We're pretty fond of AMD's Ryzen 7 processors, as you'll be aware if you've read our most recent System Guide. However, eight-core CPUs and the overclockers' motherboards to match are anything but entry-level. Ryzen 5 processors are launching soon, and there's little point in going for an economical $169 CPU and then sticking it on a $200 motherboard. For folks who want something simpler, Gigabyte just announced two boards based on AMD's A320 chipset. The GA-A320-DS3 and GA-A320M-HD2 are very similar aside from size: the DS3 is an ATX motherboard, while the HD2 comes in a micro-ATX form factor.
AMD describes the A320 chipset as "essential," versus the "mainstream" B350 and "enthusiast" X370. The A320 was actually one of the first AM4 chipsets to be released—it arrived in pre-built PCs using Bristol Ridge APUs. It loses overclocking and some high-speed I/O versus its more expensive cousins, but is otherwise unchanged. You get two DDR4 DIMM slots, four SATA 6Gbps ports, a single USB 3.1 port, and that's about it. These boards don't have M.2 or U.2 sockets, nor do they come with a bunch of fancy RGB LEDs. Realtek chips take care of LAN connectivity and audio output on both boards.
The difference in size between the two offerings means the A320M-HD2 loses a legacy PCI slot and one of the PCIe x16 slots to crunch down to micro-ATX size. Given the feature list, these boards aren't going to set hearts aflame, but they might leave your wallet intact, and they're fine for workhorse systems. We've asked Gigabyte about pricing for these models and will update this post if we hear back.
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