X470 Vs. B450 Motherboards
AMD has officially released their new affordable B450 motherboard platform compatible with their current 2nd gen Ryzen CPUs. Their new platform targets more budget-oriented gamers who want a good motherboard for their new CPU but do not want to spend too much on a premium board with the X470 chipset.
But what motherboard is the right one for you? Should you go for an X470 or a B450 motherboard? Besides answering that question, we will highlight the best Ryzen motherboards for each platform, so you know precisely what motherboards to look for in each category. Before moving on, let us take a look at the specifications offered by the new X450 platform and how they compare to the already well-established X470 platform:
X470 Vs. B450 Motherboard Specifications
|Form Factor||ATX, MITX||ATX, M-ATX|
|Precision Boost Overdrive||YES||YES|
|USB 3.1 Gen 2||2||2|
|USB 3.1 Gen 1||10||6|
|DDR4 DIMM Support||4||4|
|PCIe Gen3 Lanes||16 (Ryzen 7 CPU)||16 (Ryzen 7 CPU)|
|PCIe Gen2 Lanes||8||6|
So what information can we retrieve from the table? Most features you would want from an X470 motherboard are also present on the B450 boards. Overclocking support, Precision Boost 2 and XFR2 are also supported on both boards. B450 also comes equipped with NVMe support along with SATA Express. Features that are cut down on the B450 boards are SATA 6GB/s ports which get reduced from 6 to 4, lesser PCIe2 lanes from 6 to 4 as well as fewer USB 3.1 Gen1 ports which decreased from 10 to 6. Support for USB Gen2 and USB 2.0 remain the same. The biggest “downside” of the B450 is the absence of SLI and Crossfire support. So if you want to run a dual or triple GPU configuration, you should exclude B450 boards from your shopping list.
Apart from sheer numbers, the main drawback of B450 motherboards are the power phases. Motherboard manufacturers claim that some of their boards support 8+3 power phases although the VRM configuration of their boards is not on par with the X470 ones. But more on that later.
X470 or B450? What is the right choice for you?
There is no denying that an X470 board is the better choice if you aim for longevity. For example, if you bought a Ryzen 7 CPU like the Ryzen 7 2700X and intend to keep it for a long time while getting some extra juice out of it with overclocking, an X470 motherboard, it would be wiser to invest into a $200 X470 board. Not that the B450 are not trustworthy or lack quality standards, it is just that they are stripped down X470 versions. If you do not intend to overclock your Ryzen 7 CPU, however, a B450 motherboard would do just fine as long as you do not get extremely cheap and choose one that is from $100-$130. Below $100, you compromise quality for budget and do not expect a lower quality motherboard to last you as long as an X470 or quality B450 motherboard. Briefly, if you are a hard overclocker and aim to keep your motherboard and processor for a couple of years, go for an X470 motherboard instead.
In case you have a Ryzen 5 or think of buying an upcoming Ryzen 3 CPU, B450 boards should be your go-to choice. There is no need for spending less on a CPU and purchasing a $200 motherboard to go with it. B450 boards are the best companion for Ryzen 5 motherboards like the Ryzen 5 2600X or Ryzen 5 2600. Until now, owners of Ryzen 5 CPUs had to either buy a B350 board or spend more on an X470 motherboard. Since B450 got released, Ryzen 5 owners should opt for those boards and skip the X470 platform entirely. If you do not care about fewer USB ports, worse VRM and the lack of SLI and Crossfire, the B450 platform is just right for you, especially if you are budget-oriented.
Top #5 X470 Motherboards
A plethora of X470 motherboards is available on the market since the platform has been around for almost six months and motherboard manufacturers had their time to release all their boards and improve their compatibility with current Ryzen CPUs. To make it easier for you, I have picked out the #5 best X470 motherboards which are listed below:
1. MSI X470 Gaming Pro Carbon AC
The MSI X470 Gaming Pro Carbon AC is a nice looking motherboard that not only looks good but also delivers in performance. With a 10-phase power VRM, this board is guaranteed to keep your CPU’s temperature under control. It has Steel Armor PCIe and RAM slots and comes with Bluetooth and WiFi support. The board also features gaming features like low latency Intel LAN, excellent audio as well as software tools that enhance your gaming experience. An M.2 shield right beneath the upper PCIe slot will shield your NVMe drive and provide cool operating temperatures. Six fan headers are included so no need to invest in an external fan controller. All fans can be easily connected to the motherboard and controlled via the BIOS. The board has impressive RGB lighting support with 3 distinctive RGB fan connectors available on the board. All RGB cables are available in the package so you do not have to go out and buy them separately.
The MSI X470 Gaming Pro Carbon AC combines aesthetics and quality effectively and is a board worth looking at.
For a full review of The MSI X470 Gaming Pro Carbon AC, CLICK HERE.
2. Gigabyte X470 Aorus Gaming 7
The first thing that stands out with the Gigabyte X470 Aorus Gaming 7 is its slick color combinations. The black and orange color theme blends in perfectly and looks terrific in my opinion. The board also features full RGB support with up to 300 LED strips and individual color patterns that can be chosen and applied via the RGB Fusion software. The board is not just about looks, however. A 10+2 power phase design ensures excellent CPU temperatures even under extreme overclocking conditions. WiFi and Bluetooth are included too so if you are having difficulties getting a LAN connection, switching to WiFi is always an excellent alternative. There is support for 2x M.2 drives, and the upper NVMe is covered by a shield to ensure low temperatures. Motherboard manufacturers tend to have the I/O shield already attached to the motherboard saving you from the frustration to add it yourself or even forget about it entirely and have to remove the motherboard after realizing it. The Gigabyte X470 Aorus Gaming 7 also features supreme audio quality with a brand new HD Audio Codec and individually customizable software settings for gaming and listening to music.
3. ASRock X470 Taichi
The ASRock X470 Taichi is the premium motherboard offering by AsRock featuring a 16-phase power design for great overclocking stability even under very high voltage. Support for 2x M.2 sockets is included along with the M.2 shield just like the Gigabyte and MSI variants. PCIe and RAM steel slots ensure that the motherboard can accommodate even the biggest graphics cards without bending issues. Many times we suppose that our RAM is faulty while the slots themselves are often to blame. With steel memory slots you minimize the risk of damaging your motherboard’s slots. WiFi and Bluetooth are available and again having integrated WiFi is far better than relying on an external WiFi adapter for accessing the web. Dual-band WiFi (2,4 GHz and 5 GHz) is essential nowadays and switching from 2,4 to 5 GHz will help when you are having problems accessing the internet. Bluetooth’s usefulness is degrading with time, but it is still a nice feature to have. USB Gen2 Type A and C give you plenty of connectivity options. If you care about RGB lighting, the ASRock X470 Taichi has you covered with four LED headers available on the board. ASRock might not be considered one of the top 3 motherboard manufacturers in the past like Asus, Gigabyte, and MSI but they have stepped up their game by releasing great motherboards with excellent features for their price. A 16- phase power design, for example, is not something you will find on a $200 board from any other manufacturer.
4. Asus Rog Crosshair VII Hero
When the best motherboards on the market come to mind, Asus Rog Crosshair motherboards have always been the top choice for anyone looking for the one of the best, if not the best, premium motherboard. The Asus Rog Crosshair VII Hero fits in that category perfectly. A 12-phase power phase design, 8x USB 3.1 Gen1 Ports, the support for 2x M.2 NVMe drives with the classic M.2 shield, its enhanced RAM and PCIe slots and the ROG Supreme 8-channel audio with Japanese capacitors and gold-plated jacks are only some of the features that make this board stand out from the rest. The Q-connector included lets you easily connect the power and reset cables which can be bothersome especially for new PC builders. The Q-Connector indicates where every cable belongs, and the connector itself connects to the motherboard. The Asus Rog Crosshair VII Hero comes with an onboard clock generator that allows for better dynamic CPU clocks, allowing you to reach your CPU’s maximum potential with or without overclocking. 3600 MHz RAM frequency support is the maximum we have seen on any Ryzen motherboard because Ryzen can still be considered a new platform with flaws and weaknesses. Ryzen also takes great advantage of high memory frequencies, so seeing support for 3600 MHz modules is undoubtedly welcome. The BIOS interface is easy to use and grants you access to all necessary features like overclocking, individual fan control and other UEFI settings.
The Asus Rog Crosshair VII Hero is not just about performance, but it also combines aesthetics. ASUS Aura Sync gives you complete control over lighting effects with presets you can choose like breathing, waving, rainbow and flash effects. With a total of 12 presets customizable through the AURA lighting control software, you can give your motherboard a distinct look according to your liking. Color combinations are endless and can be altered from within the software. Additionally, ASUS AURA Sync allows you to sync your motherboard’s chromatic preferences with other ASUS peripherals like mouse, headphones, graphics cards and monitors supporting AURA Sync.
5. Asus Rog Strix X470-F gaming
The Asus Rog Strix X470-F is an impressive board and should be considered a stripped-down version of the Asus Rog Crosshair VII Hero. A few compromises on this board compared to its bigger brother are the 10+1 power phase design, the exclusion of an M.2 shield (although two M.2 sockets are included), the lack of integrated WiFi and Bluetooth and, surprisingly, eight USB 3.1 Gen1 ports just like the Asus Rog Crosshair VII Hero. Apart from that, the Asus Rog Strix X470-F is an ideal choice for gamers with great overclocking potential, sturdy RAM and PCIe slots, SLI/Crossfire support, RGB support with the ASUS AURA Sync technology and quality audio features for streaming, gaming or listening to music while browsing.
The Asus Rog Strix X470-F is the best X470 motherboard in my opinion because it combines aesthetics, performance features and all the essentials that will guarantee you an excellent gaming experience.
For a full review of the Asus Rog Strix X470-F, CLICK HERE.
Top #5 brand-new B450 Motherboards
AMD launched their newest B450 platform for their second-gen Ryzen CPUs and is the cheaper alternative many of us have been waiting for in comparison with the much more expensive X470 motherboards. Do not misinterpret, although, less costly with lousy quality. B450 boards still provide excellent features like overclocking support, CPU features like Precision Boost 2 and XFR2 and the same amount of PCIe lanes and NVMe drive support. Multi-GPU configurations are not supported, thermals are not on par with X470 motherboards due to lower power phases and fewer MOSFETs. You will hear about 8 and 9-phase power designs although these numbers are more about marketing than anything else since the power phase descriptions do not match the thermal design of the motherboards. Manufacturers have to cut down features to justify the lower prices, and VRM temperatures are affected by it. You also sacrifice four USB 3.1 Gen1 ports and two SATA 6GB ports. If these features are not a necessity to you and you are looking for a more affordable motherboard for your Ryzen CPU, keep on reading as I will show you the top #5 B450 boards your money can buy. With no further ado, let us get right into it:
1. MSI B450 Tomahawk
The MSI Tomahawk series of motherboards has always been reliable, and the MSI B450 tomahawk is no exception. My first motherboard was the MSI Z170 Tomahawk, and I had no problems with this motherboard for more than two years. The Tomahawk series has always been about simplicity and core features indicated by its simple design. The black and grey color combination is perfect for any color-schemed build as it blends in perfectly. The heatsinks on the MSI B450 Tomahawk are way ahead of its competition with heavy plated gaming heatsinks, PCIe and memory Steel Armor slots are also present here as well as one M.2 slot, but do not expect any M.2 shield at this price. Nevertheless, the M.2 driver support is excellent to have for a sub $150 motherboard. Premium audio capacitors are a nice addition, so you do not need to compromise on audio quality. Type C USB connector has made its way on the MSI B450 tomahawk, too. MSI did not forget the importance of RGB lighting in 2018 and lets you customize RGB lighting with the MSI Mystic Light software. MSI Mystic Light permits you to sync lighting patterns with other peripheral and hardware supporting the MSI Mystic Light feature. 4x system fan headers are seldom seen on a sub $130 motherboard, too.
Overall, the MSI B450 tomahawk packs a ton of features for its price, but this is not the main reason why it is the best B450 board your money can buy. A video from Hardware Unboxed, a great youtube channel for gamers, tested VRM temperatures of five B450 motherboards and the MSI B450 Tomahawk outperformed its competition by a large margin. Check out the video for yourself and make sure to subscribe to their channel for excellent content around PC Hardware:
2. Asus Rog Strix B450-F gaming
Just like the Asus Rog Strix X470-F gaming, the Asus Rog Strix B450-F gaming is a toned-down version of the former with similar characteristics. A nice feature that seems to be the standard for every new ASUS board is the already integrated I/O shield and the plethora of USB 3.1 ports besides the fact that this board is much cheaper than its X470 counterpart. ASUS certainly knows how to design beautiful motherboards with the Asus Rog Strix B450-F gaming featuring the classic black-grey-silver design which, again, can be combined with any color-scheme build. 2x PCIe 3.0 lanes allow for Crossfire support although the second lane only supports x8 and, therefore, does not support SLI. The embedded ASUS logo on the motherboard and the slick looking “gaming logo” on the down right corner are undoubtedly lovely additions and give the board a more premium look. Do not be fooled, though, into believing that the B450 board will offer identical or similar temperatures to the X470 version as this board only supports an 8-phase power design. It can handle overclocking but will not break any records as your CPU can get unstable once you surpass the 1,4 Volt threshold on Ryzen processors.
If you favor the Asus Rog Strix X470-F gaming but feel uncomfortable with spending too much money, the Asus Rog Strix B450-F gaming is an identically looking motherboard which will do its job splendidly and be more close to your budget, and, therefore, is the perfect choice for you.
3. ASRock B450 Gaming K4
ASRock continues to deliver excellent boards at all price ranges. The ASRock B450 Gaming K4 features a 9-phase power design, six USB 3.1 Gen1+ two USB 3.1 Gen2 ports, 7.1 HD Audio support, Crossfire support as well as support for two M.2 ports. The Creative Sound Blaster Cinema 5 offers a great audio experience with support for 5.1 and 7.1 surround audio. With DDR4 memory support up to 3200 MHz, you can take advantage of your CPU by going for high-speed RAM.
Read more about the advantages that high-speed RAM offers, at this link.
ASRock has not forgotten about RGB Lighting by providing their software for tuning their motherboard’s visual effects via the Polychrome RGB Sync software. The software is compatible with LED strips and has the standard presets of lighting effects. In general, while ASRock included RGB features, they are not as impressive and customizable as ASUS boards and leave much to be desired. If you do not care about RGB, this should not be an issue, but for you RGB lovers out there, this is indeed a drawback.
4. MSI B450 Gaming Pro Carbon AC
The MSI B450 Gaming Pro Carbon AC is, in my opinion, the best looking motherboard. Having bought the MSI Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon AC along with my core i7 8700K 6 months ago (just before the release of 2nd-gen Ryzen), I can confirm that the aesthetical appeal of this board is very pleasing. While the MSI X470 version of the motherboard is packed with features, the B450 variant includes way more features than other B450 motherboards. First of all, WiFi and Bluetooth are included, an excellent addition to a sub $130 motherboard. MSI decided not to cut out the M.2 shield and provide two M.2 ports as well. If you count in the PCIe Steel Armor slots and the support for 3466 MHz memory, the second highest DDR4 frequency support for Ryzen CPUs, you cannot argue that the MSI B450 Gaming Pro Carbon AC is a motherboard worth considering, primarily due to its lower price.
The quality decrease can be observed in the 9-phase power design with lower quality MOSFETs and the lack of SLI support. The motherboard even features four fan connectors (identical to the X470 board) and two USB 3.1 Gen1 and two USB 3.1 Gen2 ports one of which supports Type-C. The only downside is that MSI decided to include six USB 2.0 ports instead of providing more USB 3.1 ports instead of USB 2.0. I guess they had to do it to justify the price. Audio quality is pretty much the same on the X470, and B450 motherboards with distinctive audio capacitors, Audio Boost 4 and the Nahmic software allowing you to customize audio presets for gaming, browsing, and music.
I find it hard not to recommend the MSI B450 Gaming Pro Carbon AC, and it would be my choice if I were to buy a B450 motherboard right now. Only a few lower quality features in comparison to the MSI X470 Gaming Pro Carbon AC, a neat looking board with plenty RGB features to get your hands on and good overclocking performance due to its 9-phase power design, make the MSI B450 Gaming Pro Carbon AC hard to bypass.
5. Asus TUF B450-Plus Gaming
It would be a shame not to include another B450 ASUS motherboard, with ASUS having the best reputation as a motherboard manufacturer and for a good reason. The ASUS TUF B450-Plus Gaming main marketing point is its PCIe and RAM slots which integrate fortifying metal making them more resistant to attrition. The board supports one M.2 SATA drive, but do not expect an M.2 shield this time. Although the ASUS TUF B450-Plus Gaming only features a 6-phase power design, its MOSFETs, capacitors, and chokes are enhanced for better power delivery, however, do not expect to reach the same overclocking results as X470 ASUS motherboards. On an aesthetical level, ASUS chose to go for a black-grey-yellow design with the yellow parts being distinguishable on the I/O shield, the TUF logo and right above the audio capacitors. I really like the looks of this board, and do not think that anyone should have a problem with ASUS’ color choices, notably since the board features outstanding RGB support. The ASUS TUF B450-Plus Gaming supports DDR4 memory up to 3200 MHz which is standard for most B450 motherboards.
A few drawbacks are the weak 6-phase power design, the inclusion of too many USB 2.0 ports (six in total) instead of going for more USB 3.1 ports and the lack of WiFi and Bluetooth support which are important for gamers who cannot connect to the internet via LAN. ASUS, on the contrary to MSI, has taken out a lot of features for their B450 boards something to be expected at this price. However, it would be nice if they could offer a better power phase design for superior overclocking stability and an extra M.2 SATA slot since many gamers switch to NVMe drives nowadays.
Choose according to your preferences, needs and budget
These are, in my opinion, the best Ryzen motherboards for both X470 and the newest B450 chipsets. Both chipsets are worth considering, it all comes down to preferences, needs, and budget. No need to spend the extra cash on an X470 motherboard if you do not care much about overclocking and all you do is gaming, for example. Combining an X470 motherboard with a Ryzen 7 motherboard is an excellent choice because the Ryzen 7 will last you for a long time and you need a motherboard to last you as long as possible. On the flipside, if you are budget-oriented and have decided to get your hands on a Ryzen 5 2600 or Ryzen 5 2600X or even hold off your purchase until the release of the Ryzen 3 CPUs, your money is much better spent on a B450 motherboard.
The decision is up to you, and you should include all those factors in your buying decision.
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