AMD has a lot riding on Ryzen, its new generation CPU architecture that is supposed to return the chip designer to its former glory among power users and enthusiasts. We won't say it is a make or break release for AMD—the company has shown an uncanny ability to survive through tough periods—but it is certainly the biggest and most anticipated CPU launch by AMD in several years, and arguably over a decade. To ensure everything goes well without a hitch, AMD has lined up over a dozen high-performance AM4 motherboards from five hardware partners, including ASRock, ASUS, Biostar, Gigabyte, and MSI.
All 16 AM4 motherboards that are on tap are built around two desktop chipsts for Ryzen, X370 and X300. Motherboards based on the X370 chipset are intended for users who want to squeeze the most performance out of Ryzen. These boards bring robust overclocking controls and support for dual graphics cards, along with superior I/O connectivity and dual-channel DDR4 memory support.
The X300 is AMD's chipset for mini-ITX motherboards for small form factor (SFF) systems. This is a growing segment among gamers and enthusiasts, as today's tiny boards bring some big features and performance to the table. The X300 is no exception—like the X370, the X300 supports dual-channel DDR4 memory, PCIe 3.0, M.2 SATA devices, NVMe, and USB 3.1 Gen 1 and Gen 1.
"2017 will be an unforgettable year for AMD, its technology partners and the PC industry as a whole, and we're thrilled to kick off the year at CES by showing wide arrays of high-performance motherboard and PC designs from our OEM partners for whom the future is Ryzen," said Jim Anderson, senior vice president and general manager, Computing and Graphics Group, AMD. "AMD and our partners are committed to supporting enthusiasts, gamers, and creators with a new generation of computing innovation and choice through AMD Ryzen processor-based motherboards, custom-built PCs, and coolers built to support these impressive systems."
While Ryzen is AMD's path back to relevancy in the high-end sector, the company has not forgotten about its mainstream or budget buyers. Less expensive motherboards based on AMD's B350, A320, and A300 chipsets will trickle into retail as well. The charts above shows where each one falls in respect to one another.
Outside of the DIY segment, system builders from around the world will be ready with solutions based on Ryzen, including companies such as CyberPower PC, Cybertron PC, iBuyPower, Maingear, Origin PC, and many others. And of course there will be plenty of third-party cooling solutions.
Will Ryzen prove a game changer? Stay tuned—the CPU architecture will hit retail in March of this year.
Update 1/5/17: Word out of CES 2017 in a brief meeting with AMD's Robert Hallock, is that all Ryzen processors will be multiplier unlocked, hopefully for some rather flexible overclocking options. There will also be several processors in the family, with varying core counts depending on SKU, at launch.