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AMD's Budget-Friendly A520 Chipset Finally Comes To Town

AMD Ryzen Processor

AMD Ryzen Processor (Image credit: AMD)

It's been a long time coming, but AMD has officially released its entry-level A520 chipset. Along with the launch comes a plethora of A520 motherboards that will absolutely steal your attention.

Focusing on providing the best bang for your buck, the A520 chipset does check in without some key features that you may or may not miss. For starters, the chipset doesn't support CPU overclocking, which shouldn't be a huge deal breaker since Ryzen 3000-series (codename Matisse) processors don't have much manual overclocking headroom to start with. Furthermore, A520 motherboards are low-cost options for budget-constraint pockets so they often come with modest power delivery subsystems, which are sufficient for stock usage but not really adept for overclocking.

Above all, the A520 chipset loses out on the most important feature that's innate to AMD's 500-series chipset - PCIe 4.0 support. PCIe 4.0 shouldn't matter for graphics cards since a PCIe 3.0 x16 interface is more than enough. Unfortunately, the lack of PCIe 4.0 on the A520 chipset means you will miss the experience of having a speedy PCIe 4.0 SSD.

AMD A520 Chipset Specifications

A320A520B550X570
CPU Graphics Supportx16 PCIe 3.0x16 PCIe 3.0x16 PCIe 4.0x16 PCIe 4.0
CPU Storage SupportPCIe 3.0PCIe 3.0PCIe 4.0PCIe 4.0
CPU USB Ports1 x USB 3.2 Gen 21 x USB 3.2 Gen 22 x USB 3.2 Gen 28 x USB 3.2 Gen 2
Dual Graphics SupportNoNoYesYes
General Purpose LanesPCIe 2.0PCIe 3.0PCIe 3.0PCIe 4.0
CPU Chipset UplinkPCIe 3.0PCIe 3.0PCIe 3.0PCIe 4.0
Overclocking SupportNoNoYesYes

In regards to processor compatibility, you may be disappointed to hear that the A520 chipset only supports Ryzen 3000-series processors and the recently announced Ryzen 4000-series (Renoir) APUs. 

Officially, there is zero retrospective compatibility with older AMD Ryzen processors, but as we've seen before, some motherboard vendors aren't always obedient with AMD's parameters. The good news, however, is that the A520 chipset will support AMD's upcoming Zen 3 processors (codename Vermeer), whether the chipmaker decides to label them as Ryzen 4000-series or Ryzen 5000-series.

AMD A520 Chipset (Image credit: AMD)

The A520 does bring one significant upgrade over the previous A320 chipset though. The general purpose lanes on the A520 chipset conform to the PCIe 3.0 standard as opposed to the sluggish PCIe 2.0 lanes on the A320 chipset.

The A520 chipset lands with 26 usable PCIe 3.0 lanes when a Ryzen 3000-series processor is inhabiting the motherboard. The storage design allows for up to four SATA III ports. Connectivity-wise, the chipset can accommodate up to five USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports, two native USB 3.1 ports and six native USB 2.0 ports.

The price expectations for A520 motherboards are pretty low since these motherboards are aimed at consumers with very tight budgets that only require the bare minimum. Amazon listings show Gigabyte A520 offerings going for as low as $69.99, but we expect to see even cheaper models.

  • EtaLasquera
    Incredible! What'snew?
    Support of current/future generations of Ryzen CPU/APU.
    Disable support for past generations due to bios size limitations.
    Reply
  • salgado18
    EtaLasquera said:
    Incredible! What'snew?
    Support of current/future generations of Ryzen CPU/APU.
    Disable support for past generations due to bios size limitations.
    And PCIex 3.0 all around.

    Anyway, the antecessor goes back to the Ryzen 1xxx days, so it's nice to have a refresh.
    Reply
  • salgado18
    I just wish all manufacturers showed the max TDP supported for all boards, and possibly a recommended one. It's so common for a budget board to say it supports a 16-core Ryzen, but tests show it throttling hard in it.
    Reply
  • tjvaldez01
    salgado18 said:
    I just wish all manufacturers showed the max TDP supported for all boards, and possibly a recommended one. It's so common for a budget board to say it supports a 16-core Ryzen, but tests show it throttling hard in it.
    Why waste a 16 core processor on a budget Mobo? At least get an A550.
    Reply
  • salgado18
    tjvaldez01 said:
    Why waste a 16 core processor on a budget Mobo? At least get an A550.
    If it fits, I chips, right? :P

    I see it as a possible future upgrade path for a budget build. Like someone with an old i3-6100 could upgrade to an i7-7700k years later, saving the money of a new motherboard and new ram. I agree it's better to get a budget B550, but if they make the A520 compatible with the 16-core, then it should be usable, right?
    Reply
  • RodroX
    I think is ok, after all no one should buy this kind of motherboard to use with a 12/16 core cpu + high end GPU.

    If you have the money to buy that kind of CPU and GPU you can go up and get a decent B550 board.

    This ones will work great for office/home theater PCs, even for building a lazy type esport games machines, to play on the couch using a wireless controller.

    And I guess AMD will be able to withdraw the lame B550A chipset now.
    Reply
  • NightHawkRMX
    Sounds like a good idea. A cheap board and nothing more than the basics.

    Ryzen 3000 doesn't overclock amazingly, so you aren't missing out on much in that regard. PCIe 4.0 isn't all too important right now for video cards and let's face it, you aren't putting a pricey PCIe 4.0 SSD into a cheap system anyhow.
    Reply