Here we outline the three best b550 motherboards for Ryzen 3 3300X & 3100 entry-level CPUs – with options for budget, ITX, MicroATX all-round mobos. We’ve reviewed top rated b550 motherboards for ryzen 3 3300x and 3100 from big names, like Asus, MSI, Asrock, and GIGABYTE.
Remember that time just a couple of years back when a quad core CPU was regarded as high end? How far things have come! The new Ryzen 3 3100 and 3300X bring 4-core/8-thread computing to the masses. Along with 10th Generation 4c/8t i3’s, serious multi-threading power will now be found in all but the very cheapest PCs. The bar has been raised.
Zen 2-based Ryzen 3000 processors launched in July 2019, with the range slowly filling out over the following months.Curiously, AMD hadn’t addressed the low end of the market until now, with discounted Ryzen 2000 series and the Zen+ APUs filling this market segment. That’s all changed with the release of the $175 Ryzen 3 3100 and $205 Ryzen 3 3300X. Straight up, they offer a stunning blend of price and performance.
The Ryzen 3 3300x is clocked a little higher with a 3.8GHzbase clock and a 4.3GHz boost clock. These clocks alone mean the $205 3300X can go very close to the higher end models when presented with lightly threaded loads.”
Introducing the Ryzen 3 3100 and Ryzen 3 3300x
The Ryzen 3 3100 is for now the entry level Zen 2-based model. This means all of the architectural benefits and features from Ryzen CPUs all the way up to the 3950Xhave trickled down, along with the benefits of the 7nm manufacturing process.
The 3100 is a 4-core/8- thread CPU that comes with a 3.6GHz base clock and a 3.9GHz boost clock. Its four cores and 16 MB of L3 cache are divided over two core complexes which together make up a single die. It has a 65 W TDP, and also ships with a capable, if not earth shattering Wraith Stealth cooler. It will handle the 65 W 3100 just fine, but won’t give you much in the way of OC headroom.
Speaking of overclocking, like all the other Zen 2 processors, it’s got an unlocked multiplier so you’re free to OC with ease, as long as you keep it cool.
Ryzen 3 3300x
The Ryzen 3 3300x is clocked a little higher with a 3.8GHz base clock and a 4.3GHz boost clock. These clocks alone mean the $205 3300X can get very close to the higher end models when presented with lightly threaded loads. It differs from the 3100 in one important way under the hood though.
Where the 3100 uses a 2+2 topology (two cores per core complex, or CCX), the 3300Xpacks all of its cores into one CCX, or 4+0. This means that inter core and cache communication is inherently faster with the 3300X, meaning lower latency and better clock-for-clock performance compared to the 3100. This, along with its higher clocks, means the 3300X should have a decent lead over the 3100, particularly when presented with latency sensitive applications like gaming.
Performance that resets the budget CPU marketplace
The performance on offer from the 3100 and 3300X is nothing short of excellent in this price range. With multi-threaded workloads, the efficiency of the Zen 2 architecture comes to the fore, with both Ryzen 3 models going toe-to-toe with 8th and 9th generation i5 processors.
When presented with lighter loads, both are still competitive and only fall behind the higher clocked Intel processors, which are typically much more expensive. Gaming remains a strength of Intel, but at this price you’re not likely to be using a $1,000+ GPU, meaning gaming performance will be GPU-limited, the 3100X and 3300X will not hold you back at all when using an appropriate graphics card.
“We usually don’t gain much when overclocking Ryzen processors and tend to recommend leaving them at stock. The 3300X surprised us. Our sample was able to hold an all core bench stable overclock at 4.4GHz with 1.3v.”
We also note the 3300X manages to pull ahead of the 3100 by quite some margin in many of our tests. While the higher clock speed explains some of this, it also points to the greater efficiency of the 3300X topology, with its latency advantages coming to the fore.
Power consumption is also very good, with an all core peak of just 61 W for the 3100 and 73W for the 3300X. Not bad at all.Temperatures too were pretty good, but not fantastic given our relatively strong 240mm AIO cooler, with a peak of 69c for the 3100 and 72c for the 3300X. A 3300X under heavy AVX load will stress the Wraith Stealth.
Ideally we’d like to have tested the 10th Generation i3 processors against the Ryzen 3 models, but we weren’t able to source one. Given the recycling of the Skylake architecture though, by testing the 4c/8t Core i7 6700K, we know what kind of performance to expect from the mostly similar i3-10300.
We usually don’t gain much when overclocking Ryzen processors and tend to recommend leaving them at stock. The 3300X surprised us though. Our sample was able to hold an all core bench stable overclock at 4.4GHz with 1.3v. Pushing higher than this voltage resulted in instability. Perhaps we’d see better results on a different board with more power options available them at stock.
What’s not to like?
Both the Ryzen 3 3100 and 3300Xredefine the budget CPU market. The combination of great performance, low price and power efficiency make them easy to recommend, though we’d recommend going for the slightly more expensive 3300X for most users, and particularly for gamers. The only downside is that we’d like to see integrated graphics in this price range, but you’ll have the option for that with the upcoming Zen 2 APUs. Stay tuned for them.
Other than losing out on the core count compared to the more expensive models, the Ryzen 3 models don’t really omit much else. You still get all the I/O features including 24 PCie 4.0 lanes, DDR4-3200 memory support and an unlocked multiplier. Wouldn’t it be nice if Intel gave us an unlocked i3!
They’re a perfect match with a B450 or a B550 motherboard (if you must have PCIe 4.0 support), both of which support overclocking. Speaking of which, finally we can recommend having a go at overclocking a Ryzen CPU. It’s finally worth it! If you are going to tinker with OC though, you may want to invest in better cooling. The Wraith Stealth can best be described as adequate. Even a mid-range air cooler will be vastly superior.
Intel’s i3 CPUs provide competition, but they’re also priced significantly higher. For now the 3100 and particularly the 3300X are the new budget CPU kings.
The launch of 3rd generation Ryzen alongside X570 motherboards brought AMD many well deserved plaudits, but that success has mostly been restricted to the enthusiast segment. Until now there’s been no way to buy a 3rd generation Ryzen without spending several hundred dollars for a Ryzen 5 3600. We’ve been waiting for more affordable 3rd generation options and that time is now here. With the launch of B550 motherboards and quad core Ryzen 3000 series processors, mainstream buyers can now build systems that offer levels of performance, connectivity and I/O that promise to shake up the ‘budget’ end of the PC market.
Note the inverted commas around the word budget. B550 is something of a curious beast. Motherboard pricing across all Intel and AMD product lines has taken a large step upwards. COVID-19 and the typical new product premium can’t be the only reasons for this. Some B550 boards are priced well into premium territory with only a handful of options available below $200. Aboard such as the B550 Aorus Master we’re reviewing here costs $439. We’re hoping that in time there will be many more decent options priced well below $200.
B550 boards are certainly better than B450 boards. Many have improved VRM capabilities and cooling, which was a definite weakness of some B450 boards. The headline is support for PCI Express 4.0, opening up support for faster NVMe storage options along with current and future PCIe 4.0 GPUs. Whereas B450 supported PCIe 2.0 general purpose chipset lanes, B550 supports PCIe 3.0. X570 boards feature PCIe 4.0 chipset lanes. This is the major difference between X570 and B550. B550 motherboards do have an advantage over X570 boards in that they don’t require active chipset cooling.
B550 is a very important product line for AMD and the motherboard vendors. Apart from the forthcoming low-end A520 chipset, it’s likely B550 will end up being the final mainstream chipset before the launch of the AM5 socket. It’s set to be the optimal chipset to be paired with AMD’s forthcoming ‘Renoir’ Zen 2 APUs, and B550 will likely have a place in the market for some time to come.
A quality B550 board will accept everything from a low end 3100 to a next generation hypothetical 16-core 4950X. Note that B550 is not compatible with 2000 series Ryzen processors or 3000 series APUs primarily due to firmware size limitations.
Upcoming Zen 2-based APUs are also supported, hence the presence of HDMI 2.0 or 2.1 and/or DisplayPorts on many boards. A Zen 2-based Renoir APU and aB550 motherboard should be a compelling combination and one we look forward to testing.
We’ve selected a variety of B550 boards that cover many mainstream use cases. You could go for an all-out overclocked gaming rig with a Ryzen 9 CPU, a small form factor living room PC or a simple but powerful work machine. Whatever the use case, there’s a B550 motherboard to suit. Read on as we take a look at some tasty motherboards that will be right at home in your current and future PC, with Ryzen 4000 series support adding extra peace of mind.
“B550 is a very important product line for AMD and the motherboard vendors. Apart from the forthcoming low-end A520 Chipset, it’s likely B550 will end up being the final mainstream chipset before the launch of the AM5 socket.”
Best B550 Motherboards For AMD Ryzen 3 3300x and 3100
Below are our top picks for the best motherboards for 3 3300x and b550 motherboard for 3100 in 2020.
- Asrock B550 Phantom Gaming ITX/ax (Best ITX Motherboard for Ryzen 3 3300X & 3100)
- Asus TUF Gaming B550M Plus (WiFi) (Best Budget Motherboard for Ryzen 3 3300X & 3100)
- GIGABYTE B550 AORUS Master (AM4 AMD/B550/ATX) (Best ATX B550 Motherboard for Ryzen 3 3300X & 3100)
- MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk Gaming Motherboard (Best Gaming Motherboard for Ryzen 3 3300X & 3100)
1. Asrock B550 Phantom Gaming ITX/ax (Best ITX Motherboard for Ryzen 3 3300X & 3100)
Do you need an inexpensive motherboard for Ryzen 3 3100 or 3300X? The Asrock B550 Phantom Gaming ITX/ax is a mini-ITX motherboard, the sole such entry in our roundup. The mini-ITX form factor has a loyal following and B550 ITX boards should sell well as they are suited to the lower power characteristics of the Ryzen platform.
Being a mini-ITX board, you’ll always have a lack of PCB real estate to fit heaps of extras in, but surprisingly the little Asrock competes well against the bigger boards. You still get dual M.2 slots, though only the primary slot is equipped with a heatsink. The other slot is on the back side of the board.
Asrock managed to include the premium ALC1220 audio codec, though surprisingly there’s no optical output on the rear panel. The little Asrock also includes addressable RGB, four SATA ports and a welcome USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C case header.
The Asrock PG ITX doesn’t have the strongest VRM you’ll ever come across, but it’s still an 8-phase design with 90a stages powered by an 8-pin power connector. It will run any CPU you care to throw at it, but its relatively small heatsink will need good airflow if it’s not to get too hot if you push it hard.
The rear I/O is fairly standard and comes with the shield preinstalled. We’d like to see more than six USB ports as three or four can often be taken up straight away by the likes of a keyboard, mouse, printer or external HDD. Six USB could imply some sort of PCB limitation as other premium B550 ITX boards are limited to six too.
We’re happy to see Intel i225V 2.5 GbE really penetrating the lower end of the market along with Wi-Fi 6. We like to see both DP 1.4 and HDMI 2.1 ports for use with the upcoming Zen 2 APUs.
We’ve always been fans of Asrock’s modern UEFI interface. The B550 PG ITX isn’t massively loaded with options, but all the core ones you care about are easily accessible. Don’t forget to give AMD’s ECO mode a try sometime if your CPU or VRM temps get a bit high over summer.
The little Asrock was a bit of a mixed bag in our testing, though as always the differences are small enough to not be a concern. It isn’t particularly fast at multicore rendering and encoding type work with our 3700X but it did excel with our SSD bandwidth testing and was the fastest in all AS-SSD tests. Well done. Gaming performance too was competitive with the other boards in the roundup.
The Asrock PG ITX has a RRP of $399 which puts it at the high end of the B550 market. At this price it’s going up against the premium ATX boards, and it costs more than competing ITX boards from Asus and Gigabyte.
Asrock’s reputation for excellent value has deserted it in this case. Early pricing aside, it’s actually a very well appointed ITX board and with its advertised Ryzen 4000 series support, we could see it being the last AM4 ITX board you’d ever buy. Let’s just hope the pricing matures and it becomes a better bang for buck option.
“It will run any CPU you care to throw at it, but it’s relatively small heatsink will need good airflow if it’s not to get too hot if you push it hard.”
- Socket AM4
- Support for 3rd B 4th Generation AMD Ryzen processors
- Ports: 2xM.2; 4x SATA; up to 3x USB 3.2 Gen 2, 6x USB 3.2 Gen 1, 2x USB 2.0; 1x HDMI 2.1, 1x DP 1.4;
- Network: 802.11ax 2.4Gbps Wi-Fi; Intel 1225V 2.5G LAN;
- Audio: Realtek ALC1220 7.1 Channel HD Audio
- Form Factor: Mini-ITX
Summary: Asrock’s ITX prowess is on full display here, but its current pricing hurts it in a competitive market.
2. Asus TUF Gaming B550M Plus (WiFi) (Best Budget Motherboard for Ryzen 3 3300X & 3100)
A well-equipped mATX B550 entrant that’s surprisingly affordable. It’s nice to see fans of mATX get some love! Asus’ TUF brand has expanded to include partnerships with many different manufacturers who sell products to match the yellow tinged aesthetic.
Though we wouldn’t call it a particularly attractive board, it has a rather understated and subtle appeal that users opposed to RGB light shows will appreciate. It also offers very good value, something we don’t always see from Asus.
The mATX form factor means PCB space isn’t as limited as it is with mini-ITX, but with M.2 slots taking a lot of room, the PCB is still quite packed with components. The SATA ports are of the vertical variety, and there’s a pair of RGB headers if they’re of interest to you.
There are a pair of M.2 slots, one of which supports PCIe 4.0, while the other supports PCIe 3.0 and is connected via the chipset. Strangely, the PCIe 3.0 slot is the one that is equipped with a heatsink, a curious decision when it’s the topmost slot that is most likely to be used. The positioning of the secondary slot under a potentially hot GPU partly explains it.
The B550M TUF features an 8+2 phase VRM powered by a single 8-pin power connector. Two large and hefty heatsinks help to keep it all cool. It might not be what you’d call an extreme VRM solution, but for the price it’s perfectly adequate, capable of powering a high-end Ryzen CPU without issue. The heatsinks look big but there’s actually quite a lot of empty space underneath them, so you’ll still need to pay attention to your airflow if you plan to use a high core count CPU and/or overclock.
The rear I/O is quite good, Eight USB ports are welcome compared to the bare six on the MSI and Asrock boards. You also get Wi-Fi 6 and Realtek 2.5 GB Ethernet along with HDMI 2.1 and a single DisplayPort (1.2 instead of 1.4). This makes it a good candidate for pairing with an upcoming Renoir APU.
The Asus B550M TUF performed admirably during our testing, consistently at the top of the pack, or near to it across all CPU and bandwidth based testing. It’s a similar story when it comes to gaming with the Asus putting up a strong showing. Very good!
Asus is known for its comprehensive BIOS implementations. There’s not the complexity that can overwhelm some ROG users, yet the TUF BIOS contains all the useful settings you could need. Asus deserves a shoutout for its fan controls. Along with MSI, Asus’ hysteresis and custom fan curves are typically top notch.
We came away quite impressed with the Asus TUF Gaming B550MPlus Wi-Fi (that’s a mouthful!) At $279 it still isn’t what you’d call a cheap board, but compared to other equivalent B550 boards, it’s very affordable especially with the features on offer.
These include a decent quality VRM, 2.5GbE, Wi-Fi 6 and a good I/O selection. Throw in its strong performance and we’re left with a highly positive opinion of the Asus TUF Gaming B550M Plus Wi-FI. Thumbs up!
“Though we wouldn’t call it a particularly attractive board, it has a rather understated and subtle appeal that users opposed to RGB light show will appreciate.”
- Socket AM4
- Support for 3rd AMD Ryzen processors
- Ports: 2xM.2; 4x SATA; up to 2x USB 3.2 Gen 2, 6x USB 3.2 Gen 1, 6x USB 2.0; lx HDMI 2.1, lx DP 1.2
- Network: 802.11ax 2.4Gbps Wi-Fi, Realtek 8125B 2.5G LAN
- Audio: Realtek ALC1200A 7.1 Channel HD Audio
- Form Factor: mATX
Summary: Asus’ B550M TUF is a well appointed board that offers excellent value and performance. mATX fans take note.
3. GIGABYTE B550 AORUS Master (AM4 AMD/B550/ATX) (Best ATX B550 Motherboard for Ryzen 3 3300X & 3100)
A luxurious B55Q that makes some X570 motherboards look positively bland. Say hello to the Gigabyte B550 Aorus Master. It might ostensibly be based on a budget chipset, but this is no budget-oriented motherboard at $439. One look though and you’d never mistake it as such. You wouldn’t be alone in assuming that this was a good quality X570 board.
As expected, the Aorus Master easily features the best specification in the lineup. There’s plenty of fan and RGB headers, six SATA ports, debug LED and Gigabyte’s audio implementations are usually impressive like the one here. In the past Gigabyte really went all out on the RGB lighting, but this is a much more tasteful and mature design. Perhaps we have passed peak RGB!
It’s the only board in the roundup to feature three M.2 slots, all of which are equipped with heatsinks. Three M.2 slots isn’t a standard B550 feature and to achieve this the Aorus Master uses an interesting trick.
If you use either of the bottom two M.2 slots, the primary PCIe slot drops back to 8x. This is still the equivalent of a 16x PCIe 3.0 slot, so we’re not too concerned about that. The B550 Master’s M.2 design erases the most significant limitation of the B550 chipset, which is the ability to run multiple PCIe 4.0 NVMe drives.
The quality of the VRM design really stands out. It packs in a genuine 16-phase 70a digital VRM powered by 8-pin and 4-pin power connectors. This is a board capable of powering any Ryzen CPU, whether it’s an overclocked 3950X or any future 4th Gen CPU.
It’s cooled by Gigabyte’s trademark finned heatsink for maximum surface area and cooling efficiency. Top shelf stuff! Some X570 boards could learn a thing or two from this design.
The rear I/O is packed with loads of USB ports. There are no less than six USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports (including one Type-C) and another six USB 2.0. Very impressive, although at this price a Gen 2×2 port would be welcome. At this level we’d like to have seen the inclusion of a DisplayPort and perhaps an additional LAN port, though with the inclusion of Wi-Fi 6, a second LAN port won’t be a deal breaker for all but a few users. There’s a reason that all those $500+ X570 boards exist!
The Aorus Master performed as expected, though perhaps a tiny bit behind in a few too many tests. We often talk about how motherboard benchmarking usually doesn’t reveal too much, and anything within a one or two percent margin won’t show up anywhere but in benchmarks.
As we mentioned in the introduction, the Gigabyte B550 Aorus Master is one of the most expensive of all B550 motherboards at $439, but it does pack features that wouldn’t be out of place on more expensive X570 boards.
You get a hugely powerful VRM capable of heavy overclocking, load of USB ports, 2.5GbE and Wi-Fi6 and 3x M.2 slots (though with an asterisk as explained above). If you’re after a premium B550 motherboard, there’s not many that pack in more features than this. It’s a board that makes some more expensive X570 boards look cheap in comparison.
- Support for 3rd AMD Ryzen processors;
- Ports: 3xM.2; 6x SATA; up to 6x USB 3.2 Gen 2, 3x USB 3.2 Gen1, lOx USB 2.0; lx HDMI 2.1
- Network: 802.11ax 2.4Gbps Wi-Fi; Realtek 8125B 2.5G LAN;
- Audio: Realtek ALC1220 7.1 Channel HD Audio;
- Form Factor: ATX
“It’s the only board in the roundup to feature three M.2 slots, all of which are equipped with heatsinks.”
Summary: The Aorus Master makes some X570 boards look rather basic though at $439, budget it isn’t.
4. MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk Gaming Motherboard (Best Gaming Motherboard for Ryzen 3 3300X & 3100)
At $309, MSI’s MAG B550 Tomahawk is a reasonably priced ATX B550 entry. It’s priced far below the luxuriously appointed Aorus Master but it’s hardly a barebone budget board.
The B550 Tomahawk comes across as a no frills type of board. The design and presentation is rather unassuming. You won’t see it on display in an all out water-cooled show rig, but you will find it powering plenty of gaming rigs. Like the impression you get from a burbling V8 at low RPM, the Tomahawk’s got it where it counts.
The B550 Tomahawk has two M.2 slots, both of which feature heatsinks, and the second one is thoughtfully placed away from the hot air of a GPU. It’s got six SATA ports, plenty of fan headers along with RGB and a welcome USB Type-C header. The latter is a feature that’s increasingly gaining traction.
It seems MSI really made a concerted effort to improve its VRM implementations, both with its B550 and also recently introduced Z490 boards. The B550 Tomahawk packs in a 10+2+1 phase VRM, a single 8-pin power connector and chunky metal heatsinks.
It’s easily capable of powering any current or future Ryzen processor without breaking a sweat. It’s a feature that a considerate buyer with an eye on the 4000 series processors should take note of.
The I/O is the area of the board that’s a little underwhelming. It’s the only board in the roundup notto feature Wi-Fi, though it does include a second 1G LAN port to complement the 2.5G port. We’d also like to see an extra couple of USB ports, even if they are USB 2.0 so you can connect a keyboard, mouse or printer without having to use up the valuable higher speed ports.
If you need Wi-Fi, you could consider MSI’s own slightly cheaper B550M Mortar Wi-Fi, but that board doesn’t have a top quality VRM like the Tomahawk does. This is an example of why we think the Tomahawk is well suited to some buyers, but not all.
The B550 Tomahawk performed well in our test suite. The Asus TUF generally leads by a nose, but the Tomahawk snaps at its heels. Its NVMe performance is strong and gaming performance is also pretty good. The strong performance on offer is a factor that adds to our impression of the Tomahawk being a solid choice of board if you have no need for Wi-Fi.
The MSI B550 Tomahawk comes across as a thoughtfully engineered choice that’s more performance oriented. It may not suit every buyer’s needs at this price, but if your focus is on what it does offer, then you will find a lot to like. It’s the kind of board you’d expect to be purring along in 5+years’ time with a next gen CPU.
The lack of Wi-Fi is a drawback, but then who cares if you don’t use it. This is a board to suit a buyer who wants a no bling board with a high quality VRM that’s built with an eye on the future. If it ticks your particular boxes then the B550 Tomahawk is a solid choice.
- Socket AM4
- Support for 3rd AMD Ryzen processors
- Ports: 2xM.2; 6x SATA; up to 2x USB 3.2 Gen 2, 5x USB 3.2 Gen 1, 6x USB 2.0; lx HDMI 1.4; lx DP 1.4;
- Network: Realtek 8215B 2.5G S lx 8111H 1G LAN;
- Audio: Realtek ALC1200 7.1 Channel HD Audio;
- Form Factor: ATX
“It’s easily capable of powering any current or future Ryzen processor without breaking a sweat. It’s a feature that a considerate buyer with an eye on the 4000 series processors should take note of”
Summary: The B550 Tomahawk’s focus on core features and quality power delivery will suit many discerning buyers.