AMD Changes Course – B450 and X470 will support Zen 3-based processors

Will my AM4 motherboard support Zen 3 and Ryzen 4th Gen?

AMD Changes Course – B450 and X470 will support Zen 3-based processors

AMD has changed its mind about Zen 3 support on B450 and X470 motherboards. The company has heard the cries of the community, and has decided to tackle the difficult task of extending its support for 400-series motherboards. Zen 3 support is coming.

This support won’t be easy, AMD plans to do what it can to make Zen 3 work on 400-series motherboards, but this support will be a one-way upgrade path, and support for some existing Ryzen processors will be dropped as a result of this upgrade path.  

Support for Zen 3 processors will come through optional AGESA code updates on beta BIOS files, and will only be available to verified Zen 3 users. At this time we don’t know how AMD plans to verify Zen 3 ownership, though our guess is that this decision will be left to motherboard vendors. With BIOS ROM sizes being limited, this support will come with a compatibility cost, as upgrading to support Zen 3 will remove support of some older Zen processors. Flashing back your motherboard’s BIOS will no longer be an option. 

To achieve the best performance out of Zen 3 processors, AMD recommends 500-series motherboards or newer. This includes B550 and X570 (or newer) motherboard designs. 400-series motherboards will lack PCIe 4.0 support not be designed with Zen 3 in mind, a factor which may limit CPU performance and/or memory compatibility. 

Below is what AMD had to say regarding the matter;

1. 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.

2. These optional BIOS updates will disable support for many existing AMD Ryzen Desktop Processor models to make the necessary ROM space available.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. Timing and availability of the BIOS updates will vary and may not immediately coincide with the availability of the first “Zen 3”-based processors.

6. 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.

7. AMD continues to recommend that customers choose an AMD 500 Series motherboard for the best performance and features with our new CPUs.

   AMD reaffirms commitment to AM4 socket until 2020

Users of B450 and X470 motherboards will be able to use BETA BIOS files to perform a one-way upgrade to enable Zen 3 CPU support. These BIOS files will only be offered to owners of Zen 3 processors, as these BIOS updates may make your 400-series motherboard incompatible with its current processor. 

AMD has also offered further confirmation that it will not give additional support to 400-series motherboards, marking Zen 3 support as a dead-end for the platform. AMD has also confirmed that 400-series motherboards may not receive Zen 3 ready BIOS updates in time for the release of Ryzen 4000 series processors. 

Will my AM4 motherboard support Zen 3 and Ryzen 4th Gen?

Back in 2017, AMD confirmed that it would support AM4 until 2020, and AMD has already met that commitment. With this change, AMD will have delivered an extra generation of support for 400-series motherboards, stretching the lifespan of its 400-series chipset past its natural limits. 

At this time, it is unclear what additional features and performance will be available on 500-series, or newer, motherboards. PCIe 4.0 support is a clear perk for 500-series chipsets. 

While this is a challenging commitment for AMD, it is a positive move for the PC building community. Users of 400-series motherboards will be able to upgrade their BIOS’ to support future Zen 4 series Ryzen processors, but the upgrade path won’t be an easy one. 

You can join the discussion on AMD’s plans to extend B450 and X470’s CPU support to enable Zen 3 compatibility on the OC3D Forums.