The A300 and X300 chipsets, which also target SFF systems, have been around for a while, but not many vendors have taken advantage of them. The ASRock DeskMini A300 is one of the handful systems that actually features an A300-based motherboard. It'll be interesting to see whether the Pro 500 chipset gains more favor from AMD's partners. Like the A300 and X300 chipsets, the Pro 500 chipset also lives on the existing AM4 platform.
According to AMD's website, the Pro 500, as well as A300, are "geared toward practical consumer and commercial users who need a simple, small solution." Meanwhile, the X300 chipset targets enthusiasts and overclockers.
In terms of similarities, the A300 and X300 chipsets support four USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, two SATA ports, two M.2 ports and RAID 0 and 1 arrays. However, the A300 chipset only supports one PCIe 3.0 slot and doesn't allow for overclocking. The X300 chipset is a bit more generous in terms of features as it enables up to two PCIe 3.0 slots and overclocking. The PCIe 3.0 slots on both chipset operate at x8 with A-series and Athlon chips and at x16 with Ryzen chips.
Unfortunately, information on the Pro 500 chipset is pretty scarce. If we had to make a guess, we suspect the Pro 500 chipset is based on a similar design as AMD's high-end X570 chipset.
Additionally, Lenovo's IdeaCentre T540 and ThinkCentre M75s desktop PCs are listed as employing motherboards that are based on the AMD Pro 560 chipset.
It's uncertain if the Pro 560 is the same as Pro 500 AMD listed on it's website. However, the specifications for Lenovo's systems point to the usage of PCIe 3.0, so it appears that the Pro 560 chipset doesn't support the latest PCIe 4.0 standard.
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The lower-end ($999) M75s SFF has, uh, an impressive markup. 256GB SSD, 8GB RAM, and only integrated graphics. An ASRock A300 will get you there for about $150 (the case/mobo/PSU/wifi) + $100 (the 3200G) + $65 (500GB WD Blue NVMe, an upgrade!) + $35 (8GB laptop RAM) = $350. Assembly will cost you something but you can probably work that out if it'll save you $650 a unit. I know, big customers get discounts, some need the management features, businesses will pay lots just for support and like to use their chosen vendor(tm), but even considering all that, wowie.Reply
If we had to make a guess, we suspect the Pro 500 chipset is based on a similar design as AMD's high-end X570 chipset.
Why make guesses that are counter to not only what we know about A300 and X300, but things already discussed in the article? (Besides the fact that I guess that statement can unwittingly kind of true if you choose to not use an APU, since the Ryzen CPUs include a chip very similar to the X570 chipset in the form of the I/O die...)
AMD's chipset listings include the quote:
... AMD’s X300, A300, and PRO 500 chipsets provide processor-direct access for excellent performance. ...
The A300 and X300 "chipsets" mean the motherboard is built for an SoC CPU/APU without an external chipset. Ryzen has some SATA and USB on the CPU/APU itself, so those can provide the needed connectivity for low-cost or small footprint systems.
If you check the connectivity listed, it matches that provided by the CPU - as long as you repurpose the 4 lanes usually used for a chipset for an extra M.2.
I would assume that AMD design rules for X300 - similar to the how the distinction works between the higher end X, B/A series chipsets - allowed bifurcating the primary x16 connection to x8/x8, while A300 didn't. (Although this doesn't really affect things much since most systems like this would be equipped with an APU that has only 8 lanes for the GPU to begin with.)