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AMD has set the release date for the B550 chipset for June 16. However, it’s safe to say that we pretty much know everything about it even before the official release. It’s partly due to AMD sharing information with us and partly because motherboard manufacturers have already made many motherboard models available for viewing and perhaps even preorder.
The B550 chipset comes as the successor to the B450 chipset and it still represents a chipset oriented towards gamers on a budget, trying to provide the best price-to-performance balance. Besides that, B550 presents a turning point in a way, in a sense that backward compatibility for certain CPUs has come to an end. For example, the support for 2000 Series processors is officially ending with B550. However, this probably won’t present a problem for users as it sets the chipset more future-oriented. We’ll go back to see just how will B550 hold up in the future of new AMD CPUs and chipsets.
The biggest question for anyone looking to replace their motherboard or build a new rig from scratch is whether B550 is suitable for them and whether motherboards based on this chipset are good enough for their price. Let’s dive into the details and hopefully provide a good answer!
List of B550 Motherboards
|wdt_ID||Manufacturer||Model||Form||DIMM||M.2||SATAIII||PCIe x16||PCIe x4||PCIe x1||SLI||CFX||Wi-Fi||RGB|
|2||ASRock||B550 PG Velocit||ATX||4||2||6||2||0||2||No||Yes||No||Yes|
|3||ASRock||B550 Phantom Gaming 4||ATX||4||2||6||2||0||2||No||Yes||No||No|
|4||ASRock||B550 Phantom Gaming 4/ac||ATX||4||2||4||2||0||2||No||Yes||Yes||No|
|5||ASRock||B550 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ax||mITX||2||2||4||1||0||0||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|7||ASRock||B550 Steel Legend||ATX||4||2||6||2||0||2||No||Yes||No||Yes|
|10||ASRock||B550M Steel Legend||mATX||4||2||6||2||0||1||No||Yes||No||Yes|
B550 Chipset Features
To start our list of B550 features, we have the PCIe 4.0 support with 20 lanes, 4 of them for the chipset uplink, and 16 lanes for storage support. For general purpose lanes, you will have to stick with PCIe 3.0. AMD also promises up to 4x usable PCIe 3.0 lanes and 8x usable PCIe 2.0 lanes. Another important feature is USB connectivity and B550 is really up for the task. It supports up to 2 USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports, 6 USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, 6 USB 2.0 ports, and up to 8 SATA ports.
B550 motherboards will support a dual GPU configuration, which is a major step forward in the B-series of AMD chipsets. Dual GPU support was previously available only on X-series chipsets: X470 and X570. This is definitely good news for gaming enthusiasts as they will now be able to rock 2 GPUs and overclock their CPUs, bridging the gap between B-series and X-series chipsets. That being said, B550 is closer to fulfilling a gamer’s dream for a much lower price than X570.
Overclocking is enabled by default so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to squeeze out every bit of performance from your B550 motherboard paired with a compatible CPU. AMD has promised to stick with the AM4 CPU socket until 2020 but it seems the support is continued as the yet-to-be-released B550 chipsets are confirmed to use this long-term socket, that has been AMD’s primary choice since 2016. However, despite AMD using the same socket for many years, it doesn’t necessarily mean that all chipsets and CPUs are compatible with each other. As we’ve mentioned, AMD has decided to draw the line with B550 and cut support for below Ryzen 3000. Also, Ryzen 3000 series processors with onboard graphics (AMD Ryzen™ 5 3400G & AMD Ryzen™ 3 3200G) are not supported.
That’s right! It’s just state-of-art for B550 and its users. However, the most important thing regarding B550 and its processor compatibility is that is will support the future Zen 3 microarchitecture and, subsequently, the fourth generation of AMD’s desktop/laptop processors, already known as the Ryzen 4000 series.
This is to be expected from a chipset being released in this period. However, nobody expected that its predecessor, the B450 chipset, will also support the same processors when they come out. This is something AMD has released recently and it’s definitely great news for many gamers looking to upgrade. Ryzen 4000 CPUs are expected to hit the shelves sometime during 2020 and AMD still hasn’t set a date. In this turn of events, everyone with either B450, X470, B550, or X570 will be able to shot for a new Ryzen 4000 CPU by the end of this year.
AMD has originally imagined that B550 and X570 would be the pioneers of the Zen 3 architecture but their plan has backfired because people complained that they were being left out. The AM4 socket is available in older motherboards as well and Ryzen 4000 series processors will still use the same socket, leading to everyone being furious about AMD breaking the compatibility. However, they listened to their customers and kept the support. Still, B550 was originally developed with Ryzen 4000 in mind and you should nonetheless aim to pair these two if you are looking to purchase a new motherboard with a new CPU.
B550 vs B450 vs X570
B550 is a successor to B450 and it’s considered as a more budget-friendly option from the 500-series chipsets when compared to X570. However, X570 has better performance to back up its higher price. Let’s check out the core differences between them!
B550 vs B450
We’ve already mentioned how a sudden change of mind in AMD’s headquarters has made sure that B450 and B550 pretty much support the same CPUs. This is a bit surprising because B450 was released bay back in July 2018 and B550 is yet to be released. However, you’ll probably be a lot safer with B550 if you decide to get a future Ryzen 4000 series CPU.
Some may argue that the available PCIe 4.0 ports in B550 might represent a significant advantage over B450, which only uses up to 4x PCIe 3.0 and 6x PCIe 2.0 lanes. However, many benchmarks have proven what we all knew deep inside: PCIe 4.0 doesn’t really mean much to gamers. Pretty much the most important thing where PCIe 4.0 has the upper hand is copying large amounts of data. In other, gaming-related scenarios, PCIe 3.0 and PCIe 4.0 go hand-in-hand. That’s probably the reason why Intel is sticking with PCIe 3.0 for all these years.
An important difference in CPU compatibility is that B550 doesn’t support 3200G/3400G APUs. If you are oriented towards the future, you should definitely go ahead with a B550 motherboard. The only reason to choose B450 if you already own it, if you use an APU no longer supported on B550, or if someone offers it to you for $20. In other scenarios, B550 really provides both the price and the performance suitable for a budget chipset/motherboard. Also, B550 supports a dual GPU configuration whereas B450 doesn’t.
B550 vs X570
So, you’ve decided to take a “big” step forward and buy a motherboard with a 500 series chipset. You’ll still have to choose between B550, a budget option, and X570, a high-performance option for gaming enthusiasts.
In comparison to B550, X570 officially brings general purpose PCIe 4.0 support and it may mark the end of an era dominated by PCIe 3.0, as soon as Intel decides to step in on the PCIe 4.0 action. Also, you’ll have access to 8 USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports and 4 USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, which is a significant number when compared to B550.
Both of these chipsets and the related motherboards support overclocking. However, X-series motherboards generally provide better onboard cooling as they were designed for higher-end CPUs. Talking about the price is difficult since the announced prices will fluctuate leading to and after the release. However, the relatively significant difference between the prices of B550 and X570 might lead to users wondering whether PCIe 4.0 support and extra USB ports are really worth that much.
|Max I/O||10 PCIe 3.0|
18 USB (2x SuperSpeed)
|16 PCIe 3.0
18 USB (8x SuperSpeed)
|Graphics Support||x16 PCIe 4.0||x16 PCIe 4.0|
|Storage Support||PCIe 4.0||PCIe 4.0|
|Chipset Uplink||x4 PCIe 3.0||x4 PCIe 4.0|
|General Purpose Lanes||PCIe 3.0||PCIe 4.0|
|SoC USB Ports||USB 3.1 Gen 2||USB 3.1 Gen 2|
|Dual Graphics Support||Yes||Yes|
B550 News Timeline
B550 Chipset Details ‘Leaked’ (September 25, 2019)
B550 specifications have reportedly been revealed by HKEPS, a Hong Kong Media, as a part of their ASRock’s X570 Creator motherboard review. However, this has not aged well, because the specifications mentioned in their release are not what AMD has released later.
First of all, the number of USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports has not even been released and it mentioned that the chipset uplink will be handled by 4 lanes of PCIe 3.0, when instead AMD has opted to use PCIe 4.0. The rest of the information released turned out correct but it may as well have been an educated guess.
AMD Confirms Compatibility Between B550/X570 Boards and AMD Ryzen 4000 Processors (May 7, 2020)
AMD has waited until May 7 confirm something we’ve known since B550 was announced: it’s designed for the future and the future is represented by Ryzen 4000 processors. However, it’s safe to say that many people were still relieved to hear that as you never know what will CPU companies like Intel and AMD do next, just to amaze or confuse people.
The biggest controversy is always regarding CPU sockets with either Intel releasing a new one for each generation or AMD keeping the same one but breaking compatibility anyway. We might not be able to understand their actions but it’s not like we have a third choice
AMD Confirms B450/X470 Compatibility with Ryzen 4000 (May 20, 2020)
Only two weeks after confirming 500-series chipsets’ compatibility with Ryzen 4000, AMD has decided to shock the world and announce that their predecessors will also be able to support these CPUs with a simple BIOS update. It’s an answer to their customer’s rage regarding AMD breaking compatibility without changing the CPU socket.
What remains to be seen is how well will such motherboard/chipset/CPU configurations work and will they be able to fully exploit the potential of Ryzen 4000.
B550 Motherboards Becoming Listed on Manufacturers’ Websites (May 21, 2020)
With the B550 chipset being ready to drop on June 16, manufacturers have been racing to list their B550 motherboards and attract customers with cool designs and numerous features. Over 60 designs have been announced by motherboard manufacturing leaders, including ASUS, ASRock, BioStar, MSI, and GIGABYTE.
Prices are expected to fluctuate before staying steady after the release but we believe that users will be able to buy a solid motherboard with any reasonable budget, as it has always been the case with AMD.