AMD motherboards in the test: 4 × B450 from Asus, Gigabyte & MSI against B350 and X470

Binance Ethereum Mining Tutorial x
Binance Ethereum Mining Tutorial

Four new B450 boards for socket AM4 show in comparison with the predecessor B350 and the new top model X470 that good mainboards for Ryzen do not have to cost much. Because generation and class differences can only be found in detail, one thing is certain: Ryzen 2000 generally does not need more than B450.

The B450 chip is for entry-level and mid-range mainboards

At the end of the seventh month in 2018, AMD is finally releasing the cheaper “new” B450 chipset for motherboards with an AM4 socket. Compared to X470 mainboards, boards equipped with this are primarily intended for entry-level to mid-range solutions for the Ryzen 2000 family, which has been on the market as an APU since mid-February and as a CPU since mid-April.

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As with X470 compared to X370, nothing really changes with B450 compared to B350. If anything, the software makes the biggest difference here. For many customers, the new products also offer a potential advantage: While the new processors do not work on every “old” motherboard ex works, because in many cases stock items in retail stores do not have the last but required BIOS version ready, there is Not a problem with a B450 board.

B450 and X470 compared to B350 and X370

The B450 stands with the X470 like the B350 with the X370 and nothing has changed in the technology between the generations. With the new chipsets, AMD is pursuing the path of least resistance and effort, Intel practically did the same when changing from Z270 to Z370.

B450 chipset without heat spreader

The chipset was still created to work with new CPUs without any problems. To the benefit of the customer, this was not even the case at AMD: New CPUs can also run on older chipsets, which at the same time speaks against the purchase of new mainboards. Because new features of the processors like XFR 2 and “Precision Boost Overdrive” work on new as well as old. According to AMD, the chipset itself was only trimmed for a lower idle power consumption, because the 300 series did not perform well there. Whether something happened there will be considered later in the test – at the beginning of April, none of it was visible on an X470.

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StoreMI also free for B450

In the end, the only major change is StoreMI / FuzeDrive (test) as a free software addition to the 400 series compared to the 300 series, worth around $ 40. And not to forget: The boards are directly suitable for all Ryzen 2000 from the factory.

The I / O interfaces of the chipsets and CPUs

PCIe lanes over AMD’s mid-range chipsets are scarce

CrossFire support for mainboard manufacturers on B450 / B350 and X470 / X370 is sometimes not only possible with two, but even three graphics cards. The processor’s PCIe 3.0 lanes are split with the help of an additional chip from ASMedia. This support is usually missing on the entry-level boards with the B450 chipset, where the second PCIe (-x16) slot is already supplied with the lanes of the chipset, which only supports PCI Express 2.0 with four lanes. When asked by BitcoinMinersHashrate, the motherboard manufacturers themselves confirmed that this option was more of a theoretical nature anyway and that Triple-CrossFire would probably never be used on a motherboard. Anyway, SLI and CrossFire are just a shadow of earlier days nowadays, as BitcoinMinersHashrate has shown in the article CrossFire & SLI: In the past mostly fast, today mostly bad recently.

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B450 motherboards with ASMedia chips for lane splitting
B450 motherboards with ASMedia chips for lane splitting

However, the PCIe lanes quickly become scarce when using M.2 and several additional storage solutions. A look at one of the manuals of the B450 mainboards makes this clear. For example, if the second M.2 slot is used on a better-equipped mainboard, four (out of five) PCIe slots are no longer available. The first M.2 slot makes “only” two of the six SATA interfaces unusable. If you need more PCIe lanes, you have to rely on Ryzen Threadripper at AMD, which brings 64 instead of 24.

Lane splitting on B450 motherboards
Lane splitting on B450 motherboards

What about XFR2 and Precision Boost Overdrive?

The chipset table had already shown it: there are no significant differences between the old and new chipsets. But with Ryzen 2000 AMD introduced two new products: XFR2 and “Precision Boost Overdrive”. Like the X470 chipset, both innovations also support the B450 chip. XFR2 is also already used, because it simply uses the original XFR and thus determines the clock rates in turbo mode. The B350 and X370 have also been given this function.

AMD Precision Boost Overdrive is there - theoretically
AMD Precision Boost Overdrive is there – theoretically

Precision Boost Overdrive (PBO), on the other hand, is a different story. Advertised by AMD in April, it will not be available in summer 2018. The function promises to be able to deliver more electrical power to the CPU via the mainboard, if certified, in order to enable higher clock rates under load.

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Officially, the B450 chip can do that, but the functionality is still not available. Some motherboard manufacturers have been implementing PBO in the BIOS for months and are also promoting it with the new boards, but the activation does nothing at all. When asked by the motherboard manufacturers, they surprisingly referred to AMD. AMD, on the other hand, remained silent even after repeated requests from BitcoinMinersHashrate, there is no official statement regarding the launch of the B450 platform.

However, informed circles from industry say that implementation is still planned, but the necessary software is not yet ready. As usual, PBO is to be implemented using the well-known tool AMD Ryzen Master. A non-official beta version therefore already supports this, in the future it will be available in the final version. Just that the function is in the BIOS is not enough to activate the feature.

On the next page: B450 boards from Asus, Gigabyte and MSI in the test

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