Question Which AMD chipset for my needs? B450 vs B550 vs X570

anlygi

Active Member
I'm in the process of collecting components for my first build since 2004, yes you read that right! It was a Pentium 4 Northwood with Geforce 6800 so as you can imagine, I'm a bit out of the loop with components. The last and only AMD system I built was an Athlon XP in my teens. I've been using laptops for my computing needs with consoles for gaming this past 2 generations, but I want to go back to PC gaming as I miss RTS games and tinkering.

I think I've settled on a Ryzen 7 3700X or Ryzen 9 3900X, though I'm waiting to see what Zen 3 brings but think I'm more interested in a potential price drop on the two CPUs I mentioned to be honest. The plan for GPU is a Geforce 3070 which, checking online, should be ok without either bottlenecking it? Trouble is, when looking at motherboards there are so many AMD chipsets which I find confusing.

I've already picked up a 1TB Western Digital Blue SSD (SATA) for my system drive initially, but plan to add a PCIe 4 NVMe drive later when they come down a bit in price and then use the WD as secondary storage. From what I've read, either B550 or X570 will meet my needs? So what's the difference between the 2? I read the B550 boards are AMD's response to demand for lower cost PCIe 4 motherboards? They seem to be at their RRP whilst X570 have dropped so the difference could be as little as £20 depending on my choice of motherboard. I've been looking at boards like the MSI B550 Tomahawk. Budget is around £150 but don't mind paying more, though not £200+! I don't want to waste money on features I won't use however. I don't even have a professional need for wanting such a fast NVMe drive. Should I save money and go for something like the B450 Tomahawk, which I think will take a gen3 NVMe SSD? I thought about a future upgrade path but read Zen 3 will likely be the last on the AM4 socket which would mean a new motherboard anyway in 2 or 3 years.

I'm probably wrong about some things above, as I said, it's been a while!

Advice appreciated.
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
It sounds like you're well past buying on the features you'll actually use and are into enthusiast/early adoptor territory considering which features you might fancy trying in future.
 

anlygi

Active Member
It sounds like you're well past buying on the features you'll actually use and are into enthusiast/early adoptor territory considering which features you might fancy trying in future.
I know, it's a slippery slope. I think I'm getting a bit carried away too as it's been so long. I've a fair idea what I want but struggling to see what the spec differences between the chipsets actually translate to. I just want a motherboard compatible with the CPUs I'm considering with the option to add something like the Samsung 980 Pro in the near future, without spending more than I have to. I 'think' that means it has to be a B550 or X570! If I went B450, does that mean I can only add a PCIe 3 drive in future, or are there some B450 boards that support PCIe 4?
 

GreyMutton

Active Member
Definitely go for B550 or X570 as you're guaranteed an upgrade path. I know many B450 boards are getting an update to run ryzen 5000 chips but I'd rather know it's going to work. Also gen 4 PCIe is a nice to have.
Having just built a new rig myself after a long PC gaming hiatus, I can relate to your current predicament.
I'd decide what case your going to get early. Purely due to the size. I wanted a smaller case which meant I could only go for mATX ot iTX boards. mATX boards don't have a particularly wide selection.
If you use reddit there's a few helpful subs there too, one of them lists deals on PC parts.
On the subject of cases, I got the Corsair 280x crystal rgb and it was really easy to build into due to the dual chamber. The PSU and drives (if you have any) all go in one side so the cable management is a breeze. There's a few dual chamber cases on the market and I'd highly recommend them.
Good luck!
 

anlygi

Active Member
Definitely go for B550 or X570 as you're guaranteed an upgrade path. I know many B450 boards are getting an update to run ryzen 5000 chips but I'd rather know it's going to work. Also gen 4 PCIe is a nice to have.
Having just built a new rig myself after a long PC gaming hiatus, I can relate to your current predicament.
I'd decide what case your going to get early. Purely due to the size. I wanted a smaller case which meant I could only go for mATX ot iTX boards. mATX boards don't have a particularly wide selection.
If you use reddit there's a few helpful subs there too, one of them lists deals on PC parts.
On the subject of cases, I got the Corsair 280x crystal rgb and it was really easy to build into due to the dual chamber. The PSU and drives (if you have any) all go in one side so the cable management is a breeze. There's a few dual chamber cases on the market and I'd highly recommend them.
Good luck!
Thanks. I totally forgot about this thread! I went B550 in the end, ordered an ASUS ROG Strix B550F-Gaming on sale the other day. I didn't want to limit my upgrade options down the line for the sake of saving a few quid now.

Zen3 likely being the last CPUs on the AM4 socket was the only reason I was considering B450, as a future CPU upgrade for me would likely mean a new board anyway, but I really wanted the Gen4 option due to going with a 3070, if I can get one of course.

CPU, GPU and PSU are the only components left now. They recommend at least 650w for a 3070, but I'm going to go for at least 750w as the Corsairs I'm looking at come with 10 year warranty so thinking of the future there as well.

No optical drives, or even mechanical hard drives. Just the SSD for now then I'll add an NVMe when they drop a bit and ghost the SATA drive over to it. I have an external drive for my laptop and don't think I've used it in about 2 years!
 

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