So I hear you’re into team red, and by team red I mean AMD. Those pesky Intel processors can’t have all the fun, they’ve had their day in the sun, and now the tides have turned; you want to get in on one of those Ryzen CPUs.
If you’re interested in an entry-level budget gaming PC or even a mid-level PC. One of these can be easily built with the help of one of the best budget B550 motherboard, as they provide overclocking, multi-GPU configurations and a couple M.2 slots. But getting a good motherboard that fits your requirements and your budget can sometimes be a daunting task.
Well fear not, my fellow comrades because, I have good news for you: There are some sweet B550 motherboards which are cheap but have good enough performance. I’ve got a list of six motherboards including one which I think is the best for you.
For those of you that don’t know, motherboards utilize a component called the “Chipset” that acts like a middleman between all the other components that are connected to it. The chipset determines if your PC is fit for overclocking and what type of components are going to be compatible with the mobo. Know how to check if you CPU is overlocked here.
In terms of compatibility the B550, X570 and A520 chipsets are introduced so that AMD can target three different price points on which to utilize their Ryzen 5000 series CPUs; with the B550 being the quintessential middle child of these three chipsets.
B550 chipsets can support overclocking but doesn’t support PCIe version 4.0 therefore, even though the Ryzen 3000 and 5000 series processors have built-in PCIe 4.0 lanes, these are not properly utilized when paired with a B550 motherboard. The chipset also supports fewer PCIe lanes and fewer USB ports relative to the X570. If you want to know if USB 3.0 is better than SATA 6, read this article.
But on the plus side, the B550 chipsets are less expensive, and because of utilizing fewer PCIe lanes, they consume less power. This is one of the driving forces behind why many gamers and PC builders prefer B550 motherboards as the more budget friendly option.
Because of the less heat produced by the B550 chipset, it also doesn’t require active cooling, therefore there’s no need to utilize a fan to cool down the chipset; a heatsink will do and the PC is also more silent.
What to look for when picking out a good motherboard
A motherboard has a ton of specs, and sometimes it can get overwhelming, especially for new users. I’ve listed out several quick specs that you need to look for when picking out a good motherboard, just so you can get an idea about the items I have planned for the list.
Right off the bat, you need to consider the size of the motherboard. This is where form factor comes into play. There are various sizes and most often you will come across ATX, Micro ATX, and on the rare occasion; the much smaller Mini ITX.
With a higher form factor comes a larger amount of expansion slots, so take note of that when you are mapping out your PC.
Not pairing the right CPU with its corresponding socket can be an expensive mistake. In our list we are focusing on B550 chipsets, so the socket on all these motherboards are for Ryzen 3000 and 5000 series; the AM4 socket.
When picking out any motherboard, always take extra care to note down the CPU socket.
Most motherboards provide upto 4 RAM slots and each slot can support upto 32GB. In some Mini ITX mobos there can only be two RAM slots, and this can be an issue when you are trying to upgrade the memory.
Also some motherboards cannot support faster memory and overclocking so be wary of that as well.
PCI slots are the go-to-standard when it comes to setting up expansion cards for the motherboard. Most often you might come across the PCIe x 16 slot which is utilized by the GPU, in other cases the PCI slot will be used for something like Wi-Fi, bluetooth adapters and so on. Some motherboards on this list have in-built Wi-Fi, which they can provide by compromising an extra PCI slot. Check out what are PCI-E X1 slots are used for here.
SATA ports and M.2 slots are necessary for storage, most modern motherboards come with enough SATA ports; more than enough for casual gamers. If you don’t know how to check how many SATA ports you have, read this article.
M.2 slots are an upgraded storage solution as it allows users to fix an SSD on the motherboard itself, without the need for any more SATA cables. The data transfer rates on these M.2 slots are much faster and they are very reliable. I’d recommend keeping an eye out for this spec as well.
So we’ve identified a lot of the key specs to look out for. This “knowledge” will help you gain a better understanding of the products I’ve listed below; so without further ado, let’s move on to the list.
Gigabyte rolled out this budget motherboard with one thing in mind, durability, that’s what it says when you first open it up. Apart from all that, this motherboard gets the job done, and it gets it done cheap. For budget gamers betting on team red, I’d highly recommend this.
This B550 motherboard is an efficient piece of art. It looks really nice (nicer than I expected at such a price). They really stood by their core message of “Ultra Durable” and while doing so they managed to stay cheap and reliable.
It doesn’t have a ton of features; just the bare essentials. But, from a budget mobo, that’s all you need. They nailed the basics without compromising too much on the aesthetics and overall performance.
The features that are already integrated in this mobo are still impressive, the digital VRM provides reliable power and adds an extra layer of security to all the core components. This mobo only comes with one PCIe 4.0 x16 slot for a GPU. It won’t need dual GPU configurations because budget users who buy this mobo won’t buy multiple GPUs anyway; it defeats the whole purpose of “budget”. This mobo has RGB fusion 2.0 so you could control the other RGB components very easily.
All-in-all I believe this is the line when it comes to budget B550 motherboards, anything lower than that, I do not recommend, no matter how tempting it may seem.
What We Like
Low Price - This is the cheapest you can get with B550 motherboards, and I don’t recommend going lower than that. Although there are some cheaper entries with small price changes I’d still go for this as it’s from a reputable brand.
Good Aesthetics - As far as the overall aesthetic, I love the black design. Despite being a cheap motherboard it does a great job of hiding it. Although the lack of shiny RGB lights makes me hesitant at first, this mobo would look pretty well in a minimalist build.
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Low Versatility - This mobo despite having performance and safety based features, still lacks Wi-Fi, and that is not very impressive, for such a cool looking mobo they could have added built-in Wi-Fi, along with a couple more PCIe slots. There’s also no dual GPU configurations so you won’t have much room for future expansions.
Another inexpensive motherboard, this one gets straight to the point, without any fancy bells or whistles; as it is the case for many budget motherboards. This is a very compact mobo that will easily fit inside your mini-ITX case. It’s so small that you can always carry it around in your pocket, and whip it out when you need a quick gaming session with your friends. I’m just kidding; you can’t fit a Mini-ITX PC in your pocket. If I can get over the fact that it has only 2 DIMM slots, I’d highly recommend it.
Yes, finally! About time somebody integrated some Wi-Fi into their budget B550 mobos, I’m looking at you Gigabyte B550M DS3H, you were supposed to be the chosen one.
So anyway this motherboard is just, okay. Please realize that this is a Mini-ITX and a damned good one at that. They’ve included the necessities and some optional features that I don’t normally expect from one of these.
It supports most of your friendly neighborhood Ryzen 3 and 5 series processors and has enough PCIe slots for a graphics card. The two memory slots are a bummer but I understand that they had to compromise because of it’s small size.
Why do people build such smaller PCs; I do not understand, nonetheless, this is a cheap and reliable motherboard. I highly recommend it for that specific niche.
What We Like
Low Price - This mobo provides good value for money, it’s cheap enough, for almost any budget PC builder out there who’s looking to build a quick, cheap and minimalist PC to suit their everyday needs, even if those needs entail a quick gaming session.
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Lacks Versatility - Despite having Wi-Fi, the 2 memory slots and fewer PCIe slots are what kills it for me. This case is built for a very specific niche and cannot be subjected to constant upgrades. If I lived in a tight coffin for an apartment I’d use this mobo to save up on space, but so far, I have enough space. I’d recommend you do the same and stay away from this unless absolutely necessary.
The MSI MAG B550M Bazooka is a beast of a motherboard, built for a solid gaming experience, this mobo doesn’t go down easily. It looks and feels great and it’s got all the necessary features for an entry level gamer, interested in team red. I’d highly recommend it, provided that you can afford it, of course.
The MSI MAG B550M Bazooka is a top-notch, high performance beast. It looks amazing and performs just as well. It’s got a ton of features at your disposal, paired up with intermediate specs that makes it a very attractive motherboard for a mid-range gaming PC.
The most exclusive features on this mobo are the 2oz thickened copper, the steel armor for the PCIe slot; to avoid the GPU bending, and a digital power IC; to ensure that the correct amount of power is delivered to all the components, while safeguarding them against any transient faults.
With crossfire support you can easily utilize dual GPU configurations on this mobo, the DDR4 boost, extended heatsinks and M.2 shields are impressive specs that all work together to provide you with a high-performance experience, although the lack of in-built Wi-Fi sucks.
What We Like
Good Versatility - Despite the lack of in-built Wi-Fi, everything else is just perfect. It’s got enough DIMM slots for RAM, 2 M.2 Slots, a ton of USB ports, HDMI ports on the mobo itself; for setting up multiple displays, and multi-GPU support. It could have been perfect if they had Wi-Fi in there as well, but hey, nobody’s perfect.
Proper Aesthetics - I love the black exterior and the overall finish. It definitely looks like a premium motherboard, along with those heatsinks, it really nails that futuristic military hardware look.
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High Price - Not everybody could afford it. Although there are far more expensive mobos out there, this is the one that comes closest to a premium budget B550 motherboard. I wouldn’t recommend it because, for the 50th time, it’s got no Wi-Fi, but if you prefer LAN, and you are one of the few that can afford it; then by all means go for it; this motherboard won’t ever let you down or give you up.
Another premium motherboard, this is one mean, lean and “clean” machine. The aesthetics are top-notch and it’s got the performance specs to back it up. I love the subtle RGB but still, no Wi-Fi, why isn’t anybody talking about this, is it only me that’s making it a big deal? All jokes aside, this is a good motherboard, highly recommend it, if it’s right up your budget.
Just as cool as the MSI MAG B550M Bazooka, and just as expensive, this mobo is a suitable replacement for it’s MSI counterpart. The basic features are all somewhat similar but this motherboard looks more aesthetically pleasing and the layout feels somewhat cleaner than the MSI mobo.
It’s got similar protection features such as digital VRM, with dual channel memory features and a durable PCIe x16 slot. The LAN is fast enough with it’s 2.5Gbe bandwidth management.
I’ve cooled off a bit on the Wi-Fi issue because I realize that not all motherboards are ready to sacrifice a PCIe slot for the Wi-Fi, and I can respect that. I sincerely apologize for my misbegotten crusade.
This motherboard supports Nvidia SLI and AMD crossfire for a dual GPU setup. Now I know what they decided to use instead of an extra Wi-Fi card; more GPUs.
What We Like
Gorgeous Aesthetics - The board looks very cool. The heatsinks look perfect and the integrated RGB lighting is top-notch. This is much more pleasing than the MSI because of it’s cleaner layout.
Unparalleled Versatility - The dual-GPU setup for both Nvidia and AMD is a good choice. There’s enough RAM slots, enough SATA ports and plenty of room for creativity. Overall it is a good option.
Know Before Buying
High Price - All these extra features comes at a cost, a cost that most budget level gamers are not prepared to pay, so for that reason alone I wouldn’ recommend this as a budget friendly mobo. You will deserve this motherboard only if you are prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice of stealing mum’s credit card.
Another MSI mobo on the list, they are killing it in the B550 department. These mobos have some good solid features and if you want to spend a little extra cash getting dual-GPU support without going overboard on the budget, then this is the motherboard for you.
The MSI B550 Tomahawk is a very powerful and well-known motherboard. It’s future-proof and the design looks very beautiful. There’s no Wi-Fi but they utilized that extra PCIe slot to bring crossfire support to allow dual AMD GPU configurations.
The heatsinks, thermal pads and M.2 shield offer a lot of resilience against high temperatures, along with that there’s the DDR4 boost, 2.5G Gigabit LAN, PCIe steel armor and a 6 layer PCB with 2 oz thickened Copper.
I wouldn’t call it perfect or budget friendly but under the right circumstances it can be worth your time and investment.
What We Like
Very Versatile - The features on this are amazing; although not perfect. There’s a lot of room to expand, a lot of SATA ports, USB ports, two M.2 slots and even the ability to use dual AMD GPUs with it’s crossfire support. I would have loved to have Nvidia SLI as well, but hey, beggars can’t be choosers and this mobo already has a lot of choosers.
Acceptable Aesthetics - The design still has that signature MSI messy look; I have mixed emotions about it and most of them aren’t good. However, I do love the RGB design on the heatsink. It's arrangement is very stealthy and cool. Along with that they have done no harm in conforming to their rugged futuristic military look. With a matching case it has the potential to showcase a cool-looking PC.
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Slightly Higher Price - This mobo is a little cheaper than the Bazooka, but nowhere as close to a budget PC builder’s price range. I’d recommend this if you aren’t worried about Wi-Fi and you prefer a dual AMD GPU configuration. Overall it’s a “meh” from me.
In the famous words of Gordon Ramsey: “Finally some good f***** mobos”. The MSI B550M PRO-VDH is a great bargain, piggybacking off several of the B550M Bazooka’s exclusive features; this motherboard delivers intermediate performance that leaves budget builders with a more sustainable long-term solution.
This motherboard is what I would consider to be the best budget motherboard for team red enthusiasts. The overall design is clean yet sturdy. There’s many of the core components for an entry-level PC with plenty of room for upgrades. Most important of all, it’s got Wi-Fi.
The core boost, DDR4 boost, M.2 Shield Frozr and 2oz thickened Copper PCB are just a few of the “premium” qualities that this mobo inherits from it’s more expensive cousin. There are countless tools and online resources that make this mobo, a more “beginner friendly” component for entry-level buildersl.
All-in-all, I think this is the chosen one, you might not have dual GPU configurations, but for a budget build; that’s okay. Most budget builders like myself could barely afford one GPU, let alone a couple of them.
What We Like
Fair Price - The MSI B550M PRO-VDH has got a fair price tag. This is the most typical price you’re gonna get for a well-known entry level motherboard. You could have stable 1080p 144Hz gaming performance if you pair it with a proper GPU and CPU.
Somewhat Versatile - If you don’t mind the dual GPU configuration, everything else is just dandy. It’s got Wi-FI, something that, if you haven’t already figured out by now, is my favorite feature. It’s got more than enough SATA ports, two M.2 Slots and 4 RAM slots, it’s enough for most entry-level builders and will allow them some breathing room for future hardware updates.
Know Before Buying
Weak Aesthetics - I’d love it more if there were some RGB and a little cleaner design, but it’s MSI, not gigabyte, each brand has their own style but if you want to entice new budget conscious users, I’d recommend flashing some fancy lights on the motherboard. I’d buy the hell out of an affordable motherboard that doesn’t look cheap, as we all know: appearances matter.
AMD is well known for producing reliable yet affordable CPUs and GPUs, the same can be said for their compatible motherboards as well. For most budget PC builders and gamers out there, getting into the Ryzen ecosystem, a reliable B550 Motherboard is a good choice, it’s the perfect middle ground to get started in your gaming journey.
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