AMD AMD5 – the platform for Zen 4 and next generations of Ryzen
The long term support of the AM4 platform is truly admirable – 5 CPU architectures, 4 process technologies, over 125 CPU models and more than 500 motherboards. The numbers speak for themselves.
According to the initial plans of the “red” it was to be developed for several generations of Zen processors, up to and including 2020. It is now the middle of 2022 and AMD does not intend to kill it – even in the face of the imminent release of motherboards with AM5 socket. The newer platform is not going to drive the older one to the grave – they are going to coexist. This approach is appreciated and makes a lot of sense.
The reason seems pretty obvious: Intel, in its Intel Alder Lake-S and upcoming Intel Raptor Lake-S processors, offers or will offer two options: DDR4 and DDR5. A potential consumer can choose either of these paths. And what does it look like for AMD? AM5 only supports DDR5 RAM, so continuing to support AM4 is a sensible step.
The bottom line is that there may still be new processors coming out on AM4 (more models with 3D V-Cache along the lines of the Ryzen 7 5800X3D?). However, if you’re looking for real news, then direct your gaze to AM5. The new platform brings quite a few noteworthy changes that positively translate into capabilities and performance in applications and games. What do we know about the AM5 socket, which is the socket for Ryzen 7000 processors?
AM5 is, in a nutshell, AMD’s first platform with support for PCI-Express 5.0 and DDR5 memory. It’s also somewhat of a revolution in terms of design, bringing AMD closer to Intel’s socket builds. In fact, AM5 is AMD’s first LGA socket that was designed with the mass market in mind.
AM5 specification. What makes the AMD platform different?
AM5 brings a lot of changes compared to AM4. First of all, it abandons the PGA ( Pin Grid Array) structure known from previous generations in favour of the LGA ( Land Grid Array) known from Intel chipsets. The number of pins also changes – instead of 1331 (AM4) there are 1718 (AM5).
- Socket: LGA 1718
- PCI-Express: 5.0 (up to 24 lines)
- RAM: DDR5-5200 (Dual-Channel)
- Supported processors: Ryzen 7000 (max. 16 cores and 32 threads) or higher
- Cooling: Compatible with AM4 coolers
- TDP: up to 170 W (230 PPT)
- Chipsets: X670E, X670, B650E, B650
Long live the king, goodbye PGA, hello LGA
AM5 is the first LGA socket from AMD but in a mainstream release. “Reds” used this type of socket even in the socket (s)TR4 for Ryzen Threadripper processors or sWRX8 for Ryzen Threadripper Pro. However, these are processors intended for strictly professional applications.
What is the difference between LGA and PGA? In LGA the pins are located in the CPU socket on the motherboard and not on the bottom of the CPU as in PGA. What does this mean in practice? It reduces the risk of the very delicate pins being broken or bent, but on the other hand, it is much easier to repair damaged pins on a CPU than on an LGA board.
What’s more, there are a lot more pins this time around. How is this possible while keeping the same dimensions (40 x 40 mm)? It is due to much higher pin density. In fact, it was the reason why the PGA design was abandoned. The higher pin density was required for next-generation connectivity and interfaces (PCIe 5.0 and DDR5). The PGA processors were simply not suitable for this.
In comparison, Intel has been using the LGA-type socket in its consumer CPUs invariably for many years, starting in 2004 and LGA 775. Then came the farewell to PGA-type builds in strictly consumer desktop platforms, which AMD didn’t abandon until 2022 with AM5.
AM5 compatible chipsets. AMD 600 is just the beginning of a (hopefully long) road
The AM5 platform, like AM4, supports motherboards based on different chipsets. The history of the new sockets will begin with the AMD 600 series with four chipsets. AMD abandoned (at least for now) the A620 and bet only on the following chipsets:
Features of X670 Extreme
- Full PCIe 5.0 support: 2x for GPU and 1x NVMe
- Extreme OC capabilities for CPU and RAM – for the most demanding enthusiasts
Features of the X670
- PCIe 5.0: 1x NVMe SSD and 1x for GPU (optional; manufacturers may opt for PCIe 4.0 x16)
- OC for CPU and RAM for enthusiasts
Features of the B650E
- PCIe 5.0 for graphics card and drives (1x NVMe);
- CPU OC (slightly more limited)
- DDR5 RAM overclocking option
Features of the B650
- PCIe 4.0 x16 for graphics; PCIe 5.0 for storage only (1x NVMe);
- CPU OC (more limited)
- DDR5 RAM overclocking option
Depending on the chipset and model, the motherboards have up to 14 SuperSpeed USB ports (USB 3.2 Gen 2×2). with a bandwidth of 20 Gbps and up to 4 HDMI 2.1 and DisplayPort 2.0 connectors. They will also support Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2. Native support for USB 4.0 has been rumored several times, but it may be reserved for future series.
Of course, the X670 and especially the X670E offer a much better power section (even more than a 20-phase VRM section, such as 20+2) and cooling. The B650 chips also have fewer PCI-Express and M.2 slots for SSDs – and they’re the only ones available in the smaller ITX form factor.
Importantly, all motherboards based on the AMD 600 chipset offer Smart Access Storage (SAS). This is based on Micorosft’s DirectStorage solution which reduces game load times. However, you’ll get the most benefit when paired with a Ryzen processor of your choice and a specific Radeon graphics card (such as the RX 7000 series). You’ll also need a modern, compatible NVMe PCIe 4.0 or 5.0 SSD (not all models are supported).
AM5 motherboard prices with AMD 600 chipset. How much do they cost?
For now, the prices of all motherboards are unknown. It’s likely that the B650 chips will be sold at a slightly higher price than the B550 (these range from $150 to $300 for the top designs). The X670 boards should also cost at least as much as the X570 ($300 – $600 PLN), or even slightly more.
On the day of the Ryzen 7000 launch, we only got to know the prices of the top chipsets with the X670E chipset. These are unfortunately expensive and cost from $600- to $1200.
AMD5 – What processors does the AMD platform support?
AMD AM5 is tailored to work with processors with higher power limits than AM4. What does that mean? It means that the platform is able to support Ryzen processors with TDP up to 170 W (with PPT reaching 230 W). This is a significant difference from AM4. On the old socket, the limit is 105 W (TDP) and 142 W (PPT).
Higher limits allow you to create a more powerful CPU. AMD processors run at higher clock frequencies than in previous generations. In fact, AMD proved at Computex 2022 what the top-of-the-line Ryzen 7000 can do, which even ran at over 5.5GHz in boost mode.
In theory, this will also allow for an eventual increase in CPU cores. Although the first series that AM5 will support doesn’t bring any changes from the Ryzen 5000 in this matter. This means that the top unit is still a 16-core and 32-thread CPU. So we’re talking about the kind of configuration that the Ryzen 9 5950X boasts.
AM5 supports the following CPU generations:
- Zen 4 (Ryzen 7000)
- Zen 4 V-Cache (Ryzen 7000X3D?)
- Zen 4c (energy-saving variants)
- Zen 5 (Ryzen 8000? Ryzen 9000?)
- Zen 5 V-Cache
- Zen 5c (energy efficient variants)
The above list is not complete, because support includes not only officially announced architectures and refreshed versions of processors (with V-Cache), but also the next generation (Zen 6? Zen 7?).
What will future CPU support look like on the first chipsets?
Since AM5 is the socket for the next few generations, you can count on AMD’s 700, 800 or 900 chipsets being based on the same socket. This means (at least in theory) that the next few generations of Zen processors will be compatible with AM5. However, manufacturers may need to update the motherboard BIOS.
There is no guarantee that after a few years the first boards will support the latest CPUs. It varied with AM4, but eventually many older chipsets, including the A320, got an update with support for the new CPUs sooner or later, even though they weren’t originally supposed to support them.
AM5 and AM4 compatible CPU coolers
Despite the changes, AMD has officially revealed that the AM5 socket is compatible with cooling systems designed for the AM4 platform. This is very good news. AMD is known for its long support of its platforms, and this applies not only to motherboards and processors but also to cooling systems.
You won’t even need a new AM5 socket fastener. AMD’s approach cannot be underestimated.
AM5 with DDR5 RAM support. What about DDR4?
AMD confirmed at Computex 2022 that AM5 only works with DDR5 RAM. So you can dream of an additional DDR4 controller that would allow you to sell different variants of the same motherboards, just like in the series designed for Intel’s Alder Lake and Raptor Lake processors.
The alternative with DDR4 for AM5 is the AM4 platform, which AMD has announced is running alongside the new one. Who knows, according to rumours sourced by well-informed insider Greymon55, you might even see Zen 4 architecture-based processors on the AM4 socket…
What’s AMD Expo? Strong memory overclocking capabilities on AM5
As officially confirmed by Joseph Tao of AMD, the “reds” have prepared a revolution in overclocking DDR5 RAM on the AM5 platform. According to him, they managed to push the next frontier, and even the impossible became possible. Sounds ambitious, doesn’t it? Overclocking memory is also child’s play.
In early 2022, there were rumours of an answer to intel’s XMP (aka Extreme Memory Profile). Then the name AMD RAMP ( Ryzen Accelerated Memory Profile) was hatched from the leaks. These are, in other words, special profiles that automatically overclock the operating memory, without the need to manually (and often tediously) set the optimal timing, voltages and latency.
Eventually, the “reds” dropped this name in favour of AMD Expo ( Extended Profiles for Overclocking), which stores two overclocking profiles for DDR5. The first focuses on high memory bandwidth, while the second is designed for low latency (CL – from CAS Latency). The latter is optional. Importantly, AMD EXPO works with any type of DDR5 RAM – without exception.
How do the Zen 4 processors overclock on AM5?
OC capabilities of Ryzen 7000 processors are symbolic. Given the high clock frequencies, this does not seem to be a surprising claim.
When will the AM5 platform be released?
Officially, AM5 debuted at the same time as the first Ryzen 7000 processors, that is, on September 27, 2022. On that day, only motherboards with top chipsets went on sale. Find out the exact release dates of each chip (models may appear gradually):
- B670 and B670E – 27 September 2022
- B650 and B650E – 10 October 2022
It is gratifying that the release of AM5 does not at all mean that AMD is ending the life of the old platform. This means a wider choice for potential consumers, they can decide which path to follow: wait for the further development (and price reductions) of DDR5, stay with AM4, or maybe bet on better performance and new opportunities offered by the AM5 socket with Ryzen 7000 processors.
Lisa Su, head of AMD, announced that AM5 is expected to be supported for about as long as AM4 (5+ years?). It’s a future-proof choice that gives users the chance to continue to upgrade their platform and upgrade performance even a few years after their initial purchase.