It’s officially launched … AMD’s B450 chipset. We’ll see a flurry of B450 motherboard reviews over the next few weeks. Check out our review of the ASRock Fatal1ty B450 Gaming K4 motherboard here.
AMD today announced the B450 motherboard chipset for socket AM4 processors and APUs. Positioned as the mid-range option from AMD’s 400-series chipset family, the B450 will power motherboards priced anywhere between $70 to $160, and packs certain high-end features that could let you save money over choosing pricier X470-powered boards. To begin with, the B450, like the X470, has a lower TDP and power-draw, so it runs cooler, and can make do with lighter heatsinks. It comes with slightly improved reference CPU VRM and memory wiring specifications that AMD introduced with the X470. The B450, like the X470, also supports XFR 2 “Enhanced” and Precision Boost Overdrive (that lets you tinker with boost frequencies without arbitrarily setting a high clock speed).
The B450 is recommended by AMD for both Ryzen 5 series and Ryzen 7 series, provided you don’t need multi-GPU, as motherboards based on B450 aren’t allowed to have PEG lane bifurcation. You still get multiplier-unlocked CPU overclocking support (something the competing Intel B360 platform lacks), as well as memory overclocking. The B450 packs out of the box support for AMD StoreMI, a storage virtualization feature that stripes a portion of your memory, your fast SSD, and slower HDD, into a single volume, and juggles hot data in and out of the faster media in the background. You can have any brand of drives to use StoreMI. B350 motherboards support StoreMI through BIOS updates.
The rest of the B450’s feature-set is identical to that of the B350. The chipset is wired to the AM4 SoC over a PCI-Express gen 3.0 x4 link. It puts out 6 PCI-Express gen 2.0 downstream lanes meant for onboard devices. This may seem less compared to the 12 gen 3.0 lanes put out by Intel B360, but is somewhat compensated by the higher number of PCI-Express gen 3.0 lanes put out by the AM4 SoC (“Summit Ridge” and “Pinnacle Ridge”) than competing Intel processors. Ryzen processors put out not just 16 gen 3.0 lanes toward graphics cards, but also a gen 3.0 x4 link meant for NVMe SSDs, and the a second gen 3.0 x4 link serving as chipset-bus (a total of 24 lanes).
The B450 chipset puts out two 10 Gbps USB 3.1 gen 2 ports, six 5 Gbps USB 3.1 gen 1 ports, and six SATA 6 Gbps ports. The motherboard’s PCIe network controllers (GbE and WLAN) are usually wired to the chipset’s PCIe gen 2.0 ports.
The B450 supports every socket AM4 processor and APU launched till date, and AMD reassures that the AM4 platform will see additions all the way till 2020 (i.e. even products launched in 2020 will be supported on older chipsets through BIOS updates).