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AMD Offers Enthusiasts More Choice Than Ever Before with New Ryzen 3000XT Processors

Today, AMD announced three new additions to the 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen desktop processor family - the AMD Ryzen 9 3900XT, AMD Ryzen 7 3800XT and AMD Ryzen 5 3600XT processors. Introducing XT branding for the first time to the Ryzen family of processors, the new AMD Ryzen 3000XT desktop processors are purpose-built to maximize performance under any workload. Expanding on the award-winning 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen processor family, 3000XT series desktop processors are optimized with higher boost frequencies to deliver elite-level performance that dominates gaming and content creation.

Today also marks worldwide availability of the AMD B550 chipset, the first mainstream chipset with support for PCIe 4.0. Available in a variety of motherboard form factors, the AMD B550 chipset is perfect for high-speed performance in both gaming and multitasking. Additionally, AMD announced the A520 chipset for socket AM4 and 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen desktop processors with more than 40 designs in development. Alongside these new chipset and processors, AMD also announced the redesigned StoreMI storage acceleration software with a new UI and enhanced acceleration algorithm.

AMD Readies 3rd Gen Ryzen "Matisse Refresh" Ryzen 7 3850X and 3750X Processors

AMD is planning to immediately update its product stack to counter the Intel 10th gen Core "Comet Lake-S" desktop processor family. Codenamed "Matisse Refresh," the processor will use existing IP, based on the 7 nm "Zen 2" microarchitecture, but could improve in areas such as clock-speeds. As it now stands, the Ryzen 9 3900X appears unfazed by the i9-10900K and i7-10700K at its new $410 price, however, competitiveness of the 3800X and 3700X could buckle under pressure from the i7-10700 series (K, KF, non-K, and F), as well as the Core i5-10600 series. To this effect, we're hearing rumors of a "Ryzen 7 3750X" and "Ryzen 7 3850X" seeing the light of the day soon, with an early-June announcement, and early-July market availability. References to the 3750X date back to October 2019.

Rumors of "Matisse Refresh" gained traction when WCCFTech editor Hassan Mujtaba tweeted a slide from a GIGABYTE AMD B550 motherboard series pre-launch presentation, which references GIGABYTE's own interpretation of AMD's roadmap. It lists out every CPU microarchitecture for the AM4 platform, and right next to "Matisse" is "& Refresh," confirming that "Matisse Refresh" is real. A microarchitecture "refresh" needn't even involve any physical changes to the processor design, core-counts, or architecture, and can sometimes even indicate something as simple as a second major wave of SKUs that replace existing SKUs in the market, leading to their phase-out (eg: Intel "Haswell Refresh" retaining the 4th gen Core model numbering). The slide also adds weight to the theory that desktop "Renoir," like its mobile counterpart, lacks PCIe gen 4.0. The slide also talks about AMD introducing the entry-level A520 desktop chipset in August, which will support PCIe gen 4 when paired with a capable processor.

Five AMD A520 Chipset Motherboards Listed by ASUS

ASUS has apparently begun listing motherboards on the as-of-yet-unreleased, as-of-yet-undetailed AMD A520 chipset. Lower in the chipset rung than AMD's X570 and B550 chipsets, the A520 is expected to not offer any dedicated PCIe 4.0 lanes by itself - at most, motherboards will support the same 20 PCIe 4.0 lanes offered by AMD's CPUs, with the rest I/O being PCIe 3.0-based in order to further cut platform and chipset costs.

All of the A520 chipset motherboards listed by ASUS seem to be in the mATX form-factor - which again makes sense, as having the most basic chipset in order to cut costs and then using the same PCB real-estate as more expensive chipset solutions doesn't seem like a wise choice. The listed motherboards are the
PRIME A520M-A; PRIME A520M-E; PRIME A520M-K; TUF GAMING A520M-A; and TUF GAMING A520M-PLUS. As you can see, these motherboards are set in the ASUS TUF and Prime product lines - there's no mention of any Strix-branded products.

New Report Pins ASMedia B550 and A520 Chipset Production to begin Only in Q1 2020

While many users were likely expecting AMD to launch their lower-tier alternatives B550 and A520 chipset solutions for their Ryzen 2 CPUs shortly after their release to the market last year, users who want to pair a more inexpensive motherboard have had to wait in the rain until now. At the time, industry sources pointed towards fabrication of ASMedia's B550 and A520 chipsets for the AM4 platform to begin shipping to motherboard manufacturers in Q4 2019.

Now, new reports say that production of these chipsets (simpler in features, and thus, in price, whilst also not requiring active cooling) will only begin in Q1 2020, which means likely retail availability (at least in significant volumes) in Q2 at the earliest. It seems that users will, for the time being, have to make do with the usually top-of-the-line chipset option for the AMD platform - which is, coincidentally, the one with bigger margins for AMD.

AMD B550 and A520 Lack PCIe Gen 4 Capabilities?

Last Friday, we reported ASMedia working on new-generation socket AM4 motherboard chipsets that succeed the AMD B450 and A320, which could hopefully offer significantly cheaper alternatives to boards based on the feature-rich AMD X570 chipset. The DigiTimes story we cited was updated to clarify that the chipset only supports PCI-Express gen 3.0, and not the newer PCI-Express gen 4.0. There are two distinct ways of interpreting this information.

One, that motherboards based on B550 and A520 completely lack PCIe gen 4.0, including the main PCI-Express x16 (PEG) slot and the M.2 slot wired to the AM4 SoC; and two, that only the downstream PCIe lanes and the chipset bus are PCIe gen 3.0, while the main PEG slot and M.2 slot from the SoC remain gen 4. We lean toward the latter interpretation being more plausible, that AMD B550 and A520 motherboards will at least feature one PCI-Express 4.0 x16 slot, and one M.2 slot that has PCI-Express 4.0 x4 wiring from the AM4 SoC; while the ASMedia chipset is connected to the SoC over PCI-Express 3.0 x4, and downstream PCIe lanes put out by the chipset are gen 3.0, too. These ASMedia-sourced AMD 500-series chipset motherboards could also implement the latest PCB, CPU VRM, and memory wiring specifications released by AMD that enable CPU and memory overclocking levels unattainable on motherboards based on older chipsets.

ASMedia-sourced AMD B550, A520 Chipset Motherboards Arrive in 2020

If a recent MSRP price-list leak is anything to go by, motherboards based on the AMD X570 chipset will cost a pretty penny, beating even Intel's premium Z390 Express chipset on average motherboard pricing. Those looking for an affordable motherboard for the Ryzen 3000 series processors have the option of choosing existing AMD 400-series chipset based motherboards, and taking advantage of the USB BIOS Flashback feature that's almost universally available on the AMD platform. You lose out on PCI-Express gen 4.0 with the older platforms, which may not be a big compromise when it comes to graphics cards, but would limit your M.2 NVMe SSD performance upgrade path. One possible option would be to wait for affordable variants of AMD's 500-series chipsets, which are sourced from ASMedia.

According to DigiTimes, ASMedia will tape out its next-generation AMD-platform chipset silicon, and is on track to shipping its new chipsets to motherboard manufacturers by Q4-2019. This would pin availability of the first motherboards based on these chipsets to at least Q1 2020. These chipsets not only feature PCI-Express gen 4.0 downstream lanes, but also boards based on these will be built to AMD's PCB requirements for the new platform, enabling a PCI-Express 4.0 x16 slot for discrete graphics, and revised CPU VRM and memory wiring specifications that improve overclocking over the previous generation platform. For now there are two SKUs in the works, the B550, which succeeds the B450, and the A520, succeeding the A320.
Image Credit: Hardware.info
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