Three years after expanding into motherboards, NZXT has finally launched a model for AMD users, the N7 B550. Presumably this is the first of more to come, and like NZXT's first Intel motherboard, the N7 Z370, the company is kicking off the AMD party with a midrange chipset.
In that regard, it's a bit of a bittersweet announcement. NZXT celebrated the launch on Twitter, saying "We heard you loud and clear!," which signals it fielded feedback to release an AMD motherboard. That's a good thing. But it would have been nice if NZXT had come out of the gate with an X570 offering instead, or in addition to the N7 B550.
Regardless, the N7 B550 is here, and it costs $230, the same as the N7 Z490 we reviewed last year. It's another aesthetically pleasing design—NZXT stuck to the blueprint of offering a matte white or matte black metal cover on top of a streamlined layout, or selling a naked version (all three options cost the same).
One of the selling points is the integration of smart controls. The N7 B550 features built-in digital RGB and fan controls, allowing users to customize four RGB lighting channels and seven fan channels through the company's CAM utility. NZXT also notes that lighting accessories from all manufacturers are supported.
As for the I/O options, the board serves up three USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports, a single USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port, four USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports, two USB 2.0 ports, and HDMI output, a 2.5G LAN port, and various audio ports (analog and S/PDIF) on the rear panel. It also has headers to support additional USB ports on the front panel.
Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 are both baked into the N7 B550, and for storage, there are two M.2 slots and half a dozen SATA 6Gbps ports. Other notable features include BIOS flashback and clear CMOS buttons, LED diagnostics, and power and reset buttons.
Overall, it looks like a solid entry into the AMD space. The first of NZXT's motherboards was a bit of a mess, with a BIOS that didn't really stand up against its rivals in this competitive space. But this time around NZXT has partnered with ASRock to make the N7 B550's BIOS more feature-complete.
We haven't tested it for ourselves yet—our unit is hitting the test bench soon—but our friends at Tom's Hardware came away impressed, bestowing it with an Editor's Choice badge.
The N7 B550 is available now and backed by a three-year warranty.