Most people focus on the CPU, memory and GPU when building a new computer rig, but they often forget the foundation of it all — the motherboard.
So, let’s take a look at two budget motherboard chipsets and find out which one is better in this comparison of the B450 vs B550.
B450 vs B550 – General Overview
|SATA 3||6 ports||6 ports|
|Max Memory (GB)||128||128|
There’s not a huge difference between these two chipsets, but the most notable is that the B550 has PCIe Gen 4.0 support, albeit not via the chipset itself (it still comes with PCIe Gen 3), but via the CPU lanes.
The B450, on the other hand, is limited to PCIe Gen 3.
Another advantage that the B550 has over its older chipset brother is that it supports USB 3.2 Gen 2, whereas B450 supports USB 3.1 Gen 1.
Socket and CPU Compatibility
Socket Type Supported
Both chipsets work on the AM4 chipset, which AMD continues to support even though it was first launched in 2016.
CPU Support and Compatibility
“What CPU do you have?” is probably the first question someone will ask you when they see your computer.
When it comes to the B450, the chipset supports Zen 1, Zen 2, Zen 3 and Ryzen 3000 and 5000 series CPUs.
However, the newer B550 has no Zen 1 and Zen+ support, and you’ll have to find a newer CPU (Ryzen 3000 and Ryzen 5000 are okay).
Here’s a more detailed explanation of different motherboard form factors and their meaning.
The motherboard’s form factor represents the physical size, design and other physical specs.
There are three motherboard sizes:
- Mini ITX (6.7 by 6.7 inches)
- Micro ATX (9.6 by 9.6 inches)
- ATX (12 by 9.6 inches)
Both B450 and B550 motherboards are standard ATX. This means they can have up to seven PCIe slots, four RAM slots, 24-pin power connectors and more SATA ports than their diminutive Micro ATX and Mini ITX brothers.
Individually, the B450 and B550 chipset will support just about any GPU or graphic card you can think of.
The difference maker here is the PCIe Gen 4 support which gives B550 better GPU bus bandwidth, faster network connectivity and faster drives.
Oh yeah, B550 also has SLI support, which means you can use multiple GPUs, but that’s not all that important these days as the tech is obsolete.
Both chipsets support CrossFire as well.
You’re probably wondering about the performance of these two chipsets. Will they be able to do what you need them for?
Your machine doesn’t have enough speed and power?
You don’t have to build a new rig, as all it needs is a little more juice, and it can get that if you overclock it.
Overclocking is, to put it in gamer’s terms, “unlocking” or “leveling up” your computer to make it faster than what the manufacturer defined.
Well, if you were worried that you wouldn’t be able to overclock your B450 or B550 PC, let us put those worries to rest by telling you that both chipsets fully support overclocking.
Also Read: Looking to compare B350 and B450 instead? Take a look at this article.
Data Transfer Speeds
As we already mentioned, one of the main differences between B450 vs B550 is in the USB ports.
Here, most B450 motherboards use USB 3.1 ports, which are capable of speeds of 500MB/s. On the other hand, B550 motherboards come with USB 3.2 ports, which give them a 1.2GB/s data transfer speed.
Memory Speed and Compatibility
Both chipsets support a maximum RAM capacity of 128GB.
However, where B550 takes the win is the maximum RAM speed it supports.
While with B450 motherboards, you can enjoy max RAM speeds of up to 3200MHz DDR4, B550 motherboards support maximum speeds of up to 5400MHz.
The older B450 supports WiFi 5 with 3.5GB/s, while B550 supports the newer WiFi 6 with 10GB/s.
The PCIe Gen 4.0 allows for much faster network speeds in B550 motherboards and increases the LAN network bandwidth by 2.5x from 1GB/s in B450 to 2.5GB/s in B550 motherboards.
Keep in mind that the exact number of ports, PCI slots, etc., will ultimately depend on the motherboard manufacturer.
To make the comparison as realistic as possible, we used the Tomahawk Max in both cases as the motherboard.
As such, B450 Tomahawk Max has:
- 2x SATA ports
- 6x USB 3.1 ports (max speed 5GB/s)
- 1x PCIe 2.0 slot with x4 connectivity
- 1x PCIe 3.0 slot with x16 connectivity
- 1x M.2 slot
The B550 has:
- 6x SATA ports
- 8x USB 3.2 ports (max speed 10GB/s)
- 1x PCIe 3.0 with x4 connectivity
- 1x PCIe 4.0 with x16 connectivity
- 2x M.2 slots
Here is some bad news for the current and future owners of both B450 and B550.
They are not future-proof.
This is because both chipsets are based on the AM4 socket. AMD has already announced the AM5 socket for the B650 and X670 chipsets, making B550 and X570 the last AM4 chipsets.
Also Read: Looking to compare B-series against X-series chipsets? Check out our article: X470 vs B550
Recommended B450 Motherboards
Let’s take a look at some B450 motherboards you can buy:
- MSI B450 Tomahawk Max Ⅱ – Check Price on Amazon
- Gigabyte B450 AORUS Pro – Check Price on Amazon
- ASUS ROG Strix B450-F – Check Price on Amazon
Recommended B550 Motherboards
Here are some B550 motherboards you can check out:
- MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk – Check Price on Amazon
- ASUS ROG Strix B550-F – Check Price on Amazon
- Gigabyte B550I AORUS Pro AX – Check Price on Amazon
The B450, although still quite capable, is showing signs of aging, so if you are looking for an upgrade, the B550 is a logical next step for your new motherboard.
Keep in mind that this will be the last AM4-based chipset, and newer CPUs and GPUs will mostly work on the AM5 socket, so the clock is ticking on B550 as well.
Still, if we look at them head-to-head, in the B450 vs B550 clash, the clear winner is B550.