Only a week after AMD announced that its B450 and X470 motherboards wouldn't support future generations of Ryzen processors, and AMD has backtracked when it comes to socket AM4 compatibility.
Effectively, AMD paid attention to the negative feedback it was receiving regarding the decision and has now decided that next-generation Ryzen processors will support both 400-series and 500-series AM4 motherboards, albeit with a few details to work out.
The company will be working alongside motherboard partners to integrate Zen 3 processor support on certain beta versions of motherboard BIOSes, ensuring that that BIOS tweak will work out as a one-way path to using the processors, thereby losing support for all older microarchitectures.
The thinking is that said motherboard manufacturers will integrate the Zen 3 only AGESA with a firmware that can fit into a 16MB ROM. By doing so, they may have to conserve ROM space elsewhere such as in areas like the UEFI setup program which may not go down nicely with the original features. Basically, you may find yourself having to make a big decision in terms of whether you want the optional BIOS update or not.
AMD also hasn't put a date on when this will happen and when BIOS updates will be available, suggesting it may not happen at the same time as the first Zen 3 based processors are made available. It also plans on only offering the BIOS download to verified customers of 400 series motherboards and Zen 3 processors. Obviously, as this is a no way back kind of plan with support for older processors being removed, it's important that customers know what they're doing here. AMD also not so subtly pointed out that in an ideal world, those customers would buy a 500 series motherboard instead, gaining the best performance in doing so. AMD also mentions the need to work on fixing any potential pitfalls and wrinkles along the way given the somewhat complex needs here.
Still despite those caveats, it's a wise move by AMD given many were unhappy to find their motherboard was limited already.
Whether it's worthwhile you doing if you're in this position is a decision you'll have to make. The key thing to take away here is that a little consumer pressure has reminded AMD that it committed to supporting socket AM4 until 2020, and it's made sure to stick to that promise in the end.
May 15 2020 | 11:00