Best B550 Motherboards

Best B550 Motherboards for Ryzen 3000XT CPUs MSI, Gigabyte, ASRock, & ASUS 2020

Let’s find out what is the best B550 motherboard available in the market, which you can even use with Ryzen 9 3950X.

Fancy pairing a 3rd-gen Ryzen chip with a PCI-E 4 SSD, but can’t scrape together enough pennies for a flashy X570 motherboard? Checks out five boards based on AMD’s cheaper B550 chipset.

List of Best B550 Motherboards

Below are the Best B550 Motherboards for Ryzen 3000XT CPUs from MSI, Gigabyte, ASRock, & ASUS.

  1. Asus ROG Strix B550-E Gaming (Top Rated B550 Motherboard)
  2. Asus TUF B550M-Plus Gaming WiFi (Best Budget B550 Motherboard)
  3. Gigabyte B550 Aorus Master AM4 AMD (Best mini-ITX B550 Motherboard)
  4. MSI MAG B550M Mortar (Best Cheap B550 Motherboard)
  5. MSI MPG B550 Gaming Carbon WiFi (Best B550 Motherboard For Gaming)
  6. GIGABYTE B550I AORUS Pro AX Mini ITX B550 Motherboard

1. ASUS ROG Strix B550-E Gaming AMD AM4 (3rd Gen Ryzen ATX Gaming Motherboard

Asus ROG Strix B550-E Gaming

Asus’ ROG Strix B550-E Gaming sports a scarily similar layout and feature set to MSI’s MPG B550 Gaming Carbon WiFi, and the price difference between the two boards is only $25. Aesthetics are subjective, of course, but we think the MSI board just pips the Strix to the post here, with its massive VRM heatsink and beefier, weightier feel, but the Asus board does sparkle once its RGB lighting fires up.

Unlike the Gigabyte B550 Aorus Master, you get a USB 3.1 (Gen 2) Type-C front panel header on the Strix, as well as two Type-C ports on the rear I/O panel. One of these ports can be used as an audio port as well as standard USB, thanks to an S210 control chip, which can detect the type of device being used. 

You also get Realtek 1220-based audio, as well as Asus’ microphone noise-cancelling software. ROG Strix boards usually don’t offer many overclocking or testing tools, but you do get a POST code display, as well as USB BIOS FlashBack, so if you buy the board after AMD’s Zen 3 CPUs are released later this year, you’ll be able to update the BIOS to a compatible version without a CPU in the socket.

The 14+2 phase power delivery is substantial for a B550 board, and the VRMs were kept cooled up to a peak of 50°C with our Ryzen 9 3900X under full load, so there’s plenty of headroom here. Meanwhile, our PCI-E 4 SSD never topped 56°C during our stress test, which was 10°C cooler than without it. 

For the price, we’d like to see more than six fan headers, but we were pleasantly surprised to see a thermal probe header on the PCB, which can be tied to fan speeds in the EFI or Asus’ software. Meanwhile, the rear I/O panel has a reasonable tally of six Type-A USB ports, but we’ve seen more ports for less money this month. Display outputs are maybe a pointless inclusion at this price too, given that AMD’s APUs tend to be low-end models – more USB ports, a power button and a clear-CMOS button would arguably be more useful. 

There were no issues to report in benchmarking, apart from mediocre results by small margins at stock speed. The Strix’s SSD read speed was around 80MB/sec short of the fastest PCI-E 4 SSD result as well, but you wouldn’t notice any of these minor shortcomings in real-world use. 

We hit the usual 4.3GHz maximum overclock of our test CPU using a vcore of 1.4125V, which saw the Cinebench score rise from 7,059 to 7,590, while adding 3fps to the 99th percentile minimum frame rate in our game test too. The downside, however, is that the Strix had the highest overclocked power consumption on test, peaking at 316W.

Specification

  • Chipset: AMD B550
  • CPUsocket: AMD Socket AM4
  • Memory support: 4 slots: max 128GB DDR4 (up to 4600MHz)
  • Expansion slots: Two 16x PCI-E4, one 16x PCI-E3, 2x PCI-E 3
  • Sound: 8-channel Realtek ALC1220
  • Networking: 1 x Intel 2.5 Gigabit LAN, 802.11ax Wi-Fi
  • Cooling: Six 4-pin fan headers, two VRM heatsinks, two M.2 heatsinks, thermal probe header
  • Ports: 6 x SATA 6Gbps 1 x M.2 PCI-E 4, 1 x M.2 PCI-E 3, 2 x USB 3.1 Type-A, 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C, 4 x USB 2, 1 x LAN, 3 x surround audio out
  • Dimensions (mm): 305 x 244

Conclusion

There’s a lot to like about the Asus ROG Strix B550-E Gaming, and it only misses out on an award to the MSI MPG B550 Gaming Carbon WiFi because of its slightly higher price. If you prefer its looks to the MSI, though, and you don’t mind spending the extra cash, you definitely won’t be disappointed.

An excellent motherboard, but the competition is very similar and slightly cheaper.

What’s Right

  • Good VRM Cooling
  • Excellent EFI
  • Thermal probe based fan control

What’s Wrong

  • Few overclocking and testing tools
  • Cheaper boards have similar features
  • Only six fan headers

2. ASUS TUF Gaming B550M-PLUS (WiFi 6) AMD AM4 (3rd Gen Ryzen microATX Gaming Motherboard

Asus TUF B550M-Plus Gaming WiFi

Compared with its B450-based sibling that we used in the $700 build feature, the Asus TUF B550M-Plus Gaming is a monster. It has massive heatsinks by comparison, which kept the VRMs below 55°C in our stress tests, and it includes two M.2 ports, one of which supports PCI-E 4. 

The power delivery system features numerous extra phases, and the rear I/O panel is far better populated than the B450 version too, with Asus’ USB BIOS FlashBack, an impressive tally of seven Type-A USB ports, plus a full-fat USB Type-C port too. There’s a couple of display outputs as well, for use with AMD’s next-generation APUs. 

Meanwhile, audio is provided by Realtek’s ALC1220 codec and Asus also includes noise- cancelling microphone software and the full complement to audio outputs. There’s no Type-C header, though,which is one area where the cheaper MSI MAG B550M Mortar gains ground, as well as having an integrated I/O shield, more fan headers and six SATA ports, rather than just four. The latter may be an issue if you have a bunch of hard disks you’re looking to transplant to your new PC, as well as a 2.5in SSD.

If you need Wi-Fi, though,the Asus board has it in the form of an Intel 802.11ax controller and like other boards on test, you get a 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet port too. There are three RGB fan headers, including both 3-pin digital and more common 4-pin, but one of these should arguably have been swapped for a fan header, as there are only four as standard.

We have few complaints about the layout. The PCI-E 4 M.2 port is located above the 16x graphic slot to avoid warm exhaust airflow from your graphics card, the single 1x PCI-E slot also sits above the primary graphics slot, and there’s plenty of space around the CPU socket.

However, the only M.2 port with a heatsink isn’t the one that’s PCI-E 4-compatible, which is bizarre, and you can’t shift the heatsink to the PCI-E 4 port either. To be fair, though, most PCI-E 4 SSDs include their own heatsinks anyway. Still, the heatsink did drop the load temperature of our PCI-E 3 SSD by 9°C, so it’s still worth using.

Meanwhile, the EFI is easy to navigate. It also has the benefit of offering both manual and offset vcore control, while its predecessor was limited to offset mode only, which can be trickier to use. Our Ryzen 9 3900X was happy to hit its 4.3GHz maximum overclock using a vcore of 1.4125V, so this board can clearly handle demanding benchmarking sessions. 

Only a slightly low result in the stock speed game test, and average audio results, marred a solid effort in our benchmarks, but the differences here are barely worth worrying about. The overclock also saw the system score rise from 336,404 to 349,048 and the Cinebench score go from 7,085 to 7,584.

Specification

  • Chipset: AMD B550
  • CPUsocket: AMD Socket AM4
  • Memory support: 4 slots: max 128GB DDR4 (up to 4600MHz)
  • Expansion slots: One 16x PCI-E4, one 16x PCI-E3, 1x PCI-E 3
  • Sound: 8-channel Realtek ALC1220
  • Networking: 1 x Intel 2.5 Gigabit LAN
  • Cooling: Four 4-pin fan headers, VRM heatsinks
  • Ports: 4 x SATA 6Gbps 1 x M.2 PCI-E 4, 1 x M.2 PCI-E 3, 2 x USB 3.1 Type-A, 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C, 4 x USB 2, 1 x LAN, 3 x surround audio out
  • Dimensions (mm): 244 x 244

Conclusion

While the TUF B550M-Plus Gaming is a solid effort from Asus, the fact that the MSI MAG B550M Mortar costs noticeably less money and has more features in some areas means it offers better value for money unless you need Wi-Fi. If you’re looking for an ATX board, then the MSI MPG B550 Gaming Carbon WiFi includes Wi-Fi and more features besides, for just a little more money.

A surprisingly powerful micro-ATX 550 board, but it doesn’t quite have the features to match the price.

What’s Right

  • Good VRM Cooling
  • Plenty of USB port
  • Excellent EFI

What’s Wrong

  • No Type-C header
  • No integrated I/O shield
  • Only four SATA ports

3. Gigabyte B550 Aorus Master

Gigabyte B550 Aorus Master

A price over $300 might seem questionable for a B550 motherboard, but that’s still $50 cheaper than Gigabyte’s X570-based Aorus Master board. We’ve come to expect big specs from Gigabyte’s Aorus Master brand too, so the B550 version has to live up to high expectations, and it’s good looks and outlandish feature set will certainly help here. 

It also weighs a tonne, thanks to large finned heatsinks and a backplate that also helps to cool the VRMs. They didn’t top 50°C in our stress test, so the heatsinks clearly do a good job of cooling the 16 power phases.

The Gigabyte can deliver up to 70A for each phase, which is the most of any board on test too. It’s also the only board on test with a trio of M.2 ports, each of which is equipped with a reasonable-sized heatsink, which kept our PCI-E 4 SSD below 55°C under load – 9°C cooler than without it. 

Gigabyte has also come up with a way of dishing out enough bandwidth to power two PCI-E 4 SSDs, despite the B550 chipset lacking the ability to do so. By cutting the primary 16x PCI-E slot from 16x to 8x bandwidth, you’re able to run two PCI-E 4 SSDs without losing throughput, although you’ll see the 16x slot bandwidth cut in half. This will have a minimal impact on GPU performance with a PCI-E 4 graphics card, though, so it’s well worth considering if storage speed is more important.

You also get eight fan headers, so controlling a high-end system’s-worth of cooling hardware won’t be a problem. You can also tie them to temperature or coolant probes via a thermal probe header as well, and Gigabyte’s EFI and software make this setup process easier than other motherboard manufacturers too. 

There is one glaring omission, though, which is a USB Type-C header. Even some of the cheaper boards on test have one, and while the Gigabyte has the best array of I/O panel USB ports, including Type-C, this omission will annoy some potential owners. On-board power and reset buttons are also missing, with just an LED POST code display included as far as troubleshooting and overclocking tools go. 

There are some more redeeming features, though, which include snazzy on-board RGB lighting, as well as a PCB bristling with additional 3-pin and 4-pin RGB headers, for you to add more lighting. The most impressive feature, though, is the board’s overclocking performance. It needed just 1.3625V to hit our Ryzen 9 3900X’s maximum 4.3GHz frequency on all cores, which is much lower than any other board on test, and resulted in a supremely low overclocked power draw. It also had some of the best audio results on test, and was rarely far from the top of our performance graphs at stock speed or when overclocked.

Specifications

  • Chipset: AMD B550
  • CPUsocket: AMD Socket AM4
  • Memory support: 4 slots: max 128GB DDR4 (up to 5200MHz)
  • Expansion slots: One 16x PCI-E4, two 16x PCI-E3
  • Sound: 8-channel Realtek ALC1220
  • Networking: 1 x Intel 2.5 Gigabit LAN
  • Cooling: Eight 4-pin fan headers, VRM heatsinks with heatpipe, thermal probe header
  • Ports: 6 x SATA 6Gbps 1 x M.2 PCI-E 4, 4 x USB 3.1 Type-A, 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C, 2 x USB 3, 1 x LAN, 3 x surround audio out
  • Dimensions (mm): 305 x 244

Conclusion

While it’s pricey, we can’t deny that Gigabyte B550 Aorus Master is the best-suited board for AMD’s 12 or 16-core CPUs and PCI-E 4 SSDs. Its overclocking performance is superb, it has nearly every feature you could want, it looks great and it justifies its higher pricing over the Asus ROG Strix B550-E Gaming and MSI MPG B550 Gaming Carbon WiFi, while undercutting similarly specified X570 boards.

Not a budget board, but the Gigabyte makes a good feature-rich sephora high-end Ryzen PC.

What’s Right

  • Great feature set, mostly
  • Excellent VRM Cooling
  • Flexible use of PCI-E 4 bandwidth

What’s Wrong

  • Expensive
  • No USB 3.1 Type-C header
  • No on board power and reset buttons

4. MSI MAG B550M Mortar

MSI MAG B550M Mortar

Thankfully, you just need to spend under $150 to bag a B550 board, and MSI’s MAG B550M Mortar strikes the right balance between features and price. You get PCI-E 4 support, of course, but MSI hasn’t devastated other features, or the board’s cooling. It also includes MSI’s BIOS Flashback feature, so if you pick up the board in six months to pair with a Zen 3 CPU, you’ll be able to update the BIOS to a compatible version without needing an old CPU.

You get an M.2 heatsink for the PCI-E 4-compatible M.2 slot, but you can use PCI-E 3 and SATA SSDs in this slot as well, plus there’s a second slot that’s limited to PCI-E 3 SSDs. You get one more fan headers than the more expensive Asus TUF B550M-Plus Gaming, which also lacks the MAG B550M 

Mortar’s integrated I/O shield and M.2 heatsink, as well as its USB 3.1 Type-C header for compatible cases, even if it’s limited to USB 3 speeds. 

The MSI board also has two more SATA 6Gbps ports than the Asus, and four of them are even right-angled. In addition, the MSI sports larger VRM heatsinks than the Asus, for its eight CPU power phases, although it does lack the Asus board’s Wi-Fi and plentiful USB ports.

While the MAG B550M Mortar kept our M.2 SSD below 60°C under load, which was over 10°C cooler than without it, it wasn’t quite as effective as the larger heatsinks on test. That said, the VRM peak temperature of 54°C is excellent and well away from any throttling. 

It’s good to see Realtek’s ALC1200 audio at this price too, plus a smattering of 3-pin and 4-pin RGB headers and 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet. However, the thermal probe input and Corsair RGB lighting connector of its bigger ATX sibling this month are absent, as are all other overclocking and testing tools.

Apart from slightly lesser audio performance than the best-performing boards on test, the MAG B550M Mortar showed little sign of being slower or less capable than boards costing twice as much in our benchmarks. You clearly don’t lose out on speed by opting for this cheaper board.

When it came to overclocking, the Mortar needed more voltage to overclock our Ryzen 9 3900X than the Gigabyte B550 Aorus Master, but it still easily pushed the CPU to its 4.3GHz limit with the usual 1.4125V vcore  applied. If you want a cheap way to jump on the PCI-E 4 SSD bandwagon, then the SSD read and write speeds of 4,990MB/sec and 4,274MB/sec respectively prove that’s possible here too.

Specifications

  • Chipset: AMD B550
  • CPUsocket: AMD Socket AM4
  • Memory support: 4 slots: max 128GB DDR4 (up to 4400MHz)
  • Expansion slots: One 16x PCI-E4, one 16x PCI-E3, 1x PCI-E 3
  • Sound: 8-channel Realtek ALC1220
  • Networking: 1 x Intel 2.5 Gigabit LAN
  • Cooling: Five 4-pin fan headers, VRM heatsinks
  • Ports: 6 x SATA 6Gbps 1 x M.2 PCI-E 4, 4 x USB 3.1 Type-A, 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C, 2 x USB 3, 1 x LAN, 3 x surround audio out
  • Dimensions (mm): 244 x 244

Conclusion

You don’t get loads of features with the MSI MAG B550M Mortar, with obvious omissions being Wi-Fi and USB 3.1 (Gen 2) support, and there are no frills when it comes to overclocking and testing tools. However, MSI has made sensible trims to the specs to keep the price low, while still offering a motherboard that can handle AMD’s most powerful 3rd-gen Ryzen CPUs and support PCI-E 4 SSDs. If you don’t mind dropping to the micro-ATX form factor, and you’re looking for a budget route to PCI-E 4 and 3rd-gen Ryzen, this is the B550 board to get.

MSI does B550 the way it should be, with under 150 price boards that can handle a top-end CPU and a PCI-E4SSD.

What’s Right

  • PCI-E 4 for under $150
  • Good VRM Cooling
  • Decent features for the price

What’s Wrong

  • No Wifi
  • USB Type-C header only runs at USB 3 speed
  • Only five I/O panel USB ports

5. MSI MPG B550 Gaming Carbon Wifi (Best mATX B550 Motherboard)

MSI MPG B550 Gaming Carbon WiFi

MSI offers some of the best-value B450 motherboards available, offering capable power delivery and BIOS Flashback, so you can buy such a board new or second-hand and install a current CPU without compatibility issues. Its B550 boards are more expensive, but under $250 for a reasonably well-featured, PCI-E 4-compatible motherboard, such as the MSI MPG B550 Gaming Carbon WiFi, isn’t a bad deal when you look at the big picture.

Its closest competitor in this month’s Labs test is the Asus ROG Strix B550-E Gaming, which costs $35 more. However, the two boards are extremely closely matched, sporting a pair of heatsink equipped M.2 ports, large VRM heatsinks and supporting USB 3.1.

With the latter, Asus has the better offering, with its Type-C header offering full USB 3.1 (Gen 2) support, with two Type-C ports on the I/O panel too, including one that can be used for audio. Comparatively, the MPG B550 Gaming Carbon WiFi’s Type-C header only runs at USB 3 speed. The MSI board has a clear-CMOS button, while the Asus board has an LED POST code display, but both boards include thermal probe headers that can be used to control fans, which is very useful for water cooling. 

You’ll be able to control more fans on the MSI board, though, as it has eight fan headers, compared to six on the Asus, and it has more USB Type-A ports on the I/O panel too. Both boards offer similar power delivery, with the Asus model sporting a few more phases. However, the VRMs themselves were a couple of degrees cooler on the MSI board, benefiting from a slightly larger heatsink, although both boards kept the VRMs below 50°C according to our IR probe. 

Meanwhile, the MSI’s M.2 heatsink managed to keep our PCI-E 4 SSD below 60°C under load and, like the Asus board, only the top slot is PCI-E 4-compatible, with no lane switch to dish out more lanes to other slots from the CPU, unlike the Gigabyte B550 Aorus Master.

There’s not much separating the boards in terms of performance, with the MSI and Asus ATX boards sitting within spitting distance of the others in our RealBench system score test and Cinebench. There was a single frame difference in the game tests too, but the Asus board did draw more power on average, especially once overclocked. The MSI’s audio performance was also typical for Realtek’s ALC1220 codec. 

Overclocking the MPG B550 Gaming Carbon WiFi was easy, thanks to the board’s excellent EFI. It just required a 1.4125V vcore to hit our Ryzen 9 3900X’s maximum 4.3GHz overclock, although you’ll want to use a lower voltage for an everyday overclock on a Zen 2 CPU. This tweak saw the Cinebench score rise from 7,091 to 7,581.

Specification

  • Chipset: AMD B550
  • CPUsocket: AMD Socket AM4
  • Memory support: 4 slots: max 128GB DDR4 (up to 4400MHz)
  • Expansion slots: One 16x PCI-E4, one 16x PCI-E3, 1x PCI-E 3
  • Sound: 8-channel Realtek ALC1220
  • Networking: 1 x Intel 2.5 Gigabit LAN
  • Cooling: Five 4-pin fan headers, VRM heatsinks
  • Ports: 6 x SATA 6Gbps 1 x M.2 PCI-E 4, 4 x USB 3.1 Type-A, 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C, 2 x USB 3, 1 x LAN, 3 x surround audio out
  • Dimensions (mm): 305 x 244

Conclusion

There’s very little to choose between the MSI MPG B550 Gaming Carbon WiFi and the Asus ROG Strix B550-E Gaming, as their specifications are almost identical. The Asus has a full-fat USB 3.1 Type-C header and Type-C audio output, but ultimately the MSI board’s lower price and higher counts of fan headers and USB ports makes it the better choice in this price bracket.

What’s Right

  • Plenty of fan headers
  • Excellent VRM Cooling
  • Thermal probe based fan control

What’s Wrong

  • Few overclocking and testing tools
  • USB Type-C header only runs at USB 3 speed
  • Cheaper B550 options available

6. GIGABYTE B550I AORUS Pro AX Mini ITX B550 Motherboard

There was a huge amount of variation when it came to X570 mini-ITX motherboards, as manufacturers had to find a way to add a chipset fan to an already space-starved PCB. Gigabyte’s answer was the X570-I Aorus Pro WiFi, which picked up an award in our mini-ITX X570 motherboard Labs in Issue 195, thanks to a decent feature set, good overclocking performance and a reasonable price. With B550, the company has a similar offering, but it’s £40 cheaper than the X570 model’s current price.

The most obvious change is the lack of a cooling fan. However, as much of the PCB has stayed the same, Gigabyte has kept the header that powered it and included an adapter for it to add a third fan header. That’s a handy move, as one of the X570 model’s biggest drawbacks was its paltry two fan headers. 

Sadly, there’s no USB Type-C header. However, not all cases include a Type-C port, and not everyone needs one either, although this omission will undoubtedly dent this board’s appeal. The rear I/O panel could do with a couple more Type-A USB ports as well, although you do at least get both USB 3.1 (Gen 2) Type-A and Type-C ports, with five Type-A ports in total. 

As with most B550 motherboards, you get 802.11ax Wi-Fi and 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet. Plus, there are three display outputs, should you want to use one of AMD’s next-generation APUs. It also has Q-Flash Plus, which is Gigabyte’s version of BIOS Flashback, allowing you to update the BIOS without a CPU in the socket – handy if you buy this board with a Zen 3 CPU later and it needs a BIOS update. There are no other overclocking and testing tools, but you normally need to spend upwards of £200 to get these features.

The cooling arrangements are otherwise mostly identical to the X570 model, with a large, single-piece heatsink cooling an eight-phase power delivery system, keeping the VRMs below a peak of 51°C in our stress test. Gigabyte has added a heatpipe linking the M.2 and chipset heatsinks to that large VRM block too.

The cooling for the M.2 SSD doesn’t work particularly well, though, as there’s one large heatsink that sits on top, but a completely separate heatsink underneath that cools the M.2 SSD. However, the larger slab doesn’t use any thermal pads or paste to cool the chipset or M.2 heatsinks beneath it, and it just hinders airflow. The metal-on-metal contact did see the large top heatsink warm up noticeably, but our Corsair MP600 SSD was still a 9°C cooler without it, using just the smaller heatsink underneath attached directly to the SSD.

There are two M.2 ports, but due to limitations of the B550 chipset, only the top-side port offers enough bandwidth to run PCI-E 4 SSDs at full speed. However, both ports support PCI-E 3 and SATA M.2 SSDs. If you need to add some hard disks or 2.5in SSDs, there are four SATA 6Gbps ports too. Meanwhile, audio is provided by Realtek’s decent ALC1220 codec, although the rear I/O panel only has three audio outputs and lacks an S/PDIF output.

Specifications

  • Chipset: AMD X570
  • CPU socket:  AMD Socket AM4
  • Memory support: 2 slots: max 64GB DDR4 (up to 4800MHz)
  • Expansion slots: One 16x PCI-E 4
  • Sound: 8-channel Realtek ALC1220
  • Networking  1 x Intel 2.5 Gigabit LAN, Intel 802.11ax Wi-Fi Cooling Three 4-pin fan headers, VRM heatsink, M.2 heatsink
  • Ports:  4 x SATA 6Gbps 1 x M.2 PCI-E 4.0, 1 x PCI-E 3.0,  1 x USB 3 Type-A, 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C, 4 x USB 3,  1 x LAN, 3 x surround audio out
  • Dimensions (mm):  170 x 170

Performance

We started by setting our sights on the usual 4.3GHz maximum overclocked frequency that other boards have achieved with our Ryzen 9 3900X. The EFI and software both worked well and were easy to use,and Gigabyte’s fan control sections are consistently top-notch.

However,even with a 1.425V vcore and maximum load line calibration,we fail to get Cinebench to run stably at this frequency, which all the other B55 boards we’ve tested have managed. In the end, 4.25GHz was stable, and while this only resulted in a small deficit, the B550I Aorus ProX is still the only B550 board we’ve tested so far that’s failed to hit 4.3GHz.

At stock speed, the system score of 325,498 was a little off the pace as well, but once overclocked, there was only a small difference between the Gigabyte and the likes of the MSI MAG B550M Mortar. It was a fraction slower in Cinebench, but on par with FarCry New Dawn. The Cinebench score rose from 6,983 to 7,463 after overclocking, so a manual overclock is worth doing if multi-threaded performance is a top priority.

Audio performance sat at a -102dBA noise level, with 101.9dBA dynamic range and 0.0029 THD, which are typical figures for Realtek ALC1220 chips on the B550 boards we’ve seen so far. Meanwhile, our storage benchmark wasn’t hindered by the odd heatsink arrangement, and we recorded read and write speeds of 5,006MB/sec and 4,288MB/sec respectively. 

Power consumption at stock speed was very frugal compared with the two micro-ATX boards we tested in this month’s Labs as well, with the mini-ITX board sucking nearly 20W less from the wall under load than the MSI MAG B550M Mortar, although the Gigabyte drew more power when it was overclocked.

Conclusion

Gigabyte has made some excellent mini-ITX motherboards in the past, but the B550I Aorus Pro AX lacks a Type-C header, and its M.2 cooling arrangement is clunky. That’s a shame, because it looked as though the B550I Aorus Pro AX was set to be a cheaper example of the X570I Aorus Pro WiFi. 

The latter board also lacks a Type-C header, but at least it can cool your SSD properly. We suggest waiting until we’ve reviewed other mini-ITX B550 motherboard options before splashing out. A decent board for the cash, but a couple of shortcomings make it hard to recommend.

What’s Right

  • Great VRM Cooling
  • Good software
  • Cheaper than X570 model

What’s Wrong

  • M.2 SSDs are cooler without included heatsink
  • Only three audio jacks
  • No USB Type C header

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How We Test

While motherboards that used AMD’s B450 chipset have often proven to be great budget-focused options, some B550-based motherboards retail for well over $300. They also have limited scope for using PCI-E 4 devices, as they have less PCI-E 4 bandwidth compared with AMD’s X570 chipset, but they’re at least retailing for slightly lower prices than their X570 equivalents. This month we’re looking at numerous B550 motherboards, starting from under $200. 

Our buying guide includes an AMD Ryzen 9 3900X CPU, 16GB of 3466MHz Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro RAM, plus a 2TB Samsung 970 Pro SSD and Corsair M P 600 PCI-E 4 SSD, to test the speed of M. 2 ports, as well as heatsink performance. We tap into the Corsair SSD’s internal temperature sensor to see how well any M.2 heatsinks perform under load, using back-to-back runs of CrystalDiskMark’s entire battery of tests. 

We use Windows 10 with the 1909 update installed, plus an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super graphics card. Our new motherboard and CPU cooling rigs also sport a Barrow Ropilema test bench, and a full custom water-cooling system, including a pair of 240mm radiators and Laing DDC pump.

We also use RightMark Audio Analyzer software to measure the dynamic range, noise level and total harmonic distortion of the on-board audio. Other tests include our RealBench suite of benchmarks, Far Cry New Dawn and Cinebench R20’s single and multi-threaded tests. In addition, we record the total system power consumption of our test rig at the mains, both at stock and overclocked speeds. Our scores are based on a weighted calculation, including performance, features and value, with the overall score being the sum of those three values.

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