It’s looking as if AMD is gearing up for the launch of its next generation of Ryzen processors, the first of which are rumoured to be launching in Q1 2018. A new listing for an AMD 400-series chipset on PCI-SIG (those responsible for determining PCI Express base specifications) has let the cat out of the bag early, as well as indicating AMD will have a whole new family of motherboards inbound to accompany its next-generation CPUs.
The current line up of 300 series chipsets produced by AMD and its hardware partners are available in X370, B350, A320, X300 and A/B300. Aside from the GPU and CPU (which operate of PCIe 3.0 lanes), these are all limited to PCIe 2.0 lanes, which restricts the potential bandwidth. According to the PCI-SIG listing, the 400-series chipsets will support PCIe 3.0, offering transfer speeds of up to 8 GT/s.
The benefit of AMD 400-series is that additional peripherals could utilise this additional bandwidth. While CPUs and GPUs won’t benefit, it does open the door for more M.2 memory slots.
An additional nugget of info gleaned from the listing is that AMD’s next-gen 400 series won’t support DDR5 or PCIe 4.0, unsurprisingly. These technologies are right around the corner, but it sounds as if AMD’s Ryzen 2 processors are coming a little too soon for AMD to get support out there.
If you’re currently rocking a 300-series motherboard then fret not. The benefits are minor, and AMD has been pretty clear about the upgrade path going forward. All current AM4 motherboards should support Ryzen 2 CPUs, and indeed even Zen 2, ensuring they won’t be obsolete for a good few years yet. AMD’s current CPU roadmap indicates AM4 support until at least 2020. The downside is you’re going to have to sacrifice those extra juicy PCIe 3.0 lanes.
AMD AM4 400 Series motherboards promise to be just an incremental step then, but the altogether more pertinent point is that the cogs are turning and Ryzen 2 is inbound. Fingers crossed we hear something during CES 2018 next week.