AMD backtracks, says B450 and X470 motherboards will support Zen 3 architecture

Shawn Knight

Posts: 12,193   +120
Staff member

When AMD announced earlier this month that it would not be supporting its next-gen Zen 3 architecture on 400-series motherboards, the news was met with a mix of emotions.

The technical team will now provide an upgrade path that’ll allow B450 and X470 boards to carry users into the Zen 3 era although the process will be a bit different than normal.

AMD will supply board partners with a beta BIOS for B450 and X470 motherboards that will enable Zen 3 support. In order to make room for the code to support the new processors, the beta BIOS will disable support for many existing AMD Ryzen desktop processors. No word yet on which CPUs will fall out of support although likely, this decision will be up to individual board partners.

Note that this is a one-way upgrade path meaning you won’t be able to flash back to an older BIOS once you’ve installed the newer beta BIOS. As such, AMD said its intent is to offer beta BIOS downloads only to verified customers of 400-series boards that have a new Zen 3 processor on hand. The idea is to ensure that users have a bootable processor on hand after flashing the BIOS, thus minimizing the risk of getting stranded without a usable CPU.

AMD added that the timing and availability of the BIOS updates will vary and may not immediately coincide with the first wave of Zen 3 chips.

AMD is also making it clear that this is the final upgrade path for 400-series boards. CPUs released after Zen 3 will require a new motherboard, we’re told. In order to get the best experience, AMD still recommends that customers opt for a 500-series board.

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veLa

Posts: 953   +441
Well I'm curious to see which specific boards support the upgrade and which older processors are dropped. Hopefully Ryzen 2000 support is maintained as that is the generation that launched with X470.
 

Lionvibez

Posts: 1,772   +995
This last line has me more curious than anything else.

"AMD is also making it clear that this is the final upgrade path for 400-series boards. CPUs released after Zen 3 will require a new motherboard, we’re told. In order to get the best experience, AMD still recommends that customers opt for a 500-series board."

That sounds like you may see a cpu after Zen 3 on the 500 series.

Wouldn't you just say final upgrade path for AM4 and not specify the 400 series chipset.
 

Unilythe

Posts: 8   +17
Glad AMD changed their mind. I think it was the only option they really had after the backlash, but in the future they should probably not make promises they aren't able to keep. Keep it to 2 gens per chipset or something. That should fit on a 16MB ROM chip, and is still better than Intel.

They can't really force their motherboard vendors to just make the jump to 32MB ROM chips, as those are significantly more expensive.
 

Lew Zealand

Posts: 1,297   +1,248
TechSpot Elite
This last line has me more curious than anything else.

"AMD is also making it clear that this is the final upgrade path for 400-series boards. CPUs released after Zen 3 will require a new motherboard, we’re told. In order to get the best experience, AMD still recommends that customers opt for a 500-series board."

That sounds like you may see a cpu after Zen 3 on the 500 series.

Wouldn't you just say final upgrade path for AM4 and not specify the 400 series chipset.
Good catch. Yeah that really implies than there will be a Zen 3+ or Zen 4 on AM4 as well, but only for 500 (or later) series MoBos.
 

yRaz

Posts: 3,284   +2,681
This is a lose-lose for AMD. What people don't understand is that due to the nature of the new APUs, the motherboard will require specific bio's for each processor. Even with this, many motherboard features will have to be turned off inorder to make room for the bio's to run. The problems they were trying to prevent come from BIOS sizes. The new processors will require a BIOS larger than 16MB. This doesn't sound like an issue, but motherboards only have a 16MB bio's since that's all AM socket processors were able to allocate.

 

Irata

Posts: 516   +637
TechSpot Elite
This last line has me more curious than anything else.

"AMD is also making it clear that this is the final upgrade path for 400-series boards. CPUs released after Zen 3 will require a new motherboard, we’re told. In order to get the best experience, AMD still recommends that customers opt for a 500-series board."

That sounds like you may see a cpu after Zen 3 on the 500 series.

Wouldn't you just say final upgrade path for AM4 and not specify the 400 series chipset.
Moore‘s Law Is Dead suggested there may be a 5nm Zen 3+ for AMD to use as pipe cleaner before releasing Zen 4 on the new socket and process.
 

Irata

Posts: 516   +637
TechSpot Elite
This is a lose-lose for AMD. What people don't understand is that due to the nature of the new APUs, the motherboard will require specific bio's for each processor. Even with this, many motherboard features will have to be turned off inorder to make room for the bio's to run. The problems they were trying to prevent come from BIOS sizes. The new processors will require a BIOS larger than 16MB. This doesn't sound like an issue, but motherboards only have a 16MB bio's since that's all AM socket processors were able to allocate.
Processors prior to Ryzen 3000. Starting with that line, they now support 32MB. Boards that have the larger chip could either keep partitioning the Bios memory or stop doing it and only support Ryzen 3000 and up (like the article suggests) keeping all the bells and whistles.

 

Adhmuz

Posts: 1,991   +785
As I was interested to see what B450 motherboards actually have 32MB BIOS chips, which there are a surprising number of them available now, I found this page, which I cannot confirm the credibility of as I don't care to cross reference all the data on it. However looking at the data, in particular for Gigabyte X570 boards, I noticed those boards are equipped with 16MB BIOS chips. Now color me confused as from what I understand for Zen 3 support 32MB BIOS chips were supposedly a requirement? Can this at least be confirmed that Gigabyte X570 boards do actually have 16MB BIOS chips, and if this be true wouldn't that make the whole 32MB BIOS requirement a load of crap? I'd be otherwise interested to know how Gigabyte plans on pulling off Zen 3 support if their 16MB BIOS chips do turn out to be a problem.
 

bluetooth fairy

Posts: 144   +90
Good catch. Yeah that really implies than there will be a Zen 3+ or Zen 4 on AM4 as well, but only for 500 (or later) series MoBos.
It doesn't imply anything else than what is written. Neither it says about Zen4 on AM4, nor about 500 series compatibility beyond Zen3.

Source - https://www.reddit.com/r/Amd/comments/gmp45o
Be sure AMD has done their best choosing the right words for this statement.
 
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Lew Zealand

Posts: 1,297   +1,248
TechSpot Elite
It doesn't imply anything else than what is written. Neither it says about Zen4 on AM4, nor about 500 series compatibility beyond Zen3.

Source - https://www.reddit.com/r/Amd/comments/gmp45o
Be sure AMD has done their best choosing the right words for this statement.
Right. IMO it's in AMD's best interest to say that Zen3 is the end of the line for AM4 or 500 series MoBos to clear up the exact situation they're addressing today.

Yet they're not. This implies that they're keeping their options open for further releases on AM4 and/or 500 series MoBos. Maybe they will choose not to exercise those options and maybe they will.
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 23   +9
Well done AMD - This change of mind was quite quick . They still seem like they care . Not sure Intel , Google, or even Nvidia would do this. This will obviously cost some money and compromises . But I think you would be silly to put a next gen 4900x or 4700x in one of these boards - except as a stop gap , waiting to see which M/Bs are best - or price to drop - but for the chips $200 and down will be fine eg 4600x

I don't have one of these boards - still some of those complaining may still go with a good cheap 550 board- I would if I upgrade my cpu in my 570x M/b to move my existing 3700x to another m/b.

Anyway AMD not doing this would of lost few customers - because they are such a good deal- so well done
 
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Aryassen

Posts: 18   +19
I'm also a +1 in the "thanks for this AMD" camp. Nice :)
Didn't expect, but very much hoped for it...now I hae the option to cherry-pick from 4000 series when they come along (which is a nice & reassuring feeling). Thumbs up!
 

yRaz

Posts: 3,284   +2,681
Processors prior to Ryzen 3000. Starting with that line, they now support 32MB. Boards that have the larger chip could either keep partitioning the Bios memory or stop doing it and only support Ryzen 3000 and up (like the article suggests) keeping all the bells and whistles.
The problem is that on the 32MB boards, the chips supporting only 16Mb addressing and you have either have to cut the 32Mb chip in half and switch back and fourth between the two at great performance loss or you make a custom bios specifically for that chip that disables many of the features of that board. A major feature mentioned would be the UEFI BIOS.

Another major problem is on the APU side. A lot of these BIOSs aren't big enough to support the extra features the AMD Apu.

And just because ryzen 3000 series supports 32MB addressing doesn't mean the boards we drop them into have a 32MB bios. It is my understanding that for compatibility reasons, the 400 series motherboards have 16MB BIOSs to allow them to support older chips.