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Choosing the Best Motherboard for AMD's Ryzen 5 3600X

Find out what factors you should consider when choosing a motherboard for AMD's Zen 2-based 3rd Gen Ryzen 5 3600X.

Motherboard Timur Garifov / Unsplash

Last Updated: July 6, 2022

Written by Kevin Jones

This article will discuss choosing a motherboard for AMD's Ryzen 5 3600X processor. Check out my Recommended Motherboards below, along with compatible CPU coolers and memory. OEM-only chipsets that are not available on retail motherboards are outside the scope of this article.

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Motherboard Requirements for Ryzen 5 3600X Processors

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For AMD's Zen 2-based Ryzen 5 3600X processor, you'll need a motherboard with an AM4 socket and a compatible chipset.

Motherboards for AMD processors are made with chipsets provided by AMD. Each chipset offers a unique set of capabilities. However, motherboards must explicitly support features and capabilities for you to use them. Verify that a motherboard supports the features and capabilities you desire.

Ryzen 3000-series CPUs without Radeon Graphics, which includes the Ryzen 5 3600X, are compatible with all 400 and 500-series consumer chipsets. Supported chipsets include the X570, B550, A520, X470, and B450.

The older X370 and B350 300-series chipsets are generally not compatible, out of the box, with Ryzen 3000-series CPUs without Radeon Graphics. However, the 300-series chipsets may be supported by some motherboard manufacturers, when using a specific compatible BIOS. This CPU is not compatible with the A320 300-series chipset.

The X570 is our recommended chipset for the Ryzen 5 3600X CPU, as it provides the most functionality and full support for PCIe 4.0. The Ryzen 5 3600X CPU also supports PCIe 4.0.

Only the X570 chipset provides PCIe 4.0 lanes via the chipset.

When using motherboards with the B550 chipset, you still have PCIe 4.0 lanes from the CPU for PCI-Express slots; however, all PCIe or M.2 slots connected via these chipsets will run at PCIe 3.0 speeds.

For a detailed comparison of these chipsets and PCIe speeds, check out my article Which Chipsets Work With AMD's Ryzen 5 3600X CPU?.

Check out my Recommended Motherboards for the 3600X below.

ASUS AM4 TUF Gaming X570-Plus (Wi-Fi) ASUS AM4 TUF Gaming X570-Plus (Wi-Fi) Check Price on Amazon Amazon Affiliate Link

Other Considerations When Choosing a 3600X Motherboard

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In addition to selecting a motherboard with a socket type and chipset compatible with the 3600X, here are a few other things to consider when picking a motherboard. Some of these considerations will help determine the best chipset to use.

Video Output Port

The lack of a "G" in the 3600X model name indicates that the CPU does not have integrated graphics support and requires a separate graphics card. Because it doesn't have integrated graphics support, you won't need a motherboard with a video output port (e.g., HDMI).

Storage: M.2 Slots and SATA Ports

NVMe M.2 cards are the latest and fastest form of SSD storage. However, you need to ensure that your motherboard includes enough slots.

The X570 and B550 chipsets support the most PCIe lanes, which means that motherboards with these chipsets are likely to have the most x4 NVMe M.2 slots available. Keep in mind that the X570 is the only one of the two that supports PCIe 4.0 via the chipset.

Learn more about storage types in my article Storage Type Comparison: M.2, U.2, NVMe, SATA, SSDs, HDDs.

Connectivity

USB

Make sure that the motherboard provides enough USB ports at your desired speeds. The X570 can support the most USB ports at USB 3.2 2x1 (10 Gbps) speeds. Motherboards with the X570 chipset can support up to 12 of these ports. The B550, in comparison, only supports up to 6 at these speeds. The devices that are likely to need the high bandwidth rates will typically be limited to storage devices and high-resolution video devices.

Audio

Make sure that the motherboard has your desired audio outputs.

For example, if you have a surround sound system, ensure that it comes with rear and center speaker ports.

If your audio equipment requires an optical input, consider getting a motherboard with this port.

Alternatively, you can purchase a separate PCIe or USB sound card to add additional port types such as optical or RCA.

Form Factor

Motherboards typically come in one of three form factors. ATX is the most common motherboard form factor for a desktop PC.

You might also consider Mini-ITX or MicroATX form factors to build a mini-PC. Keep in mind that these smaller form factors typically have fewer PCIe card slots, fewer RAM slots, and can not support as many storage devices.

These smaller Mini-ITX and MicroATX motherboard form factors are backward compatible with standard ATX cases. They use a subset of the ATX mounting holes. You can also use Mini-ITX motherboards in MicroATX cases.

You will need a computer case compatible with your motherboard form factor.

PCIe Expansion Slots

The X570 and B550 chipsets provide the most flexibility in the 500-series, allowing multiple graphics cards in the dual x8 configuration at PCIe 4.0 speeds.

The A520 chipset, on the other hand, is very limited, allowing for only a single graphics card via the slower PCIe 3.0 x16 slot.

PCI-Express 3.0 and 4.0 Speeds (Rounded)
PCIe 3.0PCIe 4.0
x1 Bandwidth 1 GB/s 2 GB/s
x2 Bandwidth 2 GB/s 4 GB/s
x4 Bandwidth 4 GB/s 8 GB/s
x8 Bandwidth 8 GB/s 16 GB/s
x16 Bandwidth 16 GB/s 32 GB/s
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Best Value Motherboard: ASUS TUF Gaming X570-Plus (Wi-Fi)

Best Feature Motherboard: MSI MAG X570 TOMAHAWK WIFI

  • Our recommended feature-rich motherboard to pair with the Ryzen 5 3600X is MSI's MAG X570 TOMAHAWK WIFI Motherboard: MSI MAG X570 TOMAHAWK WIFI MSI MAG X570 TOMAHAWK WIFI Check Price on Amazon Amazon Affiliate Link
    • PCIe 4.0 support
    • One 2.5 Gb Ethernet port is faster than most Internet speeds, with room to spare for file transfers.
    • Two NVMe M.2 slots both run at PCIe 4.0 speeds.
    • Wi-Fi 6 provides great Wi-Fi speeds (not Wi-Fi 6E, but still really good).
    • USB 3.2 Gen 2 offers 10 Gbps USB speeds.
    • Check the latest price of the MSI MAG X570 TOMAHAWK WIFI Motherboard on Amazon (affiliate link).

Learn More About the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X

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Other Considerations When Building a PC

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Want to brush up on other new technologies to consider when building a computer? Check out these articles: