There aren't many $125 AM5 motherboards on the market right now, but there's one more than there used to be. Gigabyte has prepared the B650M K to rival ASRock's B650M-HDV/M.2 at the same price point. While the motherboard officially launches on March 31, the Gigabyte B650M K is available for preorder at Newegg at $124.99.
The B650M K and B650M-HDV/M.2 adhere to the micro-ATX form factor and utilize AMD's B650 chipset. Unlike the premium X670 or X670E chipset, the B650 chipset caters to mainstream consumers. Nonetheless, B650 motherboards are as capable as high-end AM5 motherboards in processor support. The two B650M K and B650M-HDV/M.2 may sport a modest 8+2+1-phase design for the power delivery subsystem. However, they have no problem housing Zen 4 chips, spanning from the Ryzen 5 7600X to the latest Ryzen 9 7950X3D.
Although both motherboards sell for $125, their feature set varies slightly. For example, the B650M K has four DDR5 memory slots to support up to 128GB of memory, whereas the B650M-HDV/M.2 only allows for 64GB. As a result, they can take advantage of the best RAM up to DDR5-6400 and beyond, but it'll ultimately, the Ryzen 7000 processor's IMC has the last say as to whether it's possible or not. DDR5-6000 is the sweet spot for Zen 4, so memory kits, such as G.Skill's Trident Z5 Neo RGB DDR5-6000 C30, will excel on the B650 platform.
One of the B650M-HDV/M.2's selling points is PCIe 5.0 support on the M.2 slot, a feature that's hard to find on a budget motherboard. The B650M-HDV/M.2 provides at least one PCIe 5.0 x4 M.2 slot to leverage the best SSDs. Conversely, Gigabyte opted to keep both M.2 slots on the B650M K to PCIe 4.0 x4 speeds. The two motherboards offer four standard SATA III ports. RAID 0, 1, and 10 support is available on M.2 and SATA III interfaces.
|Specifications||Gigabyte B650M K||ASRock B650M-HDV/M.2|
|DIMM Slots||4 x DDR5-6400+, 128GB||2 x DDR5-6400+, 64GB|
|M.2 Slots||1 x PCIe 4.0 x4, 1 x PCIe 4.0 x4 (RAID 0/1/10)||1 x PCIe 5.0 x4, 1 x PCIe 4.0 x4 (RAID 0/1/10)|
|SATA Ports||4 x SATA3 6 Gb/s (RAID 0/1/10)||4 x SATA3 6 Gb/s (RAID 0/1/10)|
|Expansion Slots||1 x PCIe 4.0 x16, 1 x PCIe 3.0 x1||2 x PCIe 4.0 x16 (x16, x4), 1 x PCIe 4.0 x1|
|Display Outputs||1 x DisplayPort 1.4, 1 x HDMI 2.1||1 x DisplayPort 1.4, 1 x HDMI 2.1|
|HD Audio Codec||Realtek ?||Realtek ALC897|
|Ethernet Controller||Dragon RTL8125BG||Realtek 2.5GbE|
|USB Ports||1 x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C, 1 x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A, 2 x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A, 4 x USB 2.0||1 x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-C, 2 x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A, 4 x USB 2.0|
|USB Headers||1 x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-C, 2 x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A, 2 x USB 2.0||1 x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C, 4 x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A, 4 x USB 2.0|
|BIOS||1 x 256 Mbit flash||1 x 256 Mbit flash|
The B650M-HDV/M.2 delivers more and faster expansion options. ASRock equipped the motherboard with two PCIe 4.0 x16 slots (one at x16 and the other at x4) and one PCIe 4.0 slot. On the other hand, Gigabyte went with a combination of a single PCIe 4.0 x16 and PCIe 3.0 x1 slot. So the scales lean in ASRock's favor if you use more expansion cards.
For those consumers who won't be building a gaming PC, the B650M K and B650M-HDV/M.2 supply one DisplayPort 1.4 output and one HDMI 2.1 port for connecting your displays. A Realtek audio codec is responsible for the audio on the two motherboards. The ASRock motherboard uses the Realtek ALC897 codec. Still, Gigabyte didn't specify which Realtek codec is on the B650M K. Three standard 3.5 mm audio jacks are available, but neither motherboard has a S/PDIF out port.
The B650M K and B650M-HDV/M.2 both embrace a 2.5G Ethernet connection. ASRock picked the Dragon RTL8125BG controller, a rebrand of the Realtek controller of the same name but with the Dragon software. Gigabyte also used a 2.5GbE controller from Realtek. The manufacturer didn't specify the model, but we suspect it's likely the same RTL8125BG controller. Unfortunately, you won't find wireless connectivity at this price point. However, the B650M-HDV/M.2 does supply an M.2 Key E socket and the corresponding antenna holes on the rear panel for consumers to add an M.2 2230 WiFi/BT module. The rival motherboards offer a similar number of USB ports. However, the B650M K comes with slightly faster USB ports.
During the Ryzen 7000 announcement, AMD said consumers could expect AM5 motherboards starting at $125. Thus far, only Gigabyte and ASRock have made good on AMD's promise. We hope other motherboard vendors follow suit. With so many premium AM5 motherboards, the market can use some good $125 alternatives.
My last 4 motherboards have been a Gigabyte 990FX, an ASRock X370, an ASRock X570 and a Biostar A320 (it was $40CAD, can you blame me?).
I've never owned an ASUS motherboard and the one MSi motherboard I owned (K9A2 Platinum) died a few months after the 1-year warranty expired. I would be more than happy to never buy either of those motherboards for the rest of my life. ASRock and Gigabyte are all I will ever need.
I buy Asus motherboards. Mostly prime quality boards. NoRGB or 20 USB ports needed.
Not their high end stuff.
I have had 3 MSI boards fail and 2 Gigabyte boards fail. I have 1 gigabyte running now and 3 ASUS.
Out of 30 or more Asus boards I have had one failure before retirement. I still have some really old ones that still boot and run.
So 3 for 3 on MSI failure and 2 of 3 Gigabyte failure.
Tried the others but .......
As far as brands go I've used quite a few Asrock and Gigabyte mobos with good success. MSI and Asus not so much. Asus was/is using multiple other companies to produce their various model mobos so the quality could vary considerably. Back when Asus was only supplying OEM/ODM builders not the retail consumer market their quality was better IME.
I stopped using Gigabyte AMD Durable mobos when they refused to upgrade the VRM to handle the 8-core CPUs resulting in massive throttling. It took two years before Gigabyte finally upgraded their VRMs. Since switching to Asrock mobos it's been nothing but smooth sailing and reliable performance. The OC performance has also been excellent.
IMO the sweet spot for AM5 users is the Asrock X670 Steel Legend priced at $300. It has all the whistles and bells. The Steel Legend B650E is ~$30. less and also a good deal for many folks.
Your mileage may vary.
Gigabyte and ASRock are cheaper because they have more reliability issues.
Same reason AMD GPU are cheaper but few people buy them because of the driver reliability issues.
ASrock do make reliable entry-level motherboards : I've used their B450M Pro4(-F) on several dozen projects (I must have assembled 30 computers based on those babies) without a single one failing.
The board in my current rig is an asrock ab350 pro 4 from 2017 or 18. Been a very reliable board. Running a 5800x in it these days and still running like a champ.
You realize that your comment is nonsense, right?
The only mobo I've had fail in 30 years was an Asus. Their warranty replacement mobo for a less than 1 year old mobo was a POS that had been manually repaired and looked like it sat on the side of the roadway for a year. I sent it back to them and bought a new Asrock mobo because I wanted reliability. I have numerous Asrock and Gigabyte mobos still working just fine after 20+ years.
Did you know that AMD actually produced Intel CPUs for years before they started selling their own CPUs - which by all accounts are the best CPUs available today and have been for years. Your beliefs are not based on the experience of the majority of PC builders or PC owners. That's why professionally always qualify their statements by saying In My Experience (IME) because we all have different experience - some more comprehensive than others.
I don't know if the lack of USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports (10Gb/s) is dependent on the M.2 PCIe 5.0 x4 that Asrock offers over Gigabyte or not. I know that the use of an M.2 slot can limit the available SATA III connections from 6 down to 4 but does PCIe 5.0 x4 share or limit bandwidth with USB 3.2 Gen 2 or not.
When using Google to find out, I found the first article, from Intel (with no date) stating that M.2 PCIe 5.0 is exclusive to Intel at which point I decided once again, Google is not my friend. My friend would not place an outdated article first in search results even if they paid for a higher position in search results.
I feel dated. I'm currently using (2) Gigabyte GA-MA785GM-US2H and (1) GA-MA785GM-UD3H from 2009-2010 AM2+ - AM3, all still going with W8.1 and W10 dual booting and an ASUS B450 from 2019 (from the case up NIB) still haven't put together yet, although I'm tired of not having 5Gb/s or 10Gb/s USB. So it's time. I hope the ASUS last as long as the GB's have.