Best AMD Motherboards: April 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.

Another month into 2021, and AMD’s Ryzen 5000 series processors are still thin on the ground, especially the high-core count parts. The more affordable models, such as the Ryzen 7 5800X ($449) and Ryzen 5 5600X ($399), are slowly coming back into stock. While we occasionally see the higher core count CPUs listed for ridiculous prices it doesn’t make much sense to hold out much hope of stock levels increasing any time soon. Much better value may be better found in its Ryzen 3000 offerings, and we give our picks out of AMD’s wide-stretching AM4 offerings to support these. With X570, B550, and the A520 chipsets leading the way for AMD, here are AMD-based motherboard selections for April 2021.

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

AMD Motherboards Recommendations
 April 2021
AnandTech Motherboard Amazon Newegg MSRP
Sweet Spot ASUS ROG Strix B550-F Gaming Wi-Fi $202 $210 $210
Value Choice ASRock B550 Phantom Gaming 4/AC $125 $125 $125
Mini-ITX GIGABYTE B550I Aorus Pro AX $200 $200 $180
Money No Object MSI Prestige X570 Creation $500 $650 $500

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

For our April 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.

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/$210 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 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 $210 at Amazon and 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 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.

GIGABYTE B550I Aorus Pro AX ($200 at Amazon/$200 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 it for $200, Amazon matching this price. Despite being $20 over the initial MSRP price of $180, it 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.

MSI Prestige X570 Creation ($500 at Amazon/$650 at Newegg)

With some of AMD’s notable flagship X570 models suffering from stock issues, we felt it prudent to turn to another highly premium offering. Although not MSI’s current X570 flagship, the MSI Prestige X570 Creation doesn’t look or feel any less premium with a very solid feature set aimed at content creators, but this board also has everything a gamer and enthusiast could possibly need including a 12-phase power delivery, 10 gigabit Ethernet, and support for up to 128 GB of DDR4-4600 memory.

The aesthetic is solid with PCIe slot armor and surrounds three full-length PCIe 4.0 slots which can operate at x16, x8/x8, and x8/x8/+4, with three PCIe 4.0 x1 slots. For storage, the X570 Creation has two PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 slots onboard, but this can be extended with MSI’s M.2 XPANDER-Z Gen4 add-on card which can add a further two PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 slots by using one of the full-length PCIe slots. One of the most notable features is the board’s networking on the rear panel, which includes an Aquantia AQC107 10 gigabit Ethernet controller, a secondary Intel I211-AT Gigabit controller, and an Intel AX200 Wi-Fi 6 wireless interface. Impressively, MSI includes eleven USB 3.1 G2 Type-A on the rear panel, with one USB 3.1 G2 Type-C, and two USB 2.0 ports. Powering the onboard audio is a Realtek ALC1220 HD audio codec, which all things considered, is one of the most impressive rear panels of any X570 or any premium board of recent times.

 

Out of all the leading flagship models, the MSI Prestige X570 Creation is the only one currently in stock, with a price of $500 at Amazon, and a higher price at Newegg of $650. Our previous pick since X570 was release was the GIGABYTE X570 Aorus Xtreme and despite being an all-around better board in terms of power delivery, and overall design, it seems to have petered out stock and we had to pick the next best. The ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero is another solid contender but priced at $200 more than the MSRP at both Newegg and Amazon ($700), we simply couldn’t recommend this. For users looking for a solid variety of features, 10 G Ethernet, and more Type-A rear panel connectivity than any other desktop-based board on the market, the MSI Prestige X570 Creation is unbeatable at $500. It is a solid purchase for users looking to utilize as much PCIe 4.0 support as possible.

Stock Issues with AMD X570 Flagships

Over the past six 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 changed our ‘money is no object’ selection based on this. Another popular board is the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero which is also currently out of stock and listed at $200 than the MSRP of $400 it launched at.

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 in x8/x8. 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.

Recent AMD Motherboard Reviews at AnandTech