Just over a week ago, AMD gave us an update on its upcoming Zen 3-based Ryzen 4000 desktop processors, and the platforms that would support the chips. That update, however, didn’t go over very well with the enthusiast community, as AMD explained that only current-generation X570 and B550 motherboards would support Zen 3.
"While we wish could enable full support for every processor on every chipset, the flash memory chips that store BIOS settings and support have capacity limitations,” AMD said in a blog post. “Given these limitations, and the unprecedented longevity of the AM4 socket, there will inevitably be a time and place where a transition to free up space is necessary—the AMD 500 Series chipsets are that time.”
What a different a week makes, because AMD has now confirmed that it will extend support to both the X470 and B450 chipsets, which were introduced with the Ryzen 2000 processor family in 2018. “Over the past week, we closely reviewed your feedback on that news: we watched every video, read every comment and saw every Tweet,” AMD wrote today in a statement. “We hear that many of you hoped for a longer upgrade path.”
This support won’t come easy due to constraints with the SPI ROM capacities of certain 400-Series motherboards, but AMD is taking a multi-step approach to ensure that those with X470 and B450 motherboards have the opportunity to take advantage of Zen 3 processors due out later this year. Those steps include:
- We will develop and enable our motherboard partners with the code to support “Zen 3”-based processors in select beta BIOSes for AMD B450 and X470 motherboards.
- These optional BIOS updates will disable support for many existing AMD Ryzen™ Desktop Processor models to make the necessary ROM space available.
- The select beta BIOSes will enable a one-way upgrade path for AMD Ryzen Processors with “Zen 3,” coming later this year. Flashing back to an older BIOS version will not be supported.
- To reduce the potential for confusion, our intent is to offer BIOS download only to verified customers of 400 Series motherboards who have purchased a new desktop processor with “Zen 3” inside. This will help us ensure that customers have a bootable processor on-hand after the BIOS flash, minimizing the risk a user could get caught in a no-boot situation.
- Timing and availability of the BIOS updates will vary and may not immediately coincide with the availability of the first “Zen 3”-based processors.
- This is the final pathway AMD can enable for 400 Series motherboards to add new CPU support. CPU releases beyond “Zen 3” will require a newer motherboard.
- AMD continues to recommend that customers choose an AMD 500 Series motherboard for the best performance and features with our new CPUs.
Of course, AMD would prefer that you use 500-Series motherboards like the X570 due to the inclusion of performance-minded optimizations and support for PCIe 4.0. But for those that want a simple and effective processor upgrade path without having to buy another motherboard that would add a few hundred dollars to their bill, this is a well-deserved olive branch from AMD. It’s nice to see that AMD is listening to customer feedback, and doing its best to make good on the promise of long-term support for the AM4 socket through 2020.