Motherboards sporting AMD’s new B450 chipset are now officially available and they upgrade the last generation B350 chipset with some exciting features that were previously exclusive to the X470 platform. Featuring support for multiple AMD graphics cards over Crossfire and its enhanced overclocking XFR2 feature, the new boards aren’t necessarily a worthy upgrade for those with existing Ryzen systems, but could be a new baseline for new Ryzen buyers in the future.
One of the big features of AMD’s overarching Zen platform is that the two existing generations of processors use the same sockets. Where the last-generation B350 and X370 motherboards required a BIOS update to support the Ryzen 2000 series CPUs though, the new B450 chipset — like the x470 — supports the newer Zen+ CPUs right out of the gate.
In many ways, the B450 chipset is more like its more powerful X470 cousin than it is the B350 predecessor. It does share USB support with that older chipset (two x USB 3.1, six x USB 3.0, and six x USB 2.0), and both of them only have six PCIExpress 2.0 lanes, but in terms of SATA connections (six SATA III, two SATA Express) and features, it’s more like the X470. Both have support for multiple AMD graphics cards with Crossfire (no SLI on the B45) and they also support the new StoreMI feature, which lets users with SSDs and hard drives create their own caching drives from a pair, whereby all of the regularly accessed files are placed on the SSD and less commonly used files on the hard drive.
A more exciting feature for performance-minded users though is the overclocking support that the B450 offers. Along with XFR2, the second-generation of AMD’s automated overclocking tool, the B450 chipset also supports AMD’s Precision Boost Overdrive (PBO). That allows the system to automatically adjust frequencies and voltages to push the chip to its absolute maximum speed whilst maintaining stable performance. Since that could result in quite aggressive settings, despite overall stability, not all motherboard manufacturers are likely to provide support for it themselves, but the feature is an exciting addition to what is otherwise being marketed as a mainstream chipset.
The B450 looks set to offer much of what Ryzen enthusiasts have been paying much more for with X470 motherboards and could represent a shift in what is most recommendable for Ryzen CPU owners. Expect to see at least one B450 motherboard appear on our best of list in the near future.
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