Best AMD Motherboards: September 2021by Gavin Bonshor on September 9, 2021 12:15 PM EST
Here’s the latest update to our list of recommended AMD motherboards in our series of motherboard buyers guides. All numbers in the text are updated to reflect pricing at the time of writing.
Best AMD Motherboards: September 2021
When it comes to building a new system or upgrading an existing one, the AM4 socket has numerous options at various price points for users to select from. We are now seeing CPU prices come back down to earth - the flagship AMD Ryzen 9 5950X desktop processor is available for $749 at both Amazon and Newegg currently, and despite the obvious pitfalls in graphics card pricing, it's a better time to build a new PC right now than it has been during most months during 2021. There has also been a number of new 'X570S' models making its way into retail channels from all of the major vendors, with upgraded features such as Wi-Fi 6E and passively cooled chipsets. It's time to give our picks for September 2021 in our latest AMD motherboard buyers guide.
Looking for our best Intel motherboard choices? Head on over to our Intel Motherboard Buyers Guide instead!
|AMD Motherboards Recommendations
|Sweet Spot||ASUS ROG Strix B550-F Gaming Wi-Fi||$195||$202||$210|
|Value Choice||ASRock B550 Phantom Gaming 4/AC||$115||$110||$125|
|Mini-ITX||GIGABYTE B550I Aorus Pro AX||$208||$238||$200|
|Money No Object||GIGABYTE X570 Aorus Xtreme||$693||$693||$700|
Our recommendations for motherboards are based entirely on my personal and professional opinion.
For our September 2021 picks, we've considered updated pricing as well as availability in the US. Some of these models are slightly adjusting in stock levels and price, and so we've adjusted our guide to accommodate for this. It's also worth noting that B550 is generally considered the budget AM4 platform, but competitively it often has the more attractive pricing when compared to X570. Another element is many vendors have released new 'X570S' motherboards onto the market, with new features, and with passively cooled chipsets. These new models have been factored into the decision, but the benefits of X570S, especially compared to the much lower pricing of B550, doesn't always equate to better value.
For users looking for other options, we've also gone over multiple chipset families as well in the links below.
- The Intel Z590 Motherboard Overview: 50+ Motherboards Detailed
- The Intel B560 Motherboard Overview: 30+ Budget Models Starting from $75
- The AMD B550 Motherboard Overview: ASUS, GIGABYTE, MSI, ASRock, and Others
- The Intel W480 Motherboard Overview: LGA1200 For Xeon W-1200
- The AMD TRX40 Motherboard Overview: 12 New Motherboards Analyzed
- The AMD X570 Motherboard Overview: Over 35+ Motherboards Analyzed
- Intel Z390 Motherboard Overview: 50+ Motherboards Analyzed
- Analyzing B450 for AMD Ryzen: A Quick Look at 25+ Motherboards
- Analyzing Z370 for Intel's 8th Generation Coffee Lake: A Quick Look at 50+ Motherboards
- An AMD Threadripper X399 Motherboard Overview: A Quick Look at Seven Products
Best Sweet Spot
ASUS ROG Strix B550-F Gaming Wi-Fi ($195 at Amazon/$202 at Newegg)
In our Best Sweet Spot, we've opted for a board with plenty of functionality and features while also enabling a PCIe 4.0 experience from the CPU. Boards based on the B550 chipset offer PCIe 4.0 support, with a single full-length PCIe x16 slot and a PCIe x4 M.2 slot at PCIe 4.0 speeds. One of the best B550 boards we have reviewed to date is the ASUS ROG Strix B550-F Gaming WIFI, a higher-end B550 board that received our Recommended by AnandTech award.
You can read our full review here:
What makes it our pick over the other 500-series is the level of solid quality and great performance offered at a very competitive price point. It includes two PCIe M.2 slots, with the top slot operating at PCIe 4.0 x4 and the second slot at PCIe 3.0 x4. The ASUS model also has a stacked rear panel with two USB 3.2 G2 ports (Type A+C), DisplayPort, and HDMI video outputs (for use with APUs) and the capability to install up to six fans.
The ASUS ROG Strix B550-F Gaming Wi-Fi includes an Intel-based networking pairing, with a premium 2.5 Gb Ethernet controller and a Wi-Fi 6 interface. The onboard audio is also premium, with ASUS's tweaked SupremeFX S1200A HD audio codec taking care of business. There are also four memory slots with support for up to DDR4-5100 with a maximum capacity of 128 GB. For a mid-range model, this is a stack of features, and considering similarly priced X570 models (sub-$250) that include a similar controller set are non-existent, it puts the ASUS model in good standing.
The ASUS B550-F Gaming Wi-Fi is currently available to buy for $195 at Amazon and $202 at Newegg, so we recommend users purchase this model at Amazon. The ASUS Strix B550-F Gaming Wi-Fi looks to be the best ATX sized AM4 option in the sub $200 price range. The MSI B550 Gaming Carbon is more expensive with a similar feature set at $220, while the GIGABYTE B550 Aorus Pro AC can be had for around $190 to $210, but this model is slightly lighter on features. There is also the ASUS X570 TUF Gaming, which is around a $220 price point. When we had the ASUS B550-F model on our test bench, we saw good performance in out-of-the-box DPC latency, competitive CPU, and gaming performance. Looking at Zen 3, we tested the thermals of its efficiently designed power delivery, which sets the ROG Strix B550-F Gaming Wi-Fi as our mid-range pick.
The Value Option
ASRock B550 Phantom Gaming 4/AC ($115 at Amazon/$110 at Newegg)
In previous guides, the value options have mostly been B450 models, due to B550 being more expensive, and sometimes a bit too much for true 'value.' However, the B450 range seems to be reducing in stock, causing prices to increase. So we've chosen ASRock's B550 Phantom Gaming 4/AC, which represents AM4's entry-level gaming series as well as PCIe 4.0.
Even though it is one of the cheapest B550 boards, ASRock's B550 Phantom Gaming 4/AC is a competitive entry-level offering. The board comes with a PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 slot and augments that with four SATA ports, which is plenty of capacity for game storage. The top full-length PCIe 4.0 slot operates at x16, while the bottom slot is locked to PCIe 3.0 x4, which is controlled by the chipset, along with two additional PCIe 3.0 x1 slots. For networking it is using a standard Realtek based Gigabit Ethernet controller, along with an Intel Wi-Fi 5 interface. This is pretty standard for an entry-level model that focuses more on overall support than adding extra cost at the expense of premium controllers. The B550 Phantom Gaming 4/AC is also using a Realtek ALC1200 HD audio codec but with just three 3.5 mm audio jacks on the rear panel and a basic 8-phase power delivery.
The ASRock B550 Phantom Gaming 4/AC is currently available for $110 at Newegg and at a slightly more expensive price of $115 at Amazon. Looking at the bigger picture, most of the PG4/AC's competition comes from the cheaper selection of A520 boards with the majority of these based on the smaller micro-ATX form factor, with limited expansion options. Meanwhile, the biggest competition from the X570 product stack is arguably ASRock's own X570 Phantom Gaming 4S model, which is currently available at Newegg for $140. This offers better future-proofing and eight SATA ports, but it also includes only a single M.2 slot and doesn't have any wireless capabilities, so the B550 version gets our vote on price alone. The pricing on this model at both Newegg and Amazon is fluctuating month by month, and although slightly more expensive over last month's price, it's still a solid buy.
Mini-ITX Choice To Consider
GIGABYTE B550I Aorus Pro AX ($208 at Amazon/$238 at Newegg)
There are an impressive array of Mini-ITX AMD boards to choose from. Our pick for the best mini-ITX motherboard at present remains unchanged, and that is GIGABYTE B550I Aorus Pro AX. The Aorus Pro AX represents a solid premium offering, with official PCIe 4.0 support, two M.2 slots, a Realtek 2.5 Gb Ethernet controller, and an Intel Wi-Fi 6 interface, all at a solid price point.
You can read our full review here:
The GIGABYTE B550I Aorus Pro AX has four perpendicular SATA ports, one PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 slot, and an additional PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slot with a full-length PCIe 4.0 x16 slot. In terms of power, the GIGABYTE B550I Aorus Pro AX has a direct 8-phase power delivery with eight premium Intersil ISL99390 90 A power stages and is controlled by an ISL229004 PWM controller. This is impressive not only for a mini-ITX motherboard but one designed for the 'budget' B550 chipset.
Focusing on connectivity, this board has dual HDMI 2.0 outputs as well as DisplayPort 1.4, a single Realtek RTL8125BG 2.5 Gb Ethernet port, and an Intel AX200 Wi-Fi 6 interface. There are also plenty of USB ports of which to make use, with one USB 3.2 G2 Type-C, one USB 3.2 G2 Type-A, and four USB 3.2 G1 Type-A ports, as well as a handily located Q-Flash firmware update button. In an upgrade to supported memory for B550, the B550I Aorus Pro AX also supports up to DDR4-5300 memory.
The GIGABYTE B550I Aorus Pro AX has an MSRP of $180, but Newegg and Amazon are currently listing it at a higher price. Although the pricing on this model fluctuates week by week, Amazon currently has it for $208 and Newegg for $238. We consider this board to represent good value for money between the $190 and $225 price mark, with stern competition from ASRock's $200 premium B550 ITX board or ASUS's also-$200 B550 mini-ITX offering. Out of all of the AM4 mini-ITX models on the market, some X570 models include Thunderbolt 3 – notably the ASRock X570 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB3 – but it does cost more with an MSRP of $240. Overall the GIGABYTE B550I Aorus Pro AX is our top mini-ITX pick out of all the AMD AM4 models when taking quality, feature set, and pricing into consideration.
It's also worth noting that users can purchase a refurbished version for the lower price of $165 from Newegg.
Money Is No Object
GIGABYTE X570 Aorus Xtreme ($693 at Amazon/$693 at Newegg)
The flagship AM4 market has been turbulent over the last half a year, to say the least. While there is better value to be had by some of the more mid-range X570 and even B550 models, flagships are all about features, performance, and flashy aesthetics. Now back in stock at Newegg, the GIGABYTE X570 Aorus Xtreme is perhaps the best air-cooled motherboard on the AM4 platform, even with new X570S boards coming into view. It has a large 16-phase power delivery more than capable of pushing any Ryzen 5000 processor. It also includes 10 Gb Ethernet, Wi-Fi 6, and an impressive array of rear panel connectivity making the most of the X570 chipset.
Looking at the design, upon release, the GIGABYTE X570 Aorus Xtreme was unique in that it was the only X570 model that relied on passive chipset cooling. it uses a very clean all-black aesthetic including plenty of PCIe slot armor, with three PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 slots with heatsinks that fit into the overall design. Other storage options include six SATA ports, with support with RAID 0, 1, and 10 arrays. Towards the lower portion of the board are three full-length PCIe 4.0 slots that can operate at x16/x0/+x4, or x8/x8/+x4, with four memory slots capable of support up to 128 GB of DDR4-4400. Onboard audio is spearheaded by a Realtek ALC1220 audio codec, with an assisting ESS Sabre 9128 DAC, and uses a mixture of Nichicon Gold and WIMA audio capacitors.
On the rear panel is an impressive selection of input and outputs, which includes one USB 3.1 G2 Type-A, five USB 3.1 G2 Type-A, two USB 3.1 G1 Type-A, and four USB 2.0 ports. Networking capability consists of an Aquantia AQC107 10 GbE controller, an Intel I211-AT Gigabit controller, and an Intel AX200 Wi-Fi 6 interface offering both wireless and BT 5.1 connectivity (Rev 1.2 offers the AX210 Wi-Fi 6E, so check that if you can). We've previously reviewed the GIGABYTE X570 Aorus Xtreme and in our testing, it blitzed through our test suite with good results in our system, compute, and gaming tests. Perhaps the best aspect of performance in our review came when overclocking, as well as in our power delivery thermal testing, which puts the Xtreme as one of the most efficient X570 models when pushed beyond Ryzen's default specifications.
As previously mentioned, stock on AMD's desktop flagship models is hit and miss, and when looking to purchase one, it's a case of grab the one that's available at the time. The GIGABYTE X570 Aorus Xtreme has been a previous pick of ours when the cost isn't factored in, and now that it's back in stock at Newegg and Amazon for $693, it's hard not to recommend the Xtreme over other brands flagship models. Some of the competition includes the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Extreme which we are testing in the very near future For such an expensive outlay, the X570 Aorus Xtreme displayed phenomenal all-round performance in our testing and as such, it remains our money no object pick for September 2021.
Recent AMD Motherboard Reviews at AnandTech
- ASUS ROG Strix X570-E Gaming
- GIGABYTE B550I Aorus Pro AX
- ASRock B550 Taichi
- ASUS ROG Strix B550-F Gaming Wi-Fi
- AMD B550 Motherboard Overview: ASUS, GIGABYTE, MSI, ASRock, and Others
- ASRock Rack EPYCD8-2T
- GIGABYTE MZ31-AR0
- GIGABYTE's X570 I Aorus Pro WIFI
- MSI Creator TRX40
- ASUS ROG Zenith II Extreme TRX40
- ASRock X570 Aqua
- ASRock X570 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB3
- In The Lab: ASRock X570 Aqua Motherboard Preview
- GIGABYTE X570 Aorus Xtreme
- MSI MEG X570 Godlike
- ASUS Pro WS X570-Ace
- MSI MEG X570 Ace
- The AMD X570 Motherboard Overview: Over 35+ Motherboards Analyzed