What’s the Best B450 Motherboard? [2020 Update]

by Dylan Howe

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The B450 line of motherboards is designed to work with AMD’s Ryzen 2 and Ryzen Zen 2 processors, with the latter being the newer release (launched in July 2019). One of the best features of the Zen 2 processors is the drastically-reduced power requirements. This translates to performance in lower temperatures and better overclocking, which means it’s great for gaming and other heavy applications like content editing and 3D animations.

Clock speeds saw an improvement in the Zen 2 processors as well, with the Ryzen 9 3950X operating at 5GHz out of the box. So if you hate frame rate dips when you’re gaming, this processor should ensure that you always have a smooth experience.

What’s the best B450 Motherboard? To get optimal performance out of the Ryzen 2 and Zen 2 processors, you’ll need to pair it up with a B450 motherboard that can keep up with these processors.  In this article, I’ve compiled a list of what I consider to be the best AMD b450 motherboards you can get in 2020. I’ve personally tried them out with my own Ryzen processors, seeing how well they do when it comes to gaming and a little bit of photo and video editing.

B450 Motherboard Reviews

MotherboardBest for…
MSI B450 Gaming Pro CarbonOverclocking your CPU
Msi B450 Gaming Plus ReviewGaming
Gigabyte B450M DS3HPowering Ryzen 5 2600 and other 2nd Gen chips
MSI ProSeries B450M PRO-M2 MaxLow-budgets
ASUS ROG Strix B450-F Gaming MotherboardExcellent Sound Quality

MSI B450 Gaming Pro Carbon

Best for Overclocking your CPU

If you’re a serial overclocker, then the MSI B450 Gaming Pro Carbon should be a great fit. I’d say this is one of the best B450 motherboards for Ryzen 3000 series chips, including the R5 3600X and even the R7 3700X.

B450 Vs X470

This motherboard is quite similar to MSI’s X470 motherboard except the latter comes with more SATA ports and includes an extra PCIe slot at the bottom. However, the B450 does have better thermals. This is because unlike the X470, it doesn’t have a plastic cover intruding over its VRM heatsink and its heatsink is larger, allowing for faster heat dissipation.

The BIOS flashback button that’s included in this motherboard is quite a handy feature. It allows you to update the BIOS without first even having a CPU installed. The motherboard features two M.2 slots which means you’ll be able to transfer files at blazing speeds.

Other features include:

  • 4 DIMM slots for a total of 64GB in DDR4 RAM
  • An EZ Debug LED which flashes when there’s something wrong in the motherboard
  • PCIe Steel Slot which protects graphic cards and prevents them from sagging
  • Onboard Wi-Fi

Pros

  • B450 motherboard with Wi-Fi
  • Great for overclocking
  • Compatible with high-end 3rd gen Ryzen chips
  • Excellent thermals
  • M.2 slots for incredible read/write speeds

Cons

  • The BIOS lacks an offset voltage feature which is required if you want to use the Precision Boost Overdrive, which is an automated overclocking system that you find in a lot of AMD processors including Ryzens. This means that you have to overclock manually which is a bit daunting if you’re inexperienced.

Msi B450 Gaming Plus Review

Best for Gaming

During my time using this gaming motherboard, I was quite blown away by what it has to offer. It’s hyper-focused on gaming, offering a ton of cool features to improve your playing experience. For instance, there’s a dedicated gaming port which allows you to connect high-end peripherals and tweak their settings. A software called “Mouse Master’ allows you to mess around with the polling rate and DPI and configure hotkeys.

This motherboard also includes other MSI gaming tools including the MSI App player, voice boost, hotkeys, and the one-second overclocking feature.

Like the Gaming Pro Carbon, the Gaming Plus motherboard features steel-reinforced PCIe slots, which means your graphic cards are going to be well protected. Also, if you’ve got an MSI graphics card, then you have more flexibility with how you place them inside the PCIe slots. This, in turn, gives you better thermal performance. That’s not to say that other graphic cards will fare poorly though! Fortunately, the Gaming Plus motherboard has an excellent cooling system, with 6 fans that you have total control over via the BIOS. There’s also an included system called ‘Hysteresis’ that keeps an eye on the temperature and automatically controls fan speeds.

In addition to these features, the Gaming Plus includes 4 DIMM slots for up to 64GB of RAM, two PCIe x16 slots, a single M.2 Slot and 6 SATA slots. I’d have liked to see less SATA slots and more M.2 Connectors but of course, that would’ve caused the price to go up.

Pros

  • Tons of cool gaming features
  • Durable build quality
  • Excellent thermals

Cons

  • You need to update BIOS for it to work with 3rd Gen Ryzen processors.

Gigabyte B450M DS3H

Best B450 Motherboard For Ryzen 5 2600 and other 2nd Gen chips

The Gigabyte B450M DS3H is a micro-ATX motherboard which is great for people that don’t have large tower PC rigs. It supports both 2nd and 3rd generation AMD chips but requires a BIOS update before it can be used with the latter. However, even without the update, it’s still one of the best motherboards I’ve used for second-gen AMD chips in a long time. Here’s why:

First of all, it has AMD’s StoreMI technology which reduces boot times for storage devices. Combine this with 2 M.2 slots and you’re looking at trail-blazing speeds for SSDs, which is great when you’re working on large projects. In terms of RAM, this motherboard contains 4 DIMM slots, which allows you to stack up to 64GB.

I have no complaints with regards to thermals. The motherboard comes with Smart Fan 5 which gives you control of all the fans, temperature and noise levels. Probably the biggest downside is that it only has one PCle 3.0 x 16 slot, which is understandable given its size. However, this means that it can only support one graphic card. Hence, if you own multiple GPUs, I strongly suggest you look elsewhere.

Pros

  • Very fast boot times for storage devices
  • Includes M.2 Slots
  • Great cooling system

Cons

  • Only able to support one graphics card

MSI ProSeries B450M PRO-M2 Max

Best Budget B450 Motherboard

The B450M PRO-M2 is the second Micro ATX motherboard on this list and it’s what I would recommend to anyone on a budget. The PRO-M2 Max isn’t as feature-rich as the other motherboards on its list but it still delivers a solid performance.

It’s got 2 DIMM slots which means that you can get a maximum of 32GB of DDR4 RAM, which is still enough for most content creators out there.

Like the other two MSI motherboards on this list, the PRO-M2’s PCIe slot is reinforced with steel, preventing your graphic card from sagging in the long run. However, it’s only got one PCIe x16 slot which means you’ll only be able to mount one GPU on it.

In terms of permanent storage, the motherboard has one M.2 Slot and 4 SATA slots. While I always prefer plugging NVMe SSD’s, this configuration is understandable, given the price of the motherboard.

Lastly, the unit comes with fully controllable fans so you can have control of the noise when you’re gaming or doing other types of heavy work.

Pros

  • The most inexpensive motherboard on this list
  • Great cooling system
  • Comes with an M.2 slot

Cons

  • Only two DIMM slots
  • Supports only one graphic card
  • Need to update BIOS to be compatible with 3rd Gen AMD Ryzens

ASUS ROG Strix B450-F Gaming Motherboard

Best Sound Quality

This ASUS B450 motherboard appears to be a favourite among the gaming community (myself included) and for good reason. First of all, it comes with Asus’ proprietary 5-way Optimization technology which is just fancy speak for an AI system. The AI system takes care of a lot of things for you, including overclocking and maintaining internal temperatures. This means that you can game without having to worry about frame rate dips at higher resolutions and overheating.

The motherboard comes packaged with Fan Xpert 4, which gives you complete control over fan settings. So, if things get a bit too noisy while gaming, for instance, you can turn the fans down. One of the best things about this ASUS motherboard is the sound output. It features a technology called ‘SupremeFX’ which works to preserve the raw sound with no unnecessary EQ’ing whatsoever. I quite like this because it leaves the signal clean for me and I can just do some simple EQ’ing on my end if needed. In addition, it features two amps that drive more power behind the sound, making them clear and lively.

The ROG Strix B450-F comes with 4 DIMM modules that support a maximum of 64GB for RAM and features 2 M.2 sockets plus 6 SATA ports. This means you’ll have enough expansion room for adding more storage in the future. It also has two PCle 3.0 x 16 slots, which is great news for gamers.

Pros

  • Features an AI system for automatic overclocking
  • Excellent cooling setup
  • Superb sound quality
  • Comes with 2 M.2 connectors

Cons

  • BIOS has to be updated to support 3rd gen AMD Ryzens

Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re quite new to motherboards and processors (or computer hardware in general), then you might have a few general technical questions. So, take a look at this comprehensive FAQ section I’ve put together that’ll give you some clarity. Otherwise, scroll on ahead to get to the product reviews.

Are Second Generation AMD Ryzen Chips Worth it in 2020?

The second-generation Ryzen line includes models like the R5 2600, released back in 2018. Two years later, are these processors worth buying? It depends. While chips like the R5 2600 aren’t good enough to support the latest triple AAA games at high resolutions, they perform quite well when it comes to simpler titles. For instance, if all you play are e-sports titles like CS: GO and/or you don’t mind gaming at lower resolutions, then I don’t see anything wrong with buying a second-generation processor. Plus they’re cheaper than what they used to be.

If, on the other hand, you’d like to be able to play games like Doom Eternal or the new Half-life, then you’re better off springing for the superior 3rd gen chips like the R7 3700X. They’re an upgrade from the previous generation in pretty much every aspect.

What do I have to keep in mind when buying a motherboard in general?

Great question! First thing’s first, make sure that you’re buying the right motherboard for the processor you have. This is can be determined by researching what socket and chipset models the processor is compatible with and then checking for motherboards that fit the bill. When it comes to the Zen 2 processors, you’ll need a motherboard that contains an AMD4 socket and a B450 chip.

Once you’ve got that sorted, it’s time to consider other factors to ensure that the motherboard you’re buying is well-suited for your PC rig:

What’s the Form Factor?

Motherboards come in various sizes so before you buy, consider how much space there is in your PC setup. If you’re an obsessive gamer or a creative professional, then you’ve most likely invested in a large tower case. These can accommodate the largest motherboard sizes, which is ‘ATX'(12 x 9.6 inches). If you’ve got a smaller PC case, then either a Mini-ITX or Micro-ATX could be more suited for it.

Larger motherboards provide more space for components, which is great news if you’ve got multiple GPUs, RAM modules or SSDs. Depending on the model, ATX sizes may be able to support 3 to 4 Graphic cards, which is great if you’re a gamer or you have to tons of 3D rendering.

Gaming PC

Does it have enough Expansion Ports?

If you’re likely to upgrade your PC in the future by adding in more components, then you might want to make sure your mother has enough expansion ports. As its name suggests, expansion ports allow you to add more GPUs, storage devices and other types of components. Currently, the standard for expansion ports is Peripheral Component Interconnect Express or PCIe in short.

PCIe ports typically come in four size formats but the most common is the PCIe 3.0. So before you buy a motherboard, check that there are enough PCIe slots and that it’s the right size for the types of components you want to have in the future.

Is it compatible with your GPU?

Before you decide on a motherboard, make sure that it’s compatible with the type and number of graphic cards you own. This can be determined by checking the size of the PCIe 3.0 ports. When reading product specs you might come across labels like PCIe x4 and PCIe x8. The higher the number after the ‘x’, the bigger it is. The largest size slot is PCIe x16 which has a length of 89mm. These are included in most gaming motherboards to support those bulky, powerful graphic cards.

Certain powerful GPUs may have their own external power supply that will also need to be mounted into the motherboard. So with these types of graphic cards, you’ll need a minimum of two PCIe slots, with one being PCIe x16.

Can it accommodate your memory requirements?

RAM is rather important if you’re gaming or you do a ton of heavy multi-tasking daily. For instance, if you’re using multiple applications from the Adobe Suite, you’ll need at least 16GB to keep things running well. Motherboards contain dual in-line memory module (DIMM) slots which is where you fix your RAM Modules. Most gaming motherboards contain 4 DIMM slots that will support up to 64GB in RAM. That’s one sure-fire way to make sure your PC is future-proof (i.e. it can handle more complex applications that you may use later).

Permanent storage is a pain for graphic artists, video editors, animators, gamers…etc. because they usually have to deal with enormous files. Permanent storage is commonly available in two formats: hard disk drives (HDD) and solid-state drives (SSD). HDDs are typically much cheaper but SDD gives you much faster read/write speeds. Hence most creative professionals and gamers prefer the latter.

A lot of motherboards contain SATA ports allow you to connect both HDDs and SSDs. In recent times, however, another type of port called ‘NVM Express’ or NVMe has become quite popular since they offer faster file transfer speeds than SATA. While SATA typically maxes out at 600MB/s for read and write, NVMe takes it up an entire notch with 3GB/s for read and 1.5 GB/s for write.

NVMe-compatible solid-state drives come into different types: larger ones that you can plug into PCIe slots and smaller ones that require M.2 connections. So if you want the smaller type, make sure the motherboard you’re buying has M.2 connections.

High-resolution monitor

What are these terms I keep coming across?

If you’re not a computer geek, you might be understandably confused by some of the jargon that’s used in product specs. Lucky for you though, I’ve broken down the most important terms into easy explanations:

1. GPU – GPU stands for Graphics Processing Unit and it refers to your graphics card. It’s the thing that allows your computer to generate 2D and 3D graphics.

2. RGB – RGB stands for ‘Red, Blue and Green’ – the primary colours. However, in this context, it’s used to refer to the cool-looking light systems that are integrated into motherboards. It’s purely an aesthetic thing.

3. Overclock – overclock is essentially putting your processor into overdrive, causing it to work much harder than usual. This is especially useful for games when you want to play at really high resolutions while also maintaining a high frame rate. The biggest side-effect of overclocking is overheating. Thankfully, most motherboards come with advanced cooling systems that quickly dissipate the generated heat. 

4. VRMVRM stands for ‘Voltage Regulator Module’ and it’s tasked with converting the 12-volt power that’s sent from the computer’s power supply into a more manageable voltage, usually in the range of 1.1 to 1.3 volts. This helps to ensure that the components inside the motherboard don’t fry.

Multi-phase VRMs are used to spread the oncoming load over a larger area, helping to cut down on the amount of heat being generated. This is particularly useful when overclocking. Multi-phase VRMS have levels like ’12+1′ which refers to the number of phases and what proportion of current is directed to where in the motherboard. The first number refers to how much current is sent to the CPU while the second indicates the portion that is sent to other components. 

5. MOSFET – A MOSFET or ‘Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor’ is a semiconductor that is used to toggle and amplify electronic signals. Essentially, it controls the flow of current and voltage between the power source and the components inside the motherboard and makes sure that there’s no overloading.

There are other model-specific jargon too, but I’ve made sure to give explanations where they appear.

6. BIOS BIOS is an acronym for Basic Input/Output System. It’s a chip that’s found inside motherboards which allows you to do certain foundation-level functions such as testing computer hardware, locating the operating system, installing essential drivers and configuring system settings such as passwords, time and date.

Note: while a lot of B450 motherboards will be compatible with the 3rd generation AMD Ryzen processors out of the box, some may require a BIOS update first.

What I think is the best AMD B450 Motherboard?

If I were to get a B450 motherboard, I’d probably go with the MSI Gaming Plus. It’s a powerful unit with multi-GPU support and all sorts of gaming features that would keep me happy for a long time. Some people might understandably prefer the Asus ROG Strix B450-F for gaming, especially those that are picky about the sound output.

About the author 

Dylan Howe

Dylan’s obsession with tech began at the early age of seven, when he built his first gaming PC with his Dad as a summer project. That was the start of a long-enduring, expensive passion that would keep him perpetually happy…but also broke.


Fast-forward to today and Dylan is a freelance video-editor but also occasionally dabbles in other things like 3D modeling and game development. He still loves ‘nerding’ out on the latest hardware and software; so much so that he decided to start his own blog where he can talk about all the cool gear he gets his hands on.

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