Gigabyte shifts into overdrive with its AMD B450 motherboard range


Midrange AM4 builders get a fresh selection of mobos

AMD B450 motherboards are coming, and Gigabyte has provided us with our first official information on what that chipset will do for midrange builders on the AM4 platform.

Most notably, B450 offers support for AMD's still-in-the-works Precision Boost Overdrive feature, while B350 motherboards apparently will not. As AMD put it earlier this year, Precision Boost Overdrive "factors VRM headroom and a relaxed vcore limiter into the Precision Boost formulae" for what will presumably be higher performance from the CPU. At the time, the company cautioned that Precision Boost Overdrive will entail operating its CPUs outside of factory specifications if it's enabled, just as overclocking would. Take that as you will, but it's most likely a form of Ryzen Master-facilitated automatic tweaking.

B450 boards will also get access to AMD's StoreMI tiered-caching-and-storage-acceleration software, while B350 boards will not. 

Past those changes, B450 boards will still offer the same complement of CPU overclocking capabilities, USB ports, SATA connectors, PCIe lanes, and the like as their midrange predecessors. About the only thing builders will lose by going B450 over X470 is CPU PCIe lane bifurcation, or the ability to use multiple graphics cards in Crossfire or SLI. Given the rapidly dimming star of those technologies, we doubt most builders will care too much for the money that omission saves.

For Gigabyte, the B450 motherboard range provides a good opportunity to apply a new naming scheme to its lineup. Gone are monikers like Gaming 3, Gaming 5, and Gaming 7. In their place, expect Gaming and UD-series boards at the bottom of the stack, followed by Elite, Pro, and Ultra boards in the midrange and Xtreme or Master boards at the top of the heap.

Since B450 is an entry-level-to-midrange platform, don't expect any Xtreme or Master boards in the series. Instead, Gigabyte has six (or perhaps five and a half) new boards on offer. They all include the company's excellent Smart Fan 5 control suite and RGB Fusion stack of lighting hardware and software (though the capabilities of the blinkenlights on each board will no doubt differ). Each board also has a single CPU-powered PCIe 3.0 x16 slot.

The ATX B450 Aorus Pro and its Wifi counterpart are the highest-end boards in Gigabyte's new lineup. The Aorus Pro offers an eight-plus-three-phase VRM design, one PCIe 2.0 x4 slot, two PCIe 2.0 x1 slots, and two heatsinked M.2 slots (one powered by PCIe 3.0 lanes from the CPU, the other with the remaining four PCIe 2.0 lanes from the chipset). The Wifi board adds a low-end Intel Wireless-AC adapter with a 433 Mbps max link speed. Intel's I211AT Gigabit Ethernet controller runs the wired networking show on both these boards.

The Aorus Pro board also taps the B350 chipset for two USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports (one in Type-C form, the other in Type A), four USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports on the back panel, two more USB 3.0 ports from an internal header, and four USB 2.0 ports from internal headers. It offers Realtek ALC1220-VB audio paired with Wima and Nichicon Gold audio caps plus HDMI and DVI-D ports for use with Ryzen APUs. Bristol Ridge APUs are also present in these boards' support matrices for the vanishing number of builders looking to use one.

Moving down the line, the B450 Aorus Elite offers a Gigabyte-branded Realtek 8118 Gigabit Ethernet controller and ALC892 audio, and it drops the Pro boards' USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports. It also loses an M.2 heatsink in the paring-back of features. We don't have pricing on any of these boards yet, but we'd expect the Elite board to be a more entry-level offering than its various counterparts. The Elite also doesn't have a product page just yet, so full details will need to wait.

Gigabyte has microATX and Mini-ITX options for B450 builders, as well. The B450 Aorus M keeps the eight-plus-three-phase VRM design of the Aorus Pro boards, but its smaller PCB only has room for one heatsinked M.2 slot. It still offers one PCIe 2.0 x4 slot and one PCIe 2.0 x1 slot, plus the aforementioned Gigabyte-branded Realtek 8118 LAN and Realtek ALC892 audio controllers. It has two USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A ports, four USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A ports, and two USB 2.0 ports on its back channel, plus four more USB 2.0 ports through internal headers.

The B450I Aorus Pro Wifi shrinks all the way down to the Mini-ITX form factor. It has a four-plus-two-phase International Rectifier VRM design, one heatsinked M.2 slot, two HDMI outputs, one DisplayPort output, an Intel Gigabit Ethernet controller, and a high-end Intel Wireless-AC Wave 2 Wi-Fi radio. It also offers Realtek ALC1220-VB audio, two USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A ports, up to six USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, and two USB 2.0 ports. Gigabyte doesn't have a product page up for this board just yet, so we don't have a full idea of how those ports are distributed. Still, this board sounds quite appealing for mid-range small-form-factor builds.

Gigabyte's B450M DS3H forms the microATX foundation of its B450 range thus far. This board has a four-plus-three-phase VRM design, one PCIe 2.0 x4 slot, one PCIe 2.0 x1 slot, a single un-heatsinked M.2 slot, Realtek Gigabit Ethernet, and Realtek ALC887 audio. It offers four USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports and four USB 2.0 ports on its back panel, plus four more USB 2.0 ports on its back panel.

B450 motherboards are still in the works ahead of an official launch, but we expect builders looking to put together mid-range Ryzen systems will be able to find a Gigabyte B450 motherboard to fit their needs and budgets when those mobos do hit store shelves. We're especially curious to see just how Gigabyte's appealing B450I Aorus Pro Wifi board shakes out for mini-ITX builds. Given that more and more B450 boards are breaking cover by the day, an official reveal probably isn't far off.

Tags: Motherboards

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