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When building a new PC or even revamping an older one, picking the correct motherboard to match your processor is the first thing you should do. You’re going to want to decide if you want to pair your CPU with the best features possible, or save your money and choose a budget-friendly motherboard in an effort to spread your money evenly across the whole build. We’re going to be giving you the necessary information in an effort to help you choose the right motherboard, detailing our picks for the best motherboard for AMD Ryzen 9, Ryzen 7, and Ryzen 5 processors, alongside some knowledge for what differentiates motherboard variants.
Do motherboards work with any CPU?
The short answer to this is no. There are a variety of different CPU generations, different brands, and chipsets that all affect what motherboard will be compatible. If you read on, we’ll talk about each of these and the terminology you need to look out for.
When it comes to CPU generations, more specifically for AMD’s Ryzen range, you need to look out for which variant you have, and what motherboard you want to use with it. Usually, you want to acquire motherboards that cover two generations of AMD processors, for example, the MSI MPG X570 Gaming PRO Carbon WiFi Motherboard will work with third and second-generation processors. This gives you a couple of options, go for the pricer, latest generation CPU or have the option for the more budget pick. Additionally, going for one of these motherboards opens up the option for upgrades later down the line. You can go for a second-generation CPU such as the 2700x and potentially upgrade to the 3900x in the future.
You only really hear of AMD and Intel when talking about CPUs for PCs and for good reason, they’re the only big hitters out there. There are other chip manufacturers such as Qualcomm and Mediatek but these are the bigger names in mobile manufacturing and tend to stay away from the PC scene. So, which is best? AMD or Intel? Well, it’s all down to preference and to an extent, budget. Intel was the main staple for a number of years providing the highest quality chips out there but AMD burst onto the scene with top-notch quality CPUs at very affordable prices, enticing the PC builders out there to switch.
Similar to the generation problem, when motherboards are manufactured, they are for specific chips thus making the sockets tied to certain characteristics. The main socket types are Pin Grid Array (PGA) and Land Grid Array (LGA). These socket types apply compression through either a lever or a full plate to marry connections and keep it from dislodging. These two socket types are so popular with manufacturers as you avoid the risk of bending the pins when inserting the chip into the socket, and you can easily replace your current CPU with a different processor when required. On the other hand, devices that use the lesser-known Ball Grid Array (BGA) socket require soldering, meaning you’re stuck with that component for the lifetime of your machine.
Best AMD Motherboard for Ryzen 9 (compatible with Ryzen 9 3900x, Ryzen 9 3950x)
Best AMD Motherboard for Ryzen 7 (compatible with Ryzen 7 2700x, Ryzen 7 3700x)
Best AMD Motherboard for Ryzen 5 (compatible with Ryzen 5 2600, Ryzen 5 3600)
Having the knowledge of what motherboards will be compatible with your CPU is an absolute necessity when building a PC, or even inserting upgrades. You don’t want to waste hours of your time, spend unnecessary money, and potentially damage components, especially with the price of CPUs like the Ryzen 9 3900x and 3950x. Looking at the three motherboards for their respective AMD CPU variants, they’re all at the top of their game when considering the price points. The MSI MPG X570 Gaming PRO Carbon WiFi Motherboard offers up the best of the best in terms of features for the Ryzen 9 processors and the MSI B450M-A PRO MAX Motherboard provides the best value to feature ratio for the Ryzen 5 processors. However, if you want to explore other options for Ryzen 9, Ryzen 7 and Ryzen 5 CPUs you can, with our other best picks broken down for various uses.