The cost of building a Ryzen 7000 PC is quite high. The CPUs are expensive (although not quite as expensive as Ryzen 5000 when it came out), DDR5 RAM hasn’t come down in price yet, and the only motherboards you could buy at launch were high-end X670 and X670E boards with these features most people didn’t need or want.
With cheaper Ryzen 7000 CPUs potentially still a long way off and DDR5 memory taking a while to get cheaper, AMD’s mid-range B650 and B650E chipsets looked promising for cutting the cost of building a Ryzen 7000 PC reduce. Motherboards with these mid-range chipsets are finally available, but the affordability many were hoping for hasn’t materialized.
Cheaper but not by much
At the time of writing, the cheapest X670 motherboards are just under $300, and many easily cost $400 or more. If you bought a Ryzen 5 7600X, a CPU that straddles the line between mid-range and high-end, you might end up spending more on the board than the processor, which isn’t exactly ideal. When AMD promised B650 boards would start at $125, it seemed like people might actually start building relatively affordable Ryzen 7000 PCs.
While the B650 and B650E are cheaper than the X670 and X670E, they barely get into the mid-range territory where the old B350, B450, and B550 boards sat, completely missing the promised $125 mark. ASRock’s B650M PG Riptide motherboard is the cheapest you can find on Newegg right now, priced at $169. In fact, most B650 boards seem to cost between $200 and $300, which isn’t much lower than the X670. Even MSI’s Tomahawk, which was praised for its low price in previous generations, now costs $259.
Nor does it appear that this is due to inflated prices or a lack of supply. WccfTech author Hassan Mujtaba shared a list of Gigabyte’s B650 and B650E motherboards with their respective MSRPs, and the cheapest is $159. Most are around the $250 mark, and the company’s B650E Aorus Master retails for $349. Mujtaba also reported that Newegg is selling all B650 and B650E motherboards at MSRP, eliminating supply issues.
Some B650 and B650E motherboards are even more expensive than X670 boards. On Newegg, the MSI MPG B650 Carbon is $329 and ASRock’s B650E Taichi is a staggering $449. I don’t think we’ve ever seen prices that high for older B-series chipsets for Ryzen CPUs.
Disappointing, but not quite out of left field
This isn’t the first time AMD has disappointed people with mid-range motherboards. When AMD launched Ryzen 3000, the only new chipset available was the X570, a high-end solution like the X670. It took almost a year for the B550 to come out, and when it did, the really cheap models that cost less than $150 sold out very quickly.
That’s not the same problem as the B650, though. There have been B550 boards with MSRPs under $100 in 2020, and it’s no surprise that inventory was so low given this was in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic when supply was at its worst. Very few B650 boards have sold out at Newegg today and so far we have no indication that B650 boards will be seen with RRPs that rival the B550.
The high MSRPs for the B650 and B650E motherboards are not exactly surprising. for years, AMD has focused on high-end CPUs with higher price tags, moving away from its traditionally strong presence in the budget and midrange segments. AMD launched CPUs and chipsets from the low-end to the high-end almost immediately when a new generation arrived. These days, AMD waits months or even over a year to launch new low-end and mid-range products.
What worries me the most is what this means for upcoming Ryzen 7000 CPUs. AMD needed to know that high RAM and motherboard prices would turn consumers on a budget off, but what if AMD has no plans to launch budget CPUs? We saw it on Ryzen 5000, which started at $299 with the Ryzen 5 5600X. Intel eventually forced AMD with cheap 12th Gen CPUs spanning the $100-$300 price range that Ryzen 5000 neglected.
At least AMD’s message is pretty clear with the B650 and B650E: If you want to build a cheap Ryzen PC, buy Ryzen 5000 because Ryzen 7000 isn’t for you.