AMD has long been synonymous with great processors and fantastic graphics cards all while offering excellent value for money. The Ryzen 5 2600 is no exception. Originally released in April 2018 as part of AMD’s second generation of Ryzen chips, it has since been superseded by the newer 3600 processor but has managed to hold onto its popularity due to a cheap price point and excellent overclocking potential.
But to get the most out of this amazing little CPU you need an equally good motherboard and with so many available to choose from the question is, how do you know which are best and which ones should be left on the shelf. We’ll take a closer look at this question in a second but first:
What does a motherboard do?
Your motherboard is one of the key parts of your PC and is the thing that every other component plugs into. It determines everything your PC does from its audio capabilities to graphics, to processor speed. Think of it as the bridge that allows the other components to talk together while also providing essential services your PC needs to function.
What features should I be looking for in my motherboard?
Motherboards come in all shapes and sizes but they all generally offer a similar function. All modern motherboards have space to fit your CPU, graphics card (although check what type of PCIe interface the motherboard has before opting for a specific graphics card), memory modules, and hard drive slots. They will also offer many of the simple functions of a PC like WiFi or Ethernet connections, USB ports of various generations, audio output ports, HDMI ports, and maybe (if you have an older motherboard) PS/2 connectors for a mouse and keyboard. All of these features are essential but not all (WiFi for example) come as standard. Our advice is to check the motherboards specification before buying to ensure it has everything you need.
ATX, ITX… What the hell is a form factor?
The form factor of your motherboard will determine how big it is. The larger the motherboard, the more technology that can be fitted into it and the more space you will have for cooling solutions and graphics cards, etc. The problem with large form factor motherboards like the popular ATX is they require a larger case to fit inside. Smaller boards like ITX or micro-ATX can fit into smaller cases, but you may find fitting everything in a tight squeeze and air flow (cooling) can be seriously hindered.
What motherboard chipsets can be used with a Ryzen 5 2600?
Basically any motherboard that supports AMD’s AM4 socket, including the B450, X570, X470, or A320 chipsets. We would recommend going for either a B450 or, if you’ve got the money, an X570 motherboard (although the X570 chipset is geared more towards the higher end PC market utilizing 3rd generation Ryzen CPUs). All the motherboards we recommend are B450 due to the better price to feature ratio and modern components they offer.
What are the best motherboards for the Ryzen 5 2600?
Here is our list of recommended motherboards for the Ryzen 5 2600. We’ll break each one down in more detail in the next section:
4 Best Motherboard for Ryzen 5 2600
|Best budget motherboard||Best budget motherboard for Ryzen 5 2600: ASRock B450M Pro4|
|Best value motherboard||Best all round motherboard for the Ryzen 5 2600: MSI B450 Tomahawk|
|Best smaller form factor motherboard||Best smaller form factor motherboard for the Ryzen 5 2600: ASRock B450M Mortar|
|Best high end motherboard||Best high-end motherboard for Ryzen 5 2600: MSI B450 Gaming Pro Carbon AC|
Motherboard review round up for AMD Ryzen 5 2600 processor
We wouldn’t normally advise our readers to buy an ultra-cheap motherboard for their PC but with the ASRock B450M Pro4, you get incredible bang for your book. The main problem with budget motherboards is that they generally have poor thermal cooling and as such a shorter life expectancy and limited overclocking potential. With the ASRock B40M Pro4, you get all the features you would expect of a more expensive motherboard, including two PCIe x16 slots for even the most modern graphics cards and support for up to 3200MHz DDR4 memory. You can find cheaper 450 boards but for the extra 10 bucks or so this one will cost you, you’re getting a better build quality and cooling performance.
On the downside, the ASRock B450M Pro4 only sports two USB 3.1 ports (both Gen 1), limiting connectivity options a little. At least both ports offer faster speeds than the older and more prevalent (at this price point anyway) 2.0 versions. There is also an issue with the PCI lanes which on the ASRock B450M Pro 4 are shared between the PCI Express and M.2 SSD sockets. This can create a backlog and slow down either one in data-intensive situations.
The B450 Tomahawk motherboard from MSI offers the best all-round experience of all the boards on our list. It has a feature-packed chipset with a range of connectivity options and decent VRM quality for speed. In terms of price, it sits in the middle of our options and sacrifices little in terms of quality. Sure it’s missing some of the higher-end components you’ll find in more expensive counterparts, but unless you’re a power user or serious gamer, you’ll find everything you need and more in the B450 Tomahawk.
Overclocking really comes into its own with this board due to the excellent (and efficient) VRM cooling and you can really get that gamer experience with the built-in RGB lighting.
The B450 Tomahawk comes in a full-fat ATX form factor allowing extra space for all the motherboard goodies you need. In terms of memory, you can install up to four 64gb DDR4 modules with speeds of up to 3600MHz (you can get even faster if you don’t mind a bit of memory overclocking). For connectivity, you have a grand total of three USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, and one USB 3.1 Gen 2 (USB-C) ports. Graphics cards are catered for with one PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot, one PCI-Express 2.0 x16 slot, and full support for 2-way CrossFire so you can install two cards if you want to do some serious gaming.
If you are looking for a motherboard to go inside a smaller form factor case, then you can’t get much better than the ASRock B450M Mortar. We chose almost as good ASRock B450M Pro4 micro-ATX board as our budget pick and the Mortar offers the same form factor but sneaks past the Pro4 due to its superior VRM 4 phase design and capable heatsink that allows better cooling and more overclocking potential. The Mortar also offers support for faster DDR memory out of the box and can take up to 3466MHz modules.
In terms of actual features, the board has a similar chipset to the Pro 4 and comes with four USB 3.1 Gen 1 and two USB 2.0 ports for connectivity, one PCIe 3.0 x16 slot and two PCIe 3.0 x16 slots for graphics, and a built-in Ethernet port. On the downside, the Mortar includes no USB 3.1 Gen 2, USB-C ports, or built-in WiFi.
If you’re looking for a feature-packed, premium quality motherboard for your Ryzen 5 2600 then hands down the best one you can currently buy is the MSI B450 Gaming Pro Carbon AC. As this is a motherboard built for gamers, you can expect all the bells and whistles you would expect (as well as a higher price). The Gaming Pro Carbon AC sports two M.2 sockets for super-fast SSDs (the first one on our list to do so) and has built-in WiFi and Bluetooth. It also has a superior audio chipset to deliver high definition audio.
Connectivity-wise, the Gaming Pro Carbon AC houses one USB 3.1 Gen 2 (SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps) Type-C port, one USB 3.1 Gen 2 (SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps) Type-A port, two USB 2.0 (High-speed USB) ports, and two USB 3.1 Gen 1 (SuperSpeed USB) Type-A ports on the back panel.
For graphics and other expansion cards, the motherboard has one PCIe 3.0 x16 slot, one PCIe 2.0 x16 slot, and three PCIe 2.0 x1 slots. This gives the card support for the most up to date graphics cards and offers great expansion potential.
As a gaming motherboard, you would expect great overclocking potential and the Gaming Pro Carbon AC doesn’t let you down with the incredibly user-friendly BIOS making overclocking graphics, CPU, and memory a breeze.
While the Ryzen 5 2600 isn’t the most modern of CPUs, it is still incredibly popular due to its high overclocking potential and general bang for buck pricing. When combined with a good motherboard (like the ones we’ve listed above) you can create not only a good value PC but a fast one too.