MSI has been everywhere since AMD unveiled the Zen 4 Ryzen 7000 series (opens in new tab) processor generation, showcasing its own engineering samples and the unreleased X670 motherboards. The original videos highlighting the introduction of the new Intel LGA processors have been removed, but the fearless MSI has now lifted the lid on the chipsets used for the AM5 motherboards.
The interesting thing to note is that the rumors suggesting dual chip designs for AMD’s top chipsets have now been confirmed by the revelation of Computex. But, contrary to what was initially claimed by the rumors, these are not individual package chiplet designs, but two distinct chipset chips sitting under the passive heat sinks of the X670 and X670E motherboards.
It is a clever design that follows the chiplet approach defended by AMD with the Zen 2 architecture and means that it can save money on silicon generated for motherboard partners by creating what is essentially a motherboard I / O chip that can be used for multiple “chipsets”. This chip will take care of things like PCIe 4.0 controller, networking and USB support.
Previously you had a different silicon chipset for the X570 and B560 boards, with different levels of interface support. But with the new AM5 motherboards, AMD has simplified things so that to separate the feature sets of its new chipsets it can either use one of these I / O chips or double the capabilities using a pair of them.
This is the situation on top boards, with the X670 and X670E using a pair of these chips and the B650 using only one. “It’s not that they are two X670 chipsets, these two chips are the X670,” MSI Michiel Berkhout told MSI Insider.
“This is done to double connectivity,” explains his colleague Eric Van Beurden. “Basically two chipsets offer double the functionality.”
Which means AMD has effectively killed the distinctive chipset. In fact there will be no X670E, X670 or B650 chipset on their own, just different numbers of the individual AM5 Zen 4 chipset installed on a motherboard.
Something that will make the B650 board interesting. With a single chipset mold on the board it will have half the connectivity of the dual-chip X670 / E, but will still have virtually all the PCIe 5.0 strips available, as they all come from the Zen 4 CPU I / O. AMD is just talking about PCIe 5.0 storage on the B650 and not graphics support.
Really, this is not a big deal, as the bandwidth available in the PCIe 4.0 x16 slot is still enough for almost any GPU you will see in the next two years, even if they are nominally PCIe 5.0 graphics cards.
But it offers the possibility that the rumors about a possible “chipset” B650E are not just ridiculous speculations. It would then be easy for motherboard vendors to unlock more PCIe 5.0 strips from the CPU to create a higher-end B650 design, though you would end up with high-end B650 boards with a price crossover over the more affordable X670 boards. possibly without PCIe 5.0 graphics support.
This would also allow for higher-end mini-ITX boards. As mentioned in MSI Live Stream, building a wee X670 board will be difficult because not only do you have to deal with the larger AM5 socket and the need for VRM support up to 170 W socket, but you also have to have two separate chipset matrices with heat sinks. covering both.
The B650 makes a more sensible platform for the mini-ITX then, but it would mean that there is no chance of supporting PCIe 5.0 graphics unless there is a future “chip” B650E.
However, this is a smart move for AMD. With so many traditional “motherboard materials” now within the processor itself, the need to design and build multiple different chipset molds makes no sense. It is much simpler and therefore cheaper to just create one and double if needed.