While Intel is pushing out new chipsets and sockets, AMD has confirmed that both its existing X570 and B550 chipset motherboards will be compatible with its next-gen Ryzen Zen 3 architecture processors.
The news links back to a commitment AMD made back in 2016 to support the AM4 socket all the way until 2020. Four years later, AMD is reaffirming that commitment with compatibility that should please owners and PC builders.
AMD revealed as much in a blog post authored by AMD technical marketing head, Robert Hallock. Hallock explains: “Yes! AMD officially plans to support next-gen AMD Ryzen desktop processors, with the “Zen 3” architecture, on AMD X570 and B550 motherboards. This will require a BIOS update. Specific details about this update will come at a later time, but we’re committed to keeping you up-to-date. We’ve also updated our official chipset/CPU support matrix to take future “Zen 3″ processors into account!”
If you want to get your hands on your very own next-gen CPU, then you don’t have long to wait. The AMD 5000-series will release worldwide on November 5th, 2020. They will be releasing four different chips at launch:
- AMD Ryzen 9 5900X – $549
- AMD Ryzen 9 5800X – $449
- AMD Ryzen 9 5600X – $299
- AMD Ryzen 9 5950X – $799
Check out our full page of info right here to get your hands on them first: Where to buy and AMD Zen 3 CPU
In practice, this will allow those that own one of AMD’s most recent AM4 socket chipset motherboards to buy and use one of the Zen 3 CPUs without having to lay down cash for a new motherboard. Unlike Intel, AMD will allow owners to upgrade their CPU without having to spend considerable amounts of money replacing two of their builds’ most expensive parts.
This covers not only the 500-Series motherboards but certain 400-series boards as well. While many believed that compatibility would end with the B550 and X570 boards, AMD has since confirmed that owners of B450 and X470 motherboards will also get to enjoy the new Zen 3 CPUs.
All compatible 400 and 500 series motherboards will require a BIOS update in order to work with the new chips though. And, although the BIOS updates for the 500 series boards will be ready to go at launch, those with older boards will have a bit of a wait on their hands.
BIOS updates for the B450 and X470 motherboards aren’t set to be available until January 2021, and even then those updates will still be in Beta form. So, if you’re dying to get your hands on a new AMD Ryzen 5000 series CPU, you might want to think about upgrading after all.
Be sure to check out our guides on how to update your BIOS so you’re ready to go when the new CPUs arrive:
If you’re looking to buy a new motherboard for the AMD 5000 series chips, then you’re better off going for one of the more recent 500 series boards. While you can choose an older X470 or B450 and save some money, it’s unclear how future-proof these boards will be. AMD have committed to making their AM4 socket boards compatible for longer instead of changing out compatibility every other generation. But, since they are already limiting which 400 series boards will work, it makes sense to assume this margin will continue to shrink for future generations.
But, you also run the risk of spending more on your motherboards now, only to have the next-gen chips stop compatibility with AM4 sockets altogether. The performance increase from 400 series to 500 series boards though, is worth the extra cost in the long run.
If you want more information on the best board for each series, check out our in-depth guides below to make sure you choose the right motherboard for you:
As for when we can expect AMD to put the AM4 socket to bed and call it a day, Hallock explains, “This will depend on the schedule of industry I/O technologies. Such technology changes typically require adjustments to the pin count or layout of a processor package, which would necessitate a new socket. We have no specific details to share concerning this roadmap or timing right now, but we know it’s important to keep you updated—and we will.”
The BIOS update could potentially cause some issues, notably for those buying an X570 and B550 motherboard specifically for a Zen 3 chip without a backup CPU to load up the update then switch to the new CPU, but we imagine AMD will conjure up a solution, possibly in the form of USB solution or short-term use bootkit CPU as it has in the past.
Nevertheless, it’s great news and further proof that AMD is intent on setting itself apart from the stringent socket/chipset/CPU arrangements of its biggest rival.