The B450 chipset was released to the general public in the second part of July 2018 by AMD. It was released as a budget option for Ryzen customers. It offered a good price-to-performance ratio and it still managed to offer some of the more advanced features. It’s compatible with all Ryzen CPUs and it supports CPU overclocking by default, no matter the motherboard you use.
B450 is a direct successor to the B350 chipset and many experts will agree that switching from the B350 to B450 won’t feel like a massive leap, especially when you consider the fact that they almost support the same CPUs. The B450 chipset follows the release of Ryzen 2000 processors that use the Zen+ 12nm architecture. However, as we’ve already mentioned, backward compatibility has been preserved, and, for instance, B350 owners will simply have to install a BIOS update to use the Ryzen 2000 CPUs with their motherboard. The B450 chipset has been succeeded by the B550 chipset.
With that in mind, is it worth the hassle of purchasing a new motherboard for the B450 chipset? Does it really offer solid improvements and new capabilities? We’ll see what it has to offer during the course of the article!
B450 Motherboard List
|wdt_ID||Manufacturer||Model||Form||DIMM||M.2||SATA III||PCIe x16||PCIe x4||PCIe x1||SLI||CFX||Wi-Fi||RGB|
|2||ASRock||B450 Steel Legend||ATX||4||2||6||2||0||4||No||Yes||No||Yes|
|5||ASRock||B450M Steel Legend||mATX||4||2||4||2||0||1||No||Yes||No||Yes|
|8||ASRock||Fatal1ty B450 Gaming K4||ATX||4||2||6||2||0||4||No||Yes||No||Yes|
|9||ASRock||Fatal1ty B450 Gaming-ITX/ac||mITX||2||1||4||1||0||0||No||No||Yes||No|
B450 Chipset Features
The connection between the AMD B450 chipset and your Ryzen CPU is by a PCIe 3.0 x4 link but the actual chipset outputs are 6 PCIe 2.0 lanes. When it comes to data transmission and connectivity, the chipset supports 2x USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports, 6 USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, and 6x SATA 6 Gbps ports. NVMe SSDs are connected to the CPU directly.
The onboard CPU socket is AM4 and it’s safe to say that AMD has turned out to be the good guys with their AM4 socket. They’ve started using it in 2016 and its successor will only release sometime during 2020 or even later. So, that gave AM4 users plenty of time to spend with their motherboard and several CPU generations the socket supports, with customers only having to install BIOS updates when switching CPUs.
The B450 chipset does not support multiple GPU setups, unfortunately. However, you can overclock CPUs no matter which motherboard you use and get that edge in performance.
An interesting feature that wasn’t available in B350 is StoreMI. StoreMI has been discontinued on March 31, 2020 and a different technology will take its place. However, it was an interesting concept that has allowed users to create a virtual drive that has two physical locations. These two locations can be any two types of storage drives: HDD, SSD, a block of RAM, or even Optane hardware. This software is available for free for 400-series chipsets.
The best way to take advantage of it is to create a virtual drive with two drives where one is much faster than the other. For example, it would be great to combine a hard drive and an SSD. Machine learning algorithms are implemented to decide what data will be stored on which physical locations, allowing for the most important and often-used data to be available on faster drives.
B450 vs B350 vs X470
As we’ve already mentioned, B450 represents a budget solution for more casual gamers comfortable with playing with a single graphics card. It’s a direct successor to B350 and a washed down version of the high-performance X470, a more expensive representative of the 400-series AMD chipsets. Let’s see just how B450 compares against these two chipsets!
B450 vs B350
A single BIOS update will allow you to run 2nd generation AMD Ryzen CPUs with a B350 motherboard. So, what about other differences that make B450 worth your money? Well, PCIe lanes are pretty much the same, as well as the number and type of USB ports and SATA ports. TDP (Thermal Design Power) is around 5W for both chipsets. TDP represents the average dissipated power at the base clock frequency that your CPU’s heatsink will be able to compensate without heating the CPU.
Both B350 and B450 support CPU overclocking but B450 uses XFR2 (Extended Frequency Range 2) and Precision Boost Overdrive, technologies for automated CPU overclocking that allow you CPU to adapt to the situation and adjust its frequency to answer to the most intensive tasks with maximum speed and minimum power dissipation. B350 used XFR, a predecessor of XFR2 and it also worked fine but it can’t be denied that B450 motherboards will excel in performance.
However, B350 users definitely won’t be able to use CPUs based on the Zen 3 microarchitecture, scheduled for release in 2020. We’re not saying that all B450 motherboards will support these CPUs but AMD will make sure to release the code that will allow motherboard manufacturers to create BIOS updates that will support the new version of CPUs. It will use the AM4 socket but other changes might render certain motherboards unusable or they might bottleneck the chipset and prevent it from operating at the maximal performance.
Other differences include an extended PWM heatsink that has a 40% larger thermal surface area and a Flash BIOS button you can use to quickly roll-back to the previous version of BIOS in case you experience issues installing a new version. It’s not much, to be honest, but B450 is still a good choice for users who are building a new gaming rig and who are not looking to spend a fortune on a solid motherboard.
Are these differences enough to make users switch motherboards? Well, probably not, especially because you can, as of now, use the same CPUs that are available on the market. One or two new or revamped technologies are certainly not enough to make users replace one budget motherboard with another but, if you want to try out the future Zen 3 microarchitecture, you’ll have to upgrade from B350!
B450 vs X470
We’ve already mentioned how X470 is a high-performance chipset from the 400-series and it offers some more advanced capabilities when compared to B450. Since we’ve already mentioned most B450 features, we’ll only point out what X470 offers that you can’t have with B450.
For start, you’ll notice that it possesses 8 PCIe 2.0 lanes unlike B450 that only has 6. It also offers two extra SATA III (6 Gbps) ports, making it 4 in total. Hardware-wise, the last major difference is that X470 supports 6 USB 3.1 Gen 3 ports, compared to only 2 ports with B450. X470 supports a max RAM speed od 2933 MHz whereas B450 supports speeds up to 2667 MHz.
Apart from their differences, they have much in common, considering the fact that the price of the motherboards based on these chipsets differs a lot. They both use PCIe 2.0 for general purpose ports and they support the same overclocking technologies. B450 and X470 feel much more similar then B350 and X370 felt in the 300-series chipsets. Casual gamers definitely won’t be disappointed with B450 and hardcore PC enthusiasts might feel a bit withheld and possibly even cheated when it comes to the price-to-performance ration of X470.
AMD sticking to the AM4 socket provides the advantage of not having to upgrade your motherboard for a long time and still run the latest CPUs. However, it seems like, even if you upgrade to the latest chipset, you still won’t receive that many new features and technologies. We hope that the replacement of AM4 will lead to an AMD revolution where they will be able to really step up their game and possibly challenge Intel for CPU domination.
Twists and Turns: B450 Will Support Zen 3 and Ryzen 4000 CPUs
This is something we’ve already mentioned in the article but this was not originally the case! B450 was released for the Zen+ microarchitecture and AMD has stated from the beginning that the support will remain for Zen 2 (7nm microarchitecture), which was released on July 7, 2019, with Ryzen 3000 CPUs, AMD’s third desktop/laptop generation of CPUs.
Zen 3 microarchitecture combined with Ryzen 4000 CPUs has not yet hit the shelves but it’s expected to sometime during 2020. However, on May 19, 2020, AMD has announced that B450 and X470 motherboards should support these CPUs when they come out. It’s a promise and no further details have been released.
Originally, it was the 500-series chipsets (B550 and X570) that were reserved to support Zen 3 and future Ryzen 4000 processors and AMD came under fire for not enabling support for 400-series chipsets or at least the high-performance chipset like X470. Users were concerned and angry because AMD’s promise to keep the AM4 socket from 2017 through 2020 gave them a false sense of security that the motherboards with the socket will be able to run any CPU that uses the same socket.
To put it simply, users hoped that, if the CPU could physically fit in their motherboard (uses the AM4 socket), they would be able to run it. However, Ryzen 4000 processors were announced to use AM4 but there was originally no support for 400-series chipsets. This has changed, though, with AMD’s recent announcement. B450 and X470 owners must feel pretty good now!
Is B450 a Good Choice?
This is a tough question by all means. In general, it all depends on what you want to do with your gaming rig. PC enthusiasts who are ready to pay whatever the cost just to have the latest technologies and the best performance available should always aim higher and, in this case, way higher than B450.
Since its release in July 2018, there have been many different chipsets but, considering the latest news, B450 is able not to only run all currently available CPUs, but it’s also set for a future generation (Zen 3). This might be the single reason why it’s a much better choice than B350 and X370 which definitely won’t support Zen 3 and it makes it a worthy opponent to X470, B550, and X570 since its lower price somehow balances their capabilities. The short answer would be yes: B450 is a good budget choice and it will remain a good choice throughout 2020 and possibly through the first half of 2021 when we might expect a new generation of AMD CPUs.