The China Times (opens in new tab) brings bad news for consumers who've been waiting for affordable AMD 500-series motherboards. The Chinese news outlet reports that ASMedia will start mass-producing AMD's budget B550 and A520 chipsets in the first quarter of this year, meaning the wait for the corresponding motherboards continues.
AMD launched its Ryzen 3000-series processors (opens in new tab) back in July of last year. Thus far, the chipmaker has only officially released the X570 chipset, which raises the question of why the more budget-friendly chipsets are taking so long to arrive. A previous DigiTimes report (opens in new tab) estimated that ASMedia should have started to ship out B550 and A520 orders to motherboard manufacturers during the fourth quarter of 2019. As per the latest article from The China Times, it would appear ASMedia might have run into some setbacks.
On another note, AMD's next wave of Ryzen processors, codenamed Vermeer, employs the Zen 3 microarchitecture. It's not yet confirmed, but AMD will probably market the new chips under the Ryzen 4000-series moniker. TSMC is expected to produce these processors with the improved N7+ EUV (Extreme Ultraviolet) manufacturing process.
AMD was the first chipmaker to welcome the PCIe 4.0 interface, and the company will continue to implement the standard on the forthcoming 600-series chipsets. Analysts expect ASMedia to secure orders for the 600-series chipsets in the second half of the year. The timeframe seems to concide with The China Times' claims (opens in new tab) that AMD will unleash the Zen 3 chips in the second half of 2020.
In addition to TSMC and ASMedia, AMD's entire supply chain will benefit from the chipmaker's Zen 3 products. According to analysts, AMD utilizes flip-chip packaging, which the chipmaker would outsource to Advanced Semiconductor Engineering, Inc. (ASE Group). Anpec Electronics Corporation has already started shipping out ICs for AMD graphics cards and motherboards while Jentech Precision Industrial Co., Ltd. will likely provide heat spreader services.
AMD is holding its CES 2020 conference today at 2 p.m. PT. The China Times thinks AMD could give the world a small taste of the Zen 3 microarchitecture during the event. We'll be at the venue to bring you the latest in AMD news, so stay tuned.
THIS IS WORSE THAN PRODUCT SEGMENTATION.
Having multiple options is worse than only one option? :-o Over-dramatic much?
X470 and B450 are real options even for new AMD CPUs. Also, the lower tier chipsets will be made by ASMedia (X570 was by AMD), and will definitely be lower cost, so might not be that much better than something from the 400 series.
Since X570 and the motherboards using it are so over-built, have a multitude of new features, and all the motherboard vendors have put their best foot forward with some great designs (obviously a few duds too), there really is no need for "X670" this year other than that it would be "new". By serving two CPU generations with the 500 series chipsets, both AMD and its partners could save some on development costs for both hardware and BIOS. Maybe some refresh motherboards, but that could be it.
If that is the case, the B550 and A520 releases will probably coincide with the 4000 series APUs (based on the same Zen 2 architecture as the 3000 series desktop CPUs).
I have to praise MSI's "MAX" boards, and even AsRock has a couple boards with guaranteed Ryzen 3000 support out of the box on B450 boards. IF things like that (and/or BIOS flashback) can become more commonplace, this whole practice of delaying the more budget friendly chipsets until launch hype has worn off won't be as ridiculous.
Second, unless you have a PCIe4.0 SSD, your SSD won't run any faster either. (There's also no guarantee that B550 will feature PCIe4.0 anyway)
This would allow a PCIe Gen3 x8 (~7.8 GB/s) connection to the chipset; plenty for two M.2 drives at full PCIe Gen3 x4, essentially switched using the chipset, while allowing the dGPU to still use full x16 lanes from the CPU.
Obviously the configuration would depend on the motherboard vendor and price point. Some could only have one M.2 but more PCIe x4 and x1 expansion slots - the "put all your PCIe into M.2" is only given for the Mini-ITX form factor.
This would be like what Intel's been doing on their mainstream platforms - only better since the chipset uplink would be less likely to be a bottleneck.
I think this would be an interesting development; it would make B550 different enough from B450, despite not jumping to the expensive PCIe Gen4. I could also see motherboard vendors coming up with some really compelling designs using the extra chipset bandwidth to allow more flexibility in terms of M.2 / PCIe expansion slots / on-board controllers.
Some B550 motherboards could even have a PCIe Gen3 x8 expansion slot thru the chipset, taking over the low-end part of the dual graphics (or other high bandwidth device) market that X570 can't meet due to cost.
Adding extra M.2 drives typically disables some other storage related connections.