ASMedia Technology is going full throttle to finish tape-outs for its PCIe 4.0 solutions by the end of the year with the hope of winning AMD's heart over again after the company went with its own chipsets for the first X570 motherboards.
A recent DigiTimes report confirms that ASMedia has received orders from AMD to produce the chipmaker's upcoming B550 and A520 chipsets. However, orders for X570 chipsets are pretty much up in the air. If there are no setbacks on ASMedia's PCIe 4.0 tape-outs, the Taiwanese integrated circuit maker is likely to land the orders for the X570 chipset as well.
According to DigiTimes, the B550 and A520 chipsets support the PCIe 3.0 standard, but it's too early to rule out that they won't feature PCIe 4.0. For starters, PCIe 4.0 is backward compatible with PCIe 3.0, so B550 and A520 motherboards could support PCIe 4.0, but in a limited way. If we look back at the Ryzen 3000-series launch, the third-generation processors have as much as 24 PCIe 4.0 lanes at their disposal. So it's plausible that B550 and A520 motherboards can have their first PCIe x16 slot and one M.2 port wired directly to the processor.
From a monetary standpoint, it makes perfect sense to restrict PCIe 4.0 support on B550 and A520 motherboards. They are budget chipsets after all, and it would help reduce costs so the final product could be more accessible. As MSI CEO Charles Chiang recently told us in an interview, even the entry-level offerings are expected to be more expensive in comparison to the previous-gen AMD motherboards. It's understandable to restrict feature sets to meet certain pricing criteria.
The current timeline looks like this: ASMedia plans to ship B550 and A520 chipsets to motherboard manufacturers in the fourth quarter. It's safe to assume B550 and A520 motherboards could arrive at the end of the year. Since ASMedia's PCIe 4.0 tape-out won't be finished until the end of 2019, AMD X570 motherboards might see the light of day until sometime in 2020, perhaps in the first quarter. AMD is in no hurry to roll out X570 motherboards since X570 isn't a replacement for X470. The chipmaker is positioning X570 as the new flagship chipset that's one tier above X470.