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.

Best AMD Motherboards: October 2021

The current state of the motherboard market is relatively healthy, with plenty of stock across a wide variety of models and chipsets for users to either upgrade or build a new system. It seems as though the supply of CPUs seems to be holding stable, which has had a positive effect on pricing, such as the Ryzen 9 5950X currently available to buy at Amazon for $746. Although the same can't be said about graphics cards, AMD has a myriad of motherboard chipsets available to help narrow the choice based on both a customer's need or budget. With stock starting to filter in on the latest X570S models, albeit not many, it's time to see what's hot right now and to give our picks for October 2021 in our latest AMD motherboard buyers guide.

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

AMD Motherboards Recommendations
 October 2021
AnandTech Motherboard Amazon Newegg MSRP
Sweet Spot ASUS ROG Strix B550-F Gaming Wi-Fi $195 $196 $210
Value Choice ASRock B550 Phantom Gaming 4/AC $109 $108 $125
Mini-ITX GIGABYTE B550I Aorus Pro AX $210 $210 $200
Money No Object EVGA X570 Dark - - $690

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

For our October 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, so we've adjusted our guide to accommodate 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. Another element is that many vendors have released new 'X570S' motherboards onto the market, with new features and passively cooled chipsets. These new models have been factored into the decision, but the benefits versus B550 in some cases don't always equate to better value.

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

Best Sweet Spot

ASUS ROG Strix B550-F Gaming Wi-Fi ($195 at Amazon/$196 at Newegg)

In our Best Sweet Spot, we've opted for a board with plenty of functionality and features while also nabling  PCIe 4.0 from the CPU. Boards based on the B550 chipset offer PCIe 4.0 support, with a single full-length PCIe x16 slot and a PCIe x4 M.2 slot at PCIe 4.0 speeds. 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. 

 

The ASUS B550-F Gaming Wi-Fi is currently available to buy for $195 at Amazon and for slightly more at Newegg for $196, so we recommend users purchase this model at Amazon. The ASUS Strix B550-F Gaming Wi-Fi looks to be the best ATX sized AM4 option in the sub $200 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 to $210, but this model is slightly lighter on features. There is also the ASUS X570 TUF Gaming, which is around a $220 price point. When we had the ASUS B550-F model on our test bench, we saw good 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.

The Value Option

ASRock B550 Phantom Gaming 4/AC ($109 at Amazon/$108 at Newegg)

In previous guides, the value options have mostly been B450 models, due to B550 being more expensive, and sometimes 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 is using a standard Realtek based Gigabit Ethernet controller, along with an Intel Wi-Fi 5 interface. This is 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 $108 at Newegg and at a slightly more expensive price of $109 at Amazon. Looking at the bigger picture, most of the PG4/AC's competition comes from the cheaper selection of A520 boards with the majority of these based on the smaller micro-ATX form factor, 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. The pricing on this model at both Newegg and Amazon is fluctuating month by month, and although slightly more expensive over last month's price, it's still a solid buy.

Mini-ITX Choice To Consider

GIGABYTE B550I Aorus Pro AX ($210 at Amazon/$210 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 perpendicular 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 and Amazon are currently listing it at a higher price. Although the pricing on this model fluctuates week by week, Amazon and Newegg both have it for sale at $210. We consider this board to represent good value for money between the $190 and $225 price mark, with stern competition from 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.

It's worth noting that users can purchase the GIGABYTE B550I Aorus Pro AX from an independent retailer on Newegg for the lower price of $170, which is even better value still. 

Money Is No Object

EVGA X570 Dark ($690 at EVGA)

When it comes to my money no object pick from all of AMD's available motherboards, I've typically gone for flagships with oodles of features. Despite the distinct lack of 'value' in these selections, I've opted for a slightly different approach this time and gone for what I believe is the best performance X570 motherboard available at retail, and that's one of the latest, the EVGA X570 Dark. Not only did we recently review this board, but it completely exceeded our expectations in performance.

So what makes the EVGA X570 Dark so special? Well as we saw in our review, it breathes new life into the AMD Ryzen 5000 and X570 platform. Not only is it EVGA's first AMD-based motherboard for a very long time, but it did it in style with one of the most well-equipped models designed for pure performance. Touching on performance, it's very heavily geared up to extreme overclocking, with a transposed AM4 socket, an impressive overclocking toolkit, and a large 17-phase power delivery operating at 14+2+1. 

You can read our full review here:

The EVGA X570 Dark Motherboard Review: A Dark Beast For Ryzen

Memory support is interesting as EVGA is using just two slots which some users may find odd on an E-ATX sized motherboard. This is to enhance memory overclocking potential and performance, with shorter traces to the CPU socket for a theoretical reduction in latencies. The EVGA X570 Dark supports DDR4-4800 out of the box, with a combined capacity of up to 64 GB; more than most users will need for any desktop system.

Other features for everyone to benefit from includes dual Intel I225-V 2.5 GbE controllers and an Intel AX200 Wi-Fi 6 CNVi, which offers both wireless and BT 5.2 connectivity. The board also has plenty of support for PCIe 4.0 devices with two full-length PCIe 4.0 slots operating at x16 and x8/x8, with a half-length PCIe 4.0 x4 slot. Storage options include two PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 slots, with eight SATA ports, six of which support AMD RAID 0, 1, and 10 arrays. Onboard audio is also premium with a Realtek ALC1220 HD audio codec doing the hard work, with an EVGA NU SV3H615 headphone amplifier adding an extra element of quality to a user's auditory experience.

Looking at rear panel connectivity, the EVGA X570 Dark has a modest selection of input and output, including one USB 3.2 G2 Type-C, four USB 3.2 G2 Type-A, and two USB 3.2 G1 Type-A ports. EVGA does include front panel headers if the rear panel options aren't enough, with one USB 3.2 G2 Type-C header (one port), two USB 3.2 G1 Type-A headers (four ports), and one USB 2.0 header (two ports). 

The EVGA X570 Dark is available direct from EVGA's website for $690, which is a good price considering the performance of the board in our test suite, as well as all of that untapped potential available via overclocking. The X570 Dark managed to push our testbed Ryzen 7 3700X processor to 4.4 GHz all-cores, which is the only AM4 model we've reviewed that's managed to achieve this fairly comfortably. While the EVGA X570 Dark at the time of writing is currently out of stock, the stock levels fluctuate on a weekly basis, and for users looking to create a Ryzen 5000 or 3000 series system with a focus on maximum performance, the EVGA X570 Dark is the best in its class. If you're lucky enough to see one in stock, grab it, as EVGA doesn't typically mass-produce its models as other vendors do.

Recent AMD Motherboard Reviews at AnandTech

 

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