AMD’s AM5 platform is set to erupt on the desktop in the fall, and not only can we expect the X670 and B650 motherboards to arrive with the company’s Zen 4 processors at the time, but also a new X670E (the ‘E’ stands for ‘Extreme’). This chipset will make its way to AMD’s biggest and worst motherboards; offering maximum overclockability, massive VRMs and PCIe 5.0 throughout.
To understand what the X670E can offer, we first have to look at the AM5 socket. This is an entirely new design for AMD and one that will see the company ditch its pin array (PGA) chips in favor of terrestrial grid arrays (LGA). The switch will see AMD more similar to Intel’s existing lineup with the contact pins located on the motherboard – 1,718 of them in the case of the AM5.
AMD’s David McAfee says that the switch to LGA also helps “bring more power and greater signal integrity to all this high-speed I/O.”
This also means that you’ll have to be extremely careful not to get your thumbs jammed into your X670E, X670 or B650 motherboard in a few months.
A few other key points about the AM5: AMD designed the socket to deliver up to 170W natively, which should have a decent amount of headroom to overclock without any extra juice, though some motherboard manufacturers are likely to overspec at least one handful of high-end models.
“The Socket AM5 ecosystem also features an entirely new SVI3 power infrastructure. This brings several advantages to the platform, such as support for additional power phases, for greater power delivery to the motherboard, refined power control, and significantly faster voltage response,” says McAfee.
PCIe 5.0 also made the cut, although the exact amount of PCIe slots/M.2 slots is different between the motherboard and chipset for Ryzen 7000 series chips. Generally, B650 and X670 will offer at least one PCIe 5.0 slot. M.2, while the latter will likely offer a single PCIe 5.0 x16 slot for graphics. This is optional and not a requirement, however.
X670E motherboards are guaranteed to offer PCIe 5.0 graphics and SSD slots, although again, the exact configuration is up to the mobo manufacturer. They have up to 24 PCIe 5.0 lanes to play with depending on the CPU in the socket, so how they split them up will depend on the motherboard make and model.
DDR5 memory will come to AMD’s platform with AM5, which will make the red team match Intel for memory power and speeds.
And perhaps the best part of it all is that CPU coolers built to work with the popular AM4 socket today will also be compatible with AM5. That should save you a bit of money if you’re hoping to upgrade to a Zen 4 chip later on, but it’s also great.
So that’s the AM5 platform, and the X670E motherboards will essentially deliver the best there is in a single motherboard.
Most of the information we have about what an X670E motherboard looks like comes from asus with its ROG Crosshair X670E Extreme. Yes, it’s doubly extreme.
What makes Crosshair so twisted? 20+2 VRM rated for 110A, for example. That’s a lot of power for serious overclocking and AMD said its dual-channel DDR5 will come with the most extreme overclocking space. We still don’t know how much overclocking capability there will be in AMD’s Ryzen 7000 series.
Connectivity shouldn’t be an issue either way. The Crosshair offers two M.2 slots, which can be upgraded to five M.2 slots with two M.2 expansion cards, four of which will work at full PCIe 5.0 x4 bandwidth. There are also two PCIe 5.0 slots, although it’s a little thin on the general slots. Something to keep in mind if you plan on connecting more add-on cards to your Zen 4 machine.
There’s a lot more a PC gamer could love here: Wi-Fi 6E, 10Gb LAN, ESS ES9218PQ Quad DAC, an AniMe Matrix display, and loads of USB ports (including USB4).
As for the Crosshair’s competition, there’s also the Gigabyte X670E Aorus Xtreme extreme dual, though the company hasn’t described this card in such detail yet. Other X670E motherboards include the ASRock X670E Taichi, Biostar X670E Valkyrie and MSI MEG X670E Ace, with certainly more to follow.
With these motherboards, AMD is once again cementing its place in the high-end, ultra-enthusiastic gaming market. The red team is keen not to go back to its budget processor roots anytime soon. While it’s worth saying that the motherboard most gamers want/really need is probably not quite as extreme as the Crosshair above: it’s guaranteed to cost a pretty penny, and a sensible B650 or X670 is sure to be a better buy on the day. .