AMD has launched its entry-level A520 desktop chipset for 3rd Gen Ryzen "Matisse" processors, providing a minor upgrade to the budget A320 chipset of before.
Aimed very squarely at the budget end of the market, the A520 chipset offers a series of pros and cons that sound about right for an inexpensive offering. The biggest con being that it completely lacks PCIe Gen 4 support which could be an issue for some. On the other hand, it's still an improvement over the A320 chipset thanks to its four PCIe 3.0 lanes compared to its predecessor's four PCIe 2.0 lanes, as well as the addition of USB 3.2 10Gbps ports.
CPU support is the same as the B550 chipset. That allows for Ryzen 3000-based Zen 2 chips right now with compatibility for the upcoming Ryzen 4000-based Zen 3 chips set to arrive via firmware updates in the future.
The chipset offers slightly fewer choices for how vendors may want to configure their related boards as the below chart demonstrates so you can see where manufacturers may need to make concessions.
The favoured format choice by motherboard manufacturers appears to be Micro-ATX right now with a handful of Mini-ITX boards and only the one full-sized ATX model. It's a logical move given we can't see many people building a budget system based around this chipset and still wanting a full ATX sized system.
If you are in the market for a full-sized ATX motherboard, your sole option is with Gigabyte's A520 Aorus Elite. Aimed at gamers, it offers four memory slots that support up to 128GB of DDR4-4400 memory, a RealTek ALC1200 HD audio codec and a Realtek Gigabit Ethernet controller. It also has two full-length PCIe 3.0 slots that operate at x16/x2 alongside three PCIe 3.0 x1 slots and one PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slot backed up by four SATA ports.
Gigabyte has also launched the A520I AC which is designed for smaller systems being a Micro-ATX motherboard, which is a little more in keeping with the budget stylings behind the chipset. In all, the firm has announced seven different motherboards that support the new chipset.
Elsewhere, it's been a similarly busy time for MSI with four new motherboards - all Micro-ATX based - with ASUS offering up three and ASRock throwing in two which it reckons will offer "best in-class" features. Biostar has also got involved with one motherboard - the A520MH V6.0 - which is aimed at the business and casual market which presumably explains its mere 2 DIMM lanes.
If you're in the market for a new budget system, your choices have just got a lot more varied.
September 17 2021 | 10:20