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I've been relentlessly researching, reading, watching videos, talking in Discord, etc, and I cannot settle on a motherboard for my brand new build. To start, here is my Treat Yo Self 2020 build - I have already bought everything but the motherboard, CPU and GPU (got sales on some parts, like the 1TB Adata nvme drives for $107 each on prime day).

Needs:

 

  • PCI 4 on GPU and (at least) 1 drive
  • Use both M.2 nvme slots without compromising GPU or drive speeds (disabling a few SATA, PCIEx1, etc, is fine)
  • Solid to great VRM (not doing crazy overclocking, but I like to maintain the ability to try down the road, and I'm intrigued to see how high I can get my Crucial Ballistix Kit)
  • At least 5 USB (more is better)
  • 2.5 Gigabit ethernet
  • RGB headers for the Phanteks LED strips I selected
  • Bluetooth (I'm 100% fine with getting a PCIx1 card or USB dongle for this. My current bluetooth is spotty, so it MUST be solid, thus cost is not an option to go external)


Nice to Haves:
 

  • Onboard USB-C for the p500a case's front USB-C connection
  • 6 layer PCB (generally better, I'm aware of exceptions)
  • More USB (I estimate I'll use 5-7, more is definitely better. Not against getting a HUB at all, but avoiding it is nice)
  • Average or better audio (I may get an AMP/DAC down the line, but I'd like an at least average audio experience out of the box. I'm using a 6 year old laptop I consider fine, so I assume anything will do)
  • A "nice" bios. Easy enough to use, doesn't suck, that's about it.

 

I'm very willing to go "beyond" B550 if the price is right, if it's more balanced with my build ($2k) and offers any real-world additional benefits. Realistically, I just want to pick a motherboard that hits my needs, fits the build, and doesn't leave me with buyer's remorse. Given that I'm getting a 5900x and this is basically the end of the line until we need a new set of motherboards, I anticipate this build will probably live on this board forever. That's a double edged sword of "future proof" it to make it last, but also "don't bother going all out, you can't put a new CPU in it down the line" - it's a balancing act. I'd like to clarify, after spending as much as I have on this build, I do not care at all about saving $20-$100, it's a drop in the bucket compared to the build - I just want the right motherboard to make me happy with the entire build.

That said, after all of my Buildzoid video watching, Discord chatting, Reddit reading, etc, I've been leaning towards the B550 Tomahawk / Gaming Edge at around $180. I've also heard great things about the B550 Gigabyte Auros Pro AC, and the Steel Legend. The only thing that bothers me about the Tomahawk / Gaming Edge, is the limited 5 USB ports, and to a smaller extent, the Realtek ALC1200 vs Realtek ALC1220, though I've heard the audio is actually quite solid due to dedicated PCB layers for audio, among other refinements on the board. I like that it's dark and compliments the look of my build, and I don't mind adding a USB hub and bluetooth adaptor (I have a nice pair of headphones, and 2 game controllers I regularly use via bluetooth). Since the Gaming Edge is essentially (exactly?) the Tomahawk, plus wifi/BT, I'd try that for $10 extra, even though I'm skeptical the bluetooth won't piss me off performance wise (reviews).

As you can see, I'm partially over-thinking this, partially driving myself mad, and dying trying to find the right motherboard to pair with this build. I truly do not care about money at this point (within reason), and would gladly pay $50 extra on a board, just to end the countless hours of reading and searching, no lie. Any advice? Anything for me to read I haven't seen yet? Any suggested boards? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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So what it sounds like is you want a $400 mobo except you don’t want to pay that much, and even though the tomahawk fits your criteria it only barely fits it so you want something a bit better than a tomahawk but for tomahawk money even though the tomahawk is supposed to be great value.  So it seems pretty simple: if the tomahawk isn’t good enough for you prepare to spend $400.

Life is like a bowl of chocolates: there are all these little crinkly paper cups everywhere.

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If money isn't an issue, why don't you look to a higher tier motherboard vs low to mid-ranged boards?

 

Rule of thumb with PC hardware is go big or stay home.

It's like trying to decide between a V6 Camaro or a V8. 

The board will run with whatever Cpu you drop in it..... No matter what tier. But if the higher tier boards have the peripherals you seek, then spend the extra on it so you are satisfied.

- If it ain't broken, don't fix it! 

- Your post codes and beep codes in the drop down below.

Spoiler

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Bombastinator said:

So what it sounds like is you want a $400 mobo except you don’t want to pay that much, and even though the tomahawk fits your criteria it only barely fits it so you want something a bit better than a tomahawk but for tomahawk money even though the tomahawk is supposed to be great value.  So it seems pretty simple: if the tomahawk isn’t good enough for you prepare to spend $400.

Probably the most unhelpful response I've received in a solid 10 years, so kudos.

The issue is finding a board that has what I want. So many boards are missing just one thing. I'm not super interested in going into X570 territory, due to chipset fan, and not utilizing the extra PCI 4 - I only need B550 worth. What I want, is something around $250, that gives me the tomahawk features, plus 2-4 more USB ports, and maybe the Realtek ALC1220 instead of the 1200. Everything else is rock solid on it, and I don't think 2-4 USB ports is worth an extra $220, but what do I know. The low USB count is obviously not a B550 limitation either, as there are boards for less with far more ports. I honestly think I'll just go with the Tomahawk or gaming edge, get a HUB and bluetooth dongle (or PCIx1 card), and call it a day. That'll cost me $30 for the hub, and another $20-30 for the bluetooth. Money isn't the issue, it's choice paralysis. Why buy that hub if I can find a board that gives me the features I want at that same price point? Not sure why you felt the need to be a smartass, it certainly doesn't phase me, but you certainly didn't help either.

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11 minutes ago, Bombastinator said:

So what it sounds like is you want a $400 mobo except you don’t want to pay that much, and even though the tomahawk fits your criteria it only barely fits it so you want something a bit better than a tomahawk but for tomahawk money even though the tomahawk is supposed to be great value.  So it seems pretty simple: if the tomahawk isn’t good enough for you prepare to spend $400.

For a mainstream build, there is absolutely no reason to spend "an above average amount of money" for a motherboard.

 

I believe the $150-200 range is an acceptable amount of money for a decent motherboard that gets the job done, unless you are going for a LN2 overclocking style motherboard (^See line above^).

CPU: Intel i9-10980XE 18C/36T  |  CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D15 Air Cooler |  RAM: Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 32GB(4x8GB) DDR4-3200  |  Mobo: MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon AC  |  SSD: Samsung 970 EVO  1TB M.2-2280 Boot Drive/Some Games)  |  HDD:2X Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB(Game Drive)  |  GPU: MSI RTX 2080 GAMING X TRIO  |  PSU: EVGA P2 850W  |  Case: NZXT Phantom 530 Black  |  Mouse: Logitech G502 Proteus Spectrum RGB  |  Keyboard: Logitech G513 Carbon RGB with Romer-G Tactile Switches  |  Mouse Pad: Corsair MM300 Extended  |  MonitorMSI MAG271CQR 144HZ 27" 

 

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22 minutes ago, Gemfruit said:

Probably the most unhelpful response I've received in a solid 10 years, so kudos.

 

He's only calling it as he sees it. lol.

 

5900X (549$ MSRP) and slap that into a 180$ motherboard..... makes sense I guess.

 

- If it ain't broken, don't fix it! 

- Your post codes and beep codes in the drop down below.

Spoiler

 

 

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9 minutes ago, ShrimpBrime said:

He's only calling it as he sees it. lol.

 

5900X (549$ MSRP) and slap that into a 180$ motherboard..... makes sense I guess.

 

I use Unity for game development, want to game / stream on the highest settings possible, mess with VMs for web development, etc - the CPU is utilized. Nothing about a B550 hinders that CPU in any way, especially if I'm not overclocking like crazy, which I'm not. People also pair very high cards with a lesser CPU all the time, quite regularly actually. That said, I don't see how or why it matters (pertaining to the CPU) the motherboard is $200, there's literally zero argument there, as more expensive motherboards will do nothing for this CPU or overall setup performance-wise.

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46 minutes ago, Gemfruit said:

Probably the most unhelpful response I've received in a solid 10 years, so kudos.

The issue is finding a board that has what I want. So many boards are missing just one thing. I'm not super interested in going into X570 territory, due to chipset fan, and not utilizing the extra PCI 4 - I only need B550 worth. What I want, is something around $250, that gives me the tomahawk features, plus 2-4 more USB ports, and maybe the Realtek ALC1220 instead of the 1200. Everything else is rock solid on it, and I don't think 2-4 USB ports is worth an extra $220, but what do I know. The low USB count is obviously not a B550 limitation either, as there are boards for less with far more ports. I honestly think I'll just go with the Tomahawk or gaming edge, get a HUB and bluetooth dongle (or PCIx1 card), and call it a day. That'll cost me $30 for the hub, and another $20-30 for the bluetooth. Money isn't the issue, it's choice paralysis. Why buy that hub if I can find a board that gives me the features I want at that same price point? Not sure why you felt the need to be a smartass, it certainly doesn't phase me, but you certainly didn't help either.

So basically exactly what I said.

You said it was unhelpful.  Ok.  Being told something can’t be done rarely is. Except when it points one towards what can be done.

Life is like a bowl of chocolates: there are all these little crinkly paper cups everywhere.

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1 hour ago, CommanderAlex said:

For a mainstream build, there is absolutely no reason to spend "an above average amount of money" for a motherboard.

 

I believe the $150-200 range is an acceptable amount of money for a decent motherboard that gets the job done, unless you are going for a LN2 overclocking style motherboard (^See line above^).

I agree.  The problem is every option takes up bandwidth and costs money.  If there is too much bandwidth used or too many options required, it drops into another bracket.  One with fewer users, and as a result the price goes up even more.  The issue here can be seen in the b550 block diagram.  There are a whole bunch of “or”s in it.  One can have this thing or that thing to fill up that section.  Not and, or.  Cant have both.  There are occasionally ways around those requirements but they tend to be rare and thus expensive. 

Life is like a bowl of chocolates: there are all these little crinkly paper cups everywhere.

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The asrock taichi 550 seems to be what you want. And by the way, a razer version is coming out soon. Might be better, but definitely more expensive than the non razer version 

 

But just like the answer you deemed unhelpful. It's 250+

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1 hour ago, Bombastinator said:

I agree.  The problem is every option takes up bandwidth and costs money.  If there is too much bandwidth used or too many options required, it drops into another bracket.  One with fewer users, and as a result the price goes up even more.  The issue here can be seen in the b550 block diagram.  There are a whole bunch of “or”s in it.  One can have this thing or that thing to fill up that section.  Not and, or.  Cant have both.  There are occasionally ways around those requirements but they tend to be rare and thus expensive. 

So if the B550 Tomahawk does check all of those boxes, isn't grabbing a USB hub and a bluetooth adaptor or card, one of those rare "ways around"? Unless there's something bad about the Tomahawk I don't know, all it's missing to my knowledge are a few USB ports and bluetooth, as the M.2 both work, it has 6 layer PCB, great VRM, 2.5 gigabit ethernet, and internal type C for my case. I'm genuinely asking if this IS my best option and solution (without spending $400)?

I don't mind spending $70 more, hitting the $250 territory if the board is right, but it seems anything above $180 worth considering is x570. So to avoid the x570 chipset fan, and get the features I want, the Tomahawk or Gaming Edge, with hub, is the way to go it seems.

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https://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductCompare?CompareItemList=N82E16813119310%2CN82E16813157938%2CN82E16813144326

 

The asus and asrock boards are both better than the msi board. Both have their trade offs. But both are more expensive. The Intel network chipsets alone should make you want them more than the msi. But they are 100 more, so it's up to you. 

 

Also, both the asus and asrock are going to get newer versions in November. They should be even better and even more expensive. 

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2 hours ago, Gemfruit said:

the CPU is utilized.

Oh I get it. Totally understand.

 

I've driven many mainboards down a few different paths. 

Have always bought top boards for my daily drivers.

The cheap boards I use LN2 on. Cost of loss board in short time is way way lower. But I sacrifice maxing out hardware. IE haven't quite reached the 8ghz club on AMD FX chips as a result. I did not want to burn my Crosshair V Formula-z that cost as much as a cow. That was a daily driver. Never saw anything colder than Geothermal sub ambient but not sub zero. And I later sold the board because it held it's value well. Being top hardware, the value generally carries for a longer time. Looks at any top OC board from any generation, and you'll see what I mean.

 

But hey, like you say, any board will run the cpu. I get that. Totally understand. Some people just have different angles of viewing how money is spent. 

 

 

 

- If it ain't broken, don't fix it! 

- Your post codes and beep codes in the drop down below.

Spoiler

 

 

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7 minutes ago, Gemfruit said:

So if the B550 Tomahawk does check all of those boxes, isn't grabbing a USB hub and a bluetooth adaptor or card, one of those rare "ways around"? Unless there's something bad about the Tomahawk I don't know, all it's missing to my knowledge are a few USB ports and bluetooth, as the M.2 both work, it has 6 layer PCB, great VRM, 2.5 gigabit ethernet, and internal type C for my case. I'm genuinely asking if this IS my best option and solution (without spending $400)?

I don't mind spending $70 more, hitting the $250 territory if the board is right, but it seems anything above $180 worth considering is x570. So to avoid the x570 chipset fan, and get the features I want, the Tomahawk or Gaming Edge, with hub, is the way to go it seems.

Seems likely.  I was thinking more about add on cards but that works too.  Looking at the b550 and x570 block diagrams may explain things.  In general x570 is more flexible, mostly because it’s pcie4 all the way down which effectively makes half again as much bandwidth.  The ryzen consumer chips only have so many pcie lanes. B550 and x570 both have pcie4 which is mad fast for the first slot so halving it isn’t much of a bother.  X570 also has pcie4 on its other slots too whereas b550 only has pcie3.  Running, say, a pcie4 gpu in the top slot and a USB (whatever) card below it makes the top slot x8, but pcie4x8 is still more than enough for even the fastest cards.  Pcie3x8 or even 2 pcie3x4 (which might be possible to find) would produce more than enough rear USB of whatever type needed.  Some cards also have internal type USB headers on them allowing for front case USB of whatever type needed (excluding USB4/thunderbolt which is different and complicated) such cards are often expensive though vaulting the cost into the next class of motherboard.  If all one needs is a bunch of USB2 though it could possibly be had quite cheaply.

Life is like a bowl of chocolates: there are all these little crinkly paper cups everywhere.

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Like mentioned by @chimimoryo, the B550 Taichi should fit the bill perfectly! It's also what I'm using and it's pretty good so far! I haven't tested the Audio as I use a wireless headset but it has 8x USBs on IO, 2x USB 3.0 headers, Type C header, PCIe gen 4 on first 2 x16 slots and first NVMe (second NVMe is gen 3), 4x RGB headers (2x addressable 3 pin and 2x 4 pin regular), 2.5gb Intel Lan, wifi6/BT, clear CMOS and BIOS flashback.. 

 

It's also, IMO, the best looking AM4 motherboard.. For reference, I've used the X570 MEG Ace, Hero, Tomahawk and B550 Gaming Carbon and now the Taichi.. You're right about performance, any motherboard will do.. Just get the one you like the most with the feature set you desire.. 

 

I bought it for $259 the other day, not sure it's still on sale but damn is it a nice board! 

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4 minutes ago, Bombastinator said:

Seems likely.  I was thinking more about add on cards but that works too.  Looking at the b550 and x570 block diagrams may explain things.  In general x570 is more flexible, mostly because it’s pcie4 all the way down which effectively makes half again as much bandwidth.  The ryzen consumer chips only have so many pcie lanes. B550 and x570 both have pcie4 which is mad fast for the first slot so halving it isn’t much of a bother.  X570 also has pcie4 on its other slots too whereas b550 only has pcie3.  Running, say, a pcie4 gpu in the top slot and a USB (whatever) card below it makes the top slot x8, but pcie4x8 is still more than enough for even the fastest cards.  Pcie3x8 or even 2 pcie3x4 (which might be possible to find) would produce more than enough rear USB of whatever type needed.  Some cards also have internal type USB headers on them allowing for front case USB of whatever type needed (excluding USB4/thunderbolt which is different and complicated) such cards are often expensive though vaulting the cost into the next class of motherboard.  If all one needs is a bunch of USB2 though it could possibly be had quite cheaply.

All I have for USB is:
 

  • K95 RGB Platinum (2x USB2, or a single USB3 will do, needs 2x for passthrough which I don't use)
  • C920 Webcam
  • Blue Yeti Mic
  • Cakewalk audio interface (for my synth, I play as a hobby, doesn't NEED to be hooked up always, though a clean setup would be nice for it to stay in)
  • Mouse (highly considering switching to a nice bluetooth mouse)
  • Potentially something for streaming (streamdecks, not sold on them yet, won't use one yet)
  • Fitbit charging (can do this off the top of the case)

So really, 4 at the moment, 5 with the interface. If I switch to a bluetooth mouse, and don't use the USB passthrough, I would only be at 4, with the audio interface plugged in all the time, 5th with a stream deck. I can basically make this work as is, and even better with a simple USB3 hub for $30, IF being on the edge of my 5 ports ever becomes a problem. To the best of my knowledge, that's literally the only issue, other than getting bluetooth if the onboard on the Gaming Edge isn't good enough, which can be an addon card or use a USB slot.

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The mic, webcam, and whatever a k95 is will likely want their own usb channels each as they’re relatively high bandwidth devices.  I don’t know if the synth is or not.  It might be.  The mouse, keyboard, and charging are all extremely low bandwidth. Mouse and keyboard do fine with USB1 data wise, and the Fitbit does no data at all.  Iirc USB1 doesn’t even exist anymore though.  Just because there’s a port in the back of a machine doesn’t necessarily mean each port has its own channel though.  In your position with multiple devices that need a lot of really clean bandwidth a card would be superior to a hub because a hub merely divides bandwidth whereas a card would actually add it. You’ll likely get 2 channels of USB, each with multiple ports on the motherboard.  An add on USB card would give you an additional one or two channels, possibly more, depending on the card. 

Life is like a bowl of chocolates: there are all these little crinkly paper cups everywhere.

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17 hours ago, Bombastinator said:

The mic, webcam, and whatever a k95 is will likely want their own usb channels each as they’re relatively high bandwidth devices.  I don’t know if the synth is or not.  It might be.  The mouse, keyboard, and charging are all extremely low bandwidth. Mouse and keyboard do fine with USB1 data wise, and the Fitbit does no data at all.  Iirc USB1 doesn’t even exist anymore though.  Just because there’s a port in the back of a machine doesn’t necessarily mean each port has its own channel though.  In your position with multiple devices that need a lot of really clean bandwidth a card would be superior to a hub because a hub merely divides bandwidth whereas a card would actually add it. You’ll likely get 2 channels of USB, each with multiple ports on the motherboard.  An add on USB card would give you an additional one or two channels, possibly more, depending on the card. 

The K95 RGB Platinum is an RGB Keyboard from Corsair with USB passthrough. From I've understood, it can be powered by a single USB 3 port (I think), or definitely 2 USB 2.0 ports, only for the passthrough to work. I don't care about the passthrough, and if I did, it's still giving me "another" USB port, so it's all the same (only 1 passthrough, so relocating is all it does).

Given continued research, I'm definitely intrigued by the Asus Rog Strix and ASRock Taichi. I read that the Realtek ALC1200, despite naming, is actually closer to the numbered parts far before it, than it is to the Realtek ALC1220. I do care about audio (games, synth playing, amateur recording, just a general appreciation), so given that this is kind of my first dream PC ever, and first nice machine in 10 years, I'd like to at least go average on the audio, which apparently the Realtek ALC1200 is below (whether I'd notice is to be seen, or heard ;) ). Given this though, I keep hearing suggestions to get a good DAC / AMP combo, which is new to me, but seems like an affordable superior alternative to anything built in. I'm also very curious if the Intel LAN is something I care about, as I hear constantly it's "better", without any concrete proof, even with a bit of looking for it. If it is better, I 100% want it, as shitty internet is not something I care to play with.

I'm definitely willing to spend up to the B550 Taichi price range ($260 on sale, $300 generally), for a machine I've already more or less invested $2k into. I really just need to figure out if Intel LAN is truly better, if getting an external AMP / DAC is on the agenda, and if a USB HUB or PCI card will suffice for more ports. On the note of ports, I also have a few on my case (2 I believe), so they're there if I need them, just not cleanly tucked away.

Anyway, I appreciate the much more constructive, fact filled discussion. I really didn't mean to come off as whatever the hell happened, I'm just just a moderately techy dude trying to build his first build in 12 years, and trying to do it right.

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1 minute ago, Gemfruit said:

The K95 RGB Platinum is an RGB Keyboard from Corsair with USB passthrough. From I've understood, it can be powered by a single USB 3 port (I think), or definitely 2 USB 2.0 ports, only for the passthrough to work. I don't care about the passthrough, and if I did, it's still giving me "another" USB port, so it's all the same (only 1 passthrough, so relocating is all it does).

Given continued research, I'm definitely intrigued by the Asus Rog Strix and ASRock Taichi. I read that the Realtek ALC1200, despite naming, is actually closer to the numbered parts far before it, than it is to the Realtek ALC1220. I do care about audio (games, synth playing, amateur recording, just a general appreciation), so given that this is kind of my first dream PC ever, and first nice machine in 10 years, I'd like to at least go average on the audio, which apparently the Realtek ALC1200 is below (whether I'd notice is to be seen, or heard ;) ). Given this though, I keep hearing suggestions to get a good DAC / AMP combo, which is new to me, but seems like an affordable superior alternative to anything built in. I'm also very curious if the Intel LAN is something I care about, as I hear constantly it's "better", without any concrete proof, even with a bit of looking for it. If it is better, I 100% want it, as shitty internet is not something I care to play with.

I'm definitely willing to spend up to the B550 Taichi price range ($260 on sale, $300 generally), for a machine I've already more or less invested $2k into. I really just need to figure out if Intel LAN is truly better, if getting an external AMP / DAC is on the agenda, and if a USB HUB or PCI card will suffice for more ports. On the note of ports, I also have a few on my case (2 I believe), so they're there if I need them, just not cleanly tucked away.

Anyway, I appreciate the much more constructive, fact filled discussion. I really didn't mean to come off as whatever the hell happened, I'm just just a moderately techy dude trying to build his first build in 12 years, and trying to do it right.

So the k95 isnt high bandwidth.  It just eats a lot of power. That reduces the number of high bandwidth devices by one. 

Life is like a bowl of chocolates: there are all these little crinkly paper cups everywhere.

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The B550 Auros Master has the ALC 1220-VB would be a nice board I think. Under that 300$ price range, plenty of USB ports. What stands out for me is the 3 M.2 slots looks nice and accessible. 

The Intel LAN is so good, AMD uses it on their motherboards :P 

- If it ain't broken, don't fix it! 

- Your post codes and beep codes in the drop down below.

Spoiler

 

 

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On 10/24/2020 at 6:15 PM, ShrimpBrime said:

The B550 Auros Master has the ALC 1220-VB would be a nice board I think. Under that 300$ price range, plenty of USB ports. What stands out for me is the 3 M.2 slots looks nice and accessible. 

The Intel LAN is so good, AMD uses it on their motherboards :P 

I really want to like the B550 Auros master, as it checks all the boxes, but the reviews slam it, especially on Newegg. Way above average critical failure, complaints about bandwidth pertaining to the m.2 slots, etc.

I'm becoming sold on Intel being better than Realtek (still trying to determine if that's isolated to networking vs consumer use), and I'm definitely eying the Taichi, despite price.

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