AMD seems to be bringing out more OEM parts by the day. Now, Robert Hallock, a chief Team Red marketer, commented on a Reddit thread about the B550A motherboard. A
“No, it has a B550A motherboard. This is a version of the PCIe Gen 3 “Promontory-LP” (e.g., X470, B450) chipset specifically for use in pre-built systems (e.g. OEM customers).”
What exactly does that statement above mean in English? The B550A (as opposed to the as-yet-unannounced B550) will be a rebrand of the 4th gen 400 series boards. The most notable omission in Hallock’s statement was B550A support for PCI-E 4.0. As a 3.0 part, it’ll be functionally identical to existing B450 boards on the market. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. The B450 is a great chipset. It’s cheap and allows for CPU and memory overclocking.
Users seemed confused about the naming convention, though. There’s no B550 part available officially. So why is the B450 rebrand being labeled a 550A? Hallock had a reply
“OEMs are customers, too, and they may have different needs and wants than a DIYer. Not every product decision is considered through the lens of a channel product.”
This is a nice way of saying that OEMs have different priorities when it comes to quality and obsolescence than DIY buyers. An informed customer who builds their own PC would likely be aware of the difference between the B450 and (unannounced) B550 boards. They may wait on a B550 part with PCI-E 4.0 support. However, most OEM customers in the market for pre-built PCs may not have the know-how or even care. OEMs can rebrand existing hardware and sell it to these customers for cheaper.
The whole incident raises more questions than it answers. Why did AMD care to correct a user who called it a B550? It could well be that an actual, higher-end B550 board is in the works, a fundamentally different product from the B450 rebrand that is the 550A. We don’t know but we’ll keep you posted.