NZXT N7 B550 REVIEW. Today is a big day for those who are fans of both NZXT and AMD. Now the clean and builder-friendly style of NZXT motherboards can be experienced by those using AMD processors. In the past, it was an Intel-only club, but now NZXT’s range of motherboards has expanded to include “Team Red,” whose CPUs have been growing in popularity ever since Ryzen launched back in 2017. While it’s great to see NZXT supporting AMD, the company best known for its coolers and cases still has other boxes to check if its N7 B550 motherboard is to win the day. This is the GameRevolution review.
Made for AMD
Having built and reviewed the N7 Z490 motherboard, I knew to expect the premium packaging experience. The larger-than-most box contains a tightly-secured motherboard, user manual, four SATA cables, wireless antennas, and two M.2 screws for the two slots. Whether you go black or white, the motherboard is immediately impressive with its stylish cover. If going by aesthetics alone, this is the best-looking B550 motherboard that I’ve ever come across, especially for the price.
The cosmetic combination of an N7 motherboard with one of NZXT H cases and an NZXT CPU cooler is tough to beat without going custom. It’s clean and timeless, so it’s fantastic that AMD users now get to enjoy that.
Of course, a motherboard’s appearance doesn’t really matter if it doesn’t perform well. Thankfully, the NZXT N7 B550 proves to be capable, matching the performance of my work/streaming PC’s ASRock X570 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB3 in terms of CPU and RAM overclocking. The BIOS itself is also similar, and I was able to quickly navigate to key settings to manage fan speeds and other options.
The similarities to my ASRock board are no coincidence, as NZXT is once again collaborating with ASRock to deliver the N7 B550. This was first seen with the N7 Z490 and it has been a wise move.
Building with the board is unsurprisingly easy. NZXT emphasizes that its N7 range is put together with builders in mind, and it shows with the component layout.
More to love
The main downside to using the N7 Z490 when compared to competing products was the small number of rear USB ports. For someone like me who quickly fills up USB ports with peripherals, external drives, hubs, and other doodads, a generous number of USB ports is always appreciated. In a big move, NZXT has listened to feedback and worked to increase the number of full-size rear USB by four, with nine in total. That’s two extra USB 3.2 Gen 2 and two extra USB 3.2 Gen 1.
The amount of SATA 6 GB/s ports has also seen a bump up, with six in total. However, it’s worth noting that bandwidth is shared with the second M.2 slot, so those with a lot of drives will want to consider the setup carefully. With that said, it’s great to have the flexibility and more ports is always a bonus!
Though we don’t yet have any PCIe 4.0 devices onhand to test with, the N7 B550 does support PCIe 4.0. Other new tech includes Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity. As a B550 board, users can expect guaranteed support for Ryzen 3000, 4000, and 5000 Series processors.
The N7 B550 boasts memory overclocking speeds of up to 4733 MHz and XMP. As mentioned earlier, our XMP profile for our 3733 MHz RAM worked without issue when paired with our Ryzen 3700X.
CAM is here
Another big plus of the N7 B550 is the vast support for fans and RGB. Maxing out this board will take some effort, but those who fill each available slot will have themselves a very cool and brightly-lit build.
To help with managing these addons, NZXT is once again leaning on its CAM software. As mentioned in previous NZXT product reviews, this software has come a long way. It will always have its naysayers, as all hardware-supporting apps tend to do, but I’ve had a consistently pleasant and unobtrusive experience with CAM over the past couple of years.
CAM can be used to manage fan controllers and create lighting profiles with support for RGB accessories across all manufacturers. It also lets you monitor system specs, games, audio, and other features. While I just use it to manage fans and lighting, I appreciate NZXT making CAM a single destination for users to enjoy basic monitoring of most of their system components and resources. I imagine this will be of most interest to new PC users or buyers of pre-built NZXT systems.
Of course, if you’re here for how the N7 B550 looks and basic performance, then CAM can safely be ignored.
NZXT N7 B550 Review | The Final Verdict
Man, it is good to see NZXT embracing AMD’s success in the CPU space. Now Ryzen users can take advantage of the supreme style of N7 motherboards and expect great performance from a system that looks damn good. What’s more, the MSRP of $229.99 is competitive, especially in the current market, and that 3-year warranty is great to see.
With the N7 B550, NZXT has introduced support for AMD processors while also rectifying the lack of rear USB and SATA ports found on the Z490 variant. Not only has the company proven that it’s here for AMD users, but it’s also shown that it’s listening to feedback and quickly acting upon it.
AMD support is finally here, meaning those who love the look of NZXT’s N7 motherboards will no longer have to choose between going Intel or missing out.
N7 B550 review unit was provided by NZXT.