B450 vs B550

AMD’s B450 has been a popular motherboard chipset for years, but the new B550 chipset may convince you to take advantage of its features. However, their different prices may make it difficult for you to choose. So, what are the main differences between the B450 vs B550 chipset?

The B550 chip offers no major technological improvements over the B450, but it adds PCIe 4.0 support for GPUs, faster network speeds, and more SATA ports. However, unlike the B450, the B550 is incompatible with Ryzen 1000, 2000, and 3000 APU processors. You can find decent AMD B450 chips for under $150, while budget AMD B550 chips start at over $150.

What Is a Motherboard Chipset?

It is essential to know what a motherboard chipset is because it is crucial in coordinating computer functions. A motherboard chipset refers to specialized chips on a motherboard that directs the data flow between connected components, such as the CPU, GPU, RAM, storage, and peripherals.

The chipset determines the hardware and USB devices you can use, so you must use a chipset compatible with all your parts.

AMD B450 Chipset

amd ryzen chip

The AMD B450 chipset was released in 2018 with improved performance over the AMD B350, using its new Precision Boost Overdrive technology. Although a mid-range chipset, the B450 became a popular motherboard chipset because of its many well-rounded features. Most notably, it was the first motherboard chipset in its price range to support overclocking.

Features of AMD B450

On the surface, the AMD B450 chipset appears identical to the B350. However, many new features give the B450 a boost in performance and convenience.

Socket typeAM4
OverclockingYES
USB ports8
SATA 3.0 ports2
PCle interfacePCIe 3.0
PCIe Lanes (total/usable)36/28
RAID supportYES
Table 1. Feature summary of an AMD B450 chipset.

Socket Type

The B450 chipset uses Socket AM4, which supports every AM4 processor from AMD’s 7th Gen APUs and 2nd Gen Ryzen processors. Newer AMD desktop processors no longer use Socket AM4, but they will still work with the AMD B450 after a BIOS update.

As a result, you can use the AMD B450 chipset in various setups, from compact home theater PCs to gaming PCs!

Overclocking

The AMD B450 is the first budget chipset that allows you to overclock, made possible by improved VRMs optimized for memory overclocking. Its CPU VRM reduces idle power draw to less than 2W, so even tiny heatsinks can cool it.

The B450 included a free AMD StoreMI license to enable HDDs to work as fast as SSDs, but the rise of cheap SSDs overshadowed it.

USB and SATA Ports

The AMD B450 typically supports 2 SATA 3.0 ports and up to 8 USB ports, such as:

  • 2 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports (1 x Type-C and 1 x Type-A)
  • 6 x USB 2.0 ports (2 x Type-A)

PCle Support

The B450 uses a PCIe 3.0 interface and features 36 PCIe lanes, 28 of which are usable.

NVMe RAID

The AMD B450 chipset allows you to run bootable NVMe SSDs in various RAID configurations.

AMD B550 Chipset

amd ryzen cpu

The AMD B550 may be the direct successor to the AMD B450, but no major technological improvements were made. Nevertheless, the chipset performance is excellent and delivers features that make it one of the best budget chipsets you can buy.

Features of AMD B550

These are some of the new features AMD adds to the B550 chipset, improving performance and convenience.

Socket typeAM4
OverclockingYES
Total USB ports8
Total SATA 3.0 ports4
PCle interfacePCIe 4.0
PCIe Lanes (total/usable)38/30
RAID supportYES
Table 2. Feature summary of an AMD B550 chipset.

Socket Type

The AMD B550 uses Socket AM4, supporting Zen 3 microarchitecture with Ryzen 5000 processors. As a result, you do not need to update or flash a new BIOS for the CPU.

Overclocking

With the B550’s improved VRM and cooling system, you can overclock the memory and processor even higher. However, its better thermal performance is only noticeable with high-end Ryzen 7 and 9 processors.

USB and SATA Ports

The AMD B550 chipset typically supports up to 4 SATA 3.0 ports and up to 8 USB ports, such as:

  • 2 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports (1 x USB Type-C and 1 x Type-A)
  • 6 x USB 2.0 ports (2 x Type-A)

PCle Support

One of the main improvements of the AMD B550 chipset is its switch to the PCIe 4.0 interface. The high transmission rate of this interface may seriously improve the performance of your graphics card and hard disk.

The B550 includes 38 PCle lanes, 30 of which are usable.

NVMe RAID

The B550 chipset allows you to run bootable NVMe SSDs in various RAID configurations.

B450 vs B550 Chipset Differences

amd processor in motherboard

When comparing B450 vs B550 chipsets, PCIe support, multi-GPU support, and network speeds are the most significant differences. Despite both chipsets having the same socket type, there are also important compatibility differences.

B450B550
Socket typeAM4AM4
OverclockingYESYES
Total USB ports88
Total SATA 3.0 ports24
PCle interfacePCIe 3.0PCIe 4.0
PCIe lanes (total/usable)36/2838/30
RAID SupportYESYES
Multi-GPU SupportCrossFireCrossFire and SLI
Wired Network Speed1 Gbps2.5 Gbps
Wireless Network SpeedWIFI 5 (802.11ac)           WIFI 6 (802.11ax)
Table 3. Differences between AMD B450 chipset and AMD B550 chipset.

Compatibility

Despite both chipsets using Socket AM4, the B450 has better compatibility with AMD Ryzen CPUs and APUs compared to the B550.

The B550 chipset is most compatible with AMD Ryzen 3000 processors and AMD Ryzen 4000 processors with Zen 3 Architecture. However, it is incompatible with AMD Ryzen 1000 processors, AMD Ryzen 2000 processors, and even AMD Ryzen 3000 APUs, such as the Ryzen 3 3200G and Ryzen 5 3400G.

On the other hand, the B450 chipset supports all AMD Ryzen series processors (Ryzen 1000/2000/3000), including Zen 3 Architecture with a BIOS update. Most B450 motherboards will also support Ryzen 4000 processors, although some features and settings will be missing.

PCIe Support

The B450 chipset provides PCIe 3.0 slots for graphic cards and SSDs, and PCIe 2.0 general purpose lanes. However, the B550 offers PCIe 4.0 to maximize graphic card and SSD performance, while providing PCIe 3.0 general purpose lanes.

As a result, the B550 chipset’s improved PCIe interface puts it ahead of the B450 in graphic card and hard disk performance, but not by too much.

Overclocking

The B450 and B550 chipset allow you to overclock the memory and processor, so both are viable motherboard options. However, if you use a Ryzen 7 or 9 processor, you will benefit from the B550’s improved VRM and thermal performance.

Multi-GPU Support

Multi-GPU support varies between both chipsets. The B450 only supports AMD CrossFire, whereas the B550 supports both AMD CrossFire and NVIDIA SLI.

Keep in mind that multi-GPU support is not cost-effective to use because it is power-hungry, and you can buy a single card with better performance. Many games may even perform worse with multi-GPU configurations.

Network Speed

With the PCIe 4.0 interface, the B550 can provide improved network speeds over the B450 chipset. The LAN speed of the B550 chipset reaches 2.5 Gbps, while the B450 chipset achieves only 1 Gbps. Additionally, the B550 supports WIFI 6 (802.11ax), whereas the B450 works with only WIFI 5 (802.11ac)

The AMD B550 chipset is your best option for instant downloads, HD streaming quality, and low video game ping unless you lack fast internet speeds.

Should You Upgrade to an AMD B550?

amd ryzen 5 cpu

Overall, the B550 improves over the B450 chipset, mostly in PCIe support and network speed. However, these improvements do not have a massive impact on real-world performance and practicality for most users.

Compatibility is the key thing to consider if you want to upgrade to an AMD B550 chipset. The B450 has better backward compatibility, as it supports more older AMD Ryzen processors than the B550, offering more value for your money.

Still, you should upgrade to an AMD B550 if you want to build a future-proof platform for AMD Ryzen 4000 processors, PCIe 4.0 GPUs, and M.2 NVMe SSDs.

What B450 Motherboard Should You Buy?

motherboard closeup

There are many motherboards to choose from, but we have reviewed four of the best B450 chipsets, including budget-friendly options. Let us dive in and see which one best suits your needs!

ASUS ROG Strix B450-F Motherboard

If budget is not an issue, then the ASUS ROG Strix B450-F is one of the best B450 motherboards you can get. It supports up to 128GB of DDR4 RAM and features two M.2 PCIe x4 slots, three PCIe x16 slots, and three PCIe x1 slots for expansion.

The BIOS in this motherboard is standard for ASUS, but XMP settings and manual core voltage settings are missing. Still, it benefits best from automatic overclocking with AMD’s Precision Boost and XFR compared to manual overclocking.

Sale
ASUS ROG Strix B550-F Gaming AMD AM4 Zen 3 Ryzen...
  • AMD AM4 Socket and PCIe 4. 0: The perfect pairing for Zen 3 Ryzen 5000 & 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen CPUs
  • Robust Power Design: 12plus2 DrMOS power stages with high-quality alloy chokes and durable...
  • Optimized Thermal Solution: Fanless VRM and chipset heatsinks with ASUS Stack Cool 3plus design keep...

Even though it belongs to the Republic of Gamers line, the RGB lighting is not excessive. It remains simple with some lighting effects on the VRMs and the heatsink. However, there are still enough RGB headers for you to connect your lightning strips if needed.

Pros
  • Many slots for gaming setups
  • Many fan and RGB headers
Cons
  • Expensive for some users (about $150)
  • BIOS lacks some overclocking options

MSI B450 Tomahawk Motherboard

The MSI B450 Tomahawk is not cheap, but it is among the best B450 motherboards you can buy. It supports up to 128GB of DDR4 RAM, two PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 slots, and three PCIe 2.0 x1 slots for expansion.

The motherboard also includes USB BIOS Flashback, which reflashes an older version of BIOS from a USB drive. If newer AMD processors become incompatible with your motherboard due to a faulty BIOS update, this feature will solve the problem quickly.

MSI Arsenal Gaming AMD Ryzen 2ND and 3rd Gen AM4...
  • Supports 1st, 2nd and 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen/ Ryzen with Radeon Vega Graphics and 2nd Gen AMD Ryzen with...
  • Supports DDR4 memory, up to 4133(OC) MHz
  • Extended heatsink design: MSI extended PWM heatsink and enhanced circuit design ensures even...

You can also overclock memory using the XMP settings in BIOS. If you use intense workloads, you can count on the 4+2 VRM configuration and large heatsink to cool your system.

Pros
  • Well-designed VRM
  • Official support for Ryzen 5000 Series
  • Decent number of hybrid fan headers
  • High RAM Compatibility
  • BIOS Flashback+
Cons
  • Expensive for some users (about $150)
  • Lacking USB ports
  • Lacking WIFI support
  • Only one M.2 slot

ASRock B450M-HDV Motherboard

If you want a budget B450 motherboard, the ASRock B450M-HDV is a decent entry-level brand to buy. However, it is a micro ATX motherboard, so it comes at a lower price due to its smaller size. Still, it provides two slots for up to 64GB of DDR4 RAM, four SATA 3 ports, and one M.2 slot.

Sale
ASRock B450M-HDV R4.0 AM4 AMD Promontory B450 SATA...
  • Cup: socket AM4, 6 power Phase design, supports CPU up to 105W
  • Chipset: AMD Promontory B450
  • Slots : 1 PCIe 3.0 x16, 1 PCIe 2.0 x1

It also offers a variety of connectivity options, such as PCIe slots, USB Type-C ports, USB 3.1 ports, and much more. You will have no compatibility issues if you use Ryzen 1000 to 5000 series CPUs or PCIe 3.0 16x GPUs.

Pros
  • Affordable cost (about $70)
  • Decent feature set
  • Suitable for small-factor PCs
Cons
  • Limited RAM expansion
  • Limited overclocking options

GIGABYTE B450M DS3H Motherboard

If you do not have a small-factor PC, the GIGABYTE B450M DS3H is an excellent budget B450 motherboard to buy. It includes four slots for up to 64GB of DDR4 RAM, three PCIe slots (PCIe 3.0 x16, PCIe 2.0 x4, PCIe 2.0 x1), and four SATA ports. All SATA ports are compatible with RAID 0, 1, and 10 configurations, and a PCIe slot supports M.2 SSDs. While this motherboard supports AMD CrossFire, the limited PCIe bandwidth is incompatible with NVIDIA SLI configurations.

Sale
Gigabyte B450M DS3H (AMD Ryzen AM4/Micro...
  • Supports AMD 1st and 2nd generation Ryzen/ Ryzen with Radeon Vega graphics processors
  • Dual channel non-ECC unbuffered DDR4, 4 DIMMs
  • HDMI, DVI D ports for multiple display

It also features four USB 3.1 ports, four USB 2.0 ports, and more. Although the connectivity is standard, it is compatible with RGB light strips.

Pros
  • Affordable cost (about $80)
  • Supports M.2 drives
  • Supports multiple displays
  • Decent number of ports and connections
  • Supports RGB light strips
Cons
  • Lacking WIFI connectivity
  • Cooling system is not amazing

What B550 Motherboard Should You Buy?

amd ryzen cpu on amd motherboard

Most B550 motherboards cost no less than $150, which is as expensive as some decent B450 motherboards. So, if budget is not an issue, you should upgrade your chipset to these three best B550 chipsets, including budget-friendly options.

GIGABYTE B550 AORUS Master Motherboard

If you want the best money can buy, the GIGABYTE B550 AORUS Master should be your first B550 motherboard choice. It includes four slots of up to 128GB of DDR4 RAM, an ultra-durable PCIe 4.0 x16 slot, and hybrid fan headers.

Sale
GIGABYTE B550 AORUS Master (AM4...
  • Supports 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen Processors
  • Dual Channel ECC/ Non-ECC Unbuffered DDR4, 4 DIMMs
  • Direct 16 Phases Digital VRM Solution with 70A Power Stage

In terms of connectivity, it has twelve USB ports, including USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C and USB 3.2 Gen1 ports. You will also find six SATA ports and three M.2 sockets cooled by Thermal Guard technology for improved performance.

The high-quality VRMs and improved thermal design also allow you to overclock a Ryzen 9 5950x processor at decent frequency. Additionally, it supports WIFI 6 connectivity and RGB FUSION 2.0 that includes up to 10 million colors!

Pros
  • Solid 16-Phase 70A Power Delivery
  • Three M.2 slots, all with heatsinks
  • Powerful VRM
  • Built-in WIFI 6 connectivity
  • Integrated RGB lighting
Cons
  • Very expensive for some users (about $240)

ASUS ROG Strix B550-F Gaming Motherboard

If you want an ATX-sized B550 motherboard with premium features, the ASUS ROG Strix B550-F Gaming may be best for you. It includes four slots of 128GB DDR4 RAM, six SATA 6GB/s connectors, and two M.2 sockets.

Sale
ASUS ROG Strix B550-F Gaming AMD AM4 Zen 3 Ryzen...
  • AMD AM4 Socket and PCIe 4. 0: The perfect pairing for Zen 3 Ryzen 5000 & 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen CPUs
  • Robust Power Design: 12plus2 DrMOS power stages with high-quality alloy chokes and durable...
  • Optimized Thermal Solution: Fanless VRM and chipset heatsinks with ASUS Stack Cool 3plus design keep...

It also has eight USB ports on the back and six USB ports on the front, so there is enough connectivity to use all your peripherals simultaneously. Additionally, gamers will enjoy its 12+2 VRM power stages because it can operate any Ryzen CPU at its maximum capacity.

Pros
  • Powerful 14-Phase VRM
  • 2.5 Gb LAN and WIFI 6 support
Cons
  • Lacks USB ports
  • Expensive for some users (about $200)

MSI B550 Tomahawk Motherboard

If you want a budget B550 motherboard, the MSI B550 Tomahawk offers well-balanced features at competitive prices. With XMP profiles, you can overclock four 128GB DDR4 memory slots up to 5100 MHz! You do not have to worry about overheating either, as your system is cooled with Twin Frozr technology, expanded heatsinks, and AI fan management.

Sale
MSI MAG B550 TOMAHAWK Gaming Motherboard (AMD AM4,...
  • Support for 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen processors and future AMD Ryzen processors with BIOS update
  • Supports dual channel DDR4 memory up to 128 GB (4866 MHz)
  • On-board dual LAN: 2.5G LAN plus Gigabit LAN

The motherboard offers six SATA 3 ports and two M.2 sockets for storage. However, it only offers six USB ports and lacks WIFI connectivity.

Pros
  • 13-Phase 60A VRM design
  • Dual Ethernet (1/2.5 Gb)
  • High-power fan headers
Cons
  • Lacks USB ports
  • Other boards have a better audio codec
  • No integrated WIFI

Frequently Asked Questions

hardware of computer case

Is B550 More Future Proof Than B450?

The B550 is more future-proof than the B450 chipset due to its exclusive PCIe 4.0 interface and WIFI 6 support. Both chipsets also support AMD Zen 3 architecture, but you will miss some features if using a Ryzen 4000 processor with a B450 chipset.

Should I Get B450 or B550 for Ryzen 3600?

The Ryzen 3600 is compatible with the B550 chipset, although the B450 can support its Zen 3 architecture with a BIOS update. If budget is a concern, you can get the B450. However, the processor will work most efficiently with the B550 chipset.

Is B550 Enough for 5950X?

The B550 can handle an AMD Ryzen 9 5900X with no problems. However, you need to upgrade to an X570 chipset to overclock and use more than one PCIe M.2 slot.

Which B550 Motherboard Has Best VRM?

The MSI B550 Tomahawk motherboard features a 10-phase Vcore VRM with 60a Intersil power stages, so it has the best VRM among most B550 motherboards. Still, many users will find its VRM too powerful to use at maximum capacity.

Does B550 Use the AM4 CPU Socket?

All AMD B550 chipsets use the AM4 CPU socket, supporting AMD processors with Zen 3 architecture. The B450 also uses the AM4 CPU Socket, but may need to have its BIOS updated to be compatible with newer AMD CPUs.

Is B550 Backwards Compatible?

The B550 chipset is backward compatible due to its shared AM4 socket with the B450. However, the B550 is incompatible with AMD Ryzen 1000 processors, AMD Ryzen 2000 processors, and even AMD Ryzen 3000 APUs.

Do B550 Motherboards Have a Chipset Fan?

B550 motherboards do not have a chipset fan because no PCIe 4.0 lanes are routed to the chipset. Instead, its chipset uplink is only PCIe 3.0.

Does B550 Support the 3200G or 3400G?

The AMD B550 chipset does not support AMD Ryzen 3 3200G and AMD Ryzen 5 3400G processors. The B450 chipset, however, is compatible with 3200G or 3400G processors.

Can B450 Run PCIe 4.0 SSDs?

Although you can run PCIe 4.0 SSDs in a B450 chipset, it will run at PCIe 3.0 speeds. Only B550 and x570 chipsets fully support PCIe 4.0 SSDs.

Conclusion

amd processor

Although the B550 is not much better than the B450, it still offers PCIe 4.0, faster network speeds, and more SATA ports. Meanwhile, the B450 remains a viable option due to its cheap price and better backward compatibility. Still, if you want to use all features of the latest AMD processors, the AMD B550 chipset is well worth its price.

If you enjoyed this guide on AMD motherboards, check out the best motherboards for Intel processors!

Liam Weissman

A lover of MacBook Air and the Dell XPS line of laptops, Liam has been researching and writing as a guest blogger for numerous websites for over 10 years. Now, he blogs about tech trends, PCs, laptops, gadgets, and other emerging gadgets on FancyAppliance.com.

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