AMD Launches B450 Chipset With StoreMI Feature

AMD’s new B450 chipset is already in several shipping motherboards, but today the chip-maker officially launched the value-priced platform. While B450 isn't exactly a quantum leap over its predecessor, the B350 chipset, it does have a couple of improvements, supporting the latest Ryzen 2000 Series CPUs out of box and offering a new form of hybrid storage. Our own Jacob Terkelson has also reviewed one of the first motherboards based on this technology, the Gigabyte B450 Aorus Pro WIFI.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Row 0 - Cell 0 USB 3.1 Gen2USB 3.1 Gen1USB 2.0SATA 3.0SATA Express / PCIe Gen3PCIe Gen2CPU PCIe Gen3OverclockingXFR2XFR2 EnhancedPrecision Boost Overdrive

We won't pretend that this isn’t a relaunch: The B350's 24 PCIe lanes and its lack of CPU PCIe Bifurcation for multiple graphics cards remain, as does its compatiblities both forward/backward (all generations of AM4 CPUs) and upward/downward (from Ryzen 7 to Athlon). While Jacob focuses on the improved power delivery and DRAM trace pathways designed to further enhance improvements found within second-generation Ryzen processors and APUs, my conversation with AMD’s Don Woligroski revealed that these improvements are simply how motherboard manufacturers are using their experience with B350 boards to produce improved designs.

Add those design enhancements to the assurance of having new-generation firmware to support the latest CPUs as primary reasons that most builders will favor B450 over B350. The occasional problem of buying an old-stock board and new-generation CPU/APU, only to find out you need a previous-generation CPU/APU to update the older board’s firmware, is completely avoided by getting B450. The same was true of the X370/X470 transition.

StoreMI Combines Your Drives

Available only to owners of AMD's 400-series chipsets, StoreMI allows user to migrate from a single HDD or SSD to an SSD/HDD combination simply by adding a second drive. Enabling this feature extends a single “tiered” volume across both drives.

SSD boot drives are limited to a 256GB maximum partition size, but it’s also possible to pair that 256GB (or smaller) boot SSD with a higher-capacity (presumably slower) storage SSD for an SSD/SSD volume. StoreMI moves frequently-accessed files to the faster drive to improve important things like boot and program loading times, and is said to draw a maximum of 1-2% of the CPU's work capacity, depending on the CPU model.

Woligroski tells us that while it’s possible to reverse the process, it’s something best left to experts since the entire data won’t likely fit onto the smaller boot drive, and file structure issues could confuse anyone who’s less than a storage expert. Users hoping to replace one of their StoreMI tiered drives with a faster or larger version are better off using disk imaging tools to copy the partition to a backup source. Adding StoreMI to a WinPE installation (for backup solutions such as Acronis) is outlined in AMD’s StoreMI FAQ.

If you're planning to buy an AMD Ryzen 2000 series CPU, B450-powered motherboards promise solid performance at prices that won't break the bank. Though they aren't exactly groundbreaking they appear to be a step up from the prior generation.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.