Thought/opinion: motherboards might be where Ryzen kicks Intel's rear

Valantar

Golden Member
Aug 26, 2014
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I know this has been discussed before to a certain extent, but I haven't seen any threads focused purely on this - especially now after the Ryzen reveal. My thought:

Motherboards are just as big of a hindrance to X99 (/X299) adoption as CPUs are. From a quick look at Newegg, Z170 boards start at ~$80, while X99 starts at $150, and by page 2 of the X99 section you're at $250 or more - a price it takes twice the number of motherboards to reach for Z170.

In other words, not only is the base CPU $50 more than the top-end Z170 chip, motherboards are significantly more expensive too.

AMD on the other hand is going all-in on the AM4 platform, from the low to the high end. In other words, you could theoretically run your 8c16t Ryzen chip on a $60-70 (or lower) motherboard. This would give buyers a much bigger selection of CPUs within a tolerable price range, and would bring down total platform cost significantly when compared to X99. As an (off-the-cuff, not claiming feature parity or anything) example, the cheapest Z170 Asus ROG motherboard at Newegg is $170, while the cheapest Asus ROG X99 board is $285. That's another $100+ that could go into increased CPU or GPU performance, a bigger SSD, more RAM, a better (/better looking) case, and so on. It would also leave a clear CPU upgrade path for anyone investing in a lower-end part.


So what am I saying? I think that if AMD prices Zen reasonably (i.e. $5-600 for the 8c16t, top-end model, and several options lower down than that), this would still be an expensive, premium option. The added "savings" of a cheaper motherboard with the same features and quality could tip the scales in their direction, even with the public's tendency towards pro-Intel bias.
 

whm1974

Diamond Member
Jul 24, 2016
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I myself am hoping the the 8c/16t RyZen CPU is around ~$300 otherwise I wouldn't buy it. I will also need decent Linux support from the start as well.
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
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I'm with the crowd that thinks an 8C/16T "Ryzen" unlocked CPU is probably going to be $500-600.
 

bigboxes

Lifer
Apr 6, 2002
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I myself am hoping the the 8c/16t RyZen CPU is around ~$300 otherwise I wouldn't buy it. I will also need decent Linux support from the start as well.
You will never own one at that price.

I'm with the crowd that thinks an 8C/16T "Ryzen" unlocked CPU is probably going to be $500-600.
I have a feeling it's going to be a little north of that. It all depends on how competitive it is. All these early benchies don't mean a whole lot until we see the final SKU that is released and reviewed after the NDA has expired.
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
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I don't think that it will be much more expensive, as if it performs, then Intel may cut their prices on their 8C/16T HEDT CPUs slightly, to compete more. If AMD charges $800 for it, I think that it might be a non-starter. At least the consumer / non-server edition.

I don't see it being more than $700, at most. But I think $600 is probably more likely.
 

thesmokingman

Platinum Member
May 6, 2010
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I think it is not the MB but in how they deal with pcie lane restrictions. Intel has monetized pcie lanes and they force enthusiasts to pay out the wazoo for more lanes. If AMD sticks to their typical plenty of lanes like they don't even care to monetize it, then that will be a big barrier removed.
 
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StrangerGuy

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May 9, 2004
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I don't think that it will be much more expensive, as if it performs, then Intel may cut their prices on their 8C/16T HEDT CPUs slightly, to compete more. If AMD charges $800 for it, I think that it might be a non-starter. At least the consumer / non-server edition.

I don't see it being more than $700, at most. But I think $600 is probably more likely.
I predict like Fury/Nano AMD will overplay their hand their on Zen pricing and forget there's a huge 6 year installed base of i5/i7s and most don't gawk at the likes of Cinebench all day long. 8-core Zen at $300 in 2017 is still nowhere even close to the appeal of the 2500K back in 2011.
 

bigboxes

Lifer
Apr 6, 2002
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I predict like Fury/Nano AMD will overplay their hand their on Zen pricing and forget there's a huge 6 year installed base of i5/i7s and most don't gawk at the likes of Cinebench all day long. 8-core Zen at $300 in 2017 is still nowhere even close to the appeal of the 2500K back in 2011.
If the architecture proves to be competitive when it's finally released I see it around $700 for the high end SKU. It will be very tempting for us enthusiasts if it's competing with an $1,100 Intel equivalent. I'm not in the market at the moment, but give me a couple more years and I'll be happy to try AMD once again. I've been wanting this for years, but Intel has been keeping the hex/octa cores out of my price range. If this 8-core/16 thread beast is released at $500-$600 then look out. You also need to know that there will be more affordable SKUs downstream. Even if I don't build a new box in 2017 this will definitely have my attention if AMD is competitive.
 

Valantar

Golden Member
Aug 26, 2014
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I predict like Fury/Nano AMD will overplay their hand their on Zen pricing and forget there's a huge 6 year installed base of i5/i7s and most don't gawk at the likes of Cinebench all day long. 8-core Zen at $300 in 2017 is still nowhere even close to the appeal of the 2500K back in 2011.
8-core Zen at $300 isn't going to happen when the competition is at $1100. $5-600 is still a massive bargain, and leaves room for 6- and 4-core models (with potentially higher clocks, i.e. better for gaming) further down the price range. I'd gladly take a 6c12t Zen at 350-400 if the base clocks are closer to 4GHz.


But could we perhaps discuss the topic, rather than just argue about Zen pricing? Do you think cheaper motherboards might have an impact on Zen's competitiveness?
 

TheELF

Diamond Member
Dec 22, 2012
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Do you think cheaper motherboards might have an impact on Zen's competitiveness?
If it's the same kind of cheaper that we see for fx cpus(mobos that claim some tdp but throttle cpus with that tdp) than you better hope that there are no cheaper mobos...
Also amd already stated that pci lanes will be "monetized" you'll need at least the mainstream one for good lanes and the enthusiast one for highest possible.
Also notice the "robust platform" statement for enthusiast mobos that could point towards lesser mobos throttling.
Or maybe it doesn't,just saying.
 

LurchFrinky

Senior member
Nov 12, 2003
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Will Ryzen and AM4 support ECC? Because it is these types of features that i would like to see come down in price.
 

Ancalagon44

Diamond Member
Feb 17, 2010
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Funnily enough, I remember this being the case years ago. AMD had CPUs that weren't quite as good, but it cheaper to get a decently specced AMD board than the equivalent Intel board, which pushed the total cost of ownership low.

So, OP, I completely agree with you. I would be interested to see if Intel reacts to this at all.
 

Valantar

Golden Member
Aug 26, 2014
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If it's the same kind of cheaper that we see for fx cpus(mobos that claim some tdp but throttle cpus with that tdp) than you better hope that there are no cheaper mobos...
If so, that would suck. Sounds like shoddy engineering rather than vendor-side limitations though.
Also amd already stated that pci lanes will be "monetized" you'll need at least the mainstream one for good lanes and the enthusiast one for highest possible.
That makes sense. While the 8 lanes of the mid-range chipsets and current AM4 APUs is a bit low for gaming, it generally won't limit anything that it would reasonably be paired with. I'd hope there's at least 32 native PCIe lanes in Zen, and I wouldn't mind there being tiering - say, cards with 1 x16 slot are noticeably cheaper than cards with two. That makes sense to me. 1 x16 still allows for x8/x8 CF, after all.
Also notice the "robust platform" statement for enthusiast mobos that could point towards lesser mobos throttling.
Or maybe it doesn't,just saying.
Let's hope so. Robust could also mean "future proof" (as in "won't be replaced for a while), and "suitable for a wide range of use cases."
 

Valantar

Golden Member
Aug 26, 2014
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I'm hoping the AM4 socket will last longer then Intel does.
Yep, me too. AMD's recent history does give me hope in this regard, they've been excellent when it comes to platform compatibility and longevity. Simplifying everything into one platform might both help and hinder this, but I have some hope, at least.

Platform longevity is another plus from AMD total cost of ownership too, that Intel can't (or won't) match.

Also, I get the feeling that sticking to 2-channel memory was the right choice. Keeps costs down (especially board costs, requiring fewer PCB layers and far less complex traces), and the gains in non-server usage are limited at best. Might be a bit worrisome for workstation users that need more than 64GB of RAM, but those use cases are few and far between. Even 4K (or higher) video editing seems to work fine on 32 or 64GB.
 

whm1974

Diamond Member
Jul 24, 2016
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Yep, me too. AMD's recent history does give me hope in this regard, they've been excellent when it comes to platform compatibility and longevity. Simplifying everything into one platform might both help and hinder this, but I have some hope, at least.

Platform longevity is another plus from AMD total cost of ownership too, that Intel can't (or won't) match.

Also, I get the feeling that sticking to 2-channel memory was the right choice. Keeps costs down (especially board costs, requiring fewer PCB layers and far less complex traces), and the gains in non-server usage are limited at best. Might be a bit worrisome for workstation users that need more than 64GB of RAM, but those use cases are few and far between. Even 4K (or higher) video editing seems to work fine on 32 or 64GB.
I agree with the dual channel approach as it does keep cost and socket size down.
 

Atari2600

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Nov 22, 2016
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Also, I get the feeling that sticking to 2-channel memory was the right choice. Keeps costs down (especially board costs, requiring fewer PCB layers and far less complex traces), and the gains in non-server usage are limited at best. Might be a bit worrisome for workstation users that need more than 64GB of RAM, but those use cases are few and far between. Even 4K (or higher) video editing seems to work fine on 32 or 64GB.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but dual channel does not restrict you to merely 4 DIMM slots does it?

As long as they are ganged in pairs, you can step up to 8 or more slots as required (although I guess bandwidth and/or latency would suffer?)
 

Atari2600

Golden Member
Nov 22, 2016
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Oh, and with regards the original post - of course.

Considering CPU cost in isolation, when the vast majority of us buy (or have to buy) a new CPU and mobo at the same time, is madness. If AMD price an equally performing CPU $200 less than Intel's equivalent, and the mobo comes in another $100 cheaper, that's another massive saving.


Furthermore, apart from some folks not happy with Skt939 (which I personally got one good upgrade out of), AMD have historically had a much better platform roadmap than Intel, who IMO squeeze the consumer for every last drop of cash with inane changes to their sockets with CPU generations forcing a full platform update. Sure back in the day, many Intel motherboards didn't even support newer CPUs on the same socket - and no - not a bios update to rectify!
 

Rifter

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
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I agree, if they can pack in new features like USB 3.1, and have lots of sata ports and good # of PCIe lanes then they may very well give intel a run for their money in the Mobo department.
 

dlerious

Golden Member
Mar 4, 2004
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The total cost was why I went with AMD when I put that system together - computer's in another room, think it was during the Athlon II X4 time frame. Been running systems from both AMD and Intel for a while. Was switching back and forth with upgrades - New AMD then new Intel, but the last couple have been Intel.

Kind of miss the competition. My AMD system is in need of an upgrade. I was going to go LGA 2011-v3, but Ryzen is close enough that I might be able to resist the urge to buy now. If it's close enough in performance at a decent cost, I'm in. If not, hopefully it will put some pressure on Intel to lower prices.
 

monkeydelmagico

Diamond Member
Nov 16, 2011
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The reason am3 mobos are cheaper is because the costs of development have already been amortized. Considering AMD's current position in the market I predict AM4 motherboards will be more expensive than their similarly spec'd Intel counterparts for a few years. If AMD sticks with the AM4 socket for a decade then yes, in 2026, their boards will be substantially cheaper.
 

SpaceBeer

Senior member
Apr 2, 2016
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I recently found out this A88 borad and it costs only ~$70 :D
http://www.asrock.com/mb/AMD/A88M-G3.1/
It has USB 3.1, M.2 slot, 4 DIMM slots, heatsink on MOSFETs... So I would expect they will release "the same" B350 or X370 board for the similar price. It would be great for 4c/8t Ryzen CPUs, and even allow basic OC

I suppose similar ASUS or GB borads would cost $10-20 more
 

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