Discussion AMD confirms ZEN 3 4'th GEN Ryzen Desktop CPUs will only support the new AMD 500-series (or later) chipsets.

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Hello all,

Just wanted to share this news with you guys. :D

TechPowerUp has just posted a very interesting article. I will try to keep this short and simple though. According to TPU's article it looks like AMD's next-gen ZEN3 CPUs won't be backwards-compatible with the older 400-series, as well as the 300-series of Motherboard chipsets.

This is a bummer, since older Motherboards won't be compatible with the new upcoming ZEN 3 4000 series of processors, which provides very little room for upgrade. The 4'th Gen ZEN 3 processors will only work on the AMD 500-series (or later) chipsets, the X570 and B550 Motherboards.

Owners of the existing 500-series motherboards will have to update their motherboard's BIOS to enable support for these new Ryzen 4000 processors. Honestly speaking, I'm a bit shocked with this move from AMD. I was hoping the company will support older Gen Motherboards, giving 'backwards compatibility' to end users in the process as well. But it seems this is not the case.

Those gamers who bought premium 'X470' motherboard chipsets for example were actually hoping for a compatibility with the next-gen upcoming ZEN CPUs as well, but now it seems they won't be able to use these processors, should they plan to upgrade. As of now, only the B550 chipset is available, but expect more high-end chipsets when the launch dates come closer. The AMD B550 is a new mid-range chipset by AMD.

According to TPU's article, B550 is a low-power silicon chipset, having similar 5-7 W TDP as the older 400-series chipset, and it's likely that the chipset is from ASMedia.

The AMD B550 chipset currently only supports the 3rd generation Ryzen "Matisse" processors. Older Ryzen 2000 series CPUs, first gen Ryzen 1000 processors are not supported. The same applies for Athlon 200, "Picasso" APUs, and the Ryzen 3000G series (with integrated Radeon VEGA graphics).

According to AMD, the company says that it ran into some ROM size limitations, when trying to push the AGESA microcode for all the older CPUs. As per AMD, the flash memory chips that store the BIOS have capacity limitations, and not all AM4-based motherboards feature dual-BIOS chip design (mostly found on the more expensive and high-end boards). Good news is that the chipset will support the upcoming "ZEN 3" microarchitecture CPUs.

The Ryzen 4000 series family would be the last generation of processors to support the AM4 socket because with Ryzen 5000 series, ZEN4 architecture will be used which will require a new socket as well as a new chipset.

So there you have it. This seems to be a strange move made by AMD in my opinion. I was hoping for more longevity of the AM4 platform though. More details on this news can be found here.

 
Yes, it's bummer but AMD was always confirming AM4 socket, never anything about chipset. I sense brand name computer and MB manufacturer conspiracy , they have zero interest in supporting old chipsets instead of selling new ones. They are probably putting pressure on AMD. Can't see anything so new in 4000 series that BIOS with 128Mb+ could not handle.
Exactly my thoughts...Well said.
 
Yes, it's bummer but AMD was always confirming AM4 socket, never anything about chipset. I sense brand name computer and MB manufacturer conspiracy , they have zero interest in supporting old chipsets instead of selling new ones. They are probably putting pressure on AMD. Can't see anything so new in 4000 series that BIOS with 128Mb+ could not handle.
I also have to look back at back at the near-on debacle surrounding release of Ryzen 3000. All the confusion about whether or not certain motherboards did or did not support updating BIOS, loss of support for earlier processors and people bricking motherboards when they updated too soon or without a supported processor in hand. A lot of lost good-will in those few months, with almost everybody losing some degree of confidence that AMD had it nailed.

I'd gladly update my B450 board to a BIOS that only supported 4rth gen CPU's and am a bit miffed that I can't, but I also see that it could be very disruptive to continue with things as they are. I really wish they would 'invent' a board or CPU that would offer the most basic functionality even on unsupported BIOS, just enough to get in to flash another BIOS regardless of the (AM4) CPU that gets socketed. But that's working at odds with the 'planned obsolescence' pilosophy driving the world economy.
 
I think most people already on Ryzen 3000 won't be upgrading and those of us still on Ryzen 2000 with 300/400 series motherboards will likely be satisfied with a Ryzen 3000 upgrade for cheaper when Ryzen 4000 is released. Right now I'm thinking I will just buy a Ryzen 7 3700X for my B450 at the end of the year or next year.

Unless there is a significant performance increase with Ryzen 4000 over 3000, I don't see a reason to spend extra for what will probably be only a 20-25% increase in performance. To be honest, I still don't need a CPU upgrade from my R5 2600 just yet and I'm looking more toward upgrading from my GTX 1070 to whichever RTX 3000 GPU has 100+% more performance.
 
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Unless there is a significant performance increase with Ryzen 4000 over 3000, I don't see a reason to spend extra for what will probably be only a 20-25% increase in performance. To be honest, I still don't need a CPU upgrade from my R5 2600 just yet and I'm looking more toward upgrading from my GTX 1070 to whichever RTX 3000 GPU has 100+% more performance.
I agree it often makes little sense to upgrade early when performance uplift isn't huge. And having gone through it twice with a 1700 and a 3700x system, I'm well aware it's the early adopter that has to work hardest at figuring out how to take advantage of the new tech in the best way possible. And wait in frustration as they slowly spin BIOS updates to fix the problems only wider implementations seem to discover.

But later on once all the techniques to optimize performance are well established, when Zen 5 has come out and they're dropping prices of the Zen 4 chips to clear inventory or even used ones are coming available on E-Bay. That's when it might be a compelling move to get one cheaply if that and a BIOS update would be all it takes to bring a B450 system up a notch. That's what I was hoping for.

But sadly, now I guess I'll also need a B550 motherboard. I can only hope they make one of those as decent as the mATX board I have now.
 

gtarayan

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This does not mean motherboard manufacturers are prohibited to support newest CPUs on pre-500 chipsets - only that AMD does not mandate that support. I have no doubt top tier boards will have BIOS updates which will enable Ryzen 4000 family compatibility. Due to BIOS memory limitations, however, some sacrifices might exist. I'd rather see an image which drops support for earlier models to use the space for the latest CPUs. Again, an end user would have a choice when to update, and potentially loose support for older GEN cpus.
 

GarrettL

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I remember my first gaming pc purchase in 2000-2001. It had a whopping 900 MHz clock speed.

I recently upgraded from an i7 960 to a 3000 series AMD and totally impressed. I can’t see how a home pc can get any faster, things load as fast as the software allows.

I’d be surprised if the Ryzen 3700 don’t last for many years to come.

CPU clocks speeds can only go so fast on silicon so parallel processing is the obvious solution.

I was concerned about the 4000 series and what they would do regarding chipset support. I was forced into the x570 but have been happy with it as well. But, shame on AMD for not releasing the B550’s far sooner than June of 2020.

While I could upgrade to the 4000 series it will be interesting to see if it would be worth it in the long run just for pc gaming. The new consoles should translate to much better pc gaming as well.

For those of us gamers with the 3000’s I’m not sure we’ll need to upgrade for many years to come.

The gpu’s, now that’s where it may get interesting especially with PCIE 4.0.
 
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Makaveli

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I thought about this when doing my build in Dec. Save a few bucks to go x470 or go X570 and I made the right choice. Even if Zen 3 is only a 15% performance increase selling my X3800 for half the price of the newer chip would be worth the upgrade.

There are some components that I always try to keep a bigger budget for in my builds and its PSU and Motherboard it hasn't failed me yet.

Hopefully some of the boards makers will find a way to get it working on some of their boards for the X400 series but only time will tell.
 
I'm pretty sure someone will come with a BIOS update/hack/trick for the compatibility on the older gen Motherboard chipsets as well. This would obviously be "unofficial" though.
That's something that would be appealing to an 'extreme' enthusiast, but the average user shy's away even from official BIOS updates.

And then if AMD implements processor support through AGESA it will be nigh-on impossible as it's been observed that AMD keeps it locked up tight even to motherboard mfr's and as well that reverse engineering it is equally impossible.

I suppose we B450 and X470 owners might have some hope though as AMD didn't 'officially' support Ryzen 3000 processors on B350. But many (most?) B350 and X370 boards got at least beta BIOS' furnished by the mfr's to support them. Even some A320 boards managed to get a supporting BIOS update. So IF AMD does not implement support restrictions in AGESA and if my motherboard mfr. relents to do it I might find the same for mine!
Only the mATX board has a 2x4 pin CPU power; the others are all either 6x4pin or whopping 8x4pin!

Are Gen 4 CPU's going to be power hogs?
 
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RodroX

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This is a bummer, Im guessing if AMD don't give the proper microcode there wont be much motherboard makers can do.

On the other hand as someone mention already the Ryzen 3xxx are still plenty strong, atleast mine is, and it will be for years to come. I haven't found a single performance issue with my R5 3600 pired with an RTX 2070. I think if I ever need more power I can always buy a R7 3700X.

The only question that remain is, How good are the B550 boards? Im guessing only time and review will tell.

There were only a few decent budget options on the B450, none decent budget option on the X470, and then you have to jump to the X570-P that atleast from ASUS and Gigabyte you could get some decent boards at a reasonable price. Asrcok X570 boards weren't that bad, and who knows that happend to MSI with its toasty VRMs that turn them to a no-go option on the X570 entry level (atleast thy have now fixed most of this with some new mobo revision).

I also think that this has something to do with the "bad" or "annoying" press that AMD had when they were trying to fine-tune the older bios/chipset/motherboard support after the release Zen 2 CPUs. Fine-tune that only lasted like 1 and a half month (give or take) and was shared with mobo makers. The release of the new consoles, which may force AMD to save up some work-force for the upcoming launch, the need to have everything already calibrated from day one, or to address the issues ASAP.

Finally I would give up Ryzen 1xxx support on my B450 board to get zen 3 support.
 
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RodroX

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Looking at pictures of B550 motherboards, it seems like VRMs got stepped up a whole freakin' lot beyond what is normally found on even on the higher-end B450 motherboards. Could be a sign that AMD stepped up the VRM performance requirements for Zen 3 and beyond.
Or perhaps the bad press many motherboard makers got after releasing "crappy" VRM mobos?
 
Looking at pictures of B550 motherboards, it seems like VRMs got stepped up a whole freakin' lot beyond what is normally found on even on the higher-end B450 motherboards. Could be a sign that AMD stepped up the VRM performance requirements for Zen 3 and beyond.
If that is the case, I may just spend the extra $250-300 for a B550 and 4700X or whatever has 8c16t instead of getting a 3700X.
 
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Or perhaps the bad press many motherboard makers got after releasing "crappy" VRM mobos?
LOL...in which case the pictures don't mean much!

Gigabyte's and Asus' B450 motherboards 'looked' really strong in pictures, with 8 inductors, big heatsinks and marketing claims of 8 phase VRM's. Only once those heatsinks came off did we find they were 4 phase VRM's. And weak ones too, in some cases where all the VCore FET's weren't even under a heatsink!
 

InvalidError

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Or perhaps the bad press many motherboard makers got after releasing "crappy" VRM mobos?
Nearly all B450 motherboards from the crappiest to most broadly praised are 4+2, the main difference between them is VRM component selection. A 6+2 or even 8+2 VRM can still be crappy if you pick crappy components with poor board layout.

Then again, published images of B550 boards are high-end models, so the ridiculous apparent phase count on them could just be board manufacturers deciding to bring X-class overclocking to halo B-class SKUs rather than a necessary blanket VRM upgrade across the 500 lineup.

Considering how many 4+2 VRMs are at their limits on the 3900/3950X, I wouldn't be surprised if part of the 500 push for Zen 3 was to slam the door on that combination. In that case though, AMD should just have stated so instead of pulling out the I2S EEPROM size excuse after motherboard manufacturers have doubled their EEPROM size specifically to avoid that issue.
 
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RodroX

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Why did everyone assumed that I was talking about B450 only when I wrote "crappy vrm"? there are some notorious X470 really poor VRM designs as well as a few X570 boards too, some of which are not even on "budget" cheaper parts (MSI cough). Anyways, perhaps I should have wrote VRM+Heatsink design, instead of just VRM.

I guess we will have to wait and see how decent budget oriented B550 perform. And wait even longer to find out if Zen 3 really needs more power juice than Zen 2.
 

InvalidError

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And wait even longer to find out if Zen 3 really needs more power juice than Zen 2.
You don't need more power to justify needing a better VRM, tighter Vcore ripple and faster transient response specs for the same or even lower power rating could require new VRM designs too. More stable Vcore typically translates into reduced Vcore required to achieve stability at a given clock frequency and improved efficiency.
 
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I guess we will have to wait and see how decent budget oriented B550 perform. And wait even longer to find out if Zen 3 really needs more power juice than Zen 2.
And that's really the big question in my mind. I would expect Zen 3 to continue the momentum already established with Zen1/1.5/2 with even better processor efficiency coupled with an even better tuned boost algorithm. Those are the features of Zen2 that makes power-hog all core overclocking unnecessary, and much more life limiting than we saw with previous process nodes.
 
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RodroX

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You don't need more power to justify needing a better VRM, tighter Vcore ripple and faster transient response specs for the same or even lower power rating could require new VRM designs too. More stable Vcore typically translates into reduced Vcore required to achieve stability at a given clock frequency and improved efficiency.
Of course not, youre right on that, it could be the case. Then again imposible to know at this point if its a stepped up requirement from AMD or just a design desicion from the motherboard maker.
 

Karadjgne

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From everything I've read/watched on various sites, my interpolated 'guess' is that VRM's or bios has nothing to really do with the decision not to make the 4 series backwards compatible, but has everything to do with pcie limitations. Basically the same reason why 1st gen doesn't work on an X570 now without the agesa update. What's "Official" and what's "updated" are often different things. GamersNexus repeatedly stated the 3000 APU's were not 'officially' supported on the 5 series boards, but subsequent bios updates have made that possible.

So I'm not going to write off 4000 chips on a B450 just yet.
 
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