MSI B550 Gaming GEN3 Motherboard Review

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We are now evaluating motherboards with AMD’s 32-thread Ryzen 9 7950X and do not have any plans to evaluate any further X570 motherboards or update our list of top options now that Ryzen 7000 and its AM5 socket have been released into the market (replacing the venerable AM4 socket and X570 chipset).

t’s possible that the best B550 motherboard for your next AMD build isn’t even a B550 board. Given the high price of the majority of X570 boards and the alluringly low cost of many B450 motherboards from the previous generation, AMD’s B550 chipset was introduced with expectations of PCIe 4.0 functionality at affordable pricing. But now that the B550 has been available for well over a year, we know that AMD’s more popular AM4 platform fulfills at least one of those promises—PCIe 4.0.

The MSI B550 Gaming GEN3 Motherboard is an excellent choice if you’re looking for an ATX home for a Ryzen 5000 processor(opens in new tab), and right now it’s only $149 for Cyber Monday, saving you $40 off the regular MSRP.

The tiny black-themed Gaming Edge Wi-Fi provides you with practically everything you’d expect in a B550 motherboard, but it forgoes the RGB embellishments as a cost-saving move, as we observed in our recent review of the Mini ITX edition. However, if you decide to upgrade to a brighter appearance later, it does enable RGB accessories.

MSI B550 Gaming GEN3 Motherboard 2

MSI B550 Gaming GEN3 Motherboard Specifications & General Information

Model NameB550 GAMING GEN3
CPU SupportSupports AMD Ryzen™ 5000 Series, 5000 G-Series, 4000GSeries, and 3000 Series processors
CPU SocketAMD Socket AM4
ChipsetAMD B550 Chipset
Graphics Interface2x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots Support AMD® CrossFire™ Technology
Display InterfaceSupport 4K@30Hz as specified in HDMI2.0b, DVI-D – Requires Processor Graphics
Memory Support4 DIMMs, Dual Channel DDR4-4400+ (OC)
Expansion Slots4 x PCIe x1 slots
Storage1x M.2 Gen3 x4 32Gbps slot, 6x SATA 6Gb/s
USB ports2x USB 3.2 Gen2 10Gbps (2 Type-A) 4x USB 3.2 Gen1 5Gbps (4 Type-A) 6x USB 2.0
LANRealtek® 8111H Gigabit LAN
Audio8-Channel (7.1) HD Audio with Audio Boost
Connections1. Keyboard / Mouse 3. LAN 5. Flash BIOS Button 7. DVI-D 9. USB 3.2 Gen 2 10Gbps Type-A 2. USB 3.2 Gen 1 5Gbps Type-A 4. Audio Connectors 6. USB 2.0 8. HDMI

MSI B550 Gaming GEN3 Motherboard Design

MSI B550 Gaming GEN3 Motherboard 3

The MSI B550 Gaming GEN3 Motherboard was painted by MSI in a blend of black and gray. A fair quantity of gray creates contrast and prevents the board from seeming too flat despite the fact that black is the color that stands out the most. 

The size of the chipset heatsink is typical for a midrange motherboard and smaller than you might anticipate on a high-end board. For the CPU, MSI constructed this board with 10 digital power phases, and three more phases were added for other components. These should function well enough for regular use and a little overclocking because they are cooled by two quite sizable heatsinks.

This board also has a rear I/O shroud and a rear I/O plate that is permanently connected, which makes it slightly simpler to mount the board in a case. Since shrouds and plates are present on the majority of the higher-end boards I assess today, I don’t usually bring it up. However, middle and entry-level boards typically don’t, so it’s important to note.

Heat spreaders are placed over two M.2 slots, which are located underneath the PCI Express slots. There is space to insert M.2 drives here that have long Type-22110 (110mm) form factors since the highest M.2 port is positioned above the primary PCI Express x16 slot. This slot can use PCIe 3.0 or 4.0 lanes and is also powered by the CPU’s PCIe controller. Moreover, SATA M.2 SSDs are supported.

The MSI B550 Gaming GEN3 Motherboard has two LAN controllers but no built-in Wi-Fi chip (probably for financial reasons). (Serious gamers, for example, will choose Ethernet in any case.) A Realtek RTL8125B chip, which offers internet rates of up to 2.5Gbps, serves as the primary networking controller. This chip is increasingly present on contemporary midrange and high-end boards and provides a substantial performance improvement over outmoded 1Gbps alternatives. The Realtek RTL8111H is one of those outdated 1Gbps networking controllers that I just discussed. Although it cannot be compared to the RTL8125B chip, it is a reasonable choice for a cheap secondary NIC.

MSI B550 Gaming GEN3 Motherboard Software & BIOS

MSI B550 Gaming GEN3 Motherboard 4

The MSI Click BIOS 5 user interface is present on the MSI B550 Gaming GEN3 Motherboard, as it is on most of their products. This boots you into an EZ mode menu at startup that essentially offers everything you need in a streamlined layout. From here, you may choose a boot device, activate a RAM memory profile, flash the BIOS, and check hardware specifications for the machine.

There are a few other choices available here as well, including a menu for changing the system’s fan speed and a button to activate MSI’s Game Boost auto-overclocking tool. However, the EZ mode is still generally pretty straightforward and shouldn’t be too confusing for newcomers.

You may find the standard fare in the BIOS’ Advanced section. There are many possibilities for altering the less important system parameters, and overclocking tools are obviously available. These boards have a layout that is virtually identical to previous Click BIOS 5 boards, but they have a lot of choices that can help you get more performance out of the CPU and RAM. However, Ryzen’s typical absence of significant overclocking overhead is a different story.

I experienced a slight problem with the board’s support for RAM while testing it. I use a premium Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB memory kit with timings of 16-22-22-39 to test most motherboards, including this one. It is rated to run at a maximum frequency of 4,266MHz.

MSI B550 Gaming GEN3 Motherboard Conclusion

MSI B550 Gaming GEN3 Motherboard 5

With an MSRP of $150, the MSI B550 Gaming GEN3 Motherboard is one of the most reasonably priced B550 variants. A cheap Realtek RTL811H and ALC892 controller coupling is what is expected at this price point, which provides a fiercely competitive market for MSI to compete with other suppliers. However, it does have some USB 3.2 G2 connection, which is a major benefit.

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MSI B550 Gaming GEN3 Motherboard
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