Editor’s note: This essay creatively published on Mar 1, 2017, yet was updated with additional details, information about wanting mini-ITX availability, and links to AM4 motherboard models after Ryzen’s launch.
For AMD’s disruptive Ryzen processors, selecting a scold motherboard is both easier and more essential than ever.
First, a good news: AMD’s doing divided with a horrifying mixture of motherboard platforms to combine around a AM4 hollow with Ryzen CPUs, Bristol Ridge APUs, and all other chips expelled in a foreseeable future. Huzzah! But there are a far-reaching accumulation of chipsets accessible for AM4 motherboards, and any unlocks opposite capabilities in your PC, from USB support to overclocking to how many graphics cards we can install.
Should we buy an X370, B350, or A320 motherboard? Where do X300 and A300 fit in? Let’s inspect what any AM4 chipset offers so we can make a right preference when we buy a motherboard for your Ryzen 5 or Ryzen 7 processor.
Ryzen: More than only a processor
As we can see in a striking above, Ryzen—and AMD’s Bristol Ridge APUs—actually resemble a system-on-a-chip design some-more than a normal CPU. AMD’s processors confederate support for many interfaces on-chip, including SATA, USB, NVMe, and PCIe.
The opposite AM4 motherboard chipsets build additional capabilities on tip of that. Here are AMD’s slides describing each, yet we’ll embody a possess easy-to-read comparison draft after in this article.
One thing to note: All of a customary motherboard options embody support for twin SATA Express ports and, well, SATA Express never unequivocally got off a ground. But those lanes can simply be repurposed by motherboard makers for other uses, such as normal SATA III ports or M.2 support, so a inclusion isn’t meaningless by any means.
Here’s a plain-English relapse of what any motherboard offers over what’s accessible in a Ryzen chip itself, starting with a entrance turn play and operative adult from there.
These are your basic, no-frills AM4 motherboards, dictated for bill systems and (presumably) affordable big-box PCs from a likes of Dell and HP. These motherboards support a singular 10Gbps USB 3.1 gen. 2 port, a span of 5Gbps USB 3.1 gen 1 ports (augmented by a 4 USB 3.1 gen. 1 ports baked into Ryzen itself), and adult to 6 USB 2.0 connections. The A320 chipset also supports a span of SATA III and SATA Express connections, along with adult to 4 PCIe gen. 2 lanes for additional PCIe devices, such as M.2 SSDs, third-party networking cards, and sound cards.
Crucially, while any Ryzen processor can be overclocked, A320 motherboards do not support overclocking. So if we wish to fist more oomph out of your CPU, demeanour elsewhere.
Only a tiny preference of A320 motherboards are accessible right now, like Gigabyte’s GA-A320M-HD2 ($70 on Amazon) and a MSI A320M Gaming Pro ($70 on Amazon). Expect to see some-more of these affordable offerings strike a streets this summer, as AMD’s budget-friendly Ryzen 3 processors launch on Jul 27.
This is really a honeyed mark for PC gamers who hang to normal single-GPU setups. CPU overclocking is unbarred on B350 motherboards, and compared to a bare-bones A320 boards, this chipset packs in support for an additional 10Gbps USB 3.1 pier as good as twin some-more PCIe lanes for cutting-edge SSDs like a ludicrously quick Samsung 960 Pro.
The kicker here is that multi-GPU setups are not supported by B350. I’ve seen reports of specific B350 models permitting AMD CrossFire multi-GPU configurations—but that is not something we should count on. Here’s what AMD has to contend about it:
Only AMD’s X370 and X300 chipsets support twin PCIe 3.0 x8 graphics label slots with approach entrance to a processor. If multi-GPU setups are used on other hollow AM4 chipsets, they will not have a same PCIe 3.0 bandwidth, and those configurations are not strictly supported.
You’ll find a far-reaching accumulation of B350 motherboards available, including well-regarded models like a MSI Tomahawk B350 ($95 on Amazon), a Asus Prime B350 Plus ($80 on Amazon), and a Gigabyte GA-AB350 Gaming 3 ($110 on Amazon)—the latter of that starred in PCWorld’s budget Ryzen gaming build.
Here’s where a lofty 1 percent of gamers will wish to aim. Compared to B350 motherboards, a X370 height adds 4 some-more 5Gbps USB gen. 1 ports, twice as many SATA III connections, twin some-more PCIe lanes, and—crucially, as minute above—dual PCIe 3.0 x8 slots means to support CrossFire and SLI multi-GPU setups.
If we wish to bucket your PC with all a latest and biggest technologies, AMD’s X370 motherboards are a approach to go. Bonus: These high-end motherboards tend to accept BIOS updates most faster than ones regulating a other AMD chipsets, and BIOS updates have been essential to improving Ryzen performance while AM4 matures.
There are good over 100 X370 motherboards available, according to Newegg’s listings. These reward play authority reward prices, with a simple house like MSI’s X370 Gaming Plus costing $130 on Amazon. The $190 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370 Gaming 5 has been a rock-solid bed for a Ryzen complement even by a platform’s early days, while entirely installed flagship play like a Asus ROG Crosshair VI Hero and a ASRock Fatal1ty X370 Pro Gaming sell for $270.
The AM4 hollow also includes a span of chipsets dedicated to mini-ITX small-form-factor PCs: X300 and A300/B300. These SFF chipsets don’t supplement any additional functionality on their own, relying instead on a capabilities integrated into Ryzen chips themselves. The vital disproportion between X300 and A/B300? The X array focuses on gamers and enthusiasts, with twin PCIe 3.0 slots and a ability to overclock your Ryzen processor.
Oddly, we haven’t seen any motherboards formed on these 300-series chipsets expelled given Ryzen’s launch. There are a tiny handful of mini-ITX Ryzen motherboards accessible yet they rest on a normal AM4 chipsets. The ASRock AB350 Gaming-ITX/ac ($115 on Newegg) and Gigabyte GA-AB350N-Gaming Wifi ($115 on Newegg) implement B350, while a Biostar X370GTN ($110 on Newegg) and ASRock Fatal1ty Gaming X370 Gaming-ITX/ac ($160 on Newegg) are powered by a high-end X370 chipset. Pay courtesy to a hardware configurations though—these mini-ITX play offer a reduced series of RAM and PCIe slots, among other tweaks.
Do your homework!
You still wish to do your task if you’re looking for specific facilities in your Ryzen PC. AMD designed a height for flexibility, and motherboards formed on a same chipset might embody somewhat opposite configurations—not to discuss a common grab-bag of additional facilities (such as RGB lighting, imagination audio, and one-button overclocking) tied to particular brands like Gigabyte, Asus, et cetera.
But now that we know a basis of what any AM4 chipset offers, we can fast slight down your hunt for a ideal Ryzen motherboard for you.
No matter that motherboard we choose, it should final we a good prolonged time. Unlike Intel, that tends to change chipsets any other CPU generation, AMD’s formulation to support a AM4 platform by 2020 during a really least.