Tuesday, August 18th 2020

AMD Launches A520 Entry-level Desktop Chipset - No PCIe 4.0

AMD today announced its entry-level A520 desktop chipset for 3rd Gen Ryzen "Matisse" processors, and possible readiness for Athlon and Ryzen 4000G processors based on the "Renoir" silicon. Much like the B550, it lacks support for Ryzen 3 3200G and Ryzen 5 3400G processors based on the "Picasso" silicon, as well as older 2nd- and 1st Gen Ryzen processors. The A520 succeeds the A320 chipset, and enables motherboards priced deep under the $100-mark, close to the $50 magic figure. The ASMedia-sourced chipset has quite a few similarities with the B550, but one big segmentation - complete lack of PCIe Gen 4.

Motherboards based on the AMD A520 completely lack PCIe Gen 4 support, even with a Ryzen 3000 "Matisse" processor. Even the PCI-Express x16 and M.2 NVMe slots wired to the AM4 SoC are limited to PCIe Gen 3. On the B550, these two slots run at Gen 4 speeds when paired with a capable processor. Much like the B550, the downstream (general purpose) PCIe lanes from the chipset run at PCIe Gen 3 speeds, although unlike the B550, the chipset only puts out 6 lanes. Other platform I/O includes up to five 10 Gbps USB 3.2 ports (includes two from the AM4 SoC), two 5 Gbps USB 3.1 ports, four SATA 6 Gb/s (AHCI-only) ports, and six USB 2.0 ports. At launch, A520 motherboards only support Ryzen 3000 "Matisse" processors, with support planned for 4000G "Renoir" processors when they launch in the retail channel, and future "Zen 3" processors, through firmware updates.
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26 Comments on AMD Launches A520 Entry-level Desktop Chipset - No PCIe 4.0

#1
john_
That PEG 8x/8x is it splitting the x16 lanes to two PCIe slots? Because most 570/550 motherboards throw all lanes to the first x16 slot and then everything else connect it on the chipset.
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#2
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
john_
That PEG 8x/8x is it splitting the x16 lanes to two PCIe slots?
Yes. B550 is capable of x8/x8 split, and NVIDIA SLI support. Here's an example.

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#3
zeljans
Is there any A520 board with 2.5G lan ?
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#4
Makaveli
zeljans
Is there any A520 board with 2.5G lan ?
Why would they put 2.5G Lan on a entry level board to drive up cost?
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#5
Chris34
What's the point of the B520 chipset if it doesn't support PCIE-4.0?
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#6
john_
btarunr
Yes. B550 is capable of x8/x8 split, and NVIDIA SLI support. Here's an example.


Yeap, that's the problem
www.asus.com/Motherboards/ROG-STRIX-B550-F-GAMING/specifications/
3rd Gen AMD Ryzen™ Processors
1 x PCIe 4.0 x16 (x16 mode)
3rd Gen AMD Ryzen™ with Radeon™ Graphics Processors
1 x PCIe 3.0 x16 (x16 mode)
AMD B550 Chipset
1 x PCIe 3.0 x16 (x4 mode) *
3 x PCIe 3.0 x1
The second PCIe x16 is connected on the chipset. I don't think they split them to x8/x8.


EDIT Just noticed you posted the E model, not the F. the E model DOES support x8/x8.
3rd Gen AMD Ryzen™ Processors
2 x PCIe 4.0 x16 (x16 or dual x8)
But it also costs over 240€. Not that the F model is much cheaper at about 200€.
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#7
ymbaja
Can someone explain how this is different than a 320 board? Honestly curious.
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#8
Makaveli
Chris34
What's the point of the B520 chipset if it doesn't support PCIE-4.0?
This is an Entry level board they were never going to put PCIe 4.0 on it.

If you require that you need to step up to 550/570 chipset
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#9
thigobr
Chris34
What's the point of the B520 chipset if it doesn't support PCIE-4.0?
Renoir (4000G) doesn't support PCIe 4.0 anyways... It's a platform targeting these APUs
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#10
Chris34
Yes, but why release another PCIE 3.0 chipset when there are B450 and X470 chipsets already on the market?
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#11
Makaveli
Chris34
Yes, but why release another PCIE 3.0 chipset when there are B450 and X470 chipsets already on the market?
The answer to this question is above your post.
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#12
TheLostSwede
ymbaja
Can someone explain how this is different than a 320 board? Honestly curious.
PCIe 3.0 vs. 2.0, also two more PCIe lanes from the chipset.
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#13
john_
Chris34
Yes, but why release another PCIE 3.0 chipset when there are B450 and X470 chipsets already on the market?
You can't keep motherboards with older chipsets in the market. People will avoid them, even if they are good ones. You have at least to rebrand them, the 320, to 420, to 520, for example, if not creating a new one. Then you have the other problem with compatibility. People going out and buying any motherboard with a 5 in front of the model number, know that 4000 series will work. But what about 450s/470s? Not all motherboard manufacturers will post new BIOSes for all their models to support the next series. So you get confution in the market with some boards supporting 4000 series and some not.
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#14
AnarchoPrimitiv
zeljans
Is there any A520 board with 2.5G lan ?
Is there really any consumers that have the money to own a multigig switch (meaning capable of 1/2.5/5/10 gig) or a 2.5 gig switch (I think one was recently released) and DON'T have the money to buy a Chipset better than A520?
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#15
zeljans
AnarchoPrimitiv
Is there really any consumers that have the money to own a multigig switch (meaning capable of 1/2.5/5/10 gig) or a 2.5 gig switch (I think one was recently released) and DON'T have the money to buy a Chipset better than A520?
You would be surprised. Cheap board with fast LAN, or even better two ports, and on top of that ITX form factor.
2.5g switch are going to be cheap and mainstream soon.
www.qnap.com/en/news/2020/qnap-introduces-its-first-2-5gbe-network-switch
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#16
Makaveli
AnarchoPrimitiv
Is there really any consumers that have the money to own a multigig switch (meaning capable of 1/2.5/5/10 gig) or a 2.5 gig switch (I think one was recently released) and DON'T have the money to buy a Chipset better than A520?
This is something i've looked at since my Fiber ISP offers a 1.5Gbps connections.

To use that speed over 1 Gbps will require either a Pf sense box with a nic that can sync over 1 Gbps or an $800 switch.
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#17
RandallFlagg
You can purchase 2.5Gbit copper switches with 10Gbit uplinks off Amazon now for roughly $150 USD.

I suspect 2.5 Gbit switches will become much more common and much lower price now since many Intel laptops and new 10th gen chipsets support this, along with WiFi 6. It's getting mainstream.

This one has 12 ports, 2x 2.5Gbit and 10Gbit uplinks for $149.99. And Zyxel is not a no-name brand, not big but it's known.

www.amazon.com/12-Port-Gigabit-UnManaged-Multi-Gig-XGS1010-12-ZZ0101F/dp/B084MLC83G/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=2.5&qid=1597781150&s=pc&sr=1-2
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#18
thesmokingman
Let's get the cheapest chipset and ask for all the accoutrements of a top end board, oh yea!
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#19
theoneandonlymrk
I've honestly never ever not used every connection on a pc at some point, so I don't skimp.
Reduced capabilities now means board irrelevance sooner to me.

But I'll build a few of these no doubt, not everyone is a power user.
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#20
Makaveli
RandallFlagg
You can purchase 2.5Gbit copper switches with 10Gbit uplinks off Amazon now for roughly $150 USD.

I suspect 2.5 Gbit switches will become much more common and much lower price now since many Intel laptops and new 10th gen chipsets support this, along with WiFi 6. It's getting mainstream.

This one has 12 ports, 2x 2.5Gbit and 10Gbit uplinks for $149.99. And Zyxel is not a no-name brand, not big but it's known.

www.amazon.com/12-Port-Gigabit-UnManaged-Multi-Gig-XGS1010-12-ZZ0101F/dp/B084MLC83G/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=2.5&qid=1597781150&s=pc&sr=1-2
I have a GPON fiber setup so I need it to have a SFP+ port that will do 1/2.5/5.0/10

That will only do 1 or 10Gbps switch won't be useful for me 2.5Gbps sync would be required for the 1.5Gbps connection my ISP offers.

And ya i'm not buying a switch from Zxyel.

If i'm going to invest in a switch that I tend to keep for like 5+ years it has to be good and not noisy.

ubiquiti es-16-xg edgeswitch

www.amazon.com/Ubiquiti-Networks-ES-16-XG-Edge-Switch/dp/B01K2Y1HP0/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=ubiquiti+es-16-xg+edgeswitch&qid=1597782591&sr=8-1

But we are kinda getting off topic none of this matter for these budget motherboards :)
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#21
watzupken
Chris34
What's the point of the B520 chipset if it doesn't support PCIE-4.0?
The reality that most people don't need PCI-E 4.0, at least not at this point. The chipset is targeting a budget rig, which PCI-E 4.0 is less likely to be required. There are rare use cases, but cost is the main driver here. If you need a better board with these features like PCI-E 4.0 and faster LAN, you are better off with higher end B550 boards. For 2.5G LAN, it is still possible to find A520 boards of a better build.
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#22
Tomorrow
The price difference between this and low end B450 is so small that there's very little point. The same way that A320 was largely pointless. If A series would cost like 50$ max (hard limit) then i could see some point but if it's like 75-100$ than in that price range you can get a decent B450 board.

It's not just about using or not using features. If the price is so similar then everyone should go with B450 even if they don't use all those features to the fullest extent. Or they explicity need Ryzen 3000 and 4000 support.
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#23
Aretak
Tomorrow
The price difference between this and low end B450 is so small that there's very little point. The same way that A320 was largely pointless. If A series would cost like 50$ max (hard limit) then i could see some point but if it's like 75-100$ than in that price range you can get a decent B450 board.

It's not just about using or not using features. If the price is so similar then everyone should go with B450 even if they don't use all those features to the fullest extent. Or they explicity need Ryzen 3000 and 4000 support.
Except a lot of these A520 boards are just plain better than B450 boards, lack of CPU overclocking aside. The ITX and mATX options in particular are far, far superior to what you'll find on B450. And since overclocking Zen 2 is absolutely pointless anyway, you're really not losing out on anything compared to B450. Memory overclocking is still supported, as is PBO and many of these boards have just plain better VRMs than you'll find on B450 boards. Unless Zen 3 is some overclocking monster, which seems very unlikely, you're losing nothing except the ability to gimp your CPU with a misguided all-core overclock.
Posted on Reply
#24
Tomorrow
Aretak
Except a lot of these A520 boards are just plain better than B450 boards, lack of CPU overclocking aside. The ITX and mATX options in particular are far, far superior to what you'll find on B450. And since overclocking Zen 2 is absolutely pointless anyway, you're really not losing out on anything compared to B450. Memory overclocking is still supported, as is PBO and many of these boards have just plain better VRMs than you'll find on B450 boards. Unless Zen 3 is some overclocking monster, which seems very unlikely, you're losing nothing except the ability to gimp your CPU with a misguided all-core overclock.
What you do lose is tons of IO - USB, SATA etc.
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#25
Zubasa
Chris34
What's the point of the B520 chipset if it doesn't support PCIE-4.0?
FYI, the previous generation chipsets including X470, B450, even X399 had PCIE 2.0 lanes off the chipset.
Yes not even 3.0, except the lanes directly from the CPU.
Tomorrow
What you do lose is tons of IO - USB, SATA etc.
Actually the A520 has the same number of chipset lanes / SATA ports / USB as B450.
It just got an upgrade from PCI-E 2.0 to 3.0 for the chipset lanes.
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