Zen 2 has finally landed, and it has mostly met expectations. The new CPUs don’t quite take the crown from Intel in pure gaming performance, but they offer much better value for similar gaming performance and often superior performance across other metrics.
While the 3rd Generation Ryzen processors offer exceptional value for money, there has been one big caveat. The new X570 chipset which introduces PCI Express 4.0 comes with a hefty price premium. At the time of writing the price of the motherboard’s ranges from £163.99 to £777.00 for the MSI MEG Z390 GODLIKE!! Last years X470 motherboards start at £110 and go up to £267.98 and a B450 motherboard can be had for as little as £78.
When when you compare to Intel the prices are toe-curling. A Z390 motherboard can be had for as little as £98.48 but goes all the way up to £574.99 for the MSI GODLIKE again.
Thankfully all the new Ryzen CPUs are backwards compatible with B450 and X470. They should be compatible with motherboards going back to B350 and even some A320 boards, though if you are running an A320 I don’t imagine you will be looking at pairing it with the Ryzen 7 3700X.
Motherboard compatibility will obviously be manufacturer dependent, they will need to update the bios, but most if not at X470 and B450 should be good.
So can you save money and get an X470 over an X570? The answer is almost certainly yes, in fact by all accounts unless you need/want some of the fancy features the X570 boards come with such as Wi-Fi 6 and multi-gig ethernet, then there is no point going down that route based on current hardware.
Several review sites have compared the performance of B450, X470 and X570 and for the most part, there is little to no difference.
Perhaps the biggest question has been how PCIe 4.0 will improve things. There is not much to test with this at the moment but Overclock3d.net tested a PCIe 4.0 NVMe drive on both chipsets to see the difference. He doesn’t state which drive he used but it goes up to just shy of 5GB/s so it is definitely one of the newly launched PCIe4 drives.
The two chipsets offer almost identical performance in CrystalDiskMark, and there would undoubtedly be no real-world difference. PCIe 3.0 can handle 0.985 GB/s per lane so on an x4 slot it would transfer up to 3.94 GB/s and x8 would be 7.88 GB/s.
While his performance numbers were the same, one area where they may differ is for expansion slot based drives where there is a mixture of PCIe 2.0 and PCIe 3.0 where the PCIe 2.0 x1 slot will only offer 500 MB/s and an x4 bandwidth slot would offer 2 GB/s.
OC3D also tested Radeon RX 5700 XT to see if the PCIe 4.0 provided any benefit, but as expected, it did not.
With X570 using PCIe 4.0 on all lanes, it will offer superior performance on very complicated builds where you are filling up multiple slots; you are never going to have to worry about falling back to the PCIe G2 slots. There is also an argument for longevity, the AMD Navi cards that launch next year might just be able to make the most of all that bandwidth, though I am probably being over-optimistic about that. For now, I would suggest you could pick up an affordable X470, and I would say within a year, or so, a lot of these X570 boards will drop enough in price to cover upgrading it.