When AMD released its first Ryzen 7000 processors, amid the onslaught of technical announcements and hype enthusiasts were told they could get a new AM5 motherboard “starting at $125.” Finally, several months later, ASRock finally delivered on that promise with the ASRock B650M-HDV/M.2, reckons AMD’s CVP and Ryzen channel business GM, david mcafee. Of course, it’s fair to wonder what ASRock could have done, what they could have sacrificed, to reach this important price point.
AMD’s Ryzen 7000 desktop processors haven’t had the sales success they could have, and that’s largely down to the old thorny issue of pricing. After admirably adhering to the AM4 platform for years, across multiple CPU generations, it’s finally time to change the water in the bath.
The design of the powerful Zen 4 processors necessitated some premium options on the motherboard side of the equation. AM5 motherboards required relatively expensive options, such as a revamped power supply system, came with a new socket and retainer mechanism, and the platform did not allow users to keep their old DDR4 RAM. At the higher end, there were even more additional costs to bear, as some models required multiple chipsets to deliver their full portfolio of expected features.
Turning our focus back to the ASRock B650M-HDV/M.2, it’s no surprise that this is a fairly basic AM5 offering. It’s a Micro-ATX form factor, with just two DIMM slots and two M.2 slots capable of housing a 2280 storage device (one PCIe Gen 5×4, one PCIe Gen 4×4). Its VRM power design is also basic, with only a few small, inexpensive heat sinks visible.
Some users may also feel the pinch of just seven USB ports (four of which are USB 2.0). Similarly, there are only four SATA drive connectors. The integrated sound is the rather old Realtek ALC897 chip, and of course there is no RGB here.
On the bright side, it’s nice to see that this motherboard offers 2.5 Gigabit LAN. Another positive is that the graphics card slot is reinforced for added strength. It is also great that the easy and convenient BIOS flashback function is present. ASRock’s B650M-HDV/M.2 has HDMI and DP ports ready for iGPU output, and there’s an I/O shield pre-installed: one less thing to deal with when building modern PCs.
Interestingly, there are antenna mounting points if you decide to install a Wi-Fi card, and there is an M.2 WiFi slot on the motherboard for precisely this purpose. So you could potentially get something like this WiFi 6E adapter (opens in a new tab) for $36 and use it with ASRock board. Of course, in effect, you’d be spending $161 on your AM5 motherboard, which defeats the purpose of having a cheap starting price in the first place. Still, it’s nice to have the flexibility.
Hopefully other motherboard manufacturers will follow ASRock’s footsteps soon, and it will be interesting to see how they compete. Those who are looking for a completely new platform and aren’t sure whether to go for AMD or Intel will also want to check out the competitive features of Intel LGA1700 (for Alder Lake/Raptor Lake) motherboards. Take a look at our Best Socket and Chipset Gaming Motherboards of 2023 for more details on the pros and cons of the various options.