The real battle begins
When AMD launched the Ryzen 7 processors last month to a substantial amount of fanfare and pent up excitement, we already knew that the Ryzen 5 launch would be following close behind. While the Ryzen 7 lineup was meant to compete with the Intel Core i7 Kaby Lake and Broadwell-E products, with varying levels of success, the Ryzen 5 parts are priced to go head to head with Intel's Core i5 product line.
AMD already told us the details of the new product line including clock speeds, core counts and pricing, so there is little more to talk about other than the performance and capabilities we found from our testing of the new Ryzen 5 parts. Starting with the Ryzen 5 1600X, with 6 cores, 12 threads and a $249 price point, and going down to the Ryzen 5 1400 with 4 cores, 8 threads and a $169 price point, this is easily AMD's most aggressive move to date. The Ryzen 7 1800X at $499 was meant to choke off purchases of Intel's $1000+ parts; Ryzen 5 is attempting to offer significant value and advantage for users on a budget.
Today we have the Ryzen 5 1600X and Ryzen 5 1500X in our hands. The 1600X is a 6C/12T processor that will have a 50% core count advantage over the Core i5-7600K it is priced against but a 3x advantage in thread count because of Intel's disabling of HyperThreading on Core i5 desktop processors. The Ryzen 5 1500X has the same number of cores as the Core i5-7500 it will be pitted against, but 2x the thread count.
How does this fare for AMD? Will budget consumers finally find a solution from the company that has no caveats?
Subject: General Tech | March 24, 2017 - 06:27 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gigabyte, AB350-Gaming 3, b350, amd, ryzen
The design of the Gigabyte GA-AB350-Gaming 3 is quite spartan, but don't let that fool you as it is heavily infected with RGB-itis. This brand new AMD motherboard is a hair thinner than your average ATX motherboard, at 305x230mm but that doesn't mean the board is lacking in features. There is a single x16 PCIe 3.0 slot, and a sole x4 PCIe 2.0 slot with three x1 PCIe 2.0 slots for additional cards. Of the six SATA ports, only four can be used if you install an M.2 SSD, a reasonable pool of drives for most. There is HDMI 1.4 and DVI connectors on the back, along with a half dozen USB 3.1 ports on the back of which two are Gen 2 and four Gen 1. Check out the full review at Modders Inc.
"AMD is back with a new CPU line-up that brings competitive performance once again against Intel’s current generation of processors at a lower price. In true AMD fashion, the AM4 motherboard line offers the same value alternative as well, offering the latest features similarly found on the latest generation Intel processors natively including USB 3.1 Gen 2, M.2 NVMe support …"
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- ASRock Fatal1ty Z270 Professional Gaming i7 @ Kitguru
- ASRock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac Review @ Hardware Canucks
- ASUS ROG Maximus IX Apex @ Kitguru
- Gigabyte Z170XP-SLI Review @ Neoseeker
Here Comes the Midrange!
Today AMD is announcing the upcoming Ryzen 5 CPUs. A little bit was known about them from several weeks ago when AMD talked about their upcoming 6 core processors, but official specifications were lacking. Today we get to see what Ryzen 5 is mostly about.
There are four initial SKUs that AMD is talking about this evening. These encompass quad core and six core products. There are two “enthusiast” level SKUs with the X connotation while the other two are aimed at a less edgy crowd.
The two six core CPUs are the 1600 and 1600X. The X version features the higher extended frequency range when combined with performance cooling. That unit is clocked at a base 3.6 GHz and achieves a boost of 4 GHz. This compares well to the top end R7 1800X, but it is short 2 cores and four threads. The price of the R5 1600X is a very reasonable $249. The 1600 does not feature the extended range, but it does come in at a 3.2 GHz base and 3.6 GHz boost. The R5 1600 has a MSRP of $219.
When we get to the four core, eight thread units we see much the same stratification. The top end 1500X comes in at $189 and features a base clock of 3.5 GHz and a boost of 3.7 GHz. What is interesting about this model is that the XFR is raised by 100 MHz vs. other XFR CPUs. So instead of an extra 100 MHz boost when high end cooling is present we can expect to see 200 MHz. In theory this could run at 3.9 GHz in the extended state. The lowest priced R5 is the 1400 which comes in at a very modest $169. This features a 3.2 GHz base clock and a 3.4 GHz boost.
The 1400, 1500, and 1600 CPUs come with Wraith cooling solutions. The 1600X comes bare as it is assumed that users want to use something a bit more robust. The R5 1400 comes with the lower end Wraith Stealth cooler while the R5 1500X and R5 1600 come with the bigger Wraith Spire. The bottom 3 SKUs are all rated at 65 watts TDP. The 1600X comes in at the higher 95 watt rating. Each of the CPUs are unlocked for overclocking.
These chips will provide a more fleshed out pricing structure for the Ryzen processors and provide users and enthusiasts with lower cost options for those wanting to invest in AMD again. These chips all run on the new AM4 platform which are pretty strong in terms of features and I/O performance.
AMD is not shipping these parts today, but rather announcing them. Review samples are not in hand yet and AMD expects world-wide availability by April 11. This is likely a very necessary step for AMD as current AM4 motherboard availability is not at the level we were expecting to see. We also are seeing some pretty quick firmware updates from motherboard partners to address issues with these first AM4 boards. By April 11 I would expect to see most of the issues solved and a healthy supply of motherboards on the shelves to handle the influx of consumers waiting to buy these more midrange priced CPUs from AMD.
What they did not cover or answer would be how the four core products would be presented. Would each be a single CCX and only 8 MB of L3 cace, or would AMD disable two cores in each CCX and present 16 MB of L3? We currently do not have the answer to this. Considering the latency between accessing different CCX units we can surely hope they only keep one CCX active.
Ryzen has certainly been a success for AMD and I have no doubt that their quarter will be pretty healthy with the estimated sales of around 1 million Ryzen CPUs since launch. Announcing these new chips will give the mainstream and budget enthusiasts something to look forward to and plan their purchases around. AMD is not announcing the Ryzen 3 products at this time.
Update: AMD got back to me this morning about a question I asked them about the makeup of cores, CCX units, and L3 cache. Here is their response.
1600X: 3+3 with 16MB L3 cache. 1600: 3+3 with 16MB L3 cache. 1500X: 2+2 with 16MB L3 cache. 1400: 2+2 with 8MB L3 cache. As with Ryzen 7, each core still has 512KB local L2 cache.
Subject: Motherboards | March 4, 2017 - 11:32 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: X370GTN, x370, small form factor, SFF, ryzen, racing, motherboard, mITX, mini-itx, B350GTN, b350, amd, AM4
The first images of a mini-ITX AM4 motherboard are here, courtesy of BIOSTAR (via ComputerBase). Part of their second-generation RACING-series of gaming motherboards, BIOSTAR is now the first company to show an AMD Ryzen-capable mini-ITX option with their X370GTN.
Image credit: ComputerBase
There had been mention of an upcoming mITX board for AMD Ryzen CPUs from BIOSTAR, with a (rather low-key) mention of such a product in a recent company press release (“the exciting new RACING X370GTN in the mini-ITX form factor will also be available”), and these images from the company's RACING event are now circulating along with the specs of two different mITX offerings.
Image credit: ComputerBase
There will in fact be two mini-ITX motherboards, with both X370 (shown) and the lower-end B350 chipsets (with the RACING B350GTN). ComputerBase provided slides with specifications (via Zolkorn, Thai language) who covered the BIOSTAR event:
BIOSTAR has not announced availability or pricing of their mini-ITX Ryzen boards yet, but given the pent-up demand for mini-ITX solutions for enthusiast AMD processors (with AM3 conspicuously absent from mITX), this is great news for small form-factor enthusiasts.
Subject: Motherboards | February 26, 2017 - 01:29 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: x370, sli, ryzen, PCI-E 3.0, gaming, crossfire, b350, amd
Computerbase.de recently published an update (translated) to an article outlining the differences between AMD’s AM4 motherboard chipsets. As it stands, the X370 and B350 chipsets are set to be the most popular chipsets for desktop PCs (with X300 catering to the small form factor crowd) especially among enthusiasts. One key differentiator between the two chipsets was initially support for multi-GPU configurations with X370. Now that motherboards have been revealed and are up for pre-order now, it turns out that the multi-GPU lines have been blurred a bit. As it stands, both B350 and X370 will support AMD’s CrossFire multi-GPU technology and the X370 alone will also have support for NVIDIA’s SLI technology.
The AM4 motherboards equipped with the B350 and X370 chipsets that feature two PCI-E x16 expansion slots will run as x8 in each slot in a dual GPU setup. (In a single GPU setup, the top slot can run at full x16 speeds.) Which is to say that the slots behave the same across both chipsets. Where the chipsets differ is in support for specific GPU technologies where NVIDIA’s SLI is locked to X370. TechPowerUp speculates that the decision to lock SLI to its top-end chipset is due, at least in part, to licensing costs. This is not a bad thing as B350 was originally not going to support any dual x16 slot multi-GPU configurations, but now motherboard manufacturers are being allowed to enable it by including a second slot and AMD will reportedly permit CrossFire usage (which costs AMD nothing in licensing). Meanwhile the most expensive X370 chipset will support SLI for those serious gamers that demand and can afford it. Had B350 supported SLI and carried the SLI branding, they likely would have been ever so slightly more expensive than they are now. Of course, DirectX 12's multi-adapter will work on either chipset so long as the game supports it.
|X370||B350||A320||X300 / B300 / A300||Ryzen CPU||Bristol Ridge APU|
|PCI-E 3.0||0||0||0||4||20 (18 w/ 2 SATA)||10|
|USB 3.1 Gen 2||2||2||1||1||0||0|
|USB 3.1 Gen 1||6||2||2||2||4||4|
|SATA 6 Gbps||4||2||2||2||2||2|
|Overclocking Capable?||Yes||Yes||No||Yes (X300 only)|
Multi-GPU is not the only differentiator though. Moving up from B350 to X370 will get you 6 USB 3.1 Gen 1 (USB 3.0) ports versus 2 on B350/A30/X300, two more PCI-E 2.0 lanes (8 versus 6), and two more SATA ports (6 total usable; 4 versus 2 coming from the chipset).
Note that X370, B350, and X300 all support CPU overclocking. Hopefully this helps you when trying to decide which AM4 motherboard to pair with your Ryzen CPU once the independent benchmarks are out. In short, if you must have SLI you are stuck ponying up for X370, but if you plan to only ever run a single GPU or tend to stick with AMD GPUs and CrossFire, B350 gets you most of the way to a X370 for a lot less money! You do not even have to give up any USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports though you limit your SATA drive options (it’s all about M.2 these days anyway heh).
For those curious, looking around on Newegg I notice that most of the B350 motherboards have that second PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot and CrossFire support listed in their specifications and seem to average around $99. Meanwhile X370 starts at $140 and rockets up from there (up to $299!) depending on how much bling you are looking for!
Are you going for a motherboard with the B350 or X370 chipset? Will you be rocking multiple graphics cards?
- AMD Ryzen Pre-order Starts Today, Specs and Performance Revealed
- AMD Launching Ryzen 5 Six Core Processors Soon (Q2 2017)
- AMD Details AM4 Chipsets and Upcoming Motherboards
- AMD Officially Launches Bristol Ridge Processors And Zen-Ready AM4 Platform
- Biostar Launches X370GT7 Flagship Motherboard For Ryzen CPUs
- Gigabyte is Ryzen up to the challenge of their rivals
- Mid-Range Gigabyte Socket AM4 (B350 Chipset) Micro ATX Motherboard Pictured
- CES 2017: MSI Shows Off X370 XPower Gaming Titanium AM4 Motherboard
Subject: Motherboards | February 24, 2017 - 05:30 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: aorus, gigabyte, ryzen, b350, x370
Gigabyte have lead with five motherboards, two X370s under Aorus and three B350s with Gigabyte branding. They all share some traits in common such as RGB Fusion with 16.8 million colours to choose from and an application to allow you to customize the light show to your own specifications. It supports control from your phone if you are so addicted to the glow you need to play with your system from across the room.
Smartfan 5 indicates the presence of five headers for fans or pumps that will work with PWM and standard voltage fans, which can draw up to 12V at 2A. The boards also have six temperature sensors to give you feedback on the effectiveness of your cooling and modify it with the included application. Most models will offer Thunderbolt 3, Intel GbE NICs and an ASMedia 2142 USB 3.1 controllers which they claim can provide up to 16Gb/s. All will have high end audio solutions, often featuring a headphone pre-amp and high quality capacitors. There are a lot more features specific to each board, so make sure to click through to check out your favourites.
The Aorus boards, the GA-AX370-Gaming K7 and GA-AX370-GAMING 5 are very similar but if you plan on playing with your BCLK it is the K7 which includes Gigabyte's Turbo B-Clock. The Gigabyte lineup includes the GA-AB350M, GA-AB350-Gaming and GA-AB350-GAMING 3. The GA-AB350M is the only mATX Ryzen board of these five for those looking to build a smaller system. For audiophiles the full size the GAMING 3 includes an ALC1220 codec as opposed to the ALC 887 used on the other two models.
You can expect to see reviews of these boards which offer far more details on perfomance and features after they are released on March 2nd. Full PR under the break.
Subject: Motherboards | January 11, 2017 - 09:31 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: x370, x300, ryzen, gigabyte, CES 2017, CES, b350, AM4, a320
Last week AMD provided additional details on the chipsets and AM4 platform (JoshTekk article link) that will support the company's upcoming Ryzen processors. On tap are the X370, B350, A320 for enthusiast, mid range, and budget markets respectively and the odd-man-out and somewhat mysterious pinky sized X300 chipset specifically geared for Mini ITX and other small form factor motherboards. Gigabyte answered some of Josh and I's questions on what actual motherboards will look like and what features manufacturers would take advantage of when it unveiled (nearly) its full lineup of AM4 motherboards at CES 2017.
Except for an X300-based motherboard which was absent from their booth, Gigabyte teased four new motherboards using each of AMD's new chipsets. Specifically, there will be two Aorus-branded high end X370-based motherboards known as GA-AX370-Gaming 5, GA-AX370-Gaming K5, a midrange B350-based Gigabyte AB350-Gaming 3 motherboard, and a budget micro ATX A320M-HD3 using the lower end A320 chipset.
All four of the motherboards surround the 1331-pin AM4 processor socket with four dual channel DDR4 DIMM slots, six SATA 6Gbps ports, at least one M.2 slot, at least two PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots, and modern USB 3.1 external IO connections.
Tech Report takes a look at Gigabyte's planned AM4 motherboard lineup.
The Gigabyte GA-AX370-Gaming 5 is the company's highest end motherboard and is clad in silver and black with white heatspreaders and "armor" plating. Being part of the Aorus brand, the motherboard has RGB LEDs and is reportedly at feature parity with Gigabyte's RGB-lit Z270 offerings. Powered by a 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS, the Gaming 5 uses a 10-phase VRM along with large heat spreaders to facilitate overclocking. The board features three PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots that are electrically wired as x16/x8/x4 with support for CrossFireX and SLI (though only AMD will let you go to three cards on the third x4 slot) and three PCI-E x1 slots. The storage subsystem includes a single U.2 port and two SATA Express connectors (part of the total six SATA 6Gbps, not in addition to).
External I/O includes:
- 1x PS/2
- 6x USB 3.1 Gen 1
- 4x USB 3.1 Gen 2 (1 x Type-C)
- 2x Gigabit Ethernet
- 1x Intel
- 1x Killer Ethernet 2500
- 6x Audio
- 5x Analog out
- 1x SPDIF
Other little features like a BIOS code readout display and hybrid fan headers are part of the higher end boards but absent on the lower end ones.
Moving from the Gaming-5 to the GA-AX370-Gaming K5, the heat spreaders are scaled back and the color scheme is black and silver instead of white, silver, and black. Further, the power phases are less robust at seven phases, there is no LED display for error codes, no U.2 port, and no Killer Networks Ethernet. The slightly lower end board does keep the M.2 slot, SATA Express connectors, and PCI-E slots of the Gaming 5, however.
The Gigabyte AB350-Gaming 3 is where things start to noticeably change in the feature set. The VRM area is scaled back further with seven phases and a smaller heatsink. There is no U.2 or SATA Express, and one fewer PCI-E x1 slot than the X370 offerings. The motherboard does have three PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots (I am guessing still wired as x16/x8/x4 but AMD's slide from Josh's story is a bit unclear in this regard) but officially CrossFire and SLI are not supported according to AMD's slide. Around back, the board differs from the higher end models by including display outputs and lacking S/PDIF audio outputs. Specifically, the Gaming 3 board features:
- 2x USB 2.0
- 1x PS/2
- 4x Video outputs
- 1x VGA
- 1x DVI
- 1x DisplayPort 1.2
- 1x HDMI 2.0 [updated 10:32]
- 4x USB 3.1 Gen 1
- 2x USB 3.1 Gen 2
- 1x Intel Gigabit Ethernet
- 3x Analog audio outputs (AmpUp! audio)
Finally, the lowest end A320M-HD3 is a micro ATX motherboard with four DDR4 slots, six SATA port, two PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots (likely wired as x8/x4), a single M.2 slot, and a PCI slot of all things. The all black board uses a 7 phase VRM and thanks to most of the connectivity being housed in the processor and A320 chipset, the PCB looks rather barren. This does have the positive effect of allowing AMD to still put four DIMM slots on the board and two PCI-E slots with room to spare. External I/O on this board is identical to the AB350-Gaming 3 above.
In all, it is refreshing to see an updated AMD motherboard platform with the latest storage and graphics connectivity options, and while SATA Express and even U.2 aren't as useful as they could be (not many products actually use those connectors, M.2 has really stolen the show here) the inclusion of native USB 3.1 Gen 2 is great as is the ability to use all six SATA 6Gbps ports along with dual graphics cards (things get dicer when adding PCI-E storage and/or using the 4th x16 slot which may reduce the number of available SATA ports but that is a bit beyond this article.) It is nice to see these features coming from AMD directly and not having to rely on third party chips for modern features as AMD's AM3 platform had to. Seeing the initial launch boards take advantage of the new features fully is promising as well though I expect to see different configurations in the audio, M.2, and external I/O departments from future Gigabyte boards and their competitors.
I am curious to see how well the chipsets perform versus Intel's in the USB 3.1 and PCI-E storage departments as well as how overclocking will work with Ryzen and how far the AM4 platform boards will be able to push the new chips. It appears that AM4 has Zen off to a good start, and here's hoping that the AM4 platform will carry Zen into the future and help Ryzen, ahem, rise up to the task of delivering on all those performance promises from AMD!
Follow all of our coverage of the show at https://pcper.com/ces!
AM4 Edging Closer to Retail
Many of us were thinking that one of the bigger stories around CES would be the unveiling of a goodly chunk of AM4 motherboards. AM4 has been around for about half a year now, but only in system integrator builds (such as HP). These have all been based around Bristol Ridge APU (essentially an updated Carrizo APU). These SOCs are not exactly barn burners, but they provide a solid foundation for a low-cost build. The APUs features 2 modules/4 cores, a GCN based GPU, and limited southbridge I/O functionality.
During all this time the motherboards available from these OEMs are very basic units not fit for retail. Users simply could not go out and buy a Bristol Ridge APU and motherboard for themselves off of Newegg, Amazon, and elsewhere. Now after much speculation we finally got to see the first AM4 retail style boards unveiled at this year’s CES. AMD showed off around 16 boards based on previously unseen B350 and X370 chipsets.
AMD has had a pretty limited number of chipsets that they have introduced over the years. Their FM2+ offerings spanned the A series of chipsets, but they added very little in terms of functionality as compared to the 900 series that populate the AM3+ world. The latest offering from AMD was the A88x which was released in September 2013. At one time there was supposed to be a 1000 series of chipsets for AM3+, but those were cancelled and we have had the 900 series (which are identical to the previous 800 series) since 2011. This has been a pretty stagnant area for AMD and their partners. 3rd party chips have helped shore up the feature divide between AMD and Intel’s regular release of new chipsets and technologies attached to them.
There are three primary chipsets being released as well as two physical layer chips that allow the use of the onboard southbridge on Ryzen and Bristol Ridge. The X370 for the enthusiast market, the B350 for the mainstream, and then the budget A320. The two chipset options for utilizing the SOC’s southbridge functionality are the X300 and A/B300.
Before we jump into the chipsets we should take a look at what kind of functionality Ryzen and Bristol Ridge have that can be leveraged by motherboard manufacturers. Bristol Ridge is a true SOC in that it contains the GPU, CPU, and southbridge functionality to stand alone. Ryzen is different in that it does not have the GPU portion so it still requires a standalone graphics card to work. Bristol Ridge is based off of the older Carrizo design and does not feature the flexibility in its I/O connections that Ryzen does.
Bristol Ridge features up to 8 lanes of PCI-E 3.0. The I/O on it includes 2 native SATA6G ports as well as the ability to either utilize two more PCI-e lanes or have them as x2 NVME. That is about as flexible as it gets. It also natively supports four USB 3.1 gen 1 ports. For a chip that was designed to be a mobile focused SoC it makes sense that it will not max out PCI-E lanes or SATA ports. It still is enough to satisfy most mobile and SFF builds.
Subject: Motherboards | October 1, 2016 - 11:20 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Zen, micro ATX, Excavator, Bristol Ridge, b350, amd, AM4
Thanks to a recent leak over at Bodnara.co.kr (which has since been taken down), pictures emerged online that give a first look at an AMD socket AM4 motherboard using the mid-range B350 chipset. The Gigabyte B350M-DS3H is a Micro ATX motherboard supporting Bristol Ridge processors at launch and Zen-based processors next year.
The mid-range AM4 board has a very simple layout that leaves little mystery. There are no large heatsinks and no northbridge thanks to AMD moving most of the connectivity to the SoC itself. In fact there is only a small passively cooled chip in the bottom right corner (the B350 chipset) that between the SoC and it can offer up PCI-E 3.0, SATA 6.0, USB 3.1, USB 3.0, NVMe SSD, and DDR4 memory support. This post outlines how the duties are split between the processor and southbridge.
The B350M-DS3H is powered by a 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS and Gigabyte is using a seven phase VRM to power the processor and memory. The board hosts a 1331 pin AM4 socket up top with four DDR4 slots to the right. The CMOS battery is placed just above the PCI-E slots in a position that Morry would be proud of (so long as your CPU cooler is not too massive). Below that are two PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots (electrically x16/x4 or x8/x8), a single PCI-E 3.0 x1 slot, and a NVMe M.2 (PCI-E) slot. The bottom right corner of the board hosts six SATA 6 Gbps ports.
Rear I/O on the AMD motherboard includes:
- 2 x USB 2.0
- 1 x PS/2
- 3 x Video Outputs
- 1 x VGA
- 1 x DVI
- 1 x HDMI
- 4 x USB 3.0
- 2 x USB 3.1
- 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
- 3 x Audio Jacks
Several websites are reporting that AMD will be unleashing the floodgates of socket AM4 motherboards using the A320 and B350 chipsets in October (it is saving the launch of the enthusiast X370 chipset for next year alongside Summit Ridge). I have to say that it is nice to see an AMD motherboard with updated I/O which is a nice change from the ancient 990X AM3+ platform and even the FM2+ motherboards which were newer but still .ot as full featured as the competition.
- AMD Officially Launches Bristol Ridge Processors And Zen-Ready AM4 Platform
- Report: AMD Socket AM4 Compatible with Existing AM2/AM3 Coolers
- AMD Zen Architecture and Performance Preview
- AMD Introduces 7th Generation APUs: Bristol Ridge Takes Center Stage