Skip to main content

Unannounced AMD 400-Series Chipset Appears In PCI-SIG Integrators List

AMD announced earlier this year that it would switch from 14nm LPP to GlobalFoundries' 12nm LP process, so naturally, we expect it to have new processors in 2018. Now there are signs that the company will also bring a new chipset to market with the updated processors.

And indeed, AMD has a new AMD 400 Series Chipset listing on the PCI-SIG site. (The PCI-SIG Compliance Program tests products and ensures interoperability with the PCIe interface.) The listing also includes the "Promontory 400 Series" as an identifier. AMD's current 300 Series chipsets also fall under the Promontory family. AMD's 400 Series Chipset Root Complex is also listed separately on the Integrators List. Notably, this new root complex features the PCIe 3.0 interface.

As you can see with AMD's previous Promontory platform entries, the 300 Series chipsets feature the PCIe 2.0 connection.

That means we will see an improvement to PCIe 3.0 for the unannounced 400 Series chipset, and that it will not come with PCIe 4.0. AMD has promised to support the AM4 platform and Socket 1331 until 2020, barring the introduction of DDR5 or PCIe 4.0 (which would change the pinout). That means these chipsets should be pin-compatible with the existing Ryzen processors.

The 300 series chipset provides up to eight PCIe 2.0 lanes for devices, and improving to a PCIe 3.0 connection will double performance. AMD stratified the introductory AM4 platform into four different 300 Series configurations that offer varying features for each target segment. In the past, AMD APUs leveraged the FM2+ socket, but FX-Series CPUs used the AM3+ socket. AM4 marks the move to a single unified socket for both CPUs and APUs. That includes X/B/A300 configurations for small form factors, A320 for essential applications, B350 for mainstream, and X370 for enthusiasts.

The Ryzen processors also have integrated SoC capabilities that allow the small form factor options, such as X300, to come without a standard controller hub. We haven't seen those come to market yet.

The Ryzen processors provide four lanes of PCIe 3.0 connectivity for high-performance storage devices, along with 16 lanes for graphics cards.

AMD outsourced its chipset production to ASMedia in 2014, and we imagine the company continues to work in that role. The 300 series boards brought a nice power reduction and it's possible we could see an improvement with the 400 Series.

Considering AMD's commitment to supporting its platform for the long term, we imagine the new chipsets will work in tandem with Socket 1331 and existing Ryzen processors.

CES 2018 is fast approaching, and we expect more details to emerge at the show.