AMD Motherboard buyers guide

How to choose an AMD motherboard

If the CPU is the brain of the PC, then the motherboard is like the nervous system, connecting all the other components together, such as the GRAPHICS CARD, memory and drives, enabling them to communicate with one another.

Just like with any component you need to make sure that you choose a motherboard that is compatible with your CPU. In this guide, we will be focussing our attention on motherboards for AMD CPUs.

Three main factors

There are three main factors to consider when choosing a new motherboard, the socket, the chipset and the size. You can see each of these three characteristics listed on the motherboard homepage on the Scan website and this guide will explain what you need to look out for.

AMD Socket

1Socket

AMD Chipset

2Chipset

AMD Motherboard Size

3Size

Motherboard Sockets

The first thing to look out for is the socket, which is where the CPU physically connects to the motherboard. CPUs are available in all sorts of shapes and sizes, each with their own socket, so it’s critically important to make sure that the socket of the CPU and motherboard is the same. While AMD does change the socket design from time to time when designing new CPUs, most current AMD CPUs fall into three main sockets: Socket AM4, Socket TRX4 and Socket sWRX8

Motherboard Chipsets

After checking the socket type you also need to consider the chipset. The chipset determines a lot of the capabilities of the motherboard, such as the number of add-in cards, the number of memory slots and USB ports. Some CPUs are only served by one chipset while other times you have a choice of chipsets, so you can strike the right balance between features and budget.

Motherboard Size

The last thing you need to consider when choosing a new motherboard is the size. Size is important because you need to make sure that the motherboard you buy can fit in your case. Larger motherboards are beneficial because they support more add-in cards and memory, but you can still build very capable and high performance systems with smaller motherboards.

The computer industry uses codenames to refer to the size of the motherboard, but the good news is that those same codenames are used for the size of cases too. This diagram illustrates the dimensions of the most common motherboard sizes.

AMD Motherboard Size Chart
Mini-ITX Micro-ATX ATX E-ATX SSI-EEB
170 x 170 mm 244 x 244 mm 305 x 244 mm 305 x 330 mm

Socket AM4 Motherboards

Socket AM4 Motherboards

The most common socket type is Socket AM4, and is compatible with a huge range of modern AMD DESKTOP CPUs. This includes three different AMD CPU families, entry-level Athlon APUs and Ryzen processsors. Some but not all AMD CPUs include integrated graphics, so you intend on using these instead of buying a graphics card make sure you choose a motherboard that has graphics outputs as not all models have them. Rest assured though that most Socket AM4 motherboards will support any Socket AM4 CPU, the only exception to this are older A320 motherboards which lack support for the latest Ryzen 5000-series processors.

LATEST SUPPORTED CPU ARCHITECTURERyzen 5000-series, Zen 3 & Athlon 3000-series, Zen

ZEN 3 MOTHERBOARD CHIPSETS

X570
High End

X570 is the flagship motherboard chipset for AMD AM4 CPUs, supporting the most PCIe lanes and USB ports.

B550 AND B450
Mid Range

B550 and B450 are the two mid-range motherboard chipsets for AMD AM4 CPUs. B550 is the latest version, supporting the most PCIe lanes and USB ports.

A520 AND A320
Entry Level

A520 and A320 are the two entry-level motherboard chipsets for AMD AM4 CPUs. A520 is the latest version, supporting the most PCIe lanes and USB ports.

RECOMMENDED PROCESSORS

Socket TRX4 Motherboards

The second main type of CPU socket is Socket TR4X, which is used by the high-end Ryzen Threadripper CPU-series. These are super-high end CPUs with lots of cores, cache and PCI-E lanes and so are a great choice for a workstation pc.

LATEST SUPPORTED CPU ARCHITECTURERyzen Threadripper 3000-series, Zen 2

TRX40
High End

TRX40 is the only motherboard chipset for AMD Ryzen Threadripper CPUs.

Compatible Processors Compatible Processors VIEW TRX40 MOTHERBOARDS

Socket sWRX8 Motherboards

The third main type of CPU socket is Socket sWRX8, which is used by the Ryzen Threadripper PRO CPU-series. These are ultra-powerful CPUs with lots of cores, ECC RAM and PCIe lanes, making them the ultimate choice for a workstation PC.

LATEST SUPPORTED CPU ARCHITECTURERyzen Threadripper PRO 3000-series, Zen 2

WRX80
High End

WRX80 is the only motherboard chipset for AMD Ryzen Threadripper PRO CPUs.

Compatible Processors Compatible Processors VIEW ALL SWRX8 MOTHERBOARDS