CES 2020 is just days away, and with it, the possible announcement of AMD’s Ryzen 4000 series processors. In the here and now, though, Ryzen 3000 offers excellent performance in gaming and productivity at every price point. But if you’re in the market for a Ryzen 3000 processor, what AM4+ motherboard should you put it in? Let’s take a look:
Best Budget B450 Board: ASRock B450 HDV
We were planning on throwing an ultra-budget A320M into this list: they do technically support Ryzen 3000 parts like the Ryzen 5 3600, though overclocking is locked down. But just then, this remarkable budget B450 board from ASRock presented itself to us. The B450M HDV is literally as cheap as it gets when it comes to B450 motherboards. Currently selling at $59, it’s actually cheaper than some of the “premium” A320 boards out there.
This is a Micro-ATX board so don’t expect too much in the way of connectivity. You get 6 USB 3.0 ports (*cough cough* USB 3.1 Gen 1) and an Ethernet port. That’s literally it. The motherboard has DVI, VGA, and HDMI ports for graphics in case you’re using an APU like the 3200G.
We were pleasantly surprised by the generous PCIe configuration. You get 1 slot running at full PCIe 3.0 x16 speeds and a second one at x8. This means that Crossfire is *technically* possible, though with this board’s 6-phase power delivery that’s not an experiment we’d recommend. A third PCIe slot at 2.0 x1 speeds gives you some measure of expandability. A pair of DIMM slots rounds out the board, making a dual-channel 8×2 DDR4 configuration possible.
All in all, this is a solid option if you’re going for a min-maxed budget: the $50 or so you save with this board, compared to higher-end B450 boards, can go towards your GPU or processor.
Best Midrange B450 board: Gigabyte B450 DS3H
As someone running a Ryzen 5 3600X off this very board, I can attest to its value, feature-set and cost-effectiveness. At $72, it is cheaper than a good many B450 boards, and just $13 more than the ASRock B450M D3V. For the price of a really, really nice coffee and quinoa bowl, you get a substantially better board all-round. I/O connectivity is a massive step up. You get 6 USB 3.0 ports and a further 8(?!) USB 2.0 ports.
You get HDMI and DVI-D on-board in case you’re using an APU. The highlight—and something that’s generally missing at this price point is the presence of 4 DIMM slots in dual channel mode. This offers exceptional expansion options for RAM. If you’re on a very tight budget, pop two RAM modules in there first, then another two a month down the line.
Interestingly, Gigabyte even includes a (very) limited amount of Aorus lighting on this model. There’s a thin lighting strip on the board, the color of which you can change in the BIOS. The 4+3 phase VRM is mediocre, though, meaning this isn’t a model that’s optimal for overclocking. It hands just about everything else wonderfully, though.
Best Premium X570 board: MSI MPG X570 Gaming Edge WiFi
At $199.99, MSI MPG X570 Gaming Edge WiFi offers just about everything you’d expect from a motherboard sporting an X570 chipset, but a little extra. This lets MSI price this board much more reasonably than frankly excessive unicorn halo products like the MEG X570 ACE, which is nearly $150 costlier. You get a 4 USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, 5 10 Gbps Gen 2 ports, and 6 USB 2.0 ports.
6 SATA ports and 2 M.2 ports give you all the storage connectivity you could want. As an X570 board, the MPG X570 Gaming Edge WiFi supports PCIe 4.0, on not one, but two x16 slots. This makes it possible to run NVLink and high-end CrossFire solutions without any potential bandwidth snags. Better yet, a PCIe 4.0 SSD can deliver 6 Gbps read/write. 4 DIMM slots in dual-channel mode give you plenty of space for RAM
The “Wi-Fi” part of the nomenclature comes from the built-in Intel AC 3168, which supports speeds up to 433 Mbps.
The motherboard features 8+2 phase power delivery. Cleaner power means that you’ll be likely to hit higher overclocks with this board, granted adequate cooling.
And did we mention RGB lighting? While the MPG X570 is by no means MSI’s top-of-the-line offering, it has support for MSI’s Mystic RGB light extension. You can control RGB strips to display an entire 32-bit color palette with 29 different effects. All in all, the MPG X570 does nearly everything that higher-end X570 ATX boards do. But by not going overboard with the accents, lighting, and other fluff, MSI is able to deliver a reliable motherboard at a price that isn’t too eye-watering.
Conclusion: Pick the board that best balances your overall build
The beautiful thing about the AM4+ socket is that it’s built to support 4 entire generations of Ryzen processors. The AM4+ board you bought for your launch-day Ryzen 1600 will work with the as-yet-unannounced Ryzen 4000 series. Whichever AM4+ board you buy will last for at least one more generation. In the here and now, consider the budget ASRock option if you plan on pairing it with an APU like the Picasso 3400G: throw in a pair of RAM modules in dual-channel mode and you have a decent 900p gaming platform right there.
If you’re looking to min-max price and performance, the Gigabyte B450 DS3H gives you everything, as long as you plan on running your CPU at stock speeds. An option here would be to buy a cheaper board like the Gigabyte and invest in a higher-binned processor like the Ryzen 5 3600X: you end up with more or less the same CPU performance, but with the peace of mind of stock operation.
The MSI MPG X570 Gaming Edge WiFi is the high-end gamer’s reasonable board of choice. It doesn’t go overboard with anything. But solid power delivery and extensive connectivity mean that it can do just about anything that pricier X570 boards can.