Next Generation AM5 motherboard design basics revealed by AMD

AMD’s AM5 chipset motherboards are right around the corner and support the Ryzen 7000-series Zen 4 CPUs that are set to launch soon. Let’s take a look at the design basics of the new platform.

The AM5 platform ushers in a new era of AMD high performance computing. While we have seen multiple chipsets for the AM4 socket since its release in 2016, all of those AM4 motherboards had similar features with minor additions of new technologies. Things are different with the upcoming launch of 7000-series Zen4 based CPUs (codenamed Raphael), AMD decided a new chipset and platform would be needed to offer consumers the latest technologies. AMD increased CPU contact points from 1331 on AM4 to 1718 on AM5 (Intel is at 1700) and moved to a land grid array (LGA) type socket from a pin grid array(PGA) socket. They made the switch to improve signal integrity required for technologies such as DDR5 and PCI-E 5.0, and perhaps even to support the increased power requirements of the new CPUs. AMD’s AM5 platform offers native support for up to 170W, which hints at more powerful CPUs. The platform will also be compatible with AM4 coolers, which means the large ecosystem of current CPU coolers will be compatible without the need for a socket adapter. There is no backwards compatibility with AM4 socket CPUs and DDR4 is not compatible with the new motherboards; the AM5 platform is just over the demarcation line.

The new platform will offer up to 24 PCI-E 5.0 lanes for the PCI-E slots and M.2 slots. The platform will include support for up to 14 USB SuperSpeed (base speed USB 3.0/USB 3.1 Gen 1×1) ports of varying speeds including support for 20Gbps (USB 3.2 Gen 2×2) ports and type-C connectors. WIFI 6E is supported as well as Bluetooth LE 5.2. The platform also supports integrated graphics outputs in the form of up to HDMI 2.1 and DisplayPort 2 ports.

There will be two version of the X670 chipset; the X670E and the X670. The X670E motherboards will all have support for x16 PCI-E 5.0 lanes for graphics and at least one NVMe x4 PCI-E 5.0 slot. The X670 motherboards are a bit more flexible in their requirements for PCI-E 5.0 and will all support at least one NVMe x4 PCI-E 5.0 slot. It is up to the manufacturer whether or not they will integrate PCI-E 5.0 for PCI-E slots. To sum it up in layman’s terms, all X670E motherboards need to supply x16 PCI-E 5.0 to the first PCI-E x16 slot or support a x8/x8 configuration in two slots. All X670E motherboards and X670 motherboards will need to support at least one x4 PCI-E 5.0 NVMe slot, which is likely to be an M.2 slot. We expect most motherboards with either chipset will go above and beyond these requirements, at least on the M.2 side of things.

If you want to learn more about AMD’s AM5 motherboards you can find the webinar here.

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