Best AMD Motherboards: March 2021

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.

Over the last couple of months, AMD’s Ryzen 5000 series processors have been quite hard to get a hold of, however that situation seems to be changing with the Ryzen 5 and the Ryzen 7. Depending on where you are, stock may be available, or intermittently so. The Zen 3 based processors offer impressive all-around performance, with big wins in single and multi-threaded applications. The lifeblood of every system is the motherboard, and AMD’s main platform is AM4, built with X570, B550, and A520 chipsets. Here are our AMD-based motherboard selections for March 2021.

Looking for our best Intel motherboard choices? Head on over to our Intel Motherboard Buyers Guide instead!

AMD Motherboards Recommendations
 March 2021
AnandTech Motherboard Amazon Newegg MSRP
Sweet Spot ASUS ROG Strix B550-F Gaming Wi-Fi $202 $200 $210
Value Choice ASRock B550 Phantom Gaming 4/AC $125 $125 $125
Mini-ITX GIGABYTE B550I Aorus Pro AX $190 $180
Money No Object GIGABYTE X570 Aorus Xtreme $700 $700

Our recommendations for motherboards are based entirely on my personal and professional opinion. 

For our March 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.

For users looking for other options, we’ve also gone over multiple chipset families as well in the links below.

ASUS ROG Strix B550-F Gaming Wi-Fi ($210 at Amazon/$200 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 partial PCIe 4.0 support, with a single full-length PCIe x16 slot and a PCIe x4 M.2 slot at PCIe 4.0 speeds. We’ve seen 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:

The ASUS ROG Strix B550-F Gaming Wi-Fi Motherboard Review: Premium Value

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 GbE Ethernet controller and 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, which is impressive, 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. 

 

Touching more on the competition, the ASUS B550-F Gaming Wi-Fi is $202 at Amazon or $200 on Newegg. This makes it look to be the best ATX sized AM4 option in this 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, but this model is slightly lighter on features. There is also the ASUS X570 TUF Gaming, which is around a $220 price point. We’ve had the ASUS B550-F model on our test bench and saw great 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.

ASRock B550 Phantom Gaming 4/AC ($125 at Amazon/$125 at Newegg)

In previous guides, the value options have mostly been B450 models, due to the more expensive B550 options being 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 offers a competitive entry-level feature set. 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’s using a standard Realtek based Gigabit Ethernet controller, along with an Intel Wi-Fi 5 interface. It’s 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 $125 at both Amazon and Newegg, with a non-Wi-Fi version of the board available for a slightly lower price of $115. This adds some flexibility for users looking to save a little on a feature that might not be utilized. Otherwise, looking at the bigger picture, most competition from the launch-wave of A520 boards are micro-ATX boards 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 with more PCIe 4.0 support and eight SATA ports, but it also includes a single M.2 slot and isn’t with any wireless capabilities, so the B550 version gets our vote on price alone.

GIGABYTE B550I Aorus Pro AX ($190 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 G 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 Motherboard Review: All The Small Things

The GIGABYTE B550I Aorus Pro AX has four straight-angled 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 GbE controlled Ethernet port, and an Intel AX200 Wi-Fi 6 interface. There are also plenty of USB ports to make use of, 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 lists its previous price as $210. It’s currently available to buy at Newegg for $190 which despite $10 over MSRP, still represents good value for money on the mini-ITX platform. On the whole, GIGABYTE’s board has the right blend of premium features to be useful while still coming in at a price under 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.

We also reviewed the B550I Aorus Pro AX, and it’s a decent board for the price.

GIGABYTE X570 Aorus Xtreme (Grab One While You Can/$700 at Newegg)

When it came to selecting our money is no object pick, the higher tier models’ current stock levels caused us a little bit of a headache. Both the MSI MEG X570 Godlike and the GIGABYTE X570 Aorus Xtreme haven’t been too easy to get hold of, but we’ve opted to make the GIGABYTE our pick once again. One of the standout boards that honed our interest during testing was the GIGABYTE X570 Aorus Xtreme, which is in limited company as a rare X570 board to use a passively-cooled chipset heatsink. So for our money is no object selection, there isn’t a more well-rounded X570 flagship than GIGABYTE’s board. 

However, what made the X570 Aorus Xtreme stand out came in our power delivery thermal testing, which showed how far GIGABYTE has come in its power delivery implementation and design. With a true 14-phase power delivery for the CPU with the Infineon XDPE132G5C spearheading the design, we saw excellent performance, overclocking, and efficiency. This is perhaps more important for users looking to overclock the latest Ryzen 5000 processors which already come with pretty high boost clock speeds.

You can read our full review here:

The GIGABYTE X570 Aorus Xtreme Motherboard Review: Fanless AM4

The E-ATX board has a high-end feature set in line with its price. In terms of networking support, the board includes an Aquantia AQC107 10 gigabit Ethernet controller, an Intel I211-AT gigabit controller, and an Intel AX200 Wi-Fi 6 + BT 5.0 wireless interface. For storage, there are three PCIe 4.0 x4 slots and six SATA ports that support RAID 0, 1, and 10 and support for up to DDR4-4400 and 128 GB across four memory slots. A Realtek ALC1220-VB HD audio codec powers the rear panel audio, while an ESS Sabre 9218 DAC helps to bolster the quality of the front panel audio. 

 

The GIGABYTE X570 Aorus Xtreme also has dual BIOS support, which is handy for BIOS Flashback and allows one to be used for extreme overclocking, while the other could be used for more stable 24/7 settings. Focusing more on the Xtreme element, GIGABYTE also includes an overclockers’ toolkit with a power button, reset button, voltage measurement points for better accuracy, and an OC PEG power connector.

With a current price tag of $700 at Newegg, it’s not a board for those with shallow pockets. It’s also one of the best X570 and AM4 based models currently on the market from a performance perspective. For the few who can justify a $700 board, the GIGABYTE X570 Aorus Xtreme offers a robust premium feature set, looks good with its full cover thermal armor, and it offers highly efficient and reliable power delivery. In other words, it ticks the majority of boxes for both enthusiasts and gamers looking for a high-end foundation for a powerful gaming system.

Stock Issues with AMD X570 Flagships

Over the last few months, we’ve noticed that some popular motherboards have been going in-and-out of stock recently, with it being a very day-to-day thing. For whatever reason, some retailers choose not to stock various models, which can focus sales through individual retailers. For example, at the time of writing, the GIGABYTE X570 Aorus Xtreme is currently in stock, but this has been sporadic. We nearly changed our ‘money is no object’ selection based on this, but our next best selection in the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero which is also currently out of stock. 

The premium flagship X570 stock and manufacturing is likely on the decline with a lot of B550 models offering a fresher alternative to the market, albeit without some of the most prominent features of X570 including full PCIe 4.0 support. This is happening across numerous vendors, including GIGABYTE, with MSI and ASUS joining the fray. While ASRock’s flagship model, the X570 Aqua, is catered towards those with custom liquid cooling, the only other board is the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Formula at $584 at Newegg (MSRP is $700) and even this is hard to find in stock on Amazon.

Users wanting something similar to the X570 Aorus Xtreme but can’t afford the cost might look towards the X570 Aorus Master, which for $350 has most of the features (changes in power delivery, armor, controllers), but still gives a competitive offering. It’s the next step down from the Xtreme, with less on offer, but it also costs considerably less, and more importantly, it’s currently available to buy on the regular.

Recent AMD Motherboard Reviews at AnandTech