What was a trickle has become a torrent, as a pantheon of manufacturers have announced motherboards for Ryzen 7000 (opens in new tab)’s AM5 platform on the B650 chipset. That's the mainstream, mid-range platform with features that still contains features that would have sounded impossible a few years ago. While we’ve already covered some of NZXT (opens in new tab)’s offerings, boards from MSI, Gigabyte, ASRock and Asus mean the marketplace is bursting with options.
First, Gigabyte, which has brought an enthusiastic eight boards to market for B650, including E (‘extreme’) and M (for mATX cases) variants. Almost all the boards are from the Aorus range, and run from the Aorus Master (opens in new tab) all the way through Elite and Pro to the humble Aero G. The Master board naturally runs the B650E chipset, with support for DDR5 RAM overclocking up to 6600 MHz. It offers a PCIe 5.0 x16 slot for your graphics card, though it shares bandwidth with two of the M.2 sockets and will drop to x8 if you go heavy on the SSDs. You can still fit one PCIe 5.0 M.2 drive without potentially compromising graphics performance, however, and there are PCIe 4.0 slots for additional add-ons, along with four SATA 6 ports for other drives.
The little Aero G (opens in new tab) board doesn’t have a PCIe 5.0 slot for a GPU, dropping down to PCIe 4.0 in this area, but does manage to hit 5.0 x4 speeds in one of its three M.2 slots, the others being PCIe 4.0. Once again there are SATA ports for extra expansion, and Wi-Fi 6E too. This board is aimed at creatives rather than gamers, and distinguishes itself with a rear USB-C port that can output 4K video from integrated graphics.
Asus also has a range of new boards based on the mid-range AMD chipset for the Ryzen 7000 generation, with entries in the ROG Strix, TUF Gaming, ProArt, and Prime tiers, with a handy online guide (opens in new tab) as product pages don't appear to be available yet. You’ll also find PCIe 5.0 and DDR5 here, along with AM5 features such power delivery for the chips’ 170W TPD. Asus’ ROG Strix, TUF Gaming, and ProArt B650 motherboards offer a useful high-speed USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C port, while the ROG Strix boards support Precision Boost Overdrive auto-overclocking in their UEFI BIOS. The ROG Strix B650E card is the choice morsel here, with two PCIe 5.0 x16 slots and a pair of PCIe 5.0 M.2 slots, complemented by two more PCIe 4.0 M.2s. Ethernet ports supporting 2.5G transfers appear to be standard on B650E boards too.
ASRock’s B650E Taichi (opens in new tab) has a 24+2+1 phase Smart Power Stage that should help with unlocking Ryzen 7000’s performance. There's PCIe 5.0, DDR5, and Wi-Fi 6E, plus USB 4 too. Small-form-factor enthusiasts will appreciate the B650E PG-ITX Wi-Fi, (opens in new tab) which brings all the B650E features to ITX, though drops the USB 4 and only has one PCIe 5.0 x16 slot. It doesn’t have a lot of space to play with, after all.
Then there's MSI, with the prolific motherboard maker aiming both at gamers and professionals with its component carriers. There's a Mini-ITX offering here too, the MPG B650I EDGE WIFI (opens in new tab), that’s available in white as well as the traditional black to match PC builds that haven’t fallen to the dark side. MPG series boards, though probably not the ITX one, also feature four M.2 sockets, one more than some other brands. All the boards support PCIe 5.0 and DDR5, with RAM overclocking available all the way up to 6600MHz and the 2.5G Ethernet and Wi-Fi 6E that we’ve come to expect, while the Pro series (opens in new tab) also add a USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 Type-C connector capable of transfers up to 20Gbps for super-fast external storage.