ASUS launches AMD B550 motherboard series

Published: May 21st 2020, 15:48 GMT   Comments

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Almost a year ago, AMD’s high-end X570 chipset was the first to bring PCI Express 4.0 (PCIe 4.0) support to the desktop PC. That new bus standard offers up to 2X the bandwidth for the next generation of solid-state drives, graphics cards, network adapters, and more. Now, the B550 chipset is bringing the potential of PCIe 4.0 to mainstream builds everywhere. ASUS has a wide range of new motherboards to choose from with this chipset, and we’ve assembled this handy B550 motherboard guide to help you find the one that’s right for you.

B550 motherboards enable 20 general-purpose PCIe 4.0 lanes from third-generation AMD Ryzen CPUs. Both the primary PCIe x16 and M.2 slots on all of our B550 boards offer PCIe 4.0 connectivity. Third-gen Ryzen chips also let us tap as many as four USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports running at up to 10Gbps direct from the CPU. The B550 silicon itself gets an upgrade to PCIe 3.0 connectivity for its built-in lanes, and AMD has already confirmed that future chips based on the Zen 3 architecture will drop right in. Those upgrades make B550 a tantalizing platform for mainstream builders the world over.

“We are seeing increasing user demands for flexible systems that perform well in a multitude of tasks from gaming to content creation more than ever before,” said Chris Kilburn, corporate vice president and general manager of the client component business unit at AMD. “AMD is excited to bring the power of 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen™ desktop processors and cutting edge PCIe® 4.0 support to the mainstream users with our latest AMD B550 chipset. From ROG Strix to Prime and everything in-between from our partners at ASUS, AMD is confident these new B550 platforms will provide flexibility and power never seen before on a mainstream platform.”

Out with the old, in with the new
Our squadron of ROG Strix, TUF Gaming, and Prime B550 motherboards pair AMD’s latest chipset with a top-notch supporting cast. Higher-end Ryzen chips and their wealth of cores need voltage regulator modules (VRMs) that can keep up, and our B550 boards come with extra power stages and improved heatsinks to handle the load. Our proprietary ProCool solid-core power connectors report for duty in select models to ensure reliable power delivery to the VRM. Nearly the entire lineup supports overclocked memory to help builders take advantage of AMD’s processors’ penchant for speedy, low-latency RAM. The pint-sized ROG Strix B550-I Gaming, for example, takes advantage of the short RAM trace lengths of the Mini-ITX form factor to let builders push DIMMs up to a stratospheric 5100MHz.

We’ve carefully tailored our B550 boards for the needs of the modern mainstream build. M.2 slot and heatsink counts have increased across nearly the entire lineup. The baseline Ethernet speed for most models has been boosted to 2.5Gbps, and variants with Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200 adapters support wireless speeds up to 2400 Mbps. Some models even include a header for hooking up our ThunderboltEX 3-TR card in case high-end audio interfaces, A/V gear, or external storage arrays come into play.

Communicate clearly with AI Noise Cancelling and Audio Type-C
“Attack location D! No, I meant D, not C, don’t do that! Great, we lost.” We’ve all been there. Few things are more aggravating than losing an online match thanks to bad comms. In the real world, many a meeting or client call has suffered from poor audio from participants. There’s no need to suffer anymore, though, thanks to the AI Noise Cancelling support launching alongside our B550 motherboards. This proprietary technology works with any headset or microphone by applying advanced filters to the voice input so you can be heard clearly. AI Noise Canceling filters out background sounds like keyboard strokes, mouse clicks, and the vast majority of office and household noise.

Many people have USB Type-C headphones and headsets to use with their latest-gen phones, tablets, and laptops. On PCs, Type-C ports still constitute a minority of back- and front-panel connectivity, so using one to plug in a headset isn’t ideal if also you need to connect a high-speed Type-C storage device or charge a phone. The ROG Strix B550-E and B550-I boards come to the rescue with a dedicated Audio Type-C port. This port has two special tricks up its sleeve. First, its power supply is filtered to clear away noise. Second, an S210 control chip automatically detects the type of connected device so the port can be used for both Type-C audio devices and standard USB connectivity as needed. These boards also include a Type-C-to-3.5mm adapter that makes it easy to connect both standard headphones and 4-pole headsets, leaving more analog audio ports available for your speakers or other gear.

Engineering meets craftsmanship
Raw technical specifications may be impressive, but an ASUS motherboard is crafted with exquisite attention to detail from stem to stern. Our UEFI interface is the command center of your PC, and it’s garnered a stack of awards over the years for both functionality and ease-of-use. On top of easy-to-understand and well-documented overclocking settings, the Q-Fan Control utility makes it easy to manage your fans for a cool and quiet system.

Visual customization is vital for the modern PC, and our boards have always blazed a well-lit trail. The Aura Sync RGB LED ecosystem is now a household name for PC builders, and our Armoury Crate software cleanly and intuitively integrates RGB LED controls, overclocking, and system monitoring in one convenient app. Gen 2 addressable RGB LED headers with per-LED control, automatic configuration, and near-zero latency can be found across our B550 lineup. They’re ready to illuminate the latest light strips and accessories in a perfectly synchronized show.

Back to the future with BIOS FlashBack™
One of the big advantages of AMD’s Socket AM4 platforms is compatibility with future processors. New chips often require updated board firmware to function, so in the event a new motherboard doesn’t come with the latest firmware, it can be difficult to update it without a compatible processor. BIOS FlashBack™ support on ROG Strix and TUF Gaming B550 boards gets your new build up and running without a hitch by letting you update your board’s firmware with nothing more than a power supply and a USB flash drive.

A board for every builder
Our engineers and designers have produced a grand total of 11 B550 motherboards across three families. ROG Strix boards fill out the top end with top-notch features like efficient and cool-running VRMs, enhanced audio, and Ethernet and Wi-Fi 6 connectivity by way of Intel controllers. Additional premium touches include carefully diffused RGB LEDs, pre-mounted I/O shields, and ProCool power connectors. TUF Gaming boards blend high-end features with a battle-tested, reliable, and attainable package. Finally, the Prime series rolls up all the features needed for all-around builds. We’ll go through each board in detail so you can pick out the one that fulfills your exact needs.

ROG Strix boards blend potent performance with plenty of attitude

The ROG Strix line distills the high-end essence of ROG DNA into gaming-oriented offerings loaded with first-class features and style. Covering both ATX and Mini-ITX formats, these models are decked out in a stealthy black with a cyber-text motif, all enhanced by subtle dashes of RGB LED lighting. Integrated I/O shields both look gorgeous and simplify installation. High-end VRMs stand ready to drive the entire swath of today’s Ryzen chips, while Intel-powered 2.5Gb Ethernet and optional Wi-Fi 6 offer connectivity to the outside world. SupremeFX S1220A audio with Japanese capacitors, dedicated signal traces, and EMI shielding ensures a blissful aural experience.

The ROG Strix B550-E Gaming leads the pack
The ROG Strix B550-E Gaming stands at the bleeding edge for this generation. We built it with an eye towards AMD’s high-performance processors and dual or triple expansion card setups. The AM4 socket is flanked by a 14+2 power stage VRM for reliable performance under sustained loads from many-core CPUs, while reinforced PCIe x16 SafeSlots support multi-GPU action in two-way SLI or three-way CrossFireX setups for gamers and creators alike. In fact, the B550-E is the only board in the lineup with SLI support. 8+4-pin ProCool power connectors allow for safe, cool transfer of joules into an installed chip.

Systems built around the ROG Strix B550-E will want well-considered cooling. The B550-E’s six fan headers (including a dedicated AIO pump header) allow for setups as simple or intricate as a given build requires. Q-Fan software controls with automatic fan speed detection and multiple presets make it easy to keep both temperatures and noise levels down. Dual M.2 slots can take in SSDs up to 110mm long, both covered by heatsinks to prevent thermal throttling under intense I/O loads.

Games, videos, photos, and documents are perpetually growing in size, calling for ever-faster network connectivity. The ROG Strix B550-E delivers in spades, thanks to Intel-powered 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet and Wi-Fi 6 controllers that’ll quickly move gigabytes of data over wires or airwaves. There’s also Bluetooth 5.1 support on tap for wireless headsets, phones, and tablets.

USB connectivity is particularly plentiful on the ROG Strix B550-E. You get three USB 3.2 Gen 2 connectors (one Type-C and two Type-A) on the back panel, along with an Audio Type-C port and a smattering of USB 3.2 Gen 1 and USB 2.0 ports. We’ve also included a USB 3.2 Gen 2 front-panel connector for the latest crop of cases. If you want to hook up audio-video gear or a speedy external storage array, you can add one of our ThunderboltEX 3-TR cards to your system thanks to the B550-E’s expansion header. The high-end SupremeFX S1220A audio chip provides pristine audio for gaming and music.

The visual identity created by cyber-text designs atop the I/O shield and multiple heatsinks gives the ROG Strix B550-E a futuristic look that’s complemented by tasteful dashes of RGB LED lighting. A total of four RGB LED headers are available—two standard headers and two Gen 2 addressable hook-ups with individual LED control, reduced latency, and automatic configuration support. All those diodes can be turned off with one click to give the board a stealthy black-ops look. Additional touches include FlexKey reset button remapping and BIOS FlashBack™ for updating firmware with no CPU or memory.

The ROG Strix B550-F Gaming (Wi-Fi) strikes a mighty blow
Sometimes, the best things in life are simple—or at least straightforward. The ROG Strix B550-F proves the point for builders who want a performance-oriented board with a healthy dose of luxury. The 12+2 power stage VRM is ready for top Ryzen chips, and 8+4-pin ProCool auxiliary power connectors with solid pins ensure steady and stable power delivery to those power stages.

Like its beefier B550-E sibling, this model includes Intel I255-V 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity and next-gen Wi-Fi with an Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200 adapter. If your computing life is fully wired, you can get the B550-F without the Wi-Fi 6 card as your build demands. The SupremeFX S1220A audio codec makes an encore here to push pristine audio to your headset or speakers.

The B550-F follows the distinctive visual standard of the ROG Strix family and looks plenty sharp on its own thanks to the aggressive aesthetics and an illuminated ROG logo on the integrated I/O shield. If you’re up for customization, you can add plenty of lights with RGB LED strip headers in both regular and Gen 2 addressable flavors—all with Aura Sync support for easy configuration.

The ROG Strix B550-I Gaming is a pint-sized powerhouse

The ROG Strix B550-I was designed for small builds with big ambitions. Some systems just don’t need a full-sized ATX case, and few folks want a big tower in their living room for an HTPC or console replacement.

The ROG Strix B550-I packs a high-end component loadout into its small footprint. By design, Mini-ITX only makes room for a single PCIe 4.0 x16 slot, but the compact form factor has its advantages. The B550-I can drive compatible DIMMs at speeds up to 5100 MHz by taking advantage of the shorter trace length between the memory slots and the CPU. The 8+2 DrMOS voltage regulator module is a fine fit for third-gen Ryzen chips. Active cooling on the VRM and an eight-pin connector with our ProCool II design ensures that power delivery remains stable in the tight confines of Mini-ITX enclosures.

The rear I/O panel is kitted out with USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C and Type-A ports, an Intel I225-V 2.5Gb Ethernet connector, and an Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200 module with Bluetooth 5.1 support. Small machines are more likely to have fast external storage attached, so we’ve added a front-panel USB 3.2 Gen 2 connector for the latest cases. This board also comes outfitted with our Audio Type-C port.

The SupremeFX S1220A codec gets tricked out on the ROG Strix B550-I Gaming. The 3.5-mm connectors are all LED-illuminated in unique colors to allow for easy identification when connecting analog speakers, headsets, or microphones.

TUF Gaming hardware is rock-steady and battle-hardened

What do you get when you blend of reliability and a unique look? The result is TUF Gaming hardware. All TUF Gaming components use military-grade chokes and capacitors for added reliability under intense conditions. To prove that point, we run TUF Gaming gear through a gauntlet of temperature and vibration tests to ensure it can withstand all the rigors a PC might reasonably encounter. TUF Gaming boards also feature include electrostatic discharge protection, our exclusive TUF LANGuard circuitry, and SafeSlot reinforcement.

We also created the TUF Gaming Alliance to help build memory, coolers, cases, and power supplies from industry partners that share a common look and ensure easy building. Come see how TUF these B550 motherboards are.

The TUF Gaming B550-Plus cuts with poise and precision
If there’s one model that strikes a balance between extravagance and affordability, it’s the TUF Gaming B550-Plus. Its 8+2 DrMOS VRM handles Ryzen chips with ease, and generously sized heatsinks atop the VRM, chipset, and M.2 slots ensure all primary components stay cool under load. The main PCIe 4.0 x16 slot is backed by SafeSlot reinforcement for extra-heavy graphics cards, while a ProCool auxiliary connector with solid-core pins offers added peace of mind when using power-hungry CPUs.

The two M.2 slots both accept devices as long as 110mm, while the duet of PCIe x16 slots supports CrossFireX configurations. The rear panel includes USB ports of every modern type, and that loadout can be further expanded with Thunderbolt 3 connectivity thanks to an onboard header. A BIOS FlashBack™ button rests near one of the ports for CPU-less UEFI upgrades.

The TUF Gaming B550-Plus comes with Realtek 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity, and there’s an M.2 E-key slot available for a Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 upgrade. The Realtek S1200A audio codec in this model is further enhanced by DTS Custom support for headset 3D surround sound virtualization, making movies and compatible games come alive with pinpoint-accurate positional audio.

The gray-and-black TUF Gaming aesthetic and its yellow accents are distinctive on their own, but this color palette also makes for a great canvas for additional lighting. A Gen 2 addressable RGB LED header and two standard headers can be wired to additional strips for easy visual customization.

The microATX form factor allows for more compact and cost-effective builds than the standard ATX footprint while still offering nearly all of the bigger format’s accommodations. The TUF Gaming B550M-Plus (Wi-Fi) takes many of the features of the TUF Gaming B550-Plus above and reconfigures them for microATX.

This board keeps the same pairs of PCIe x16 and M.2 slots as its ATX sibling. The main difference is that one of the M.2 slots takes in standard 80mm devices instead of longer 110mm units. In exchange, this model offers a more attractive price tag to go with its trimmed dimensions.

The TUF Gaming B550M-Plus comes in two variants: with or without an Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200 and Bluetooth 5.1 adapter. No matter which you pick, you still get 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity, Realtek S1200A audio with DTS Custom support, and a host of fan and RGB LED headers that includes Gen 2 addressable strip connectors.

The Prime series is solid and straightforward
Our ROG Strix and TUF Gaming families serve gamers and power users with a penchant for high-end hardware and a hunger for every last drop of performance from their systems. While our Prime boards offer many of the same enthusiast-friendly controls and capabilities of their more outspoken cousins, they’re also perfectly happy serving as reliable foundations for your most important work. If your build calls for all-around competence and subtle style for productivity on the clock and play off it, a Prime board is the ideal choice.

The Prime B550-Plus is a perfect partner for midrange builds
The ace of our Prime B550 lineup is the Prime B550-Plus. It’s ready to power a midrange gaming rig or serve as a solid foundation for your AMD-powered productivity system. This model is right at home powering third-gen Ryzen chips, and it comes fitted with heatsinks atop the VRM and chipset to ensure stability under the typical loads of work and play.

The dual PCIe x16 slots support CrossFireX if you need dual-GPU action for your system, while the duo of M.2 slots accepts 110 mm drives. If the USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports around back aren’t enough, you can add an optional ThunderboltEX 3-TR card and hook it up to the provided header for even more peripheral bandwidth.

The Prime B550-Plus’ neutral color palette is understated enough to fit into any build, but it’s also a fine canvas for deployment under colored case lighting. If you want to spice up your build with this board, wire up some light strips to three RGB LED headers: two standard and one Gen 2 addressable. Six fan headers, Gigabit Ethernet, and an ALC887 audio codec round out the main specifications.

The Prime B550M-A (Wi-Fi) wraps essential features in a compact package
Space in offices and bedrooms is often at a premium, making the Prime B550M-A (Wi-Fi) a better option to go into places where an ATX build might not. This variation on the Prime B550-Plus offers nearly the same specs but uses the compact microATX form factor.

Thanks to the Wi-Fi 6 standard, it’s now more practical than ever to use the airwaves in situations where you’d previously need a cable. For that reason, we offer the Prime B550M-A with Gigabit Ethernet only or in a version with an Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200 adapter with Bluetooth 5.1. Whatever the needs of your build, there’s a B550M-A that’s right for you.

The Prime B550M-K offers straightforward stability

The Prime B550M-K is our most affordable board in the B550 lineup, and it’s a worthy foundation to get third-generation Ryzen CPUs up and running for straightforward systems that need flexibility to keep up with changing workloads.

A compact microATX form factor lets builders save on space without sacrificing expandability, and both the main PCIe x16 slot and M.2 slot are wired directly to the processor with latest-gen PCIe 4.0 connectivity for maximum bandwidth with next-gen devices.

The board can take in two M.2 devices, one of them of the longer 110 mm variety. The rear I/O panel contains two USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports along with four USB 3.2 Gen 1 connectors, ensuring that your peripherals enjoy plenty of bandwidth. HDMI, DVI-D, and D-Sub ports give the Prime B550M-K plenty of versatility for processors with integrated graphics.

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