I'm planning on building my own computer soon, somethinng I've never done before. The CPU I want to get for it is an AMD Ryzen 5 5600. Something in its specifications page confuses me, though. It says that it has 4 native USB 3.2 gen 2 ports, and no other native USB ports. That said, the CPU itself doesn't have any ports; those are found on the motherboard. So, why does the specs page talk about native USB ports? The motherboard that interests me the most has six USB ports, but only two of them are gen 2, with the others being gen 1. Would I still be able to use them?

  • A CPU is a chip (integrated circuit). It is the motherboard that has the USB controller and ports.
    – John
    Sep 4 at 22:34
  • 1
    guru3d.com/articles-pages/amd-ryzen-5-5600-review,3.html AMD has integrated USB 3.2 Gen2 support into the CPU, which means you get four 10 Gbps USB ports at SuperSpeed et cetera
    – Gantendo
    Sep 4 at 22:42
  • I would guess that it's saying it has 4 separate USB 3.2 Gen 2 host controllers, as opposed to a single host controller connected to a 5 port USB hub chip. So it's saying the 4 ports don't share bandwidth on a single bus; they each are their own bus and thus get full bandwidth.
    – Spiff
    Sep 4 at 22:58
  • It means that there are USB controller(s) integrated with the CPU (processor) as a single chip/package, a variation of System on a Chip, SoC. A motherboard could still add additional (external) USB controllers. In actual usage you probably would not be able to tell the difference whether a USB controller is "native" or external to the CPU. But the 3.2 Gen 2 capabilities are what may be salient. The faster transfer speeds of 3.2 benefit from a (physical & logical) closer connection to the CPU.
    – sawdust
    Sep 5 at 0:17

1 Answer 1


That the CPU has "native" USB ports is the same as the CPU hosting PCIe ports.

In other words there are USB ports connectors on your motherboard that rather than going through one of the motherboard chipset integrated circuits it connects directly to the CPU. The motherboard hosts the connector and wires, but not the actual controller.

What that means is that there is potentially one or more less "hops" between the USB connector and your CPU. Data comes to and from the CPU directly.

Its the same with PCIe, on modern systems one or more PCIe ports connects directly to the CPU, with other ports connecting to the motherboard chipset.

It's the left hand side of the following image. There are USB ports coming off the X570 chipset (the motherboard, shown in red) and there are ports that are controlled and hosted directly by the CPU on the right.

enter image description here

  • Hmm, I see. Then I assume that, in order to use these ports, I'd have to hook them up differently than usual, right? Since they are hooked up directly to the CPU, rather than going through the motherboard. Sep 4 at 23:06
  • You'd have to read the motherboard manual to be certain. They may well be connected directly to the backplate so all you do is fit the motherboard in a case and voila. Or they may be wired up to headers to connect to the case ports. The manuals should tell you what goes where.
    – Mokubai
    Sep 4 at 23:14
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    essentially the controller is part of the CPU package, rather than having a seperate controller chip somewhere on the motherboard.
    – Journeyman Geek
    Sep 5 at 0:05
  • It sounds to me like USB being moved to the north bridge (which is mostly if not all on-chip these days). Sep 5 at 3:14
  • @Mokubai I see now. Thanks! And thanks to everyone else, too. Your answers were very helpful. Sep 5 at 23:13

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