When you finish reading this article you will have very clear the reasons why we consider the B550 as the best chipset that AMD has now on the market when it comes to assembling a gaming system without shooting up your budget and that is based on the processors Ryzen from the same company. Which obviously are the only ones that you can marry with said motherboards.
That is why we have prepared a comparison between three different generations of chipsets: B350, B450 and B550. All three designed for the same market segment and all three compatible in principle with all AM4 socket processors. So that you not only see how they have evolved, but also
The double-edged sword of AMD chipsets
One of the advantages of AMD having kept the same socket to connect the processor since the first generation of its Ryzen processors is how easy it is to upgrade our PC with a more powerful CPU. The problem is that this has a counterpart and it is the number of different chipsets that exist, all of them with different specifications. For the less experienced in the field we will give you a quick review. A series of elements of the motherboard that serve to communicate the processor with the RAM memory, on the one hand, and through the peripherals on the other, is called a chipset or set of chips. Which we traditionally call Northbridge and Southbridge.
Well, we call the first memory controller and it has been integrated into the central processor for some time, however we cannot place the memory chips inside it and the communication interface that is on the motherboard still exists. Regarding the second element, it must be taken into account that the peripherals also have a series of interfaces to communicate with the processor. Which should be on the periphery of the chip, which would increase its size and make it more expensive and therefore go to a separate chip.
So the chipset will mark things like the speed of the RAM that we can install in our PC, the number of PCI Express ports and the generation of each one, how many USBs we can have and what type. That is why it is important to choose and it becomes difficult when you have several generations of chipsets in which to put your AMD Ryzen processor.
B350 versus B450 versus B550, which chipset to choose?
We are going to play the classic game of chairs and decide from the outset which of the three chipsets in the comparison is going to go directly out, and we are going to base it on two technical arguments, which once you understand them and reach the end of the article You will see that they are solid.
The BMI of the AMD Ryzen is particular
When choosing a motherboard for our AMD Ryzen processor, we must take into account a peculiarity that all of them have and that is the high dependence on memory speed. So that you understand it, we are going to give you a simile:
- Suppose that the information that travels from the memory to the processor are buses that go from one town to another,
- Unlike what happens with real life vehicles, where within a population you have to go slower, here it is the other way around, when the data enters the processor it can go faster.
- That is to say, the normal thing is that when the information/buses enter the chip through the interface between the processor and the RAM, they hit an acceleration.
Well, with AMD’s Ryzen it is not like that and let’s say that the speed at which your memory controller works will depend on the speed of your RAM that we use on our computer. And that is only the first part, since then you have to take into account that the motherboard supports the highest speed that the processor can support if you do not want to lose performance in the process.
How fast does the RAM run in each of the chipsets?
In the case at hand, if we look at the specifications of the different chipsets we will see that:
- B350 supports DDR4 memories up to 2666 MHz natively and without overclocking.
- B450 is slightly faster when supporting DDR4-2933 without OC.
- Of the three, the B550 is the one that wins by a landslide by supporting DDR4 memories up to 3200 MHz.
The latest generations of AMD Ryzen (3000, 4000 and 5000) have an IMC designed to interact with DDR4-3200 memory, so it is obvious which is the ideal choice in this case, which is none other than the B550.
The other relevant issue is the compatibility between the different AMD processors, well, here we are not going to waste much time and that is unless you plan to return to the dark days of AMD before the Ryzen, there is currently no reason to choose the B350 chipset to build our PC. Also, not supports Ryzen 5000 input unless you perform a BIOS update. Which can be cumbersome for many users, if we add to this that it is the motherboard that supports less memory speed, it is clear which is the one that has to follow the path of the dodo.
It must be taken into account that the B450 chipset also suffers from the same problem as the B350 and it requires a BIOS update to be compatible with the Ryzen 5000. So how come we didn’t rule it out? Well, due to the fact that there is another function that the B450 and B550 do support and that is the possibility of increasing the speed of the processors, the so-called overclock. However, the B550 is not the best processor if you have a Ryzen 1000, 2000 or 3000 series for laptops (not to be confused with desktop ones), as it is not compatible with them. In any case, they also cannot take advantage of the improvements it provides.
Quick comparison between the B450 and B550 chipsets
Well, once we have ruled out the B350 against the B450 and the B550, we have to compare the latter and see which of the two is better. Obviously, it’s very clear that the B450 is the older chipset of the two, by itself, and if we discount the peripheral interfaces that the CPU has built in, it provides the following additional interfaces:
- 2 USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports
- 6 USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports
- 6 SATA ports
As for things like the PCI Express buses for the NVMe SSD in M.2 format that we want to install and the graphics card, that depends on the processor. However, some boards make use of 4 of the 6 available PCIe Gen 3 interfaces to provide space for a second drive. Although at a lower speed. Instead, if we look at the interfaces provided by the B550 chipset, we find an important improvement:
- B550 chipset can support WiFi 6 and has a network controller that reaches 2.5 Gbps when we use ethernet cable. The B450, on the other hand, stays in 1Gbps. So you have better internet connectivity.
- The PCI Express interface for graphics card in the B450 is 3.0Meanwhile in B550 is 4.0so the graphics card will perform better.
For whom this writes, for the moment The best motherboards if you plan to place a Ryzen chip as your system’s processor are the B550. Even more so than the X570, as we don’t think most people will end up using the extra connectivity that comes with the more advanced chipset. In addition, it also supports overclocking.