February 15, 2018 // 11:36 a.m.
AMD has warned customers looking to pick up its second-generation Ryzen CPUs and APUs that they are likely to run into problems due to the need for a motherboard firmware update before the chips will be recognised, which can only be carried out with a recognised CPU - a Catch-22 situation for which the company is offering a 'boot kit' solution.
While AMD has pledged to support its latest AM4 platform for the foreseeable future, each processor family that releases is not directly backwards compatible - despite physically slotting into the socket just fine. Those who have motherboards dating back to the original Ryzen release will find that the latest second-generation Ryzen parts simply won't boot unless a second-generation firmware is present on the motherboard - which will be the case for future motherboards, but not necessarily the ones arriving from warehouses for orders placed today.
'Due to the rapid pace of innovation and strong demand for Ryzen Processors with Radeon Graphics,' AMD's warning admits, 'it may be possible that some users with an AMD Socket AM4 motherboard paired with a 2nd Generation Ryzen Desktop introduced in 2018 may experience an issue where the system does not boot up during initial setup.
'The boot up issue likely means a system is running an early BIOS that does not have support for newer processors. This can be resolved by updating the motherboard BIOS to the latest version, which can be performed by using any processor supported with the currently installed BIOS. For a list of supported processors per BIOS version, please refer to the CPU Support List document available on the motherboard manufacturer's website. BIOS download and installation instructions are also found on their websites.'
The issue lies, of course, in the fact that you can't update the firmware on a motherboard until a compatible processor is installed, and the shiny new Ryzen chip you've just bought isn't compatible until the firmware update is installed. For that, AMD offers two primary workarounds: asking the retailer to update the motherboard's firmware, for which the company warns a charge may apply, or borrowing a compatible chip to complete the update.
For those whose retailers are proving entirely unhelpful and who have no access to a compatible chip, AMD has another option: a 'boot kit,' provided to 'affected and qualified users [...] free of charge.' Upon application as a warranty claim for a valid AMD processor with authentic part and serial numbers, AMD will ship out a loaner chip for the update to be completed prior to installation of the system's new processor.
More details are available in the knowledge base article.