AM4 socket motherboards support the latest and greatest Ryzen CPUs and APUs from AMD. You may be asking the question – so what’s the Ryzen all about? Or what’s the difference between a Ryzen CPU and an APU?
In terms of Ryzen CPU’s, you have first gen and second gen Ryzen processors. Ryzen is a comparable processor to the Intel i3, i5 and i7 processors. For a long time, Intel had no comparison in terms of these processors. As you may imagine, the Intel processor line becomes more powerful as you move up from i3 to i5 to i7. In comparison, the Ryzen processor line also improves in performance and power from Ryzen 3, and then 5 and 7.
Difference between Ryzen CPU and AMD APU
The difference between the Ryzen CPU and AMD APU is that an AMD has graphics processing capability also built in. This means that you don’t need to purchase a graphics card necessarily if you buy an APU. You can buy a Ryzen with Vega graphics, for example. APU stands for Advanced Processing Unit. An example of a new AM4 APU from AMD is the new Athlon processor with Radeon Vega graphics. This APU boasts the ability to play eSports games in 720p from an onboard port. The CPU details on the AMD website do state that you need to add on a graphics card to use 1080p graphics, which does make sense.
AM4 Budget/Starter Motherboard – A320 Motherboard
Motherboard support for the Ryzen chipset starts with the A320 motherboard. This motherboard is provided from two manufacturers: Gigabyte and MSI. These two system boards are the Gigabyte GA-A320M-HD2 ($70 on Amazon) and the MSI A320M Gaming Pro (also $70 on Amazon). This is really an entry level board or “budget board,” meaning if you are looking for a cheap entry level starter board to provide Ryzen support, this is the motherboard to choose.
One of the disadvantages to purchasing the A320 motherboard however, is that it has no support for overclocking. So – if you’re looking to overclock your Ryzen, you’ll want to avoid anything that utilizes the A320 chipset. The Ryzen processor does support overclocking – but the A320 chipset does not. Makes sense from a budget board. The A320 supports two Sata III connections and up to four PCIe generation 2 lanes.
B350 / B450 AM4 Motherboard
The B350 / B450 chipset is a good pick for gamers who are OK with just running one GPU. Running just a single GPU is fine for most gamers. If you drop a GTP 1080ti or the new 2080ti in there, it’s enough to run most games with no problem. Unless you want to run more than 4 monitors, or are looking to setup two GPU’s in AMD Crossfire, the B350 or 450 will suit you just fine. The cost of installing two high end cars like the 1080ti or 2080 is so great that most gamers are not looking to spend 2-3 thousand dollars just on video cards alone – and that’s what you’re looking at if you want to run two high end GPUs.