The Two Main Chipsets: B350 and A320

Despite all the crazy potential that might come from playing with PCIe, if a user wants more than a couple of SATA ports or x1 slots, the chipset is there to provide. For the Bristol Ridge OEM launch, there are two main chipsets with a further three aimed more at embedded platforms. We’ll focus more on the first two.

It’s worth noting that AMD has specifically listed that the B350 chipset is not the premium chipset for AM4. We know that Zen will be a part of the AM4 socket and ecosystem, and it would seem that there is at least one specific chipset for the high-end desktop market set to come later. Feel free to speculate.

The B350 and A320 chipsets are mostly identical, using the PCIe 3.0 x4 from the CPU and offering a variety of SATA, USB and PCIe 2.0 connectivity. The PCIe 2.0 lanes, six on the B350 chipset and four on the A320 chipset, support x1, x2 and x4 modes for an array of different controllers. Perhaps the interesting thing here is the support of USB 3.1 at 10 Gbps, which is provided as native support from the chipset.

The main provider of USB 3.1 controllers in the market currently, ASMedia, has been floated around as a partner with AMD in designing these chipsets. We asked AMD if ASMedia was involved, and to what extent, in the development or IP of the hardware. We were told that while the IP is with AMD, ASMedia were bought on as a partner in some fashion (most likely as a design firm or a consultant) to help produce the hardware. We were informed that the chipsets are manufactured at TSMC using a 55nm process, which is a much cheaper process than 28nm or 16nm.

An additional aside, the chipset USB 3.1 ports do not support reversible Type-C natively. We have been informed that a re-driver chip is required to support the revisable connectivity, which is a minor additional IC required by the OEMs.

Aside from the native USB 3.1 output, AMD’s chipset offerings are far behind Intel’s current implementation, affording up to 20 PCIe 3.0 lanes from their chipset despite the same uplink equivalent. This is partly because Intel’s chipset has steadily grown and looks more like a PCIe switch itself. AMD is claiming that the external B350 chipset, compared to the older AM3 platforms, comes down from 19.6W TDP to 5.8W TDP.

Understanding Connectivity: Some on the APU, Chipset Optional Motherboards, Sockets, Pins and Things


View All Comments

  • gregounech - Friday, September 23, 2016 - link

    I want to see an AMD A10 vs Apple A10 article. Reply
  • goatfajitas - Friday, September 23, 2016 - link

    Why? AMD is an x86 processors that can run Windows and complete systems. Apple is an ARM processor that runs nice toys. They are not in the same ballpark. Reply
  • KPOM - Friday, September 23, 2016 - link

    Universal Windows apps can run on ARM. Reply
  • wumpus - Friday, September 23, 2016 - link

    All three of them, but don't expect even them to work until tested. Reply
  • Michael Bay - Saturday, September 24, 2016 - link

    Update your mantra, it smells. Reply
  • goatfajitas - Friday, September 23, 2016 - link

    OK, but that isnt really the point. Comparing ARM to x86 is like comparing a sports car to an 18 wheel truck. Both are good, both have their purpose, but they aren't really in the same market segments. Are is great at specific things, where x86 is the workhorse of the industry. Reply
  • ddriver - Friday, September 23, 2016 - link

    Generalizing like that is quite foolish, atom is x86, but it is closer to a wheelchair than an 18 wheeler.

    From what I can tell, the apple's A10 is about the same performance as premium mobile device x86 chips from intel. The fact that it has no serious programs for it and doesn't allow you to run even your own programs without jailbreaking ... is a whole different topic.

    Performance is one metric, usability - another metric. And sure, performance without usability is a shame, but that's what the corporations dictate - those aren't devices for you to use as much as they are devices for you to be used.
  • bji - Friday, September 23, 2016 - link

    Do you think anyone actually cares about your sense of superiority over mobile app users? Reply
  • ddriver - Friday, September 23, 2016 - link

    I don't care what anyone cares about, their biz, not mine. Reply
  • Samus - Saturday, September 24, 2016 - link

    Using that ideology let's just say many people don't like your strong opinions projected upon them, either. Reply

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