Best X470 Motherboards for Ryzen 2 in 2018/19

Posted by James I. on 21 oct 2018

If you want to build a system using the AMD Ryzen CPUs, their latest consumer-grade processors, you will need a motherboard supporting the AM4 socket. But many people are a little bit confused as to what motherboard is the right one for them between all the different chipsets and manufacturers.

In this article I’ll go over my recommendations regarding the high-end X470 chipset, who should look into them and what differentiates it from the other - possibly older - chipsets.


X470 vs B450 vs X470 Chipset: What are the key differences?

X470

The X470 chipset and motherboards are the more premium and high-end option for the socket AM4. Most of the time they cost a fair amount more than their B450 counterparts (between $120 and close to $300), but because of that they offer more features like better VRMs as well. That is the reason why I would only recommend the X470 motherboards over B450 ones to the people who either want to buy a Ryzen 7 2700(x), plan to upgrade to one of the higher end CPUs in the future without changing their motherboard or push the overclocks (or possibly all of them). They were released alongside the second generation of Ryzen CPUs and the power draw is said to be optimized compared to the X370 chipset. The maximum officially supported memory speed was also increased to 2933MHz but the results of that vary from board to board. With respect to the B450 motherboards, they have more high-speed USB ports than their respective counterpart if that matters to you.

B450

The B450 motherboards weren’t available at the launch of Pinnacle Ridge, but they were released some months after. They are the budget options on the AM4 platform and range from $65 to around $150. They have many of the features the X470 boards also have like AMDs StoreMI, support for second generation Ryzen CPUs out of the box or Precision Boost Overdrive (PBO). What they don’t have is the ability to split the x16 PCIe lanes into x8/x8 to run SLI/CrossFire, which probably shouldn’t matter to the target audience of them (and most people in general) and things like M.2 heatsinks. Many of them also don’t have a second M.2 slot (and if they do they do have some limitations) because of reduced chipset PCIe lanes and they generally have lower quality VRMs and VRM heatsinks.

So, if you want to get the maximum out of your Ryzen CPU – either through overclocking or the use of PBO – or miss some of the aforementioned features you may want to consider going for the more expensive X470 motherboards. Though for most average users and especially for Ryzen APU users they are more than adequate.

X370

The X370 chipset boards were released alongside the first generation of Ryzen processors. They are the predecessors of the X470 motherboards and they do support the second generation of Ryzen CPUs as well, but because they were release before Pinnacle Ridge came out they don’t always work together out of the box and only after a BIOS update which is already pretty much the biggest disadvantage to mention.

X370 motherboards are very similar to the X470 mainboards and even though AMD said that PBO wouldn’t be available on these, there are still many reports of PBO showing up in the BIOS. The only other thing that really differs between X370 and X470/B450 is the inclusion of StoreMI for the latter ones. They are a little bit cheaper than their respective X470 counterparts because of their age, but personally I wouldn’t recommend getting the older X370/B350 boards anymore, especially if you are getting a second-generation Ryzen SKU unless you can find it for a really good discount.


Best X470 motherboard for overclocking

Asus

X470 Crosshair VII Hero

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Photo Credit: Asus
  • Strong VRM
  • Plenty of OC features
  • Great customisation options through BIOS
  • Highest priced X470 motherboard
  • Chipset X470
  • Form Factor ATX
  • Max RAM Speed 3466 MHz
  • PCIe 3.0 3/0/0
  • Fan Headers 6
  • Power Phases None
  • SATA 3 6
  • See more
    specs…

The 4 flagship models of the manufacturers, the Gigabyte X470 Aorus Gaming 7, the ASRock X470 Taichi (Ultimate), the MSI X470 Gaming M7 AC and the Asus ROG Crosshair VII Hero are all really solid choices in terms of VRM design and in turn overclocking and other all-around features. There are small differences in terms of debug tools, dual BIOS option and so on, so it is really hard to recommend only one of them, because everyone has different needs and opinions, but my choice here is the ROG Crosshair VII Hero.

I like the looks and the BIOS of it the most ouf of the bunch, but that is again completely subjective, it has a BIOS flashback feature and includes some of The Stilt’s Samsung B-Die memory profiles which is a nice extra to have if you are enthusiastic about overclocking your memory. It features a 10+2 phase using doublers which is more than enough to handle even high overclocks on AMDs 8-core Ryzen CPUs (more in-depth information about specs/ overclocking and general Ryzen information can be found here and here). You have the option to either go with or without Wi-Fi, with the latter option costing around $15-20 less.

It has dual M.2 slots, but while the bottom one without the heatsink doesn’t interfere with anything, the top one where the heatsink is installed will limit the top 2 PCIe 3.0 x16 slots to only x8 and x4 respectively if used with a PCIe M.2 drive. The heatsink itself though can be moved from the top to the bottom slot. It also has different features internally which might be especially useful for overclocking outside of the case, namely start, reset, safe boot and retry buttons as well as debug-LEDs and a Q-Code which might aid you in identifying problems with your system.

So, all in all this motherboard has pretty much everything you would need and expect for now and for the future (especially in terms of overclocking), but that of course reflects in the price which is very high at around $260 (or $275 if you’re going with the Wi-Fi variant).

If you want to go with a micro-ATX motherboard you’ll have to look at the B450 lineup as unfortunately, there are no X470 motherboards in the micro-ATX form factor right now.


Best Mini-ITX X470 motherboard 

ASRock

X470 Gaming-ITX/ac

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Photo Credit: ASRock
  • USB Type-C
  • Plenty of fan/RGB headers
  • Good value
  • Rather weak VRM
  • B450 version better value with similar specs
  • Chipset X470
  • Form Factor Mini ITX
  • Max RAM Speed 3466 MHz
  • PCIe 3.0 2/0/0
  • Fan Headers 3
  • Power Phases 8
  • SATA 3 4
  • See more
    specs…

There are only three X470 motherboards with the Mini-ITX form factor on the market right now: Biostars Racing X470GTN, the ASRock Fatal1ty X470 Gaming-ITX/ac and the ASUS ROG Strix X470-I Gaming. If you want something value-wise it might be better to look into the respective B450 counterparts for the ASUS or ASRock board, as they are mostly the same compared to the X470s while being a decent amount cheaper or the Biostar X470GTN as it is the cheapest of the three mentioned motherboards. It of course comes with its drawbacks at that price like missing Wi-Fi, not the best BIOS, lower quality VRM and only two fan headers, but it does deliver a decent performance for its price.

But if you want the best ITX X470 motherboard then I would recommend the ASRock Fatal1ty X470 Gaming-ITX/ac. It offers a mostly similar feature set to the ASUS board except the second M.2 slot while having more rear I/O options and being around $30 cheaper. It has only one M.2 slot on the back of the board though which supports PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe SSDs and sports three 4-pin PWN fan headers. What it has over the offering from ASUS is the inclusion of USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C, a DisplayPort output as well as featuring five 3.5mm audio jacks in addition to the optical S/PDIF which many users may miss on the Strix board.

All-in-all the ASRock motherboard has a well-rounded feature set sporting a pretty clean look at the price of around $165 while performing similarly to the more expensive ASUS ROG board which is why I would say it is the best Mini-ITX X470 motherboard you can get right now in 2018/19.


Best entry-level X470 motherboard

 
MSI

X470 Gaming Pro

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Photo Credit: MSI
  • Decent VRM and heatsink for the price
  • Cheapest X470 chipset motherboard
  • Missing USB Type-C
  • 4-pin EPS unnecessary
  • Lower quality onboard sound than most X470 motherboards
  • Chipset X470
  • Form Factor ATX
  • Max RAM Speed 3466 MHz
  • PCIe 3.0 2/0/0
  • Fan Headers 6
  • Power Phases 15
  • SATA 3 6
  • See more
    specs…

Between the various budget options of MSI, ASRock and Gigabyte I personally would pick the MSI X470 Gaming Plus/Gaming Pro as the best entry-level X470 motherboard.

The Gaming Plus and Gaming Pro are virtually the same boards with the main differences being the aesthetics (the Gaming Plus has more of the red color scheme that MSI often uses while the Gaming Pro is more on the darker side with some dark red accents) , the VRM heatsink which seems to be a bit better on the Gaming Plus because there it has some fins on it compared to the pretty much smooth aluminum blocks the Gaming Pro uses and the rear I/O shroud that comes with the Gaming Pro. As of writing, this both of them can be found for just around $100 - making it the cheapest X470 motherboard on the market - so the choice between the two is mostly up to the user’s preferences.

While it looks like a 11-phase VRM design in reality it is only running in 4+2 configuration with double the amounts of components for each phase like many of the budget-level boards.

Of course there are some other drawbacks to be had on these entry-level motherboards, in this case it is in form of a lower quality onboard audio than on most other X470 boards, the ALC892, no M.2 heatsinks, missing USB 3.1 Type-C and no SLI support. But while it does miss some of the features that other boards may include, it offers all the basic functionality needed for most people, e.g. dual M.2 slots, plenty of fan and RGB headers and a clear CMOS button

The MSI X470 Gaming Plus and Gaming Pro are a nice offering at their price point and are a good choice for people on a tighter budget and goes very well with the Ryzen 5 lineup - and to a certain extent the Ryzen 7’s depending on overclock and case airflow.


Best X470 motherboard under $200

Asus

Strix X470-F Gaming

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Photo Credit: Asus
  • Good VRM implementation for Ryzen 2
  • Plenty of USB/fan/RGB headers
  • Good overclocking performance
  • Not much difference to it's X370 predecessor at a higher price
  • Chipset X470
  • Form Factor ATX
  • Max RAM Speed None
  • PCIe 3.0 None/None/None
  • Fan Headers None
  • Power Phases 11
  • SATA 3 0
  • See more
    specs…

With it frequently going on sale, like it is now at $160, the best all-around X470 motherboard that I would recommend is the ASUS ROG Strix X470-F.

It sports a black look with some RGB on the rear I/O shroud and chipset heatsink and uses the same high-quality components for the VRM as the Crosshair VII Hero, but on the Strix X470-F Asus uses a 6+2 phase design where the 2 phases for the SoC are doubled while the heatsinks have thermal pads. It sports plenty of fan and RGB/addressable RGB headers and some basic overclocking features, namely debug-LEDs and a clear CMOS jumper. Unfortunately, there is no button for the latter one which means you will have to open up your case to use it.

The Strix X470-F from ASUS offers all of the things that most people would need and expect of a motherboard in this price range and while it misses some of the features and quality of the higher-end boards like the Crosshair VII hero, it is much more affordable and delivers a smooth experience no matter if you’ve got a six- or eight-core CPU and allows for good overclocking due to its strong VRM design which is why I see this as the best value motherboard at the moment.


Final words

I have given rough recommendations about the best motherboards for different purposes/budgets here according to my own opinions, but in the end,  you should always look for whether they fit your needs in terms of overclocking debug features, USB port number, fan headers and so on and decide on the motherboard after taking your needs and expectations into consideration. 


Other useful resources:

  1. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/10mKK6wPNyrn2uMcICM1Slz8OCc5xDB02rRpvA911usc/edit#gid=1691033858 https://www.reddit.com/r/Amd/comments/8hzelq/can_someone_explain_the_difference_between_x370/dyob47l
  2. https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/amd-x470-motherboard-comparison,5637.html
  3. https://www.hardwareluxx.de/community/f12/pga-am4-mainboard-vrm-liste-1155146.html
  4. https://www.anandtech.com/show/12990/the-msi-x470-gaming-plus-review

Click here to view all X470 motherboards compatible with the AMD Ryzen 2