I left my finance job 6 years ago to work for my dream boss, myself. I've never looked back. I focus on tech, gaming, and hardware reviews.
AMD does a great job of keeping their chipsets current and compatible. Both B350 and B450 chipsets are compatible with Ryzen 3rd Gen Processors with a BIOS update. And whether you're building with one of these or getting incredible value out of a previous-gen processor like the Ryzen 5 2600, B series motherboards get you there for cheap.
Overclocking a Ryzen CPU is not only possible on the more expensive AM4 X570 and B550 motherboards, but also on its inexpensive B350 and B450 chipsets as well as small form-factor motherboards. This makes a budget build with a lot of cores easier to stomach. The appeal is there for gamers, editors, graphic designers, and just about anyone who can take advantage of the extra cores and budget pricing.
ASUS ROG Strix B450-F
For much cheaper than an equivalent B550 motherboard, the Asus ROG Strix B450-F motherboard provides a lot of enthusiast features, including Intel Gigabit Ethernet, Aura Sync RGB, SupremeFX S1220A with Sonic Studio III audio, and Dual M.2 USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A connectors.
I was able to overclock my Ryzen 5 2600X at 4.2GHz. But with the price of the 3600 being just about the same today as the 2600X, I definitely recommend you go that route instead.
Does It Need a BIOS Update?
While this board technically comes with compatibility only for 2nd and 1st generation Ryzen processors, it also has been coming out of the box more often than not 3rd Gen compatible. Look for the orange sticker on the box that says AMD Ryzen 3000 Desktop Ready. If it doesn't have it you'll likely need a 2nd Gen CPU for updating the BIOS first.
Overall, you get an amazing board here for the price. AI Suite 3 makes it easy to push performance, the audio codec it comes with is great, and the board looks amazing too. The downside here is if you go with a Ryzen 5 3600 there's a chance it may not come compatible, but from what I've seen this isn't the case very often.
Consider MSI's MAX Motherboard Line for GEN 3 Compatibility
If you're looking for a motherboard that is compatible with Ryzen 2nd GEN and 3rd GEN consider MSI's MAX motherboards. These come with the BIOS updated and can offer you considerable money savings compared with more recent motherboards. The Goal with going with any B450 motherboard is to get the same features as comparable B550 motherboards for cheap.
Alternatively, many other great motherboards are likely to come with 3rd GEN compatible BIOS if they have the "Ryzen 3000 Desktop Ready" sticker on the box. If you're using a 2nd GEN Ryzen CPU you're already good to go. However, ordering these online can be a bit of a roll of the dice.
MSI B450M Pro-VDH MAX
I recently used the MSI B450M PRO-VDH-MAX in a build with the Ryzen 5 3600. I was able to get both of them for under $300. For me personally, I used it as a computer for photo and video editing as well as some light gaming.
Installing the Ryzen 5 3600 it was compatible out of the box without a problem. Even better, I was able to click the Enable XMP button out of the gate for tuning my RAM. I could probably have tweaked it better myself and may in the future, but this worked great as a simple solution.
For specs, it had everything I needed with up to 64GB Dual channel memory support, a PCIe 3.0 x16 slot, A slot for my M.2 drive, and 4 SATA 6 GB/s, which is plenty for all of my hard drives.
Overall, you'll want to compare this board with more recent B550 Motherboards. For the cost, it's a fantastic option. And out of the gate, it works very well.
B350 vs B450 Motherboards
As B450 motherboards are about the same price as B350 motherboards I'd recommend you go with B450 if it's available.
While there aren't many differences between B350 and B450 motherboards, B450 motherboards come out of the box compatible with at least *2nd generation Ryzen processors. While many of today's B350 motherboards already have their BIOS' updated, it may be something you'd rather not have to worry about.
So, if possible, you'll want to go with the newer technology. If you've got something like a Ryzen 5 1600, you may be able to save some money going with the previous generation.
*B450 motherboards are also compatible with 3rd GEN Ryzen with a BIOS update.
A Cheap but Powerful B450M and Ryzen 5 2600 Gaming Combo for Under $200
AMD's Ryzen 5 3600 processor is known to be one of the best gaming processors for the money. So, if you're looking to combine that power with a B450 motherboard which should you choose? I like Gigabyte's B450M DS3H. It gives you a lot of value for the money you spend.
That being said, it doesn't give you a lot of bells and whistles. The Realtek ALC887 audio codec is a budget but decent performing option for the onboard audio, and the Lan controller, the Realtek GbE LAN, also does a very good job.
Ultimately you get the B450M DS3H for around $70, and don't miss out on that many features. You can still overclock while having a decent amount of expansion options. If there's a downfall, it does only have one CPU fan header and case header. So, keep that in mind.
The Ryzen 5 2600 was recently featured in my article on the best CPU GPU combos. Be sure to check that out if you're building a PC that includes a dedicated graphics card.
A Budget B350 Ryzen 5 1600X and R7 1700X Motherboard CPU Combo
For us, the most appealing combination that AMD's Ryzen has to offer right now are its R5 1600 and R7 1700 processors. With an overclock these can meet the performance level of the more expensive "X" models in the R5 1600X, R7 1700X, and R7 1800X. If you're all about getting the most value out of the money you spend, you'll likely agree. I'm pointing this out because a majority of reviewers out there used expensive X370 motherboards, like the Crosshair VI Hero, to do their Ryzen benchmarks. That being said, the difference in the overclock you can achieve with these boards when compared to a good B350 AM4 motherboard is minimal.
Those who don't care to overclock may find value in the more expensive models that run at higher clock speeds.
So, what are the differences between the X370 and B350 chipsets?
Both chipsets have support for multi-GPU setups. They both feature 2 PCI-e x 16 slots that run as x 8 whenever you're using a dual GPU configuration. However, X370 supports SLI and Crossfire whereas B350 only supports Crossfire. For those of you who only want to use a single GPU, this shouldn't be a problem.
Other than graphics card support, X370 offers 4 more Gen 1 USB 3.1 ports, 2 more SATA ports, and, of course, whatever differences the manufacturer has added.
Top B350 Motherboards Under $100
Have about $100 to spend on your B350 chipset motherboard? Here’s a couple that should be at the top of your list.
Gigabyte GA-AB350 Gaming 3
If you want a no-frills motherboard that should allow you to get a solid overclock and post 3200MHz memory speeds, the Gigabyte GA-AB350 Gaming 3 first board I’d recommend. As Ryzen performance seems to really like faster Ram speeds, this should be a priority for just about everyone.
Some patience is required, on the whole, simply because various kits haven’t been working correctly on various boards. However, this one seems to be one of the better options we’ve used so far. If you’re buying it soon, I won’t guarantee that you won’t have any hiccups with it. Be sure to continue installing updates for the best support. If you’re looking for a kit I recommend, the G. Skill TridentZ series has worked great.
In terms of support, you get pretty much everything the typical consumer needs including M.2 support, Crossfire support, up to 64GB of memory up to 3200MHz, and a good audio chipset in the Realtek ALC1220.
In addition, I feel like the Gaming 3 offers solid support for DDR4 3200 memory. Check out my list for confirmed B-die options.
Overall, this is a great board for a great price. I’ve seen it as low as $100 and as high as $125 so be sure to look around.
Asus Prime B350-Plus
At a price of just under $100, the Prime B350-Plus from Asus comes in at just below the retail mark of the Gigabyte Gaming 3.
When I think of the tradeoffs between similar boards in this price range and the Asus Prime B350-Plus, I can’t help but to want to recommend it. First of all, Asus has been fantastic about putting out new updates on this board. Many AM4 motherboards had small issues from the start but for the most part, these have been resolved.
It’s also a good overclocker and should allow you to overclock your Ryzen CPU as far as the processor itself will allow. Of course, this depends on your CPU cooler as well.
The B350-Plus has 2 PCIE e 3.0 x16 that revert back to x8 when used in Crossfire, M.2 support, 6 SATA options, and a total of 10 USB ports on the rear panel. These include 2 USB 3.1, 4 USB 3.0, and 2 USB 2.0 options. For Audio, the B350-Plus Prime uses the Realtek ALC887-D2 chipset which is a solid option at this price range.
In terms of design, it’s fairly basic with a red and black color scheme and no oversized or gaudy parts. We’re fine with that as it keeps the price down.
In summary, the Asus Prime B350-Plus is a fantastic option for the budget-minded consumer albeit secondary to the Gigabyte board I mentioned above.
MSI B350 Tomahawk AM4 Ryzen Motherboard
While this board isn’t my budget winner, I felt it should be talked about here because of its popularity right now. It is a good and cheap B350 motherboard that will allow you to get your 3200MHz speeds and solid Ryzen OC.
However, some have had an issue with the BIOS making the boot time longer. I did have this same issue in my Ryzen 5 1600x build. This should be something that gets worked out shortly, but knowing that you may have a similar issue is something I thought was worth mentioning before you go out and buy it.
That being said, MSI has released a ton of BIOS’ on it at this point in time. Each one of these has had a particular issue with it; however, it’s clear that MSI is committed to getting the kinks worked out. If you do go with it, be sure to update it to the most current BIOS out of the gate.
It’s possible that by the time you actually see my review, MSI has worked out all the kinks we’ve mentioned above. As I have confidence in MSI, I’ve still mentioned it here because of the value specs you get for the $110 to $125 price tag.
Pros include support for up to 64GB DDR4 memory at 3200MHz OC, Realtek 8111H LAN chipset, Turbo M.2, Realtek ALC892 audio chipset, and more included in my specifications above.
A Top mATX B350 Ryzen 5 and 7 Board Under $100
Looking for a B350 motherboard for your mATX gaming PC? Here’s the one we’d recommend.
Gigabyte GA-AB350M-D3H AM4 Motherboard
Gigabyte has done a fantastic job with the AM4 platform thus far, and the GA-B350M-D3H is a fantastic option for those of you building a mATX system. With HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI-D, and D-sub outputs you have just about every option you need to connect your PC to the TV or monitor of your choosing. In addition, this board has a plethora of rear ports including 4 x USB 3.1, 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1, 2 x Gen 2 Type-A, and 2 x USB 2.0. M.2 and 6 SATA options also mean you have plenty of option for all of your storage.
It uses the same Realtek GbE LAN used on all but Gigabyte’s X370 boards and even has the Realtek ALC887 chipset that is found on many good X370 motherboards.
Overall, this is a good mATX board if you’re looking in the under $100 price range. There is some work that needs to be done in terms of BIOS updates; however, this is the still the case with most boards on the platform right now. So, be careful about what types of RAM you purchase and know what you’re getting into before you start. Overclocking your Ryzen processor should be fairly straightforward.
MSI Gaming AMD Ryzen B350
Last but not least, take a look at the MSI Gaming Ryzen B350 Gaming PRO.
It's inexpensive, has a great red and black color scheme, LED lights, and has an audio boost that works great with my headphones.
The Gaming PRO is great for overclocking memory. And since Ryzen loves fast memory, use this to overclock your memory.
|Model||General Specs||Rear Panel|
Gigabyte GA-AB350 Gaming 3
64 GB DDR4 up to 3200 OC, Crossfire Support, 6 x SATA 6Gb/s, 2 x M.2, Realtek ALC1220 Audio, Realtek GbE LAN
1 x PS/2, 1 x DVI-D, 1 x HDMI, 1 x RJ45, 4 x USB 3.1 Gen 1, 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 2, 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x Optical, 5 Audio jacks
Asus Prime B350-Plus
64GB DDR4 Dual Channel support, Crossfire Support, 6 x SATA 6Gb/s, Multiple M.2 support, Realtek ALC8870VD2 audio, Realtek 8111H Lan
1 x PS/2, 1 x DVI-D, 1 x D-Sub, 1 x HDMI, 1 x RJ45, 2 x USB 3.1, 4 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, 3 audio jacks
MSI B350 Tomahawk
Up to 64GB 3200 OC, Crossfire Support, 4 x SATA 6Gb/s, 1 x M.2 port, Realtek ALC892 Audio, Realtek 8111H Audio
1 x PS/2, 1 x DVI-D, 1 x VGA, 1 x HDMI, 1 x RJ45, 3 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A, 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C, 2 x USB 2.0 Type-A, 6 x OFC audio jacks
Gigabyte GA-AB350M-D3H mATX
64GB DDR4 3200 OC, Crossfire, Support, 6 x SATA 6Gb/s, 1 x M.2, Realtek ALC887 audio, Realtek GbE Lan
1 PS/2, 1 x D-Sub, 1 x DVI-D, 1 x HDMI, 1 x RJ45, 1 x DisplayPort, 4 x USB 3.1 Gen 1, 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A, 2 x USB 2.0, 3 x Audio jacks
MSI B350M Gaming Pro mATX
32GB DDR4 2667, Crossfire Support, 4 x SATA 6Gb/s, 1 x M.2, Realtek ALC887, Realtek 8111H
1 x DVI-D, 1 x VGA, 1 x HDMI, 1 PS/2, 3 audio jacks
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.