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It looks like Ryzen 7000 isn’t getting much cheaper for PC builders

The cost of building a Ryzen 7000 PC is pretty high. The CPUs are expensive (though 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 features that most people didn’t need or want.

Since cheaper Ryzen 7000 CPUs might be a long ways off and since DDR5 memory will take a while to get cheaper, AMD’s midrange B650 and B650E chipsets looked promising for lowering the cost of building a Ryzen 7000 PC. Motherboards with those midrange chipsets are finally available, but the affordability many were hoping for hasn’t materialized.

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Cheaper, but not by much

MSI B650 motherboards.

At the time of writing, the cheapest X670 motherboards cost just under $300, and many are easily $400 or more. If you bought a Ryzen 5 7600X, a CPU that straddles the line between midrange and high-end, you might actually end up spending more on the board than the processor, which is not exactly ideal. When AMD promised B650 boards would start at $125, it seemed like people could 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 midrange territory that old B350, B450, and B550 boards were in and totally miss the promised $125 mark. ASRock’s B650M PG Riptide motherboard is the cheapest you can currently find on Newegg, and it costs $169. In fact, most B650 boards seem to cost between $200 and $300, which isn’t all that much lower than the X670. Even MSI’s Tomahawk, which in previous generations was lauded for its low price, is now $259.

It doesn’t seem like this is due to inflated pricing or lack of supply either. WccfTech writer Hassan Mujtaba shared a list of Gigabyte’s B650 and B650E motherboards with their respective MSRPs, and the cheapest one is $159. Most sit around the $250 mark, and the company’s B650E Aorus Master is $349. Mujtaba also reported that Newegg is selling all B650 and B650E motherboards at MSRP, ruling out 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 an eye-watering $449. I don’t believe we’ve ever saw such high prices for older B series chipsets for Ryzen CPUs.

Disappointing, but not entirely out of left field

The Ryzen 9 7900X sitting against a box.

This isn’t the first time AMD has disappointed people with midrange motherboards. Back when AMD launched Ryzen 3000, the only new chipset available was X570, which was a high-end solution like the X670. It took nearly a year for the B550 to launch, and when it did, the really cheap models that were less than $150 sold out very quickly.

That’s not the same problem B650 has, though. There were B550 boards with MSRPs of less than $100 in 2020, and it’s not a surprise that stock was so low since this was in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, when supply was at its worst. Today, very few B650 boards are out of stock on Newegg, and so far we don’t have any indication we’ll see B650 boards carrying MSRPs that rival the B550.

The high MSRPs for the B650 and B650E motherboards aren’t exactly surprising. For years, AMD has been focusing on higher-end CPUs with higher price tags, shifting away from its traditionally strong presence in the budget and midrange segments. AMD used to launch CPUs and chipsets from the low-end to the high-end almost as soon as a new generation came out. Nowadays, AMD waits months or even over a year to launch new products for the low-end and midrange.

What concerns me the most is what this implies about upcoming Ryzen 7000 CPUs. AMD had to have known that high RAM and motherboard prices would be a big turnoff to consumers with a limited budget, but what if AMD has no plans to launch budget CPUs to begin with? We saw it with Ryzen 5000, which started at $299 with the Ryzen 5 5600X. Intel finally forced AMD’s hand with cheap 12th-gen CPUs that covered the $100 to $300 price range that Ryzen 5000 neglected.

At the very least, AMD’s message with B650 and B650E is pretty clear: if you want to build a cheap Ryzen PC, buy Ryzen 5000, because Ryzen 7000 isn’t for you.

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