Gigabyte shifts into overdrive with its AMD B450 motherboard range

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.

Comments closed
    • gerryg
    • 1 year ago

    IIRC I saw some mention on TR a while back about which vendors motherboards were more bare-bones and which ones were “deluxe”, independent of the chipset and product line (e.g. gaming). IIRC they put Asrock on the no-frills end of the spectrum, and Asus at the deluxe premium end. Can somebody point me to that? Where does Gigabyte fall on the spectrum?

      • Jeff Kampman
      • 1 year ago

      We used to do that in an older System Guide format, but not much has changed since. Here’s where I’d put the major vendors today:

      – Asus has the most refined and most cohesive firmware interface, Windows software, and RGB LED control in the industry, as well as the best auto-overclocking logic by far. Asus boards used to have the best fan control around, too, but Gigabyte has closed the gap and both companies’ fan-control solutions are about as capable now. Asus motherboards tend to carry a price premium feature-for-feature and can be short on ports, dollar-for-dollar, compared to competitors’ products. You’re paying for the worry-free user experience and relatively high-quality software compared to the competition.

      – Gigabyte boards tend to offer feature-packed hardware, but the company’s firmware is bare-bones outside of its fan-control options and can be a little arcane for amateur system builders. Gigabyte’s auto-OC logic can be too conservative, and its firmware only offers a handful of pre-baked OC profiles for compatible chips. The RGB Fusion software suite is second only to Asus’ Aura Sync in capability.

      Gigabyte’s Windows software can tell you everything you need to know about the state of your system, but key information tends to be spread across multiple applications. The company’s Smart Fan 5 control guarantees compatibility with three-pin and four-pin fans and can usually account for a wealth of temperature inputs, even on budget boards that would have lacked those features in the past. Dollar for dollar, we think it’s hard to beat a Gigabyte board.

      – ASRock motherboards, like Gigabyte’s, can offer long feature lists for the money, and its most recent firmware interface is capable and straightforward, but its Windows software and fan-control capability remain rather rudimentary next to Asus and Gigabyte boards. ASRock motherboards tend to be perennial value favorites, and we wouldn’t argue with that assessment.

      – MSI still makes solid hardware, but its Click BIOS firmware interface hasn’t been updated in quite some time and is now rather rudimentary even next to Gigabyte’s. The Command Center Windows utility is equally aged, and MSI’s fan-control capabilities have been left entirely in the dust by Gigabyte and Asus’ competing solutions. MSI boards can still be a good value, but they’re probably most in need of a freshening-up compared to the competition.

        • gerryg
        • 1 year ago

        Wow, thanks! Super useful update, great info!

        Long reply that is almost worthy of it’s own TR article…

        • JustAnEngineer
        • 1 year ago

        What about the [url=http://www.biostar-usa.com/app/en%2Dus/mb/socket.php?S_ID=24<]#5[/url<] manufacturer of socket AM4 motherboards? Are you following your mother's instruction to not say anything at all?

    • DPete27
    • 1 year ago

    Wait…only two SATA 3 lanes on the B-series chipsets?

      • stdRaichu
      • 1 year ago

      So says the table, although both the B350 and B450 pictures clearly show there’s usually at least four SATA ports on each motherboard.

      e.g. pic of the AB350 Gaming ITX which other than the bump in chipset is practically identical to the upcoming AB450 Gaming ITX;
      [url<]http://asrock.com/mb/photo/Fatal1ty%20AB350%20Gaming-ITXac%28L2%29.png[/url<] Edit: WCCFTech (NaCl may be required) have a run down of all the available mobo details, and their table mentions 4 SATA ports across all chipsets so I'm hoping the one TR is showing is a PR typo. [url<]https://wccftech.com/amd-b450-motherboards-official-launch-msi-asus-asrock-gigabyte-roundup/[/url<]

    • Stochastic
    • 1 year ago

    Hopefully the pricing on these will be a fair bit less than the X470 equivalents. That would make Ryzen even more cost competitive with Intel for budget/value system builders. GPU and SSD prices are falling, now we just need RAM prices to drop and you’ll once again be able to put together a great PC for under $1000.

    • ermo
    • 1 year ago

    What’s the story on ECC support?

      • stdRaichu
      • 1 year ago

      ECC is dependent on a) whether the CPU supports it and b) whether the motherboard supports the extra traces required – chipset doesn’t really enter into any more TTBOMK.

      ASRock’s B350 and X470 boards all support ECC as much as the CPUs themselves allow (for example, Raven Ridge APUs don’t allow ECC memory at all as far as I can tell), so I would be very surprised if B450 and friends were any different.

      Edited to add: ASRock’s AMD4 boards have just hit their website and as suspected, ECC support status seems the same as for the B350 chipset – ECC UDIMMs supported on ryzen chips.
      [url<]http://asrock.com/mb/AMD/Fatal1ty%20B450%20Gaming%20K4/index.us.asp#Specification[/url<]

        • juampa_valve_rde
        • 1 year ago

        Just SATA are four ports. Some vendors also offer an aditional of 2 SATA ports that are shared with the M.2 slots (if no M.2 or PCIE M.2 are used they work).

    • Vigil80
    • 1 year ago

    These sound like fine mobos, but I feel like the fact that I need a chart to tell where products fall in the lineup highlights one of the problems with the PC enthusiast market. Why do these things all seem to have names like Japanese shovelware? Asus Strix Hyper Hawk OG 1070 Ti, GSkill Fire Panic Z RAM kit…

    At least Gaming 3/5/7 had the simplicity of bigger number=more.

      • Waco
      • 1 year ago

      Agreed. There are far too many models from all the various vendors for me to keep track of what line is what. Bigger numbers == better I can handle, easily, with very little memory required.

      • plonk420
      • 1 year ago

      see the hardwareluxx AM4 VRM thread

    • Peldor
    • 1 year ago

    two USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports (one in Type-C form, the other in Type A)
    four USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports
    two USB 3.0 ports from an internal header
    four USB 2.0 ports from internal headers

    Crazy idea: have all the ports at the same standard instead of the user needing to guess which port will support which features? Too much to ask?

      • Jeff Kampman
      • 1 year ago

      That would be nice, but Gigabyte (and all other motherboard makers) are constrained by what’s on offer from the chipset unless you want a smorgasboard of third-party controllers that will drive up cost by quite a lot.

      • Mumrik
      • 1 year ago

      When USB showed up I honestly couldn’t have guessed that we’d be dragging along an odd mix of generations of it going forward. USB is backwards compatible, so I just assumed motherboards would ship with all its port being of the latest gen.

      The only stuff I really connect that needs the bandwidth is storage, but that whole color mix of USB ports still seems silly. I’ve got red, black and blue going.

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