On the lookout for a motherboard that pairs well with a 3rd Generation Ryzen CPU?
AMD’s 3rd Generation Ryzen processors have changed the game when it comes to mainstream desktop computing.
They offer an unparalleled mix of multi-core and single-core performance – making the 3000-series of Ryzen CPUs an ideal choice for those who need to build a PC for 3D Rendering, Workstations for Adobe After Effects, a Video Editing PC or run as dedicated render nodes.
Navigating the crowd of motherboards out there and picking the perfect one is another story.
Technically, older AM4 motherboards (X470, B450, X370, B350, A320) do support all the 3rd Generation Ryzen CPUs, including the Ryzen 9 3900X. However, this might mean leaving performance on the table depending upon your choice of CPU and motherboard.
Granted, some X470 motherboards will handle high-end CPUs like the 3900X just fine. But I think there are better options available in the X570 product stack.
Note – I’m assuming that you plan to buy a new motherboard for Ryzen’s 3000-series processors.
Here’s a quick overview:
|Price-Tier||Best X570 Motherboard for Ryzen 3rd Gen||Link|
|under 500$||MSI Prestige X570 CREATION (E-ATX)||Info / Buy|
|under 400$||ASUS ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Hero (ATX)||Info / Buy|
|under 300$||ASRock X570 Taichi (ATX)||Info / Buy|
|under 200$||Gigabyte X570 Aorus Elite (ATX)||Info / Buy|
Factors to Consider
Memory Overclocking Support
Ryzen processors have relied on Infinity Fabric from the start, which relies on memory speed to reduce latency – making this an important factor when considering any motherboard for AMD Ryzen CPUs.
An extensive QVL (Qualified Vendor List) is a sign of a good memory layout for any motherboard – improving the chances of getting your RAM to much higher clocks.
However, if you plan to run memory rated at and around 3200 MHz or lower, this factor isn’t vital. Pretty much all newer boards should support those speeds.
Powering a 12-core CPU isn’t easy, and your motherboard shouldn’t limit its capabilities when tackling heavy workloads.
However, this factor does become far less critical when considering motherboards for 8 and 6-core 3rd Gen Ryzen processors.
It’s awful when you run out of memory or storage and realize that you’ve already maxed out all available slots on your motherboard. Make sure you consider the number of M.2 slots, PCI-E slots, SATA ports, and RAM slots available on the motherboard.
The chipset dictates a lot of the features that you can or cannot use with your CPU. Pick carefully. For Ryzen 9 and 7, I think the X570 chipset is the way to go for professionals. The extra PCI-E 4.0 bandwidth will come in handy to add ultra-high-speed NVMe storage to your system when you want.
On the other hand, for Ryzen 5 processors (3600 and 3600X), a B450 motherboard will suffice.
The number of USB and other back-panel ports on a motherboard is yet another important factor for those who often find themselves hunting for free ports.
Although board manufacturers love marketing audio capabilities of various motherboards, I’ve found that you should ignore this factor almost entirely when deciding on a board.
I also haven’t considered early BIOS issues a critical factor. The 7nm Zen 2 architecture is relatively new; there are bound to be some teething issues at the start.
A bad BIOS implementation can be fixed with an update, but a lousy motherboard can’t be.
Nonetheless, I’ll be mentioning such issues, if any, along with the recommendations below.
Best 3rd Gen Ryzen Motherboard under $500
There’s a reason why I haven’t included a pricing tier to accommodate $500+ motherboards; they simply don’t bring much to the table and aren’t worth the premium in my honest opinion.
MSI Prestige X570 CREATION (E-ATX)
If you want an excellent motherboard that can easily handle 12 and even 16-core Ryzen CPUs with ease without compromising on any features, the MSI Prestige X570 CREATION hits the sweet spot.
However, this motherboard has an E-ATX form factor. Make sure that your PC cabinet supports it before going ahead with the purchase. Check the case’s technical specifications page to be sure.
Although the X570 CREATION has an extremely robust VRM design, it’s overkill unless you plan to do some extreme overclocking.
Nonetheless, I consider this a bonus, if anything, considering the extensive features of this motherboard.
Dual 8-pin CPU power delivery sockets, beefy VRMs, an ample number of SATA and M.2 slots.
An included M.2 Xpander Card for additional M.2 slots, server-grade PCB for better heat resistance, extensive QVL, numerous back-panel ports.
Built-in 10 GbE LAN, and Wi-Fi 6. These are the most prominent features on this board.
The CREATION’s QVL is astonishing. You should hit the 3600 MHz mark with a decent RAM kit, no problem – even when running quad-memory configurations.
You can find the QVL for the X570 CREATION here.
The back panel is heaven for those who love their USB ports. I sure do! With a whopping 14 USB ports, dual LAN ports, a clear CMOS button, and multiple audio ports, the CREATION knocks it out of the park when it comes to back-panel connectivity.
To be honest, at this price range, you can’t go wrong with any of the options available. However, the M.2 Xpander Card sets the CREATION apart from competing Gigabyte and ASUS products.
It allows you to make use of all the extra bandwidth that comes with PCI-E 4.0 without spending a penny more.
If you use a NAS (Network Attached Storage) device to transfer files in and out of workstation PCs for render tasks, the built-in 10 GbE LAN is a Godsend. Combining it with a 10 GbE network switch and a NAS device will reduce transfer times by up to 90% (compared to traditional 1 GbE LAN).
On the other hand, if you don’t need additional M.2 slots, access to built-in 10 GbE LAN, and the new Wi-Fi 6 standard, you should consider shopping at the sub-$400 pricing tier.
Note – If you only need additional M.2 slots, skip down a price tier and get a separate add-in card. You can save right around $100-140 (USD) this way.
Recommended for: Ryzen 9 only (3900X). Unless you’re after one of the features unique to this motherboard, there’s no reason to grab the MSI Prestige X570 CREATION for Ryzen 7 CPUs.
Best 3rd Gen Ryzen Motherboard under $400
If you’re going for an ATX form factor motherboard with a budget below $400, you can’t go wrong with the ASUS X570 Crosshair VIII Hero.
Note – There’s absolutely no reason to consider the pricier Crosshair VIII Formula, a motherboard that’s priced at a whopping $700 with little-to-no benefit for real users.
Similar to other options in these relatively higher price tiers, the Hero’s VRMs are pretty overkill and robust. Not only can it handle the top-end parts from the 3rd Generation Ryzen like the 3900X, but it is also reliable enough to handle the upcoming 16-core monster (Ryzen 9 3950X) as well.
The dual LAN (Realtek and Intel) gives you much-needed flexibility to go with the brand you prefer.
Some swear by Intel LAN and will scoff at anything or anyone that says Realtek, mostly due to experience. There’s a built-in Wi-Fi 6 version of this board as well – for those who need the latest standard in wireless connectivity.
The ASUS ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Hero comes equipped with a whopping 8 SATA ports and dual M.2 slots – giving most users ample peripheral connectivity options.
It also features 3 full-size PCI-E slots (x16/x8) that could be used to add functionality like M.2 Expander cards or run 3-way SLI or Crossfire configurations.
Memory support is first-rate on ASUS motherboards like the X570 Hero. You can find the QVL list here. The list of RAM sticks running successfully on 3600 MHz and above is pretty impressive.
In addition to being very internal peripheral-friendly, the Hero has extensive back-panel connectivity with 12 USB ports, gold-plated audio jacks, and dual-LAN ports.
The back panel also features a Clear CMOS button as well as a BIOS flashback button for flashing your BIOS even if you don’t have a CPU installed.
Recommended for Ryzen 9 only (3900X). If you can’t fit an E-ATX motherboard into your case, the Crosshair VIII Hero is a great choice that doesn’t compromise on much.
Best 3rd Gen Ryzen Motherboard around $300
ASRock X570 Taichi (ATX) – Overall Great Value!
The value offered by the ASRock X570 Taichi is undeniable. It is considered one of the best motherboards out there for both Ryzen 9 and Ryzen 7 processors, with good reason.
Even though it’s priced much lower, it comes with many of the bells and whistles that you usually see on high-end motherboards. Granted, we ARE still talking about a $300 motherboard here.
The lower price does come with some caveats though.
Not only do you lose access to 2.5 GbE LAN and dual LAN, but you also lose a good bit of memory support, especially for quad-memory configurations. Compared to other motherboards in its weight class, the Taichi’s QVL is quite sparse.
~~ Edit (Thanks David): Nonetheless, for most users who aren’t planning on overclocking memory past 3733 MHz, it should be just fine!
For everything else, the Taichi offers immense value at its price point.
The ASRock X570 Taichi comes equipped with a beefy VRM, one that goes toe-to-toe with even its pricier X570 counterparts.
Hence, it is capable of handling the most powerful processors that AMD has to offer – the 3900X, 3800X, and 3700X. It should be enough to take on the AMD Ryzen 9 3950X when it launches as well.
Although the Taichi doesn’t come with dual LAN capabilities, it features the preferred Intel Gigabit LAN instead of Realtek.
Funnily, it also comes equipped with 2.4 Gbps Intel Wi-Fi 6, making the wireless adapter much faster (2.4 times) than the Ethernet LAN on this motherboard.
Now, when it comes to peripheral connectivity, this motherboard doesn’t compromise. It comes with 8 SATA ports, 3 M.2 ports, 2 PCI-E x1 slots, and 3 full-size PCI-E slots (x16/8).
It doesn’t skimp out too much when considering back-panel connectivity either. It features an array of audio ports, 7 USB ports, Gigabit LAN port, a clear BIOS button, and two wireless antennae.
Recommended for: 3rd Generation Ryzen 9 and 7 (3900X, 3800X, and 3700X).
Priced at just under $300, the Taichi offers fantastic value. If you don’t see anything specific in higher-priced motherboards that you really must have, go for the Taichi.
Best 3rd Gen Ryzen Motherboard under $200
Gigabyte’s $200 offering features PCI-E 4 capabilities at a much lower price point while retaining quality VRMs.
So, it’s a splendid option for those on a budget. The X570 Aorus Elite packs enough power to run the 3900X, 3800X, and the 3700X easily – allowing them to boost as high as they possibly can.
The Aorus Elite also features Intel Gigabit LAN much like its pricier X570 counterparts.
Expansion presents the first real limitation of the Gigabyte X570 Aorus Ultra when compared to other motherboards. It features 2 full-size (x8/16) PCI-E slots, 2 PCI-E x1 slots, 2 M.2 slots, and 6 SATA ports.
Memory support is pretty terrific on all Gigabyte motherboards, and the Aorus Elite is no exception. Whether you’re running dual or quad-memory configurations, you should be able to get to 3600 MHz and above.
The back panel of the Gigabyte X570 Aorus Elite is pretty great as well.
It comes with an array of 10 USB ports, audio ports, Ethernet port, and an HDMI port for AMD APUs (I don’t recommend pairing one with this board though). The absence of a ‘clear CMOS’ button is pretty conspicuous though. Oh well.
Recommended for: Ryzen 9, 7, and 5 (3900X and all the way to the 3600).
Perfect for those who want the most on a budget, especially if you’re going with an AMD Ryzen 9 3900X. Only Ryzen 5 owners who need PCI-E 4.0 bandwidth should go for this motherboard.
Value Motherboard Buy for Ryzen 7 and Ryzen 5 With a Few Potential Issues
The Tomahawk was one of the most popular motherboards for 2nd Generation Ryzen, with good reason.
It offered excellent hardware at an attractive price point, along with features like BIOS Flashback. With the release of 3rd Generation Ryzen, we can see its popularity was not undeserved.
It features surprisingly sturdy VRMs that can handle even 8-core parts without holding them back at all.
Moreover, MSI’s excellent memory support does translate to their B450 motherboards too. The QVL for the Tomahawk is nothing short of impressive, featuring a good number of memory modules running in even quad-channel configurations at speeds well above 3200 MHz.
You can find the QVL here.
The B450 Tomahawk comes equipped with 2 full-size PCI-E (x16/x8) slots, 3 PCI-E x1 slots, 6 SATA ports, and a single M.2 slot.
When it comes to back-panel connectivity, the Tomahawk isn’t trailing too far behind its bigger, pricier brethren. It features 6 USB ports, a DVI port and an HDMI port for AMD APUs with integrated graphics, an Ethernet port, and audio ports.
Note – Stay on the lookout for the MSI B450 Tomahawk MAX. It will feature a larger BIOS ROM to accommodate support for more processors and fixes the 3rd gen Ryzen CPU support issues that have been reported.
For now, MSI has released a beta BIOS that tones down the UI to reduce BIOS sizes. Moreover, it will support 3rd Generation Ryzen processors right out of the box.
Recommended for: Ryzen 7 and 5. A great motherboard overall, considering the value it brings.
However, a few users have reported issues getting older MSI boards working with new 3rd Gen Ryzen processors.
Although these problems are rare and will eventually be ironed out with BIOS updates, you could consider Gigabyte’s B450 options if you want to sidestep MSI B450 at the moment – namely, the Gigabyte B450 Aorus Pro and B450 Gaming X.
Addressing Some Common Concerns
Q: I’m already on an X470/B450/X370/B350/A320 motherboard, and I don’t need PCI-E 4.0. Should I still switch to a new motherboard?
A: It depends. If you’re upgrading to the 3700X, 3800X, 3600X, or the 3600, you can stick to X470/B450/X370 safely.
However, if you’re upgrading to a Ryzen 9 CPU like the 3900X and you’re not on an X470 or a high-end X370 motherboard, then I recommend upgrading to get the most performance out of it.
For those wanting to upgrade to 3rd Generation Ryzen 5 CPUs on a budget, even older B350/A320 motherboards should be enough.
Q: Will I need a BIOS update if I want to pair an older motherboard with 3rd Gen Ryzen processors?
A: Yes. You’ll need an older Ryzen CPU to update BIOS once if you don’t grab a motherboard with features like BIOS Flashback – allowing you to update firmware without installing a CPU. If you don’t have access to either of those things, don’t worry.
AMD’s running a boot kit program for those with this exact issue. You can find out more about this program here: https://www.amd.com/en/support/kb/faq/pa-100#faq-Short-Term-Processor-Loan-Boot-Kit
Q: I’m buying a new motherboard and a 3rd Generation Ryzen 9/7 CPU. Should I buy an X470 motherboard if I don’t need PCI-E 4.0?
A: You could, but I don’t recommend it. The prices of any worthwhile X470 motherboards come pretty close to or even exceed some of the X570 motherboards available right now. For a Ryzen 7 CPU, you could stick to a good B450 motherboard like the MSI B450 Tomahawk.
Q: I see fans on the new X570 motherboards. Will they be noisy? Can I get an X570 motherboard with passive cooling instead of active cooling?
A: No, they are surprisingly silent most of the time. In fact, during most of my tests, the fans barely even spun up. Unless you’re stretching the limits of the board by beginning to saturate all that PCI-E 4.0 bandwidth, I don’t expect the fans to spin much at all.
Yes, there is precisely one X570 motherboard with passive cooling – the $700 Gigabyte X570 Aorus Extreme.
That’s a steep price just to get rid of fans. If you’re still averse to the fans and you’re grabbing either an AMD Ryzen 3800X, 3700X, 3600, or 3600X, you could make do with an older B450 motherboard.
Q: I see some manufacturers like Biostar enabled PCI-E 4.0 on older motherboards. Can I get those older motherboards to get PCI-E 4.0 on the cheap?
A: Although Biostar did enable PCI-E 4.0 with a BIOS update, it might be short-lived.
Firstly, I didn’t find any data about whether those motherboards can indeed handle full PCI-E 4.0 bandwidth without compromising stability.
Secondly, AMD might disable it with the next AGESA update, like they did when ASUS enabled PCI-E 4.0 support on older motherboards.
Of course, you could choose to stay on present firmware forever, but you’ll probably miss out on future efficiency improvements and other security updates.
Q: Why exactly shouldn’t I consider the quality of built-in audio on motherboards?
A: Well, there are a few reasons for this. The onboard audio capabilities of modern motherboards have come a long way.
So, for most users, every modern motherboard will offer an almost indistinguishable audio experience.
If audio is an extremely important factor for you, and the onboard option just isn’t cutting it, getting a separate add-in sound card is a much better option.
What’s more, it’ll work out cheaper and give you more flexibility with your purchase to boot. Here’s a Creative Sound Blaster sound card that should power even studio-grade, high-impedance headphones just fine.
That’s about it! What Motherboard and PC-Build are you buying? Feel free to ask for help in the comments!