We are also dedicating ourselves to the first B550 motherboard from ASRock, which serves more as an entry-level model and is supposed to be a little more gentle on the wallet.
This is exactly why the Pro4 models attract many users, regardless of platform and chipset. In this ASRock B550 Pro4 review, we want to enquire whether the ASRock B550 Pro4 has a good price/performance ratio.
Regardless of whether with an Intel or AMD chipset, ASRock usually always offers a Pro4 mainboard, which should be the ideal entry into the respective platform. For a lower purchase price, however, restrictions in the technical equipment must also be accepted.
To what extent this applies to the B550 Pro4 will be one of the most exciting questions that we will clarify. It will also be fascinating to see how the CPU power supply performs.
While the ASRock B550 Pro4 AMD AM4 ATX board itself is colored in black and white, a total of three heat sinks are even made of silver-colored aluminum. In general, the optics are, of course, subjective in nature, but at least we like the optics.
ASRock B550 Pro4 Review – Entry Level Motherboard
A board that can be considered medium or low-middle range within this ASRock B550 family. It is committed to a somewhat more basic design of the set and a 50A 8-phase VRM aimed mainly at mid-range Ryzen processors.
The internal connectivity section is with 4 PCIe slots and two M.2 slots, one of them supporting Gen4, although it only has a heatsink. It does cut the Ethernet link to 1 Gbps and the USB ports to 6, although it still allows Wi-Fi card mounting.
The Accessories Included In The Bundle
- I / O panel
- Mainboard manual and driver and software DVD
- two SATA cables
- an M.2 spacer and three screws
The list of accessories is correspondingly short. Only the I / O panel – which is not preinstalled on the ASRock B550 Pro4 – comes with the manual, the support data carrier, two SATA cables, and three M.2 screws and an M.2 spacer.
Features And Layout
ASRock is one of the manufacturers that always bet on components adjusted in price with benefits comparable to somewhat more expensive boards from the competition.
As for the design that this ASRock B550 Pro4 shows us, you cannot deny that it attracts attention. This time a black background is used, accompanied by a large number of white lines that match the heatsinks.
In the upper half, we have the presence of only one heatsink for the six vertically oriented phases of the VRM, while two others remain naked on top. It is an oversized solid aluminum sink as it extends into the rear port area as a cover replacement. This time, therefore, we do not have a closed region in the port area, so its aesthetics is more basic, without lighting, and requires the installation of the backplate manually in the chassis.
In the lower half, we continue with a relatively simple configuration, since only one of the two M.2 slots for SSD has an integrated heatsink. On the other hand, it is exactly what happens with competing models and a similar price. Although this time the heatsink is not interchangeable as two slots do not support the same maximum size. It is a passive block of good quality aluminum and with a conductive silicone thermal pad on the inside.
The remaining element consists of another small passive block to cool the chipset. Unlike the X570, this version does not require a fan, so we save that noise. Only the main PCIe slot has a steel reinforcement for heavy graphics cards, while DIMMs or power connectors do not offer such protection. Regarding the cooling capacity, we have a total of 6 4-pin headers, one of them compatible with water pumps, and all manageable from BIOS or software.
Standing on the rear face of the ASRock B550 Pro4, we did not find any protection except the typical insulating layer for power tracks. In the upper area, we can see directly that signal doublers are being used for the supply phases.
And if we place ourselves right on edge under the SATA ports, we can find 5 RGB LEDs that will give a little gaming touch to the board in the dark. ASRock has had the detail of including four headers for lighting strips, two of them 3 5VDG pins for addressable strips, and another two 12VGRB for RGB strips.
Comparison Between The X570, B550 And B450 Chipset At A Glance
|production||12 nm||14 nm||55 nm|
|PCIe 4.0 configuration (CPU) (* 1)||1x16 or 2x8||1x16 or 2x8||-|
|PCIe 3.0 configuration (CPU)||1x16 or 2x8||1x16 or 2x8||1x16|
|Max. PCIe 2.0 lanes||-||-||6|
|Max. PCIe 3.0 lanes||-||8||-|
|Max. PCIe 4.0 lanes||16||-||-|
|Max. USB 3.2 Gen1 / 2 ports||6/2||2/2||2/2|
|Max. SATA 6 Gbit / s ports||12||6||6|
|Multi-GPU||SLI / CrossFireX||SLI / CrossFireX||CrossFireX|
|RAM channel / DIMMs per channel||2/2||2/2||2/2|
|CPU and RAM overclocking||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|RAID (0, 1, 10)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
VRM And Power Phases
Next, we are going to study a little more in detail the power configuration of the ASRock B550 Pro4, which this time consists of 8 phases in total.
Without a doubt, it is a somewhat more basic configuration than some competitor boards, since almost all have 10 phases or more except ITX boards. But a good indicator that its capacity is high, we have it in the use of two EPS power inputs, one of 8 pins and the other of 4. This time no steel protection is used for the header, but solid pins are used to improve the performance.
In the first phase of power, we have a total of 8 DC-DC converters with a maximum capacity of 50A in each of them. This time three-state MOSFETS are not used, and we clearly see how the high and low sides are separated into different pickups, as well as the Schottky diode. It makes us think that it will not be such an advanced VRM.
The digital PWM controller or EPU responsible for managing the 8 phases is a specification uP9505S OGV945 manufactured by uPI SEMI, generally used on graphics card PCBs and seen on other boards with FM2 + socket. However, it is not as high as the DrMOS or DIGI + components of other boards. As we have seen on the back, it seems that signal duplicators are being used for these phases, at least for the main 6.
Socket, Chipset, And RAM Support
As usual, we will review the main characteristics that define the AMD B550 platform and the capacity of this board in terms of RAM and CPU.
The B550 chipset was pretty much in demand, having come out quite a few months after the high-end X570. We do not doubt that it is a marketing strategy, although at least its update has been quite important in terms of the capacity of these boards compared to the B450.
This version has a total of 8 PCIe 3.0 instead of 2.0 and allows us to use the 20 PCIe 4.0 lanes available in the AMD Ryzen 3000 Zen 2 processors without problem or limitation.
This is undoubtedly the main novelty that brings it closer to the X570 and high-end boards, allowing us to connect SSD and PCIe 4.0 card in an M.2 slot and the first PCIe slot.
Besides, it supports a maximum of 4 USB 3.2 Gen2 ports or the equivalents in USB 3.2 Gen1 or USB 2.0. Recall also that Ryzen 3000 CPUs natively support up to 4 USB 3.2 Gen2. However, on this board, we are not going to have the maximum capacity available for obvious reasons.
Along with this chipset, we have the PGA AM4 socket that AMD will continue to use for at least one more year for the next-generation processors. It will be especially important to know the compatibility of these boards, which consists of AMD Ryzen 3000 Zen 2 processors, upcoming AMD Ryzen 4000 Zen 3, and AMD Ryzen 4000 Zen 2 APU with Radeon integrated graphics.
This means that support for older generation Zen and Zen + processors, as well as APUs for those architectures, is voided. If you want to update your board, you should go to the X570, since these are only feasible together with new generation CPUs.
On this platform, the memory capacity increases considerably to 128 GB through 4 DIMM slots that support Dual Channel as it happens in all current desktop boards. But the most interesting thing is that the maximum reasonable frequency will be 4733 Mhz in the new generation APUs and up to 4533 MHz in the rest of the CPU. This is thanks to the improved support for XMP profiles.
Storage And PCIe Slots
We leave the platform features behind and focus more on the high-speed internal connectivity of this B550 motherboard, which will be practically the same as the ASRock PG B550 Velocita also reviewed by us.
Starting with the storage capacity, we can find two M.2 PCIe x4 slots in the lower half. Of these, the slot closest to the socket or M.2_1 will support PCIe 4.0, which is great news for those who do not want to give up a high-performance PCIe SSD on a cheap board. Along with them, you can not miss the 6 SATA III 6 Gbps ports for 2.5 SSD and HDD drives. Remember that only the M.2_1 slot has a heatsink, and it is not interchangeable with the other. Let’s see the other particular characteristics of each slot:
Slot M.2_1 is connected to the 4 PCIe lanes of the CPU without sharing a bus with any other device. This implies that if we use a Ryzen 3000 CPU (Zen 2 or Zen 3) it will work at 4.0, while with a Ryzen 4000 APU it will be limited to 3.0. This slot supports formats up to 22110, and only NVMe drives.
The M.2_3 slot is the one located under the chipset block and is connected to 4 PCIe 3.0 lanes of the B550. This means that it can only function as PCIe 3.0 regardless of the CPU used. This slot shares a bus with SATA ports 5 and 6, and if we use it with an SSD, both ports will be disabled or vice versa. Supports sizes up to 2280, as well as NVMe and SATA drives.
Being two M.2 slots will support RAID 0 and 1, while the SATA ports will support RAID 0, 1, and 10 configurable from BIOS or with AMD software. They also offer support for the ASRock U.2 Kit. Finally, in the final stretch of the year, support for AMD StoreMi 2.0 will be added, which will allow the acceleration of data by SSD cache on HDD units.
The expansion slot configuration is also not going to be different from the mentioned board, so we have 2 PCIe 3.0 in full x16 format and another two PCIe x1. As before, we are going to study how and where your data lanes are located:
The first PCIE1 slot, according to ASRock nomenclature, is connected to the remaining 16 lanes of the CPU. This means that it will be able to work in PCIe 4.0 mode with Ryzen 3000 Matisse. It does not share a bus with any other slot.
The second PCIE3 full-format slot is connected to 4 lanes of the B550 chipset, so it will only work with PCIe 3.0. It seems that it does not share lanes with any other slot.
The PCIE2 and PCIE4 slots in x1 format can only work with a PCIe 3.0 lane, being connected to the chipset. They also do not share a bus with anyone, and this is undoubtedly good news for those users who have enough expansion cards. Even on this inexpensive board, we have support for AMD CrossFireX 2-way Multi-GPUs, but not for Nvidia.
Network Connectivity And Sound Card
In this section, we do have some cuts compared to other higher priced boards, although for most users what the ASRock B550 Pro4 offers they will see that it is enough.
For network connectivity, we have only one RJ45 port occupied by a Realtek RTL8111H chip that offers bandwidth at 10/100/1000 Mbps. So it will be one of those that do not include a 2.5 G card for our network.
But it is excellent news to have an M.2 E-Key slot located between the PCIE1 and PCIE2 slots with the distinctive Wi-Fi. This supports cards in 2230 format with CNVi interface that can be Wi-Fi 5 or Wi-Fi 6, and there would be no problem in this. In the rear backplate, we have two openings to install a possible external antenna, which of course we would have to buy on our own too. In short, for 30 or 40 dollars we have Wi-Fi 6 if we wish.
Regarding the integrated sound card, it is a somewhat more basic configuration consisting of a Realtek ALC1200 codec. It implements Nahmic technology and of course Nahimic 3 software management and its audio effects.
This chip supports up to 8 channels of audio in 7.1, although this time the rear panel is limited to three 3.5mm Jack outputs with no optical port. Nothing is specified about dedicated DACs for professional headsets, although the experience for a standard user is going to be almost the same as with other superior codecs.
Rear Ports And Internal Connections
We still have to see all that this board offers in terms of internal and external USB connections, so let’s proceed.
The port configuration found on the rear panel consists of:
- 1x PS / 2 ports
- 1x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C
- 1x USB 3.2 Gen2 (light blue)
- 4x USB 3.2 Gen1 (blue)
- 1x RJ45 1 Gbps
- 3x 3.5mm Jack
- 1x HDMI 2.1
- 1x D-Sub (VGA)
- 2x 2T2R antenna holes (not included)
So we found a configuration with some nostalgia when seeing a PS / 2 port for a combo, keyboard, and mouse, as well as an analog video VGA as a mere filler today. This is accompanied by this time, yes, a useful HDMI 2.1 port that supports 4K @ 60 Hz video in case we are going to use this board with APU and its integrated Radeon Vega graphics.
The ports and headers that we find inside will be these:
- 6x 4-pin ventilation headers (5 for fans and 1 water pump)
- 2x 5VDG 3-pin Headers for Addressable LED Strips
- 2x 4-pin 12VBRG connectors for RGB LED strips
- 1x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A (supports 2 ports)
- 2x USB 2.0 (supports 4 ports)
- F_Panel connectors
- AAFP Front Audio Header
- Clear CMOS jumper
- COM port
In this aspect, what we see does not appeal to us either, with the ability to expand up to 6 USB ports and envelope headers for fans and even lighting strips. It is normal not to see a debug LED panel for BIOS messages or buttons to power on and restart the board. Instead, the board’s post-start panel is maintained to at least guide the user through successful and failed startups if we accompany it with a beeping speaker, then better.
Although ASRock also offered a beta BIOS with the P1.10A version at the time of testing, we can only issue a warning before using it because the entire system was not running stable. Version P1.10A (Beta) not only implemented the AGESA-Combo-AM4 V2 188.8.131.52, but it also took into account an SMU update (System Management Unit) to version 46.61, which at least in our case was not properly executable. When we flashed version P1.10 (stable), everything was fine.
ASRock adapted the color of the UEFI in turquoise and black. Also, the user can specify which tab should be displayed when calling up the UEFI interface. Under “OC Tweaker,” the user will find all overclocking functions.
Instead of separating the whole thing, all settings were placed on one page, but subpages were also provided. All selected settings can be saved on a total of ten available profile slots. The profiles can be saved on a USB stick and imported back into the UEFI.
You can find the “Easy RAID Installer” function. The SSD Secure Erase and NVMe sanitization tool are also provided. However, the BIOS can be updated as usual via instant flash.
With the hardware monitor’s help, we always get an overview of the current CPU and mainboard temperature, the voltages, and fan speeds and can also influence the latter. This is followed by the “Security” tab, where the UEFI can be protected with a password, for example, to prevent unauthorized access. The boot settings are also quartered separately. Last but not least, the two points “boat” and “exit” are still in place.
We have nothing to complain about at UEFI. Control through the menus with mouse or keyboard has been carried out very comfortably by ASRock. As it should be, all settings were implemented consistently, and we had nothing to complain about in this. The stability (with the stable BIOS version) was also excellent.
Thanks to the B550-PCH, the comparatively inexpensive ASRock B550 Pro4 allows CPU and RAM to be overclocked. Eight coils are available for the processor.
With the ASRock B550 Pro4, the BCLK can be changed from 100.0000 MHz to 150.0000 MHz in 0.0625 MHz intervals. When it comes to the CPU voltage, the user has two options. The modes override and offset available to him. With the override mode, the voltage from 0.90000 V to 1.70000 V can be fixed in 0.00625 V steps. In offset mode, the range is also comfortable with -100 mV to +250 mV in 6.25 mV intervals. If the OC mode is activated, sometimes higher voltages are possible.
The overclocking functions of the ASRock B550 Pro4 at a glance
|Base clock rate||100.0000 MHz to 150.0000 MHz in 0.0625 MHz steps|
|CPU voltage||0.90000 volts to 1.70000 volts in 0.00625 V steps (override mode)|
-100.00 mV to +250.00 mV in 6.25 mV steps (offset mode)
|DRAM voltage||1,100 volts to 1,800 volts in 0.010 V increments (fixed mode)|
|CPU SOC voltage||0.90000 volts to 1.70000 volts in 0.00625 V steps (override mode)|
-100.00 mV to +250.00 mV in 6.25 mV steps (offset mode)
|CPU VDD18 voltage||1.686 volts to 2.118 volts in 0.048 V increments (fixed mode)|
|CPU VDDP voltage||0.700 volts to 1.550 volts in 0.010 V increments (fixed mode)|
|PCH core voltage||- not possible -|
|PCIe clock||- not possible -|
|Clock rates||CPU dependent|
|XMP / DOCP||Is supported (DOCP)|
|Other special features||UEFI-BIOS|
settings can be saved in profiles.
options : Standard energy-saving modes such as AMD Cool & Quiet extended fan control for CPU fans and five optional FANs,
CPU-LLC level 1-5
We know from many past tests that our Ryzen 5 3600X can maintain a stable clock frequency of 4.3 GHz. Unfortunately, we did not succeed with the ASRock B550 Pro4, and we had to change gear to 4.2 GHz. We were able to fix the VCore to 1.231 V (BIOS value) with the highest LLC level (load-line calibration). What we noticed: Despite the highest LLC level, the VDroop was still very high, even if, according to the BIOS, the effective CPU voltage should be very close to the BIOS value. As a result, the voltage dropped to 1.21 V.
We were also excited to see how warm the VRM cooler would be. But even with a high VCore of over 1.35 V, the cooler always stayed below 50 ° C.
Technical specifications of ASRock B550 Pro4
Manufacturer and Model name
ASRock B550 Pro4
AM4 (for Matisse)
- 1x 24-pin ATX
- 1x 8-pin EPS12V
- 1x 4-pin + 12V
Phases / coils
10 (8x CPU, 2x RAM)
Southbridge / CPU features
AMD B550 chipset
Memory banks and type
4x DDR4 (dual-channel), max. 4,533 MHz
Max. 128 GB RAM UDIMM, ECC support
SLI / CrossFire
- 1x PCIe 4.0 x16 (electrical with x16) via CPU
- 1x PCIe 3.0 x16 (electrical with x4) via AMD B550
- 2x PCIe 3.0 x1 via AMD B550
- 6x SATA 6 Gbps via AMD B550
- 1x M.2 with PCIe 4.0 x4 via CPU (M-Key)
- 1x M.2 with PCIe 3.0 x2 via AMD B550 (M-Key, shared)
4x USB 3.2 Gen1 (5 GBit / s, Type-A, 4x external)
- 2x USB 3.2 Gen2 (10 GBit / s, Type-A / C, 2x external)
- 2x USB 3.2 Gen1 (5 GBit / s, Type-A, 2x internal)
- 4x USB 2.0 (4x internal), via B550
1x HDMI 2.1 (can only be used with APU!)
WLAN / Bluetooth
Optionally retrofittable (M.2 E-Key)
1x Realtek RTL8111H Gigabit LAN
Audio codec and connectors
- 8-channel Realtek ALC1200 codec
- 3x 3.5 mm audio jacks
FAN and headers
- 1x 4-pin CPU FAN header
- 1x 4-pin CPU WaKü header
- 4x 4-pin chassis FAN / water-pump header
LED lighting options
- I / O panel cover, chipset cooler
- 2x 4-pin RGB header
- 2x 3-pin ARGB header
ASRock B550 Pro4 Price And Conclusion
ASRock’s B550 Pro4, like all Pro4 models, is not aimed at enthusiasts, but at beginners, whose requirements for a motherboard are not too extensive. ASRock equips these models with apparent equipment features. They deliberately did not include special features and left them to the advanced and, at the same time, more expensive model variants. Nevertheless, the budget board has everything necessary, such as four DDR4 UDIMM memory banks, including the ECC option.
Of course, no new record values were reached with CPU overclocking, which we also didn’t expect. Instead of 4.3 GHz, it was a stable 4.2 GHz with reduced CPU voltage, which is perfectly acceptable. ASRock installed an effective 6 + 2-phase design fed by an 8-pin and 4-pin power connector. Except for four status LEDs for easy troubleshooting, there is, of course, no extensive onboard convenience either.
PCIe version 4.0 is provided on a PEG slot and an M.2 M key connection (including cooler) via the AM4 processor (Ryzen 3000 and higher). However, ASRock placed the M.2 connector somewhat unfavorably, so that there is no space for a more extensive cooler (as with Corsair MP600).
Also, however, there is generally a mechanical PCIe 3.0 x16 slot, two PCIe 3.0 x1 expansion interfaces, and an additional M.2 M key connector, which ASRock has limited to only PCIe 3.0 x2 and the connection with Shared SATA ports 5 and 6.
All USB equipment can be connected to six USB 3.2 sockets of the first generation, two USB 3.2 connections of the second generation, and four USB 2.0 ports. WLAN is not available ex-works, but can optionally be retrofitted by the user. Gigabit LAN via Realtek’s RTL8111H is then available for a wired network. Rudimentary onboard sound is provided with the Realtek ALC1200 codec and five audio capacitors. The good energy efficiency in idle and under load is also positive.
For users who do not want to invest huge sums, ASRocks B550 Pro4 is ideal, which is also available as a micro-ATX variant (ASRock B550M Pro4). However, it shows again that mainboards have become more expensive in 2020. If you can do without the ATX format, you can instead opt for the cheaper B550M Pro4.
Affordable Ryzen 5 2600X mainboard
Affordable Ryzen 5 1600X mainboard
Is The ASRock B550 Pro4 Good?
Ans: For simple computing without special requirements, ASRocks B550 Pro4 is a good, but not precisely cheap mainboard.
Why Is B550 So Expensive?
Ans: Generally, the B550 is more expensive because of the PCIe generations and the more lanes.
Which Is Better X570 Or B550?
Ans: It’s not easy to answer, as there are many things to look for in a chipset. It’s all about compatibility, future upgrading options, and price. In both X570 and B550, compatibility is not an issue, not even the future up-gradation but the price. Though AMD announced B550 to be more affordable in comparison to X570, in reality, it is not the case. Prices are almost the same on both boards. But what we’ve noticed is that the VRM in these new boards is more capable of squeezing performance through the overclocking than the X570 boards. So if you’re on a budget, you can go for B550 (not much difference in price though).