Are All AM4 Sockets The Same? (Ryzen CPUs & Sockets Explained)

If you’re wondering what motherboard will support your AMD Ryzen CPU of choice, well you’ve come to the right place. We’ll be going over what is what, and which motherboard will be the best fit for you in our article today.

But before we get to that, if you are wondering “are all AM4 sockets the same?” the short answer to your question is; Yes, all AM4 sockets are physically the same. The main differences between AM4 motherboards lie elsewhere. The chipset is what ultimately decides the differences.

Below, we’ll have different sections to help you find the differences between various AM4 motherboards so you can figure out what choice is right for you. And to better answer the question of “Are all AM4 sockets the same?”.

Differences Among AM4 Motherboards

Chipset

The main difference you’ll find among AM4 motherboards is the Chipset. The Chipset is the main deciding factor when it comes to what features you get, how many input/output ports and PCI-e lanes are provided, and most importantly, CPU compatibility.

Motherboard chipset

AMD so far has released 3 generations of motherboards for the AM4 socket, and these are the 300-series, 400-series, and 500-series. They consist of the following chipsets;

  • A320, B350, X370 for the 300-series
  • B450 and X470 for the 400-series, and
  • A520, B550, and X570 for the 500-series

A320 and A520 are entry-level motherboards intended for basic systems or those on a tight budget, though they do lack features that the upper end of the product stack has.

B350, B450, and B550 are mid-range motherboards geared towards gamers and most average users and have a good balance of price to performance and features available.

X370, X470, and X570 are high-end motherboards for enthusiasts, editors, and content creators and have the most features on offer.

Compatibility

Each chipset offers different CPU compatibility. Some newer 500-series motherboards only offer limited compatibility with older CPUs, while some older 300-series boards may lack features and support for some newer CPUs. Below is a chart showing the compatibility between chipsets and various AM4 CPUs throughout generations

AM4 CPU Compatibility

AM4 CPU Compatibility features of AMD Ryzen CPUs
Some manufacturers are rolling out beta BIOS versions for older X370 motherboards for Zen 3 5000-series CPU support coming in January 2021, along with B450 and X570 support.

Some B550 and X570 motherboards are compatible with Ryzen 1000 and 2000 CPUs, but not officially, so compatibility is at your own risk if you do decide to go this route.

Here are reviews of the 11 best AM4 motherboards right now. All 11 of these motherboards are fully compatible with AM4 Ryzen CPUs.

Input/Output (I/O), PCI-e lanes/revision, and Overclocking Support

Different chipsets have different features to offer. The main differences being overclocking support, extra PCI-e lanes available for storage, USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports, and PCI-e revision.

Overclocking is only supported on B-series and X-series Chipsets, and A320/A520 miss out.

X570 also has more I/O and PCI-e lanes available compared to other chipsets, though this is up to motherboard manufacturers to implement as they please.

The latest 500-series motherboards also come with PCI-e 4.0 support, older motherboards do not. The higher up the product stack you go, the more features you get.

Though a good B550 motherboard should suffice for most users as they are priced very well and offer enough features, and a B450 motherboard is recommended for those considering a Ryzen APU.

Form Factor

The final thing to consider is the form factor or sizing of the motherboard. This will affect the size of the case you’ll need, and may also affect available ports in some cases.

Bigger motherboards offer more connectors, ports, and I/O, but generally take up a lot of space, while smaller boards may cut down on available connectors but are favorable for compact builds.

When buying a case, it will generally tell you what motherboards it is compatible with.

Whilst you are here why not read my report discussing how long I think AM4 will last before being phased out.

Conclusion

So for anyone that was wondering “do all Ryzen CPUs use the same socket?” you now know that the answer is yes but the compatibility is decided by other factors.

While all AM4 sockets are physically the same, the differences lie within the choice of  Chipset. Your CPU’s compatibility, and the features you get, will heavily depend on what chipset motherboard you choose for your AM4 CPU.

For 3000 and 5000-series Ryzen CPUs, we’d recommend B550 or X570 motherboards as they are the newest and offer the best features.

For 1000 and 2000-series, or Ryzen APUs, we think a B450 motherboard will be the best choice as it offers an upgrade path to newer CPUs while still offering a decent amount of features and wide range of compatibility.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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