A hot potato: With Zen 2, AMD’s focus has been pushing technologies as far as they can go, introducing PCIe 4.0, 40 lanes per motherboard, and up to 12-core CPUs. According to MSI CEO Charles Chiang, however, that may push X570 motherboards far above the price of equivalent X470 boards.
“You can really expect this motherboard pricing will have a lot of gap between the X470s and 570s," Chiang told Tom’s Hardware. In fact, he expects the prices to comparable to Intel’s high-end Z390 boards.
“If an X570 is compared to our Z390 if the specs are equal and everything, I don't think we are going to price AMD lower. I don't think that's realistic because the cost of the motherboard will be higher, and maybe the pricing of the chipset is higher." Presently, the median price of an X470 motherboard is $180.74 while the median for Z390 boards is $191.99.
PCIe 4.0, in its first iteration, is expensive to produce. Not only does it require faster switches and more hardware to manage the speed increase to 64 GB/s per 16-lane slot, but the power draw more than triples as well. And speaking of power, Chiang says almost every X570 board will require active VRM cooling, partly because the 12-core CPU will draw more power, but also because AMD wants X570 to have premium features marketed to enthusiasts.
“I don't think that AMD is the company that wants to sell low cost here, low cost there."
"Lots of people ask me, what do you think about today's AMD? I say today's AMD is completely different company compared to two, three, five years ago," Chiang said. "They have nice technology and they are there to put the higher spec with the reasonable pricing. But right now, they say, ‘Hey Charles, let's push to marketing to the higher [end]. So, let's sell higher-pricing motherboards, higher-spec motherboards, and let's see what will happen in the market.’”
AMD is also considering charging significantly more for the X570 chipset over previous models, though pricing hasn’t been finalized. Until now, Ryzen chipsets were manufactured by ASMedia, but AMD is producing the X570 entirely themselves.
It appears that AMD is going fully after Intel in the high-end segment, but they better be careful not to price themselves out of the mid-tier market that has been their closest ally since the launch of Ryzen. While X470 boards will continue to be produced as a budget option, X570 will be the only platform with support for PCIe 4.0.