MSI fills out its Ryzen range with five A320 motherboards

Now that we have more-reasonably-priced Ryzen processors around, we have some affordable Ryzen motherboards, too. MSI is getting in on the act with no less than five new microATX motherboards based on the AMD A320 chipset. From the company's Performance Gaming series comes the A320M Gaming Pro, from the Arsenal series come the A320M Grenade and A320M Bazooka, and from the company's business-oriented Pro series come the A320M Pro-VD and A320M Pro-VD/S.

The A320M Gaming Pro could easily be mistaken for a much fancier motherboard thanks to its sharply-contrasting black-and-red color scheme befitting its status as a member of the Performance Gaming family. This motherboard offers LED lighting, but only around its back, providing an eerie red glow in your case. Meanwhile, the more subdued-looking A320M Grenade appears to be essentially the same motherboard, but in a black-and-grey design with top-side and rear red LED accents.

These Socket AM4 motherboards have a curious feature allotment and only offer two memory slots supporting DDR4 up to 2667 MT/s. The mobos get a single PCIe 3.0 x16 slot, four 6Gbps SATA ports, and an M.2 socket connected to PCIe 3.0 x4. They also have six USB 3.0 ports, plus VGA, DVI, and HDMI connectors for folks buying Bristol Ridge APUs. Realtek supplies the LAN and audio chips for these two boards.

The A320M Bazooka in black and silver is still pretty similar to the two boards above, although it doubles the allotment of DDR4 memory slots. The Bazooka also ditches the ALC887 codec used on the Gaming Pro and the Grenade and steps up to Realtek's ALC892. Besides those two changes, the Bazooka is slightly larger than its Gaming-family cousins, and its ambient LED lighting is white. It has all of the same connectivity options as the two boards above.

Finally, the A320M Pro-VD and A320M Pro-VD/S appear to be identical to the naked eye. Both are, again, microATX Socket AM4 motherboards with an AMD A320 chipset. However, the A320M Pro-VD only supports processors from the Bristol Ridge family, while the A320M Pro-VD/S supports Ryzen processors. Because of that difference, the Pro-VD is limited to 2400 MT/s DDR4 memory while the Pro-VD/S model can go up to 2667 MT/s.

These two last boards are truly baseline models, and as a result only get two memory slots, four SATA ports, and six USB 3.0 ports. There's no M.2 socket onboard, and the available video connections are limited to a DVI port and a VGA connector.

Since MSI just put up the product pages, we don't know when these board will be available or how much they will cost. If you're looking to build a Ryzen machine on the cheap, keep an eye out for them.

Comments closed
    • bacondreamer
    • 3 years ago

    I don’t know how I feel about buying a mobo that’s called the “Grenade”…..sounds like an accident waiting to happen…..

    • ronch
    • 3 years ago

    Who the heck is gonna pair a spunky new Ryzen 5 or Ryzen 7 with a cheap board such as one of these? Maybe a cheap Ryzen 3 or Bristol Ridge APU would go well with these for grandma but BR desktop chips are nowhere to be found and Zen APUs are still a few months away. Is AMD suddenly flooding mobo makers with A320 chips that didn’t pass off as X370 or B350 chips (assuming they’re the same die with binning separating them)? Also, anyone who spends $250 or more on a CPU owe it to themselves to get at least a decent B350 mobo. Pairing a Ryzen 7 with A320 is like buying a Mustang and putting cheap Chinese motor oil in it.

      • EndlessWaves
      • 3 years ago

      Cheap motherboards look pretty attractive these days. A lot of expensive MicroATX motherboards seem to under-deliver on the tech side – prioritising fancy decoration over cutting edge ports.

      • UberGerbil
      • 3 years ago

      No, it’s like getting a turbo V8 and putting it in a regular chassis instead of a gold-plated one encrusted with RGB LEDs, cheese-grater-inspired “shrouds,” and be-stickered hunks of “heatsink” that aren’t attached to anything.

        • synthtel2
        • 3 years ago

        Racing stripes? We don’t need no stinkin’ racing stripes.

          • Ummagumma
          • 3 years ago

          Agreed. Paint stripes and LED strips do nothing for performance… of the motherboard.

      • jensend
      • 3 years ago

      I get that some enthusiasts will see chipset cost savings as minor compared to the advantage of having their mobo be “best of the best.” But for many people, even just the connectivity already built into the processor would be enough. Zen is a SoC and you can almost forgo a chipset.

      That’s pretty much what the X300/A300 do. The minuscule chipset is only connected via SPI and all real connectivity comes from the SoC. You get 20 lanes of PCIe 3.0, two SATA 3 ports, one x2 NVMe port, and four USB 3.1 ports.

      The A320 will be plenty for people who need slightly more connectivity than that.

    • R-Type
    • 3 years ago

    Never, ever name your computer product “GRENADE”. Sheesh.

      • Misel
      • 3 years ago

      Come on, they’re not Samsung 😉

      • Ummagumma
      • 3 years ago

      If it were Samsung then I think “INFERNO” might be a valid product name.

    • NoOne ButMe
    • 3 years ago

    IMHO A320 boards are DOA until Ryzen 3 or cheaper Ryzen 5 products arrive.

    I cannot imagine them getting much under $50-60. Which is only 20-30 bucks under cheap B350 boards.

    I understand, and have been someone who $20 is a dealbreaker. But for ultra-budget Intel is clearly far better at the moment.

      • ET3D
      • 3 years ago

      The major difference between B350 and A320 is overclocking, and outside the enthusiasts crowd it’s not an important feature. Ryzen in its current form does have a legitimate place in work machines, and an A320 board can certainly satisfy those needs.

      • UberGerbil
      • 3 years ago

      Suppose you’re buying in quantities of a thousand, because you’re a whitebox OEM or you’re outfitting a company. Then per-unit deltas of $20 make a lot of difference, especially if there’s no effective difference in the capabilities of the resulting builds.

      • BaronMatrix
      • 3 years ago

      Raven Ridge will be called Ryzen also… Saw a pic that says there may be a Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 1x00G…

      A 95W RR APU may get up to 896SPs… Apple got a 460 down to 30W with RAM and connectors on a MXM package…

      That’s what I want to see… Bristol is old news but may end up in a bunch of AIOs until they get a 15W Ryzen…

    • JosiahBradley
    • 3 years ago

    That first board looks identical to the MSI B350M GAming Pro [url<]https://images10.newegg.com/NeweggImage/ProductImageCompressAll1280/13-144-019-V01.jpg?w=660&h=500[/url<]

      • JustAnEngineer
      • 3 years ago

      I haven’t taken the time to compare all of the motherboard models since they’ve reached the “dozens” count, but I’ve posted links to their pages on the manufacturers’ sites here:
      [url<]https://techreport.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=118885&start=150#p1341603[/url<]

      • DPete27
      • 3 years ago

      Wow. You’re absolutely right. I couldn’t tell the difference even in all the little ICs.

    • DPete27
    • 3 years ago

    I’m still seeing that 2667MHz can only be achieved using 2 sticks of single rank RAM?

    I admittedly haven’t looked into this issue much, but I seem to have seen people claiming they’ve been able to get 3200MHz going (not sure how many DIMMs or single/dual rank or if it requires specific high-end mobos or prime CPU samples). Can anyone explain why this is such a limitation? (memory controller on the CPU?)

    Sure, Intel CPUs only “officially” support 2400MHz, but it seems pretty common to be able to run 3200MHz+ on most any Z-series mobos regardless of single/dual rank DIMMs

      • NoOne ButMe
      • 3 years ago

      I believe it has to do with boards which have external clock generators.

      I know AHCO, who does lots of PCB “breakdowns” of mostly GPUs on YouTube talked about how you get the RAM clocks high on Ryzen, and talked about overclocking the base timing.

      Like 128×25 = 3200.

      [b<]I have Zero proof/evidence of this myself. Nor the personal knowledge to know if it is true.[/b<]

      • Goty
      • 3 years ago

      You can get 3200MHz going on two single rank DIMMs if they’re using Samsung B-die ICs (pretty much any 3200 C14 kit will be using these) on any motherboard you like, external clock generator or no. Speeds up to 3600 or 3700 are possible, but typically not without bumping the base clock.

      3200 MHz is possible using Elpida ICs, but it’s much harder.

      You can go digging in the AMD forum over at XtremeSystems to see what kind of speeds and timings people are able to achieve.

        • albundy
        • 3 years ago

        so in other words, you dont get what you pay for, so you are tricked into believing that the AM4 board supports 3200mhz since it clearly states it on their product info page, but now have to pay 2-3 times more for 3200mhz ram cas 14 vs the 3200mhz cas 16 ram. who even knows if it’s b-die since clearly many manufacturers do not list this spec. hopefully all this nonsense will get cleared up with a-xmp updates since its clearly not defined by any of the parties making this bs.

          • NoOne ButMe
          • 3 years ago

          A bit worse even, as “3200mhz RAM” for Ryzen may rely on having a clock generator on board. So many people going to waste money like that :(.

            • Redocbew
            • 3 years ago

            The early adopter tax was a bit steeper this time than usual, but it’s like some of the people complaining about memory speeds and whatnot forgot that computers are complicated won’t always behave exactly how you might expect.

            Now get off my lawn!

            • synthtel2
            • 3 years ago

            ^ That. ^ You don’t buy DDR4-4000 and think there’s any guarantee you’ll actually be able to run it at that spec, because the limitation can be a lot of other places. Those other limits just happen to be lower for Ryzen than we’re used to with Intel.

            • NoOne ButMe
            • 3 years ago

            I agree. But from what I have seen memory manufacturers try to obfuscate it.
            If I buy 3200Mhz RAM “Ryzen certified” and it is actually “Ryzen plus external clock generator certified” I would be angry.

            Mostly because I know enough that I should look for it. But most consumers are not. Even people with DIY PCs.

            Not clarly labeling how clocks are certified is anti-consumer. And anti-consumer practices should always be pushed back on. Feel free to try to convince me otherwise. For either of those stances.

            • Redocbew
            • 3 years ago

            There’s way too much information on how these things operate than can be distilled down to a simple spec sheet. The CPUs that go in these boards use a bazilion tiny transistors all bopping and weaving all at once, and the boards that go with them are built with at least a half dozen little widgets I don’t even know the names of let alone how they work. If someone tired to drop all that information on even well informed consumers it wouldn’t do anybody any good.

            If you’re going to spend your time investigating a complex system, then you better expect to be confused, pissed off and to have your ass kicked every now and then. That’s just the cost of education.

            • UberGerbil
            • 3 years ago

            Most consumers aren’t overclocking. Most consumers aren’t building their own PCs. Most consumers won’t see a difference between fast memory and slow memory. Most consumers aren’t doing anything with their PCs where they’d care anyway. For most consumers there’s exactly one number that matters, and that’s the price.

            The information is out there for the 1% of 1% who do care; everybody else would probably be happier with [i<]less[/i<] information.

            • Wall Street
            • 3 years ago

            Stop spreading FUD. I have a Aorus AX370 Gaming 5 (no clock generator on that one) and 3200 Mhz runs fine. Of course I am using B-die RAM, but you don’t need a clock gen to run 3200 Mhz. With B-die, I can even do 3200 Mhz with 0.95 V SOC VCore, whereas the non-B-die memory kits require 1.2 V SOC VCore to hit 2933 or 3200. Any memory maker who is advertising Ryzen 3200 Mhz RAM should be using Samsung B-Die and those mostly just work.

            The tough thing is that most memory makers make multiple models of 3200 Mhz sticks and some consumers get confused that you can buy a 3200 Mhz Corsair or GSkill kit and it can be either Samsung, Elpida, Micron or Hynix. Just saying you bought ‘HyperX’, ‘Vengance’ or ‘Trident’ doesn’t actually mean anything about what is under the heat spreader. There are even some Corsair kits that have the same exact model number but different “version number” and manufacture date which are completely different under the hood.

      • BaronMatrix
      • 3 years ago

      AMD is working on a new AGESA for May that will have better support higher clocked RAM… It takes millions of actual traces with release equipment to optimize…

    • chuckula
    • 3 years ago

    Audi could seriously take a hint in the pricing department.

      • MustangSally
      • 3 years ago

      Audi’s strategy is to move themselves into the “If you have to ask…” crowd. Kinda like Intel and virtualization support on their chips.

      • jihadjoe
      • 3 years ago

      How about Airbus?

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