More than a year after the Ryzen 5000 processors were released, AMD is still considering how to support these chips on motherboards with AMD 300 series chipsets. This was announced by David McAfee, Vice President of Product Management and Advertising at AMD, in an interview. known Tom’s hardware…
“This is one of the things we are continuing to work on. We haven’t forgotten this and believe that the introduction of support for the latest processors on older boards will benefit our community and us. So we are trying to solve this problem and how we can provide this support. “said McAfee.
AMD took a public view of the compatibility issue of new processors with older boards shortly after several motherboard manufacturers voluntarily added support for Ryzen 5000 processors to motherboards based on AMD’s low-end 300-series chipset, the AMD A320. However, to date, there is still no support for new chips on models of motherboards with a number of system logics AMD X370 and B350, which arouses criticism of AMD among its users.
The topic of compatibility of new processors with old mainboards attracted attention almost two years ago. The company has committed to supporting the Socket AM4 platform for five years, but the technical limitations of older motherboards prevent it from using any Ryzen-series processor released on every Socket AM4 board. This prompted AMD to implement the original plan – to ensure the compatibility of the Zen 3 processors only with new boards based on chipsets of the AMD 500 series. That decision sparked a storm of outrage from both the company’s fan base and ordinary users. In the face of criticism, AMD gave in and still implemented support for new processors on motherboards with AMD 400-series chipsets.
However, the lack of compatibility of Ryzen 5000 processors with AMD 300 series boards still leads to controversy over unnecessary segmentation of the AM4 platform in the community. With that question, journalists Tom’s hardware contacted David McAfee during an interview about AMD’s new announcements at CES 2022.
“I knew this question would be asked. To be honest, even at AMD, it gets a lot of attention and discussion. I am not joking. I have spoken about this topic literally three times today. Not with journalists, but with AMD engineering teams. We discussed what options we have and how we can provide high quality support for the 300 series boards to users who want to upgrade to Ryzen 5000 processors, that is, we are definitely not ignoring this topic. We hear and understand our community who are interested in this topic. We’re just trying to get it right, so this is still a work in progress. “– said McAfee.
Due to the need to support a large number of processors for the AM4 platform, AMD is still looking for ways to bypass the 16MB memory limitation of SPI ROM chips on older motherboards. These chips contain BIOS firmware and data related to the support of a particular processor. Even with mainboards with more advanced AMD chipsets that are equipped with more extensive BIOS memory chips, some manufacturers had to make certain compromises. In some cases, for example, the beautiful BIOS user interface has been changed to plain text to save space to load the required data set for the new processor support. In other cases, support for older Socket AM4 processors went under the wheels. But that’s only part of the problem.
“This made it very difficult to support the products. We provide AGESA instruction packages for motherboard manufacturers from which the BIOS can be created. Manufacturers also have the option of selecting which processors are supported on their motherboards outside of the AGESA protocol. Of course, we control the process using our internal engineering product compatibility matrix, and we carry out tests in our laboratory. But we still had to take the first step – we had to make a difficult decision and determine what exactly can be loaded into the 16MB SPI ROM chip and for which product combinations it is advisable to provide support. Another problem is that since the first 300 series boards were released and until current models appeared in the AM4 ecosystem, the characteristics of the products and their capabilities have changed significantly. For example, let’s say you’ve decided to install the Ryzen 5950X on a board that technically supports it. But will this board be able to maintain the built-in processing power? The more important question here is not whether it is possible to run the processor on a particular motherboard, but rather whether the motherboard is able to provide the processor performance it expects. At this point, the official answer from AMD is that these 300-series motherboards do not meet our technical compatibility matrix. Problems can lurk here that we don’t know about at the moment. “McAfee added.
Entrepreneurial enthusiasts have already found workarounds and hacked the firmware of some AMD 300 series motherboards to add support for Ryzen 5000 processors. It is also understood that the use of such combinations of processors and motherboards can lead to problems in the operation of the system based on them and even to data loss. However, given AMD’s apparent interest in this topic, it’s likely that some level of official support for Ryzen 5000 will appear on older motherboards at some point.