All of that’s in our first video. Here’s the new information that we obtained from contacts close to product development:
- The previous AMD chipsets were made by ASMedia, which introduced some early challenges in development for the 1000-series Ryzen parts. For the new series of chipsets, our understanding is that AMD will be designing the silicon itself rather than tapping ASMedia for assistance.
- AMD is migrating some of its Epyc IO down to X570, making updates for Ryzen 3000 CPUs
- The X570 chipset will run at about 15W, rather than 6-8W for the X470 chipset. This will not impact chipset heatsink requirements in any meaningful way, as the chipsets can present run on air, but most manufacturers stick an overkill heatsink on the chipset just for looks. It’s more noteworthy because the X570 chipset will be capable of more throughput (and will run hotter). PCIe 4.0 is part of this potential.
- We aren’t yet clear on details of PCIe 4.0 out of the chipset. Some of our sources have indicated that the PCH will likely only deliver PCIe Gen3 to the PCIe slots, but that doesn’t say anything about NVMe or M.2 compatibility. We know that PCIe 4.0 will come out of the CPU and at least drive GPUs, but the bigger benefit of PCIe 4.0 will be in I/O devices, so we suspect that X570 will accommodate PCIe Gen4 in some capacity. Again, this is where we are least clear and where our sources conflicted the most. AMD is still determining final specs of the X570 chipset.
- AMD is looking to launch its B550 chipset roughly one quarter after X570 – that’s probably going to be third quarter, but it’ll depend on X570 gets hit with a delay. The X570 timeline is currently up in the air, whereas Ryzen 3000 should be ready by June. Ryzen 3000’s launch will be dependent upon AMD’s strategy for its chipset and whether the chipset faces challenges.
As for the significance of PCIe Gen4, there isn’t much for video card usage on desktop PCs. The biggest use case is going to be for Gen4 allocation to SSDs and NVMe devices, where increased bandwidth will actually enable higher speed transactions. Benefit to the GPUs will be relegated to a reduction of lane requirement to achieve the same performance – x8 will equate x16 performance on Gen3, but obviously require half the lanes, and that has value on its own. GPUs don’t really bump against the PCIe Gen3 x16 limits right now, and rarely hit the x8 limits, as we recently illustrated in our dual RTX 2080 Ti testing
And just to recap what we already reported in our initial news video, we expect that some motherboard manufacturers may enable backwards compatibility for PCIe Gen4 on existing X470 or similar boards. There are two angles to this:
- With a BIOS update and a Ryzen 3000 CPU, X470 could theoretically support PCIe Gen4, as the existing pins and traces are capable of handling the bandwidth, it’s just the CPU that needs to be present
- The downside, however, is that the endpoints may need electrical tweaks that will exist on X570 boards, but not X470. It is extremely unlikely that board manufacturers will go back and update old platforms and then mass produce them, and instead more likely that those manufacturers will transition to X570 for these updates. Because the electrical wiring on X470 boards won’t be updated for PCIe Gen4, it is possible that boards could encounter some transmission or stability issues with display-out on Gen4, according to our engineering contacts. Whether this happens will depend on how well the existing X470 boards are designed with regard to PCIe trace routing.
That’s what we know for now. Not much that’s concrete regarding PCIe Gen4.0 on a chipset-level, but release dates and changes in design and manufacturing are firming-up in detail.
Please note that, although we have vetted these sources, they may not be fully privvy to AMD's plans. Things could still change. We will find out closer to June.
Editorial: Steve Burke
Video: Andrew Coleman