When you have a processor with incredible horsepower, the best thing you can do is pair it with a capable motherboard. We are talking Ryzen 5 2600x. This mid-end processor is popular for gaming and content creating. With six cores and 12 threads, the CPU can be overclocked beyond its 4.2GHz turbo frequency.
Ryzen 5 2600x is top-notch, but you don’t have to go for high-end motherboards on the X570 platform. You are looking at B350, B450, and X470 motherboards. These boards are unlocked. They are designed for real-world performance since they come with fast DDR4 memory, PCIe 3.0, NVMe technology, and 10GB/s USB 3.1 Gen2.
Features to look for in a Motherboard for Ryzen 5 2600x
As always, the first feature to look out for should be the AM4 socket. Any motherboard with this socket is compatible with Ryzen 5 2600x. If you are looking to overclock the 2600x, it’s important to consider at least B350 boards.
For those who want to get into intense gaming and considering multiple GPU setups in their build, an X470 motherboard is ideal. An X470 board will support dual GPUs on fast PCIe 3.0 x8 lanes.
Motherboards vary when it comes to storage. A good model has at least four SATA ports and two M.2 slots. Midrange boards allow you to use one M.2 slot for NVMe and SATA, but the second one usually disables a couple of PCIe slots. It’s important to note if you are going to have more than one graphics card on your rig.
Heatsinks and Fan Headers
An overclocked system is bound to heat up. That’s why you will want a motherboard to provide options for cooling. Heatsinks on the VRM and sockets are essential, and so are headers to increase cooling on your system. A good board offers at least four 4-pin combination fan headers for fans and water cooling.
What Makes a Good Motherboard for Ryzen 5 2600x?
Overclocking and Debugging Features
Moderate to intense overclocking goes better when you have debugging functions and on/off switches for overclocking. Using an OC button is the easiest way to overclock a computer.
HDMI and DisplayPort Outputs
Ryzen 2600x supports most I/O slots, including HMDI and DisplayPort. Having a board with these ports means you can access high-resolution monitors ideal for gaming and design.
Support for Fast Memory
With AMD’s second-generation Ryzen, there’s the freedom to push memory beyond stock speeds. Memory that can be overclocked to over DDR4-3200 is a nice feature available in a good board for the 2600x.
ASUS ROG Strix B450-F Gaming
3x PCIe 3.0 x16
3x PCIe 2.0 x1
GIGABYTE X470 AORUS Ultra Gaming
DDR4- 3600MHz OC
3x PCIe 3.0x16
2x PCIe 2.0 x1
GIGABYTE B450 AORUS PRO WIFI
DDR4- 3600MHz OC
3x PCIe 3.0 x16
1x PCIe 2.0 x1
MSI B450I Gaming Plus AC
1x PCIe 3.0 x16
Gigabyte B450M DS3H
1x PCIe 3.0 x16
1x PCIe 2.0 x4
1x PCIe 2.0 x1
MSI X470 Pro Carbon
3x PCIe 3.0 x16
2x PCIe 2.0 x1
Best Motherboards Picks for Ryzen 5 2600x
1. ASUS ROG Strix B450-F Gaming – Best for Gaming
If you are searching for a mid-range gaming board with premium features, ASUS ROG Strix B450-F Gaming is ideal. Packed with superior audio and support for AMD and NVIDIA multi-GPU setups, this board has it all without jumping over to high-end X470 motherboards.
Looks to Match
ASUS ROG Strix B450-F is one of the most aesthetically appealing boards on the market. It goes away from the norm on the ROG line of boards. This one has a matte black and grey PCB coupled with shiny stenciling on the chipsets and PCB.
Although it aims at gaming, RGB is on the light side with only one section of RGB on the rear plastic shroud. However, it offers you a chance to increase AURA RGB with the help of RGB headers. That said, you will like that the rear cover comes pre-mounted.
Looking at the power delivery, this model does not shy away from a robust setup. It comes with an 8-phase digital power design in a 6+2 configuration. An 8-pin 12V ATX input delivers power to the CPU while a 24-pin input powers the board.
Thanks to a chunky heatsink for the MOSFETs, this model remains cool without including an onboard fan. ASUS B450-F Gaming also includes six 4-pin headers to increase your cooling options. These headers are two for the CPU and three for the chassis. The remaining header is enough for water cooling pumps.
Storage and Connectivity
The most notable difference of the ASUS B450-F over the ASUS B350-F is the layout of the sockets and slots. First, all six SATA 6GBs are together. Second, the bottom M.2 slot sits below the chipset’s heatsink and the primary PCIe x16 slot is below the top M.2 slot.
There are six PCIe slots. Three of these operate at PCIe x16, while the rest are PCIe 2.0 x1 slots. Two PCIe x16 slots feed on the CPU and run at x16 and x8. The last x16 slot feeds from the B450 chipset and shares lanes with two PCIe x1 slots.
Looking at the rear, you have two USB 3.1 10GBs. One is a type-C. You will also find four USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A ports, two USB 2.0, and a PS/2 combo port. There are five 3.5mm audio jacks powered by the SupremeFX S1220A audio codec.
The board boasts SNR of 120dB and Nichicon capacitors. Its audio comes with significant improvements, more so for headphones audio. You also get one Gigabit LAN port, and HDMI, and DisplayPort. ASUS ROG Strix B450-F Gaming is all about giving you the best, and we believe the board has delivered on this promise.
- Supports AMD 3-way Crossfire configuration
- Sufficient BIOS menu
- Two SafeSlots for multiple GPUs
- Segmented audio section
- Two 10GBs USB 3.1
- Could do with more RGB
2. GIGABYTE X470 AORUS Ultra Gaming – Best Cheap X470 Motherboard
GIGABYTE X470 AORUS Ultra Gaming is a cheap motherboard for an X470 chipset. It follows Gigabyte AORUS design, but some features are left out. It does not go all-in with Gigabyte RGB. You can expect subtle illumination and plenty of RGB headers.
A dark-styled PCB comes with shielding and carries the board’s LED lighting. The power circuitry on the AORUS Ultra Gaming is not as elaborate as on other X470 models. It features a 4+2 phase VRM design, but it does not have high-end connectors and heatsinks.
The primary M.2 slot comes with a heatsink. It also provides eight cooling headers. One is a CPU header, while four are for system fan headers. You’ll also find temperature probes that help deliver information to its fan control software. Both EFI and Windows cooling control is excellent as they offer lots of tweaking options.
When it comes to memory, it supports dual-channel RAM with a max capacity of 64GB. This motherboard supports overclocking. However, it does not have tools for overclocking like a Clear CMOS button.
Storage and Connectivity
GIGABYTE X470 AORUS Ultra Gaming supports two-way Crossfire and SLI. It offers two M.2 slots and six SATA slots. The first M.2 runs at full-speed PCIe 3.0 x4. It sits underneath the graphics card slot and supports both M.2 SSD and NVMe drives.
The bottom M.2 slot runs at PCIe 2.0, although it has four lanes. You get two PCIe 3.0 x16 running at x16 or x8 when used with two graphics cards. Another PCIe 3.0 slot runs at x4 speeds. For Wi-Fi cards and the like, it has two PCIe 2.0 x1 slots.
If you plan on using this board for a while, you will be pleased to find that it has a Type-C USB header for Gen2 USB 3.1. It is a convenient way to connect devices like your mobile phone. For data transfer, the rear offers a host of USB ports, including two USB 3.1 Gen2 for up to 10GBs transfer speeds.
The board includes four USB 3.1 Gen ports on the back. Through the headers, you can access four USB 3.1 and four USB 2.0/1.1. The back panel comes with four 2.0/1.1 on the ready. Not forgetting HDMI, Intel LAN, and five audio ports running on Realtek ALC1220 audio codec.
- Durable resistors
- SLI and Crossfire compatible
- Surge-protected LAN
- High-quality Vcore & SOC heatsinks
- Superior audio enhanced by Gigabyte
- Only one M.2 slot has a heatsink
- Lacks any physical buttons for overclocking
3. Gigabyte B450 AORUS PRO WIFI – Best Budget B450 Motherboard
Gigabyte AORUS line is known for premium features. But most people looking to spare some buck for high-end graphics find the price tag of these boards steep. That’s where the GIGABYTE B450 AORUS PRO WIFI comes in.
This motherboard looks good and packs a punch on its features and accessories.
Striking Premium Look
The first noticeable feature is the black and grey PCB accented by silver and orange. Second, is the integrated RGB in three zones. There’s lighting on the audio PCB, rear shroud, and on the B450 chipset. It provides a 3-pin addressable RGB header on the top-right corner to add RGB strips.
The VRM is a 4+2 configuration design. Although Gigabyte has been stating it’s an 8+3 VRM, only the inductors have doubled. However, we find that it’s a massive improvement since it can increase the current capability to deliver more power for overclocking. It even comes with a super-responsive BIOS to tweak your options. But it does not have onboard BIOS buttons.
We do like that it offers full fan control, including what you would add using five fan headers.
Gigabyte B450 AORUS PRO WIFI does not support SLI configurations. There are two M.2 slots with thermal heatsinks. Four SATA ports complement these slots.
Both M.2 slots can handle PCI-E SSDs. M.2A will support PCIe 3.0 x4. M.2B supports PCIe 3.0 x2 up to 80mm. When you use a PCI-E SSD in M.2A, you will disable two CPU SATA ports. Also, chipset SATA ports 2 &3 are not available when you use PCIe SSD in M.2B.
There are three PCIe 3.0 x16 running at x16, x4, x1. You get one PCIe x1 slot and an M.2 socket one for Wi-Fi.
The rear plastic shroud is integrated. Although we like how it completes Gigabyte’s appealing aesthetics, we feel that it inhibits airflow to the VRM’s heatsinks.
Apart from front panel headers for USB 3.1 and USB 2.0, the board includes two USB 3.1 Gen2 ports. These are one of Type-A and Type-C. On the back, you also get four USB 3.0, a Gigabit LAN port by Intel i211AT, and a WIFI module.
The board is complete with DVI, HDMI, and 7.1 channel audio ports with S/PDIF output. Lastly, it features two 128Gbit/16MB BIOS ROMs to provide secondary protection in case of bad BIOS flashes.
At the price point, there’s nothing more we would love on this board.
- Enhanced audio quality
- Hybrid PWM/DC fan headers
- Easy fan control
- Bright, integrated RGB
- Supports XMP modules
- Flawless Wi-Fi
- M.2A limits to PCIe x4 SSD or M.2 SATA SSD
4. MSI B450I Gaming Plus AC – Best B450 Mini-ITX Motherboard
MSI B450I Gaming Plus AC is part of the MSI performance gaming line. As such, it shares high-end features with these boards though in a small form factor.
Great for Small Builds
This motherboard does not include any RGB. But you can add RGB strips using two 4-pin headers. The black PCB has a few red accents on the chipset and CPU socket heatsink. Otherwise, the looks could be considered entry-level. However, it comes with 8-phase power delivery in 6+2 phases.
A large heatsink cools the power delivery components. It also includes a 4-pin CPU fan and a header to add a CPU fan if more cooling is needed. It’s also here where you will find EZ debug LEDs that come in handy to help troubleshoot the system if it does not boot up.
On the edge of this board, there are headers for two USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0. It also where you find two slots for DDR4 memory with a 32GB capacity.
When overclocking with the 2600x, you can reach peaks of 3466MHz. To overclock the board, MSI has its software Command Center where you can tweak the features. You also get to tune the features on MSI’s app manager that is super-easy to download.
Storage and Connectivity
There’s not much in terms of storage. Except for four SATA slots, there is only one M.2 slot tucked at the back of the PCB. This slot can support M.2 2280 SATA and PCIe 3.0 x4 drives. There’s a single graphics card slot with metal shielding. You can at least use a large graphics card without damaging them if you have a clumsy installation.
As we said, MSI B450I includes AC Wi-Fi powered by Intel dual-band Wireless AC 3168 WIFI module. It supports up to 433mbps speeds, great for most networking needs. It also comes with one Gigabit Ethernet jack.
The board features Realtek 887 audio and supports 7.1 channel HD. But it lacks an S/PDIF out port. We do like that it carries high-end capacitors along with PCB isolation traces to enhance sound quality.
There are four USB 3.1 Gen1 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, and a PS/2 combo port on the back panel. It does not leave out an HDMI and DisplayPort, which are crucial for APUs.
- Full-speed M.2 slot
- Reinforced graphics card slot
- Includes AC Wi-Fi
- Unlocked for overclocking
- Does not have RGB
5. Gigabyte B450M DS3H – Best Micro-ATX
For those who need a small build but don’t want to miss any of the core gaming features, Gigabyte B450M DS3H is our best recommendation. This model targets entry-level gamers as it comes with budget-friendly features.
Memory and Storage
Gigabyte B450M DS3H is optimized for Ryzen 2000 series. As such, it supports AMD XFR2 overclocking. The board features four DDR4 RAM slots with a capacity of 64GB. It guarantees you a clock frequency of 2667MHz and 3200MHz frequency when overclocking.
You get one full-length graphics card slot that runs at PCIe 3.0 x16. There’s a second PCIe slot that runs at PCIe 2.0 x4 speeds. In the middle of these two slots, you will find one PCIe 2.0 x1 slot, ideal for sound cards.
For M.2, there’s a single slot of PCIe 3.0 x4 standard. It supports both NVMe and SATA drives. Unfortunately, Gigabyte cut corners by including straight-angled instead of 90-degree angle SATA ports. It comes with four SATA ports.
Capable Power Delivery
At the price point, Gigabyte is keen to include an ample 4+3 VRM. It comes with one heatsink on the CPU section. The SoC does not have a heatsink. You don’t want to overclock a Ryzen 2000 series APU on this board because there’s bound to be heat issues.
Basic Port Selection
As we said, you should expect entry-level features on this board. The majority of ports are on the rear except for USB 2.0 and 3.0 headers, and an RGB strip header. You get four USB 3.1 5Gbps ports and four USB 2.0 Type-A ports. It has a PS/2 combo port, and you also get a BIOS Flashback button.
Audio on this board is by Realtek 887 audio codec. It comes with three 3.5mm audio jacks. The DS3H is not missing a Gigabit LAN port powered by Realtek GbE LAN controller.
Lastly, there’s a pair of video ports, that is, HDMI 2.0 and DVI-D. Gigabyte DS3H grand Micro-ATX board that covers more than just the basics.
- Supports AMD Crossfire
- Easy to setup
- Supports RGB Fusion
- Includes a noise guard
- Two full-length PCIe slots
- Only one case fan header
- Chipset cooling could be better
6. MSI X470 Pro Carbon – Best for Overclocking
MSI X470 Pro Carbon is an aesthetically appealing mainstream motherboard. It gets you in the gaming scene at a stunning price point. Not to mention, it supports high frequencies; hence enthusiast overclockers will like it.
Stylish and Updated
MSI is never afraid to go all out in terms of appearance. One, you will spot a black PCB with silver accents. It also features a carbon-fiber pattern on the south-bridge heatsink and rear I/O cover. What’s more, there’s beautiful RGB LED on the top-right edge, on the back shroud, and primary heatsinks.
If RGB is not enough, it also includes three RGB LED headers to add more lighting strips. Since it is for overclocking, the board offers an 8+4 power design. It features two 8-pin power inputs to deliver stable power to the CPU.
Memory and Storage
MSI X470 Pro Carbon can handle overclocking at high frequencies. It features four DDR4 slots with support for up to 64GB RAM at 3466MHz. There are two full-length PCIe slots with the primary graphics card slot being steel-reinforced.
We like that the top PCI Express slot has x16 connection. The second slot has x8 connection and shares lanes with the x16 CPU lanes. It means if you populate both slots with graphics cards, they will have x8 connection.
The board includes a third PCIe x16 slot operating at x4 speeds and two PCIe 2.0 x1 for expansion cards.
There are two M.2 slots. The first has a heatsink and operates at full speed. The second M.2 is limited to PCI Express 2.0 x4. It shares lanes with PCI_E5 and SATA 3 port.
Back Panel and Audio
MSI X470 Pro Carbon has beefy audio thanks to Realtek ALC 1220 DAC. The DAC is enclosed to protect it from electromagnetic interference. You get five, gold-plated 3.5mm jacks that support 7.1 channel audio, and S/PDIF port
For networking, this board uses Intel I211AT Gigabit Controller. It has one Ethernet port and two video ports (HDMI & DisplayPort).
When it comes to data transfer, MSI X470 Pro Carbon comes with two 10Gbps USB ports. One is a Type-C and the other Type-A. It has five USB 3.1 ports Gen1, a PS/2 combo port, and two USB 2.0 ports. Finally, there’s a recessed Clear CMOS button, which is quite thoughtful.
- Improved LED lighting system
- Two 8-pin CPU inputs
- High-end audio components
- Integrated rear I/O shroud
- Gaming-friendly Ethernet
- A bit expensive for a mid-range motherboard
1. How do you know if your motherboard is SLI/Crossfire compatible?
Most motherboards supporting SLI and Crossfire have the SLI and, or Crossfire words as a part of the motherboard’s name. If not, the motherboard usually comes with two or more full-length PCIe 2.0 or 3.0 x8 slots.
Note that you cannot SLI different graphics cards like RTX 2080i and RTX 2070 Super. They have to be the same, say two GTX 1080 cards.
2. How do you check for PCI-E M.2 SSDs compatibility with your motherboard?
First, the motherboard has to have an M.2 slot to support M.2 drives. Next, you need to check the interface of the M.2 on the product’s specification page. PCIe M.2 drives operate on PCIe 3.0 x4 interface. They will also work on older generation PCIe 2.0 x4 and x2 slots. But their speed will be inhibited.
3. How much RAM do you need?
Modern motherboards can support lots of memory, giving you the illusion that more is better. The amount of RAM depends on the kind of PC you are building. If you are building a personal computer, 4GB is all you need.
For high-end workstations and gaming PCs, we recommend going for 16GB of RAM. It is considered the sweet spot for serious content creation and gaming. You should only pay for memory speeds that your system supports.
The world of motherboards can be challenging to navigate. With the above motherboards, we hope you can do more than wet your feet when building your next rig. For those who want a model designed for gaming, ASUS ROG Strix B450-F Gaming is our number one choice.
You’ll also find the MSI X470 Pro Carbon quite capable for gaming and overclocking. And if your budget is tight, GIGABYTE X470 AORUS Ultra Gaming is the best fit in this case.