The launch of the Ryzen 5000 series CPUs is giving motherboard makers an opportune time to revamp or refresh current B550 motherboard designs. MSI is no exception and today went all out on a new design for its new MEG B550 Unify and Unify-X, designed specifically with Ryzen 5000 CPUs in mind.
The B550 Unify and Unify-X are very unique in the workloads the boards are designed for. Both boards have no RGB, but feature quad M.2 slots, and both models are designed specifically for extreme overclocking.
Specs-wise, the MEG B550 Unify and Unify X comes with a beefy 14+2 VRM power delivery system, only equal to that of the B550 AORUS Master from Gigabyte. However the Gigabyte model "only" comes with 70A power stages, the Unify and Unify X upgrade the power stages to 90A units. The extra amperage is overkill for moderate overclocking, but for world records, they can help stabilize the power the CPU needs at very high wattage.
To achieve quadruple M.2 slot capability on the Unify series, MSI removed the 2nd PCIe x16 slot (wired with 8 lanes traditionally) to make way for two M.2 slots. All in all you get four PCIe gen 4.0 capable M.2 slots. However, you can't run a graphics card or other PCIe devices in the first x16 slot and expect gen 4.0 performance on all four slots. Two of the slots can switch from either running off the CPU PCIe lanes or the chipset PCIe lanes. For most users that need a graphics card, you'll be running two of the M.2s from the chipset which means a downgrade to Gen 3.0 speeds. Still having quad M.2 slots at all is impressive and Gen 3.0 speeds are still very quick for storage.
The final big feature for the Unify, and especially the Unify X, is the memory overclocking capability. The Unify can support an official max speed of 5600Mhz, the Unify X with the dual DIMM slot design increases that max spec to 5800MHz. The Unify X removes two of the DIMMS to achieve a higher speed. Having more DIMMs always hinders overclocking performance, so this is a great feature to have if you desire ultra-high memory speeds.
There is no release date for either of these boards. However, the Ryzen 5000 series launch is just a week away so we can expect MSI's Unify boards will release around that time.