In this article, we will take a detailed look at the B550 vs X570 motherboard chipsets. We’ll examine and compare their particular features, processors that are compatible with them, and their relative pros and cons. Both the B550 and X570 are from AMD. The simplest difference between the two lies in their pricing: the former is a mid-range motherboard chipset while the latter is for high-end use. However, in PC building, it is important that every component provides the best value for money. Buying an overkill motherboard is not a hugely better choice than buying an underpowered one.
So, what is the importance of chipsets in building your PC? Well, for one, chipsets dictate which processors you can use in your motherboard. Both Intel and AMD have their own series of chipsets and an AMD processor such as the Ryzen 9 7950X won’t fit inside a motherboard that is based on Intel’s chipset, and vice versa. In this way, the motherboard chipset considerably narrows down your options. Even within AMD, not all processors are compatible with all chipsets. Higher-end processors require motherboards that are able to provide a reliable supply of power without frying VRMs.
Now let’s answer the question of why we are comparing these two chipsets, B550 and X570, in the first place? As suggested earlier, the main purpose of the comparison is to help save your money or peace of mind by making the right decision while trying to sift through the vast variety of motherboards and not buying an unnecessarily expensive or underpowered motherboard for your PC. The detailed comparison of their features and pros and cons will help make the choice easier. Now, let’s dive right in and take a closer look at the B550 chipset.
Before we look at the B550 chipset itself, let’s see what the letters and numbers in B550 mean. AMD releases three chipset specifications: A, B, and X. These letters suggest how powerful a CPU can the motherboard chipset support. A is for lower-end CPUs while B and X are for higher-end processors, with X having some additional features.
The first number indicates chipset series which means both B550 and X570 are Series 5 chipsets. The second number is always 5 for B specification motherboards and 7 for X specification motherboards. Finally, the last number is always 0 regardless of the series or specification of the motherboard chipset. Now let’s look at the features and capabilities of the B550 chipset.
Features and capabilities
One of the most prominent features of the B550 is the inclusion of a PCIe 4.0 slot. The result is much faster data transfer rates than PCIe 3.0. So, for instance, if you mounted your graphics card on your PCIe 4.0 slot, textures and graphics would load much faster. Or if you transfer files within your drive, it would happen at lightning fast speeds.
Another important feature of the B550 (that has become less relevant these days however) is support for SLI. This means you can mount multiple Nvidia graphics cards for enhanced gaming performance. While support for multiple AMD GPUs existed even in B450 motherboards through CrossFire, SLI support only came with the B550.
Similarly, supported memory size has also improved in the B550. While the B450 supported a maximum of 64GB of RAM that could be overclocked to a maximum speed of 4133MHz, on the B550, you can mount a maximum of 128GB of RAM that is capable of operating at a maximum speed of 5100MHz. That being said, even 64GB is still overkill for most users, except for those who run particularly large and complex simulations.
As mentioned earlier, only AMD processors are compatible with the B550 motherboard. If we dig a little deeper and become more specific, it is the processors that are based on the AM4 socket and feature the Zen 2, 3 or 3+ architecture that are compatible with the B550 motherboard. This includes all processors that belong to Ryzen 3000 series up till Ryzen 5000 series. Processors from the G-series such as Ryzen 5 3400G and Ryzen 5 Pro 4650G are also compatible with B550 chipset.
Advantages and disadvantages
One of the main advantages of the B550 chipset is the inclusion of the high-speed PCIe 4.0 slots. This was not present in the older B450 chipset. The result is significantly improved data transfer rates, whether you mount the slot with your graphics card or one of your storage drives. PCIe 4.0 is twice as fast as PCIe 3.0. Therefore, the performance difference is going to be quite noticeable if you make the upgrade to the B550 from B450, especially when you are buying a new PC.
Another advantage of the B550 is that it provides most of the motherboard features required for high performance that the X570 provides. However, B550 motherboards are generally much more affordable than X570 motherboards. For example, all of the latest processors that the X570 supports are also supported by the B550. Couple this with support for PCIe 4.0, which is still more than adequate for most users, and you can play all of the most demanding games just as well on the B550 as the X570. Thus, performance to price ratio is much better on the B550.
Coming towards disadvantages, one of the main pain points of the B550 lies in overclocking. While both the B550 and X570 allow overclocking of CPUs, this potential is lower in the former because of insufficient cooling support for VRMS. That being said, the gains from overclocking are only marginal in most of the cases while risking stressing PC components too much. So, if you want better performance, invest in a faster CPU or graphics card instead of overclocking a slower one.
Another major disadvantage is the dearth of PCIe lanes, especially compared to the X570. This means that your expansion options are going to be limited and you might need to choose between adding multiple high-end graphics cards and NVMe SSDs. Still, this is not too big of a deal as most users are only going to be using one NVMe and one GPU at most as SLIs have become a relic of the past in the gaming world.
Now we will look at all the most important features that the X570 comes with. We will also look at the processors that are compatible with this chipset and the relative advantages and disadvantages that it offers compared to other AMD chipsets. So, let’s begin with the main highlights of the X570 chipset.
Features and capabilities
The X570 is AMD’s higher-end chipset. It provides all of the features present in the B550 and then sprinkles a few extra or more of the existing ones. For example, both the B550 and the X570 feature PCIe 4.0 lanes. However, there are a greater number of PCIe 4.0 lanes in the X570 as compared to the B550 which allows one to add multiple SSDs or graphics cards. Similarly, it also has a greater number of USB ports compared to the B550.
However, where the X570 really stands out is in the arena of performance. This is because it provides better overclocking options than the B550 due to superior VRM modules. So, if you are serious about pushing your CPU or GPU to its limits, you might be better off going with the X570 instead of the B550.
The X570 chipset is compatible with all processors that are based on the AM4 socket. This includes all Ryzen processors for Series 1000 to Series 5000. This also includes the processors with Radeon graphics such as the Ryzen 5 3400G which are compatible with X570, but not with B550.
Advantages and disadvantages
The main advantages of the X570, such as greater number of ports and slots and superior overclocking performance, have already been highlighted in the features sections.
One other notable advantage of the X570 is better legacy support for older processors. The X570 is compatible with all processors with the AM4 socket, regardless of their architecture. So, for example, where the B550 is only compatible with Series 3000 to Series 5000 Ryzen CPUs, the X570 can work with Series 1000 and 2000 too. It is not clear why anyone would invest a huge chunk of their money on a high-end motherboard to be able to operate an old processor on it. Nonetheless, you do get the option to do so should you so desire.
The main disadvantage of the X570 over the B550 is that it is costlier. It does provide greater expandability options and superior performance. However, all this comes at an additional cost. This means that X570 is geared more towards higher end users who want to extract every bit of performance from their computer, down to the last drop.
B550 vs X570 Chipsets Comparison
Now we will do a side-by-side comparison of both the B550 and X570 chipsets. We will look at their prices and performance and the main points of differences between the two chipsets.
B550 vs X570: Price comparison
X570 motherboards are generally pricier than B550 motherboards. This is due to the extra features that the X570 motherboards come with. These features include greater number of expansion slots and better overclocking performance. B550 motherboards generally come at a price lower than $200. For example, the MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk Gaming Motherboard which is a pretty popular B550 model can be had for $169.99.
The prices of the X570 motherboards, however, vary wildly. For instance, the ASUS AM4 TUF Gaming X570-Plus retails at $209.99, while the ASUS ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Formula comes in at $399, almost twice as expensive. The main factor dictating the prices of these motherboards is overclocking performance. So, if you are not serious about overclocking, you will do just fine with the $169.99 MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk.
B550 vs X570: Power consumption and thermal performance
As noted earlier, the X570 is geared towards higher-end users, and as such, the X570 motherboards generally consume more power than B550 motherboards. Power consumption is also affected by the make and model of the chipset. So, there are no exact figures available for power consumption.
That being said, the typical power consumption of a B550 chipset varies from 50-70 watts while the power consumption of X570 motherboards ranges from 70-100 watts. The extra wattage is mainly because the X570 chipsets are made to run CPUs at a higher level of performance. This increased performance means that the VRM modules supplying power to the CPU will also dissipate more heat.
B550 vs X570: PCIe Lanes
PCIe 4.0 support is included in both the B550 and X570 chipsets. So, gaming performance would be similar on both motherboards provided you don’t overclock your CPU or GPU. PCIe 4.0 is still fast enough for the use of most users. This can be seen from the fact that even the latest Nvidia graphics cards like the RTX 4090 still come with support for PCIe 4.0. So, the standard is still relevant. However, the difference lies in the number of slots. X570 motherboards generally have a greater number of PCIe 4.0 slots than B550 motherboards which means you have greater expansion options with an X570 motherboard as compared to a B550 one.
B550 vs X570: USB and storage options
Like PCIe, there is no difference in the maximum speed that USB ports support on each motherboard. Both the B550 and X570 feature the latest USB generations like USB 3.2 Gen2 or Type-C ports. The difference lies in their number, and as you might have guessed, the X570 motherboards generally come with a greater number of USB ports.
To illustrate, let’s take the example of two of the motherboards we mentioned above. The MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk comes with 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, and 2xUSB3.2 Gen 2 Type-A on its rear side. While on the front side, it features 1x USB3.2 Gen 1 Type-C, 2x USB3.2 Gen 1 Type-A. In contrast, the ASUS ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Formula features 4xUSB 3.2 Gen2 (one of which is a type-C while the rest are Type-A), 4x USB 3.2 Gen1 on its rear sides and 1x USB3.2 Gen2 on the front side. Thus, on the rear side, there are 8 USB ports on the ASUS model while only 4 on the MSI model.
In terms of storage options, both motherboards come with support for both SATA and NVMe based SSDs. RAID options are also available on both the motherboards which means that you can combine multiple storage devices into one logical volume in your PC. RAID helps provide redundancy by creating multiple copies of data at the cost of lower overall available storage space.
The difference between the B550 and X570 motherboards generally lies in the fact that the latter can also provide additional options like Thunderbolt 3 ports. In our opinion, however, these differences are pretty minor for most users, which means that they are going to get a much better bang for their buck if they go with the B550.
B550 vs X570: Overclocking capabilities
Overclocking is an area where the X570 chipset really outshines the B550 model and is the primary reason X570 chipsets are pricier than B550 chipsets. While both motherboards support overclocking, X570 motherboards offer much superior overclock performance with the help of a more sophisticated set of VRM modules. This ensures that the power supplied by the motherboard to the CPU and other components remains stable even at higher levels. Since overclocking is limited by a CPU’s ability to dissipate heat, the X570 chipsets also come with beefier heatsinks which helps further improve overclocking performance.
That being said, overclocking in itself, like SLIs, is not as beneficial as it used to be. The differences in overclocking performance are going to be marginal and almost unnoticeable except to the very keen eyes. If you want better performance, it is better to invest your money in a faster CPU from the get go than in a motherboard that pushes a slower CPU too hard.
B550 vs X570: Network connectivity
Network connectivity is excellent in both motherboards, generally speaking. A typical model based on either chipset will feature Gigabit ethernet, or 1Gbe LAN, and Wifi 5. However, some motherboard manufacturers will make additional modifications. The result is that some X570-chipset based motherboards can support ethernet speeds as high as 10GB, which honestly speaking, is overkill for most users. A 10GB connection might make sense if you were to play particularly demanding multiplayer games, especially on the cloud. However, cloud gaming is still in its infancy and a 1Gbe LAN support is going to be more than adequate for you, which the B550 comes with.
B550 vs X570: Summary of similarities and differences
The two motherboards are similar in terms of the most relevant specifications. For example, both of them feature support for PCIe 4.0, overclocking, and for storage options like NVMe and RAID configurations. The main difference between them lies in how powerful they are. This can be seen from the fact that the X570 motherboards feature superior overclocking performance, greater number of PCIe slots and USB ports, and generally come with support for much higher internet speeds.
Another minor difference is that the X570 is compatible with all Ryzen processors that are based on the AM4 socket. In contrast, the B550 is only compatible with those processors that feature both an AM4 socket and are based on Zen 2 or higher architecture.
The result is X570 motherboards are generally pricier than B550 boards, often by a significant amount. However, we believe that the performance gains that the X570 motherboards provide are generally not worth the additional price, especially after considering the fact that the B550 is a very powerful motherboard in its own right.
We hope that you now have a much better understanding of the differences between the X570 and B550 chipsets and the pros and cons that each motherboard offers. Before we conclude this article, we will now make some motherboard recommendations based on your individual needs and requirements. We will also make a few remarks on future developments and potential alternatives.
Below we have selected two of the best motherboards based on the B550 and X570 chipsets. To make the choice between the two worthwhile, we have chosen the most reasonably priced B550 motherboard while for the X570, we have chosen the best model that we could find, irrespective of price. This is because if you are going to buy an X570, chances are that you have enough money to afford the marginal performance improvements. With that out of the way, let’s take a brief look at each of these motherboards.
MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk
The MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk comes in at the very reasonable price of $169.99. The motherboard supports a maximum 128GB of 4866 MHz DDR4 dual-channel RAM. It provides decent overclocking performance with its 13-phase 60A power delivery system. It also features a dual on-board LAN system. That is to say, it has 1x2.5G LAN and 1x Gigabit LAN for an excellent cloud gaming experience.
So, this motherboard won’t come in your way if you are planning to have a premium gaming experience. The only major shortcoming of this board is that it doesn’t feature built-in Wi-Fi. However, this is not going to be a major issue as desktop PCs are rarely moved around. Also, you can buy a Wi-Fi dongle for wireless internet connection for less than 10 bucks.
Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Extreme
If price is not a factor, the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Extreme is the best X570 motherboard that you can buy with your money right now. At $799.99, this motherboard is almost entering the price territory of very high-end graphics cards. Featuring the 18-phase 90A power delivery system, this motherboard is geared towards serious overclockers who are planning on pushing their Ryzen CPUs to their ultimate limits. While a typical X570 board consumes power between 70-100W, the power consumption of this beast can reach almost 240W when fully loaded.
The motherboard features 10GbE LAN for wicked-fast internet speeds. WiFi 6E, which is the latest WiFi standard is also included builtin in the motherboard. USB and expansion options are also plenty. For example, there are 8 USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A ports and 2 Thunderbolt 4 Type-C ports.
All in all, this board has everything you could possibly want, but not really need, from a motherboard. However, if your budget is big enough to spend $800 on a motherboard, by all means go with the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Extreme.
As good as the B550 and X570 chipsets are, these are slightly dated now. In September 2022, AMD released the AM5 socket. The chipsets that come with this socket are B650, B650E, X670 and X670E. These motherboards also support the latest Ryzen 7000 series processors, released in early 2023, that are not supported on B550 and X570 chipsets.
The major upgrade in the AM5 socket based chipsets is support for PCIe 5 and DDR5 RAMs. Both of these upgrades, while good in their own right, are a little too early for most users. Most graphics cards work just fine with PCIe 4 slots and DDR4 RAM is also quite adequate for most users. However, if you are building a new PC and are interested in running the latest Ryzen processors, then it is better to buy one of these chipsets for your build.