extra features and slightly better VRMs of X570, you should choose the B550 instead.

Performance/Overclocking 

B550 motherboards will provide the best results when paired with processors like the Ryzen 5 to 7 series and you can overclock them fairly well without running into stability issues. For the top-of-the-line processors like the Ryzen 9 series, which draw more power, it is better to stick with the X570, especially if you plan on overclocking for better stability and performance.

PCIe 4.0 Support

As stated above, B550 motherboards are limited when it comes to PCIe 4.0, but the fact of the matter is that it does support PCIe 4.0, meaning that you will get at least 1 PCIe 4.0 M.2 slot and some USB 3.0 ports for faster connectivity. For example, if you want to utilize a PCIe 4.0 M.2 SDD, a B550 motherboard would be the better choice, rather than a B450 motherboard. 

CPUs we recommend to use with B550 Motherboards:

  • Ryzen 7 3700X
  • Ryzen 5 3600XT
  • Ryzen 5 3600X
  • Ryzen 5 3600
  • Ryzen 5 3500X
  • Ryzen 5 3500

Who is the AMD X570 chipset for?

Asus AM4 TUF Gaming X570-Plus (Wi-Fi) ATX motherboard with PCIe 4.0, dual M.2, 12+2 with Dr. MOS power stage, HDMI, DP, SATA 6Gb/s, USB 3.2 Gen 2 and Aura Sync RGB lighting

You should buy an X570 motherboard if you are looking for a top of the line motherboard to pair with you Ryzen 7 or 9 processor that has better VRMs, extensive PCIe 4.0 support, and other features when compared to the B550 motherboards.

Why you should buy an X570 motherboard:

Higher Core Count CPUs and Overclocking

 X570 boards with superior power delivery in the form of a higher number of VRMs will easily be able to overclock even the most power-hungry processors like the Ryzen 9 series with relatively better stability. Also, many X570 motherboards have better quality VRMs and cooling solutions for more reliability and longevity. If you are looking to get a Ryzen 7 or 9 CPU, or are just an enthusiast looking to squeeze out the maximum performance from such processors, we recommend going with the X570 for the best results.

Extensive PCIe 4.0 and USB 3.0 Support and Overall Connectivity:

X570 motherboards have 16 PCIe 4.0 general purpose lanes. With this, motherboard manufacturers can repurpose some of those lanes to provide a host of different features like extra PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSD slots for faster storage.

X570 boards also manage to have a more significant number of high-speed USB 3.0 ports and faster internet options like 10 GiB ethernet.  Which for example is especially helpful if you need a PC that can hook up to several devices and transfer data quickly or if you want to work off a NAS.

CPUs we recommend to use with X570 Motherboards:

  • Ryzen 9 3950X
  • Ryzen 9 3900XT
  • Ryzen 9 3900X
  • Ryzen 7 3800XT
  • Ryzen 7 3800X
  • Ryzen 7 3700X

Closing thoughts:

The B550 and X570 are excellent choices for Ryzen CPU’s as they provide the right amount of features like PCIe 4.0 and future CPU compatibility making these a good investment for your PC, especially if you are looking for upgrading to the next generation Zen 3 processors soon.

We recommend going with the B550 if you are looking to use a processor like the Ryzen 5 3600 with a decent level of overclocking and looking to use your desktop for a typical use case. You can use the money saved by going with the B550 to upgrade parts of your build like the SSD or GPU, which will give you a more significant performance upgrade over the X570.

The X570, on the other hand, is an excellent option for those looking to use the more powerful Ryzen processors like the Ryzen 9 series and enthusiasts looking to gain the maximum from their PC. If you need the extra high-speed ports, additional storage connections, or faster network connectivity, X570 boards have specialized versions to suit your needs without compromising on the performance of other components. The X570 works best with builds where the budget is not a constraint and proves to be highly reliable.

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