Sapphire launches budget Mini ITX AM5 motherboard in China — PCIe Gen 4 lowers costs

Notable AMD GPU hardware partner Sapphire has released a new Mini ITX AM5 motherboard currently exclusive to China, as first reported by VideoCardz. This mini ITX motherboard, the Sapphire Nitro+ B650I Mini ITX, is priced at 1,689 Chinese yuan, roughly $233 US dollars. 

One thing you’ll miss for that budget price? PCIe Gen 5 support. Here, Sapphire has opted for PCIe Gen 4.

Sapphire Nitro+ B650I Specifications

  • Size and Dimensions: Mini ITX; Standard MITX board size is roughly 170mm (or 6.7 inches) per side.
  • CPU Socket: AMD AM5
  • CPU Chipset: AMD B650
  • RAM Slots: 2 DDR5 RAM slots, rated for up to 6000 MT/s operation
  • SATA Ports: 4 SATA ports
  • M.2 Slots: 2 NVMe Gen 4 slots (one front, one rear)
  • PCIe Slots: 1 PCI Express 4.0 x16 slot
  • Lighting Features: 12V 4-Pin RGB LED Header, 5V 3-Pin RGB LED Header
  • Wireless Features: Included Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5 antenna 
  • I/O: HDMI port (iGPU), DisplayPort port (iGPU), 2 USB 2.0 ports, 2 USB 3.2 Gen 2 10 Gbps ports, 1 USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C 20 Gbps port, 2 USB 3.2 Gen2 5 Gbps ports, 1 RJ45 Ethernet port, and 3 standard audio ports (Mic, Line In, Line Out)

For the most part, this is a fairly standard Mini ITX motherboard. The design is colorful without being gaudy. Dual NVMe slots, dual RAM slots, and a full-speed x16 slot are all present, as well as on-board wireless networking. Even the I/O is looking surprisingly good, with plenty of USB expansion and direct-to-iGPU video ports.

However, this is an AMD AM5 motherboard without support for PCI Express Gen 5. This means that the latest cutting-edge NVMe Gen 5 SSDs won’t work, but all the best Gen 4 NVMe SSDs on the market should still be fine. Modern GPUs are also fortunately not even close to saturating PCIe Gen 5 bandwidth yet, much less Gen 4, so in terms of real-world performance these should be perfectly fine compromises.

Even the most SSD-demanding games of today, like Alan Wake 2, aren’t going to tap out the full potential of your NVMe Gen 4 drive. In fact, that tier of speed— and much higher on PC— is essentially the baseline around which modern console titles that leverage SSDs are being built. 

Time will tell whether or not this product makes its way to other markets like the United States; But considering its design and already English-heavy labeling, we’d be surprised if it weren’t up for consideration. 

The pricing seems on par with other AMD B650 motherboard offerings, as well. Cheaper AMD A620 boards with wireless may exist, but their sacrifices to PCIe lanes make them suboptimal for those hoping to leverage a modern GPU alongside a modern NVMe drive.

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