Why it matters: The new Ryzen 7000 series of processors hit the market earlier this week, bringing AMD's first architecture update since it released AM4 in 2017. With any new architecture comes a ton of motherboards, but many have noticed an insane price hike for even the cheapest AM5 motherboards.
With the recent launch of new AMD processors, reviewers and consumers alike have been dropping their opinions on the chips, with reviews generally favorable. However, one negative aspect that people are pointing out is the sheer cost of upgrading to AM5.
So far, we've only seen the launch of X670 and X670e motherboards, with B650 and B650e motherboards arriving sometime in October. Unsurprisingly, the X670 and X670e boards are more expensive since they have the current flagship chipset for AM5. But not everyone wants to spend nearly as much money on a motherboard as they did on their brand-new processor, which is what they are required to do now.
Currently, the cheapest AM5 motherboard available for consumers is the ASRock X670E PG Lightning, retailing at $259.99 on Newegg. The board does come equipped with future-proofed support for PCIe 5.0 capable graphics cards and a single USB-C port. However, it does not include onboard WiFi and Bluetooth or the multiple USB-C ports seen on most motherboards. Two features that some users may find essential.
Consumers who swear by Mini ITX are bound to spend even more money. Currently, the only available AM5 Mini ITX motherboard is the Asus ROG Strix X670E-I Gaming WiFi. That board sells for $469.99, and while it comes with many useful features, it is still a hefty amount of money to pay for a motherboard.
Completely upgrading from AM4 to AM5 could prove too costly for some. The Ryzen 5 7600X currently retails for $299. The cheapest 32 GB kit of DDR5 on Newegg sells for $139.99. Coupled with the ASRock X670E PG Lightning at $259.99, this basic setup brings the total outlay to an astounding $698.98 before tax.
Early adopter "taxes" like these happen with nearly any technology. We saw it happen with DDR5 memory, we're seeing it now with AM5, and we'll likely see it again in the future.
The good news is we expect B650 and B650E motherboards will be noticeably cheaper than the X670 and X670E boards, so if budget-oriented consumers can wait another month or two, AM5 will likely be a much more attractive option for them.