Processors

Vendors Show Off First X670, X670E AM5 Motherboards for Zen 4 CPUs – Tom’s Hardware

AMD on Thursday gave a sneak peek (opens in new tab) at its next-generation high-end platforms for its upcoming Ryzen 7000-series (Raphael) Zen 4 processors in AM5 form-factor together with its motherboard partners. Since AMD’s X670 and X670E platforms will cater to enthusiasts, they will pack the most innovative features as well as provide advanced overclocking capabilities.

AMD’s X670 and X670E Platforms

First and foremost, AMD confirmed that high-end AM5 motherboards for next-generation processors would utilize its X670 and X670E chipsets. The X670 will support overclocking and appease ‘regular’ enthusiasts. In contrast, the X670E (dual-chip design) features ‘unparalleled’ expandability, extreme overclocking, and PCIe 5.0 connectivity for up to two graphics cards and an M.2 slot for an NVMe SSD.

AMD itself outlines several key features of its AM5 platforms that will differentiate them from previous-generation motherboards, including TDP of up to 170W to maximize the performance of next-generation processors with up to 16 Zen 4 cores, up to 24 PCIe 5.0 lanes (x16 for a graphics card, x4 for an SSD, and x4 to connect to the chipset), dual-channel DDR5 memory support, up to four DisplayPort 2 or HDMI 2.1 outputs (which confirms that there will be AM5 processors with integrated graphics), up to 14 USB ports (including several USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 ports as well as USB-C), and Wi-Fi 6E support on select motherboards.

Motherboard makers traditionally try to differentiate themselves from the competition, so they will be offering AMD X670/X670E platforms with beefed-up CPU voltage regulating modules (VRM) capable of delivering hundreds of watts of power to AMD’s new processors to boost their overclocking potential further. What is a bit surprising is that neither AMD nor its partners talked about supported DDR5 speeds on the upcoming AM5 platforms.

Some AMD X670/X670E mainboards will also come with an M.2-25110 slot(s) for upcoming high-performance SSDs with a PCIe 5.0 x4 interface that requires more sophisticated cooling. Motherboard makers prepare rather sophisticated cooling solutions for next-generation drives to ensure their consistent performance.

Regarding connectivity, since USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 is not a widespread standard, there will be motherboards with USB4 or Thunderbolt 3/4 ports supported by an external controller (though it is unclear which one) for those with Thunderbolt 3/4 or next-gen USB 4 devices. Also, some mainboards will come with a 2.5GbE port enabled by an Intel controller, whereas the most advanced platforms will come with a 10GbE port enabled by Marvell’s AQtion silicon.

As for Wi-Fi 6E, some AMD X670/X670E motherboards will support the latest WLAN connectivity using AMD’s RZ616 Wi-Fi 6E controller developed by MediaTek, whereas others will use Intel’s Wi-Fi 6E solutions.

Now, let’s look at what Asus, ASRock, Biostar, Gigabyte, and MSI are prepping for early AM5 adopters.

Asus

The world’s largest motherboard maker is readying two platforms to support AMD’s AM5 rollout — the ROG Crosshair X670E Extreme and the ROG Crosshair X670E Hero — but more are coming. The mainboards will feature a VRM based on the Infineon ASP2205 power management IC (PMIC) and Vishay SIC850 110A smart power stages. In addition, the Extreme model will feature a 20+2-stage power delivery, whereas the Hero will come with 18+2-stage VRM.

Of course, Asustek’s ROG Crosshair X670E Extreme and ROG Crosshair X670E Hero will come with premium connectivity, including two USB4 ports, a 2.5GbE/10GbE connector, an advanced audio subsystem, and a Wi-Fi 6E (Intel AX210) adapter.

ASRock

ASRock’s initial AM5 lineup will consist of five motherboards, including two flagship X670E Taichi Carrara and X670E Taichi platforms, X670E Steel Legend, X670E Pro RS, and X670E PG Lightning.

These motherboards will use an eight-layer printed circuit board (not the maximum number of layers possible, so to speak), a high-performance active cooler for M.2 SSDs, and USB 4 Type-C connectors.

Biostar

Being a relatively new entrant to the enthusiast motherboard market, Biostar will have one X670E motherboard ready for the AM5 launch — the X670E Valkyrie.

This platform will feature a 22-phase VRM with 105A Dr.MOS stages, two PCIe Gen5 x16 (operating in x8 or x16 mode), a PCIe Gen4 x16 slot (operating in x4 mode), four M.2-2280/22110 slots PCIe Gen4/5 with advanced heat spreaders, a 2.5GbE connector, a USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 port, and two display outputs (DP 1.4, HDMI 2.1).

Gigabyte

Gigabyte preps four high-end AMD X670E/X670 motherboards, including the X670E Aorus Xtreme, X670E A Aorus Master, X670 Aorus Pro AX, and X670 Aorus Elite AX. The flagship X670E Aorus Xtreme will feature an 18+2+2 power delivery design based on the Renesas RAA229628 PMIC, 18 Renesas RAA2201054 SPS 105A V-core power stages, two ON NCP303160 SPS 60A SoC power stages, and two Renesas ISL99390 SPS 90A power stages. Other platforms in the lineup will use a 16+2+2 VRM featuring different PMICs and MOSFETs (see the table in the gallery below).

The most exciting part about Gigabyte’s AMD X670E and X670 motherboards is that only the former will support a PCIe 5.0 interface, whereas the latter will only feature PCIe 5.0 for SSDs. Meanwhile, all of Gigabyte’s Aorus AM5 mainboards will have at least one M.2-25110 slot for next-gen SSDS, a 2.5GbE/10GbE port, a USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 connector, one or two display outputs, and a THB_U4 header for Thunderbolt.

MSI

MSI is working on four high-end AM5 motherboards: the X670E-based MEG X670E Godlike, MEG X670E Ace, MPG X670E Carbon Wi-Fi, and the X670-powered Pro X670-P Wi-Fi. The flagship MEG X670E Godlike platform will feature a 24+2+1-phase power delivery (with 105A power phases for V-core), whereas the slightly less advanced MEG X670E Ace will come with a 22+2+1 VRM (with 90A power phases for V-core). Speaking of MSI’s VRMs, the company’s motherboards will use an all-new VRM cooling system with direct touch heat pipes and a MOSFET baseplate.

All four MSI AM5 motherboards will come with M.2 Shield Frozr coolers for next-generation SSDs with a PCIe 5.0 x4 interface, a 2.5GbE connector, and a Wi-Fi 6E adapter. Furthermore, the flagship MEG X670E Godlike and MEG X670E Ace will come with MSI’s M.2 Xpander-Z Gen5 Dual adapter to house two M.2-25110 drives with a PCIe 5.0 x4 interface.

Summary

AMD is expected to release its Ryzen 7000-series ‘Raphael’ processors and AM5 desktop platforms this September. The new platforms will bring numerous innovations, including DDR5, PCIe 5.0, USB 3.2 Gen2x2, and Wi-Fi 6E support. By now, five leading makers of motherboards for the DIY market have announced 16 motherboards based on AMD’s X670 and X670E chipsets with different features and which will cover a broad range of price points.