Aug 18, 2019
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I'm currently building a gaming/workstation pc and I was wondering which motherboard to buy. I bought the Ryzen 7 3700X so I will need a mobo compatible with Zen2.

I was considering on buying a x570 board but they are quite expensive and I certainly won't need PCIE 4.0 anytime soon. So the other option was a b450 motherboard. However, I don't currently have a cpu I could use for the BIOS update and I don't like the idea of flashing the update on a usb. I saw that the MSI B450 Tomahawk MAX supported ryzen 3rd gen. Will I lose performance or features (except pcie 4.0) or is this the way to go?
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
Aside from the PCI 4.0 support and possible mildly better overclocking on X570, in general, not comparing some entry level board from one chipset with a Flagship board from the other, there are really few reasons to pick one over the other. At least for now. That's not to say that next year when 2nd Gen Zen2 CPUs are released that THOSE are going to be ok with a B450 board. It was a near thing that board manufacturers weren't going to offer support for some CPU models on existing chipsets as it is. So, that's always a potential consideration, but truthfully you're probably perfectly fine with a B450 max board.

In reality, any of the boards with BIOS flashback are a NON-issue to flash to a version that supports Zen2 anyhow. The bottom line is, seriously, if you're not comfortable downloading a BIOS image, unpacking it to a flash drive, renaming it per the BIOS instructions (IF necessary) and pressing a button to flash the firmware, then you probably shouldn't be building a system yourself in the first place. But, that's just my opinion as far as that goes. Either chipset, or any B450, X470 or X570 with an appropriate BIOS version will likely do fine.
 
Aug 18, 2019
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The bottom line is, seriously, if you're not comfortable downloading a BIOS image, unpacking it to a flash drive, renaming it per the BIOS instructions (IF necessary) and pressing a button to flash the firmware, then you probably shouldn't be building a system yourself in the first place. But, that's just my opinion as far as that goes.
The reason why I feel that way about flashing is because I heard some things/stories about bios flashback and it kinda made me overthink it and worry too much about it. I should probably inform myself better on that topic. I thought that for some reason it was more complicated than that but if it really is as simple as it sounds, I was completely wrong.

Thanks for the response. Helps a lot:)
 

Joakim Agren

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Sep 5, 2019
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I'm currently building a gaming/workstation pc and I was wondering which motherboard to buy. I bought the Ryzen 7 3700X so I will need a mobo compatible with Zen2.

I was considering on buying a x570 board but they are quite expensive and I certainly won't need PCIE 4.0 anytime soon. So the other option was a b450 motherboard. However, I don't currently have a cpu I could use for the BIOS update and I don't like the idea of flashing the update on a usb. I saw that the MSI B450 Tomahawk MAX supported ryzen 3rd gen. Will I lose performance or features (except pcie 4.0) or is this the way to go?
I would say any good X370, B450 or X470 will be just fine to buy if the deal is right! I myself went with a X370 board the Asus Crosshair VI for my coming Ryzen 3600 build that has a great VRM (Voltage Regulator Modules) to handle even the coming 16 core chip. The thing you should look out for when selecting a board are good VRM that can handle over clocks and the top CPU's without getting too warm in operation. The second thing to look out for is if it have all the features you want. Does it come with the sufficient amount of USB 2/3/3.1 and Type C ports for your need? (and that includes the internal mother board headers) Do you need faster then 1GBit/s ethernet speeds? (preferably ge a board with Intel NIC), Perhaps you need Wifi? Is great sound a priority? Then you want a board with good audio circuit. Is RGB a priority? Then you should make sure the board has sufficient amount of RGB headers and if you want the latest aRGB stuff make sure it has an addressable 5V aRGB port and not only the older 12 V non addressable RGB ports. Will you be using lots of SATA drives? Then make sure the board has 8 of those ports rather then the standard 6. Do you want a post code read out debugger LED then make sure to check if it comes with that. Also if you do not have a pre existing AMD Ryzen chip and the board you buy is not prepared for the Ryzen 3000 series then make sure it has the Flashback function so that BIOS can be updated trough a USB stick without the need of a CPU.

The Tomahawk B450 Max is a great entry level board that already is prepared for Ryzen 3000 CPU's, it has good VRM for it's price class. But of course there is higher end boards with more features but it comes with all the basics. A general rule of thumb is that a mobbo should preferably be about 50-100% the cost of the CPU so in the case of a 3700X that means about the $170-$330 range. But the Tomahawk is below that range. So if you have the money you perhaps should go with something higher tied. But if the B450 Tomahawk Max meets your demands and you have a tight budget for this then you should go for it.
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
Zen2 is actually more efficient per core than 1st or 2nd gen Ryzen, and core for core has a lower TDP. So if you had a board that could support a 6/12 on 2nd Gen Ryzen, it will easily support a Zen2 6/12. If your board was good enough to handle an 8 core Ryzen 2000 series part, it will easily handle a Zen2 8 core part.

The only place where it might get a bit fuzzy is on parts that are higher core count than 8/16, in which case, yes, you will definitely want a board with a VERY good VRM and power delivery configuration, using high quality chokes and caps and with excellent heatsinks. Probably, the X570 boards with their onboard cooling are a pretty good idea if you're going to go with one of these boards and we MIGHT even find, much as with older architectures with high core parts, that some form of home brewed cooling fan arrangement for the VRMs and Northbridge might not be the worst idea ever as well.

Still, with a 3700x, you should be fine with any mid to upper tiered B450, X470 or X570. And flashing the BIOS REALLY IS just that simple. So long as you take the time to READ the BIOS flashing notes on the motherboard product page and watch at least one relevant video on flashing the BIOS on your board model, it should pretty much be a no brainer. As mentioned before, for some models, you will need to rename the BIOS image file before flashing, so it's important to not forget that if it's a requirement for your board model and firmware version.
 

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