Friday, January 6, 2017

AM4 Chipsets & Motherboards for Ryzen

The new AM4 motherboards will be utilizing the X370, B350 and A320 chipsets. They will be aimed at the PC DIY market with loads of CPU and I/O features. General availability of the high-end boards is expected around February or March 2017.

AMD X370 For Enthusiast AM4 Motherboards:

AMD X370, a high-end chipset for overclockers and tweakers who need robust platforms. This chip provides the ultimate low-level control to its users and delivers ultimate graphics card bandwidth. By bandwidth, AMD is referring to max PCI-Express lanes as this is the only chip in the stack that supports multi-GPU functionality. The chipset supports both, CFX (CrossFire) and SLI. Features of X300 series chipsets include:
  • Dual-channel DDR4 memory
  • NVMe
  • M.2 SATA devices
  • USB 3.1 Gen 1 and Gen 2
  • PCIe 3.0 capability
AMD has mentioned two full x16 (Gen3) lanes for GPUs. AIBs can add additional lanes through a PLX chip but that would add to the cost. X370 features full overclocking support with a very sophisticated GUI that will allow the best overclock tools and experiences. Since all AM4 CPUs have an unlocked multiplier, record breakers will definitely put X370 boards to the test on liquid and LN2 setups. The X370 series motherboards AMD displayed at the event include:
  • ASRock X370 Taichi
  • ASRock X370 Gaming K4
  • Biostar X370GT7
  • GIGABYTE AX370-Gaming K5
  • GIGABYTE AX370-Gaming 5
  • MSI X370 XPower Gaming Titanium
ASRock X370 Taichi

AMD B350 For Mainstream AM4 Motherboards:

AMD B350 is the mainstream chipset and offers the most value in terms of I/O and functionality. This chip offers lower lanes compared to X370 since most AMD believes that most users don’t go multi-GPU under this segment. Aside from that, the chipset does retain overclocking support for all AM4 CPUs that will be offered in the future. This chipset replaces the 970 and A78 platforms.

The AMD B350 chipset features 70% power reduction over its AM3+ predecessor (5.8W vs 19.6W). The latest DDR4 memory controller also offers 22% more bandwidth compared to DDR3. Following is the list of all B350 chipset motherboards displayed by AMD:
  • ASRock AB350 Gaming K4
  • ASUS B350M-C
  • Biostar X350GT5
  • Biostar X350GT3
  • GIGABYTE AB350-Gaming 3
  • MSI B350 Tomahawk
  • MSI B350M Mortar
Some general features of the AM4 platform is that it offers new I/O capabilities. We are looking at faster DDR4-2400 MHz memory, PCI-e Gen 3.0, USB 3.1 Gen 2, NVMe and SATA Express support. These features have been missing on AMD platforms for a while but it’s nice that AMD is finally making a proper comeback with modern feature support.

ASRock AB350 Gaming K4

AMD A320 / A300 For Essential and SFF AM4 Motherboards:

The A320 is the essential platform for plug and play users who just want their PC to work with decent capabilities. This chipset replaces the 760G and A68H based platforms. Most of the features from B350 will be retained but there will be no overclocking support on such motherboards. This chip has 4 PCI-e Gen 2 lanes and 1+2+6 (USB 3.1 Gen2, USB 3.1 Gen1, USB 2.0) support.

The A300 is the chip designed for Small Form Factor computers and generally, HTPC builds. This offers the ultimate power and space efficiency in the entire product stack. This is a new chip that has been exclusively built for the SFF niche. A300 has limited functionalities but will be extremely cheap and allow for great SFF setups.
  • ASRock A320M Pro 4
  • MSI A320M Pro-VD
MSI A320M Pro-VD

Summary :

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