Planning to build a new PC with one of AMD’s new Ryzen 3000 XT series CPUs, but also want to make sure that you’ll have room to upgrade down the line when AMD releases their 4th generation Ryzen processors? Well then, a B550 or X570 motherboard is the safest bet you can make, since both are confirmed to be compatible with the next generation of Ryzen processors.
When it comes to AM4 compatible motherboards, one of the best known and reliable manufacturers is ASRock, a Taiwanese company founded in 2002 and owned by the Taiwanese electronics company known as Pegatron.
ASRock’s Taichi series is their upper mid-end motherboards, trailing only to their pricier flagship Phantom Gaming X and Aqua models. For just under $300 dollars, these Taichi motherboards offer solid VRM solutions, plenty of storage space with PCIe lanes that are Gen4 compatible, standard high-end audio chipsets, and a wide range of networking and connectivity. When it comes to the X570 and B550 iterations of ASRock’s Taichi motherboards, there are several key differences in each of the aforementioned aspects that will need to be considered to assure you are making the proper purchase for your needs – especially considering the fact that both these motherboards range at almost identical prices.
Firstly, the VRM and accompanying thermal solution of a motherboard are important for overclocking enthusiasts, as the VRM regulates the power supplied to the CPU, and the thermal solution deals with dissipating the resulting heat in order to assure the CPU is not hampered by the increased temperatures. That being said, for those who care little about overclocking their CPU regularly, the VRM solution between two equally priced motherboards will hardly be noticeable.
Secondly, in regards to storage, we have the motherboard supported RAM and ROM types. In regards to RAM, what is most important is the number of RAM slots – how much memory the motherboard can hold – as well as the supported RAM speeds. A workstation build will require far more RAM storage than a gaming build, for example, and its RAM unit speeds will also generally be higher. For gaming applications, 16-32 GB of 3000-3200 MHz CL14-15 memory will suffice for most builds, whereas for content creation or workstation rigs the higher the memory storage and speeds, and the lower the CAS latency, the better. When it comes to SSD storage, once again, for workstations and content creation the more the motherboard can support the better. There are two form factors of storage supported: SATA III SSD/HDD, and M.2 (2280 or 22110) SATA or NVMe storage. M.2 sockets can either be covered with a heatsink that absorbs some of the heat emanating from the SSD, or uncovered. Placing an SSD on an uncovered M.2 slot means higher temperatures that can make the storage drive stutter, so a separate heatsink may be required, especially for high speed PCIe 4.0 compatible NVMe drives.
The audio chipset included with most motherboards is usually standard, but there are certain specifications that you should make sure are included with your purchase. One such aspect is high impedance detection and support from the audio chipset. If these features are supported, then you won’t have to worry about purchasing an amplifier for your headset of 80 Ohms and above.
Finally, we have network and connectivity. Depending on your use you may need more USB 3.2 ports, Thunderbolt compatibility, more cooling headers, or even faster LAN speeds. Also, Wi-Fi should be included so that you don’t have to purchase a separate adapter. With all the above factors in mind, let’s take a look at what differentiates the ASRock x570 Taichi has with its B550 Taichi counterpart.
X570 Taichi vs B550 Taichi: Specifications
When comparing the VRM of the X570 Taichi to that of the B550 Taichi, we see a slight advantage for the B550. This motherboard includes an 8 true-phase, 16 virtual-phase VRM with Vishay SiC654 50-amp MOSFETs. The X570 has 7 true and 14 virtual phases, with Vishay SiC634 50-amp power stages. Both motherboards have an integrated VRPower DrMOS power stage, 60A chokes, and Nichicon capacitors. The phases lacking on the X570 pertain to the SoC, where the B550 has double the phases (2+2 vs 1+1). The B550 includes a Renesas RAA229004 8-phase PWM controller, as opposed to the ISL69147 7-phase PWM controller of the X570, and the phase doubler for both motherboards is an Intersil ISL6617A.
What’s great about both Taichi motherboards is the thermal solution accompanying the VRMs. Both motherboards include large, aluminum alloy heatsinks that cover all the VRM components and are connected to each other via a heatpipe. This ensures that the heat will be dissipated adequately, allowing the CPU to reach high clock speeds without overheating. Though the heatsinks are almost identical between the two motherboards, it must be noted that the X570 also includes a PCH fan that supplies 4.92 CFM of airflow, and is rated to last 50,000 hours due to its EBR bearings.
Overall, the B550 version is ever so slightly superior in regards to VRM, though this superiority will hardly be noticeable for the vast majority of applications.
Memory & Storage
Despite both the B550 and X570 Taichi motherboards having the capacity to hold the same 128 GB RAM storage, the advantage for DDR4 RAM speeds will once again accompany the B550 Taichi, as it can support speeds of up to 5,000 MHz (OC) for AMD Ryzen Matisse CPUs, and up to 5,200 MHz (OC) for 4th generation Ryzen series APUs. The X570 can support up to 4,666 MHz (OC) for Ryzen Matisse CPUs, 3,600 MHz (OC) for Ryzen Pinnacle Ridge CPUs, and 3,466 MHz (OC) for Ryzen Picasso series CPUs. Both motherboards support XMP modules, and have 15μ gold contacts in the DIMM slots. The memory VRM solution for both motherboards is also identical.
The PCIe x16 expansion slots in the X570 are all PCIe 4.0 compatible, whereas the B550 has two PCIe 4.0 and one PCIe 3.0 compatible slots. It must be noted that for the B550 the fifth PCIe slot will be downgraded from x4 to x2 if the second or fourth PCIe slots are used.
One of the biggest advantages of the X570 Taichi is the fact that it has 2-way SLI compatibility, whereas the B550 does not. This means you can use Nvidia’s NVLink or Quad SLI with the X570, as well as AMD’s 3-way CrossFireX. With the B550 Taichi you only get the latter.
In terms of ROM, both motherboards support up to eight SATA III drives, though the X570 variant includes three M.2 sockets, whereas the B550 only includes two. Fortunately, all of the M.2 slots of both motherboards have a heatsink cover, so you don’t have to worry about purchasing an extra SSD heatsink. All three M.2 sockets of the X570 are PCIe 4.0 compatible, and two of the sockets (1 & 3) support SATA III (6 Gb/s). For the B550, one M.2 socket is PCIe 4.0 compatible, while the other is PCIe 3.0 compatible and can support SATA III. It must be noted that if the third M.2 slot of the X570 Taichi is used, it will disable the fifth PCIe slot. In terms of storage and multi-GPU compatibility, the X570 Taichi is far superior to its B550 counterpart.
As is standard for motherboards of this price range, both Taichi models include a 7.1 channel HD Realtek ALC1220 audio codec, which includes gold audio jacks (with 15μ gold audio connectors), individual PCB layers for right and left audio channels, impedance sensing (on the rear out port), support for five 3.5 audio jacks, and an NE5532 headset amplifier for the front panel audio connector which supports headsets of up to 600 Ohms of impedance.
Networking & Connectivity
Thankfully both of these Taichi motherboards include 802.11ax Wi-Fi compatibility, using an Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200 wireless module for up to 2.4 GB/s max speeds. Two antennas are also included for both models. The LAN controller of the B550 is superior to that of the X570, as it has an Intel I225-V controller capable of 2.5 GB/s speeds, whereas the X570 has an Intel I211-AT controller capable of up to 1 GB/s.
When it comes to connectivity, the B550 Taichi has an extra DP connector for APUs, in addition to the HDMI port that both motherboards include. The B550 has two USB 2.0 ports – in addition to the two USB 3.2 Gen2 (Type-A and Type-C) and four USB 3.2 Gen1 ports – whereas the X570 converts those two USB 2.0 ports into two USB 3.2 Gen1 ports, for a total of six USB 3.2 Gen1 ports and two USB 3.2 Gen2 ports. The B550 does have an addition USB 3.0 header (2 total), and an additional 4-pin fan pump (7 total) when compared to the X570 (1 USB 3.0 header, 6 4-pin fan pumps).
To summarize, we can see that the X570 Taichi, when compared to the B550 Taichi, lacks in terms of VRM, maximum possible RAM and LAN speeds, and slightly so in connectivity, though but makes up for it with superior PCIe lanes, an additional M.2 socket, a PCH fan, and SLI compatibility. The audio, BIOS, and software of the two motherboards are all identical, so, in the end, which choice is best for you will ultimately depend on your preferences: What you absolutely need, and what you don’t mind missing out on.
As for what appears to be the best value, the scales seem to tip in favor of the X570. The VRM superiority of the B550 will hardly be noticeable for most applications, the lesser LAN speeds will affect only a small percentage of users, and the missing connectivity is very minor. On the other hand, having all-PCIe 4.0 lanes, an additional M.2 socket, as well as the ability to plug in multiple Nvidia GPUs make the X570 Taichi superior for futureproofing your setup, as these are all important additions that can prove to be useful down the line – if not immediately with the purchase.
The ASRock X570 Taichi and the ASRock B550 Taichi are both currently priced at $299, so their prices are equal at the moment. All in all, it is difficult to recommend the B550 Taichi over the X570 Taichi, but depending on your needs, you may find either motherboard more valuable for what they have to offer. The only thing that’s for sure, is that both these motherboards make a great deal for housing an AMD Ryzen AM4 CPU.