Early-adopter tax is in full force for the first batch of AM5 motherboards

Enlarge / The MSI MEG X670E Godlike raises attention-grabbing questions, like, “might God make a motherboard so costly that even He couldn’t afford it?”


Constructing a PC round a brand new processor is dear at the most effective of occasions, and that is triple-true of AMD’s new Ryzen 7000 chips. AMD has began with its $300-and-up high-end chips, leaving mid-range choices till subsequent 12 months. The CPUs solely help DDR5 RAM, which continues to be costlier than DDR4 on the similar capacities. And the primary spherical of motherboards that embrace the brand new AM5 CPU socket are right here, they usually’re fairly costly.

The most affordable motherboard at the moment obtainable from the likes of Newegg and Micro Center is the ASRock X670E PG Lightning, which, regardless of being the least costly motherboard obtainable, is an X670E board that can help PCIe 5.0 GPUs once they finally arrive (even the newly introduced GeForce RTX 4000-series nonetheless makes use of PCIe 4.0). The motherboard is lacking a couple of options we prefer to see—no built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, restricted audio outputs, comparatively small heatsinks for the voltage-regulator modules (VRMs) and different parts—nevertheless it does have 4 M.2 SSD slots of various speeds and loads of hookups for case followers and entrance USB ports.

If it is one thing you care about, the most affordable X670E board with Wi-Fi can also be certainly one of ASRock’s, the X670E Pro RS, obtainable for $280 at Newegg and Micro Center.

AMD's Socket AM5.
Enlarge / AMD’s Socket AM5.

Andrew Cunningham

As you go up in worth towards the $500 mark, you begin to see extra of the additions that high-end boards are identified for: bigger warmth sinks for the VRMs and, usually, giant one-piece metallic heatsinks that cowl extra of the SSD slots and make the board look a bit cleaner inside a case with a aspect window. The Asus ROG STRIX X670E-F ($450), Gigabyte X670E Aorus Master ($500), and MSI MPG X670E Carbon Wifi ($480) are on this cohort, with their large, flashy RGB heatsinks. In comparison with the lower-end boards, in addition they are inclined to have extra USB-C ports on the again and a better ratio of USB 3.x ports to USB 2.0 ports.

Followers of tiny builds will probably be dissatisfied to see that there is only one mini-ITX AM5 board obtainable up to now, and it is fairly expensive: the Asus ROG STRIX X670E-I Gaming WiFi ($470) appears to be like succesful but in addition a bit bizarre, with an odd exterior hub known as the “ROG Strix Hive” and a protruding daughterboard for USB 2.0 port headers, the entrance panel headers, and a few SATA ports which may be a clumsy slot in some particularly small ITX circumstances.

The Asus ROG STRIX X670E-I WiFi has an odd protruding daughterboard (right) for USB 2.0 headers, SATA ports, and the front panel header, which could cause problems for some tiny ITX cases.
Enlarge / The Asus ROG STRIX X670E-I WiFi has an odd protruding daughterboard (proper) for USB 2.0 headers, SATA ports, and the entrance panel header, which might trigger issues for some tiny ITX circumstances.


The award for “most absurdly costly motherboard” goes to the MSI MEG X670E Godlike, which at $1,300 is almost twice as costly because the next-most-expensive board. A hulking black monolith, this board is coated in shiny heatsinks and makes an attempt to justify its worth by together with a riser card for extra PCIe 5.0 SSDs and a built-in 10Gbps Ethernet port.

Costs will not be this foolish perpetually—and even (hopefully) for very lengthy. This primary wave of boards is closely tilted towards the more-expensive X670E variant (20 boards on Newegg, versus simply 4 X670 boards), which want to fulfill the extra sturdy signaling necessities of PCI Categorical 5.0 for the graphics slot.

In October, AMD can even launch B650 and B650E boards, which only use a single chipset die whereas X670 uses two—these motherboards should carry AM5 help effectively beneath $200 whereas nonetheless delivering good efficiency. Subsequent 12 months, as DDR5 costs steadily come down and AMD launches extra midrange Ryzen 7000 sequence CPUs, it needs to be simpler to suggest an AM5 construct to budget-conscious consumers. AMD plans to help AM5 till at the least 2025, so a board that you just purchase now should be eligible for at the least a couple of new CPUs within the subsequent few years, too.

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