With the launch of the new Ryzen 7000 desktop processors, AMD also debuted a series of new motherboard chipsets. Zen 4 CPUs like the Ryzen 9 7950X, Ryzen 9 7900X, Ryzen 7 7700X, or Ryzen 5 7600X don’t work on the older AM4 or AM3 chipsets. They are only compatible and must be paired with one of the latest X670E, X670, B650E, or B650 motherboards. The question is, which one to choose? What’s the best AM5 motherboard for your new Ryzen 7000 processor? If you want to make an informed decision, read on to see how the new chipsets compare in terms of features, options, and performance, as well as their prices today:
Before we delve into the ins and outs of every AMD AM5 chipset, I’d like to show you a quick comparison table of them. It’s the quickest way to make sense of what these chipsets offer and how they differ:
As you can see, there are four chipsets: X670E, X670, B650E, and B650. They all support PCI Express 4.0, but only some are compatible with PCI Express 5.0. Worth noting, the two chipsets whose names end in E - X670E and B650E - are the only ones that include PCI Express 5.0 lanes for the graphics slot(s). And only the first three are required by design to have at least one PCIe 5.0 NVMe slot for a fast solid-state drive. Other than that, the differences between the AMD AM5 chipsets are related to the number of additional PCI Express lanes and SuperSpeed 20 Gbps and 10 Gbps USB ports. Let’s take them one by one and see exactly what they offer:
The X670E is AMD’s most powerful AM5 chipset for Ryzen 7000 series processors. Under the hood, it’s a chipset made of not one but two smaller chips that communicate between themselves via four PCI Express 4.0 lanes. By design, the X670E chipset supports 24 direct processor PCI Express 5.0 lanes:
- 16 lanes go to the graphics slot(s) - you can use one graphics card in x16 mode or two in x8 mode.
- 4 lanes are used for a fast NVMe solid-state drive.
- 4 lanes are general purpose lanes (GPP), meaning they are free and can be used independently as the motherboard manufacturer sees fit.
Besides the direct processor PCIe 5.0 lanes, the X670E also offers 12 PCIe 4.0 lanes and 8 PCIe 3.0 lanes. Manufacturers can use the PCIe 4.0 lanes to implement other fast components on their motherboards, like Ethernet, Wi-Fi, or additional NVMe (SSD) slots. PCIe 3.0 ports can be used for lower-speed components such as SATA ports (hard disk drives).
Another key aspect of the X670E chipset is that it also supports a maximum of two SuperSpeed USB ports at 20 Gbps and twelve SuperSpeed USB 10 Gbps ports.
X670E motherboards are the best choice for PC enthusiasts and users who require high performance, extended PCI Express 5.0 connectivity, and as many high-speed ports as they can get. These motherboards are made for gamers and professionals who want the best of the best, and they’re an excellent pair for flagship processors such as the AMD Ryzen 9 7950X or the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X.
Unfortunately, high-end hardware comes at a steep cost, and the X670E motherboards will require a very generous wallet. Get ready to pay anywhere above 330 and 1300 US dollars for one! I loved the ASUS Prime X670E-Pro WiFi that I tested earlier this month, and I warmly recommend it to anyone who wants a well-balanced X670E motherboard (it costs about 350 USD).
Or maybe you’d like to splurge a bit on a superior model like the ASUS ROG Crosshair X670E Hero (WiFi 6E), which sells for about $700. But hey, the sky is the limit when it comes to high-end devices, so if money doesn't matter, you could even spend 1300 USD for an MSI MEG X670E GODLIKE Gaming Motherboard.
The X670 high-end chipset is, more or less, the same as the X670E. It’s also a dual-chiplet chipset, meaning that this one, too, has two smaller chips inside it, connected via four PCIe 4.0 lanes. However, on the X670, there are only eight usable direct processor PCIe 5.0 lanes available:
- 4 PCIe 5.0 lanes go to the NVMe slot (one solid-state drive in x4 mode).
- 4 general purpose lanes (GPP) that the motherboard manufacturer can use as it wants.
AMD artificially downgraded the X670 chipset compared to the X670E by limiting the speed of the graphics slot to PCI Express 4.0. That means that any graphics card you mount on an X670 motherboard will work on PCIe 4.0 max, even if it’s a PCIe 5.0 GPU. While that’s not an issue in the present, as no graphics card can truly benefit from the huge bandwidth offered by PCIe 5.0, it is worth keeping in mind for the future if you intend to keep the AM5 motherboard for many years to come.
The other specs of the X670 are the same as the ones of the X670E chipset: 12 PCIe 4.0 lanes (free to use by the motherboard manufacturers for things like Ethernet, Wi-Fi, or NVMe), 8 PCIe 3.0 lanes, up to two 20 Gbps and twelve 10 Gbps USB ports, and up to 8 SATA Ports.
X670-based motherboards are for those who want to get their hands on most of the features of the X670E chipset, including PCIe 5.0 support for the NVMe (SSD) slot, but are OK with running their graphics card on PCI Express 4.0. This will give you the option to build a computer with some of the best hardware available today (for the CPU, I’d say an AMD Ryzen 9 7900X or Ryzen 7 7700X would be the right choice) while still keeping the costs a bit lower than going with an X670E motherboard. Get ready to spend somewhere around 280 US dollars for an X670 motherboard like the MSI PRO X670-P WiFi ProSeries.
The B650E is a mid-range chipset for Zen 4 processors. Unlike the X670E or the X670, the B650E and B650 don’t have a dual-chiplet design. There’s only one chip inside the chipset, and while we still get the same features on the high-end chipsets, the total number of PCI Express lanes and ports is lower. On the bright side, just like the X670E flagship, the B650E chipset offers:
- 16 PCIe 5.0 lanes for the graphics slot(s) - one graphics card in x16 mode or two in x8 mode.
- 4 PCIe 5.0 lanes go to a fast NVMe solid-state drive.
- 4 PCIe 5.0 general purpose lanes (GPP) can be used independently according to the motherboard manufacturer’s choice.
However, besides the 24 direct processor PCIe 5.0 lanes, the chipset only has 12 additional PCIe 4.0 and 3.0 lanes. Depending on the motherboard manufacturer, these can be used for connecting other components or as NVMe ports, for instance. Last but not least, the B650E chipset also supports a combination of either one SuperSpeed USB 20 Gbps port and two 10 Gbps USB ports, or four SuperSpeed USB 10 Gbps ports.
If you’re a gamer, the B650E chipset is the one you should look for. Motherboards based on it offer the same performance as the ones using X670E or X670 chipsets and also come with extended PCIe 5.0 support (including for the graphics card). If you can live with a lower number of ports and you’re also careful with your budget, a B650E motherboard is the best choice for you. As far as I’ve seen on Amazon, prices range somewhere between 270 USD (for an ASRock B650E PG Riptide WiFi) and 350 USD (for a GIGABYTE B650E AORUS Master). A good pair for such a motherboard would probably be an AMD Ryzen 7 7700X or an AMD Ryzen 5 7600X.
Similar to how the X670 is a cut-down version of the X670, the B650 is a shrunk version of the B650E chipset. In most respects, like the number of PCI Express lanes or SuperSpeed USB ports available, the B650 is identical to the B650E. However, there’s one essential difference: the B650 chipset is designed for PCI Express 4.0 connectivity only. By default, it doesn’t offer PCIe 5.0 for the graphics slot or other components. Still, AMD left an open loophole in this chipset: if a motherboard manufacturer wants, it can add an NVMe slot that supports PCI Express 5.0 (in x4 mode).
A B650 motherboard is what you should buy if your budget is somewhat constrained. It’s a clear choice for anyone looking to build a budget-friendly yet still powerful desktop computer. If you don’t require PCI Express 5.0 or a lot of high-speed ports but you want to switch to a new Ryzen 7000 processor, B650 offers everything you need. Moreover, the performance you’ll get from the CPU is the same as with any of the higher-end chipsets. To keep costs in check, I’d pair a B650 motherboard with an AMD Ryzen 5 7600X processor. The price for a B650 motherboard starts from somewhere around 200 USD. For instance, a GIGABYTE B650M AORUS Elite AX is sold for exactly 200 USD, while an ASUS TUF Gaming B650-Plus WiFi that also includes an M.2 PCIe 5.0 slot will cost you 240 USD.
TIP: We also made a video together with our friends from the TechniQualities YouTube channel, which covers all the information from this article.
Hopefully, now you know more about the differences between the AMD AM5 chipsets. You’ve seen how the X670E, X670, B650E, and B650 motherboards compare, and you understand better what these chipsets offer. What will you go for? Will you choose a flagship motherboard based on the X670E chipset, will you show moderation with an X670 or B650E, or will you stick to your budget and choose a B650 motherboard? Let me know in the comments section below.