Thursday, May 7th 2020

AMD B550 Chipset Detailed, It's Ready for Zen 3, Older AM4 Motherboards not Compatible

In their briefing leading up to today's Ryzen 3 3100 and 3300X review embargo, AMD disclosed that its upcoming "Zen 3" 4th generation Ryzen desktop processors will only support AMD 500-series (or later) chipsets. The next-gen processors will not work with older 400-series or 300-series chipsets. This comes as a blow to those who bought premium X470 motherboards hoping for latest CPU compatibility running into 2020. At this time only B550 is available, but we expect more news on enthusiast chipsets as the Zen 3 launch date comes closer. AMD B550 is a fascinating new mid-range chipset by AMD. Launching today as a successor to the popular B450 chipset, B550 is a low-power silicon with roughly the same 5-7 W TDP as the older 400-series chipset. Although AMD won't confirm it, it's likely that the chipset is sourced from ASMedia. It brings a lot to the table that could draw buyers away from B450, but it also takes some away.

The AMD B550 currently only supports 3rd generation Ryzen "Matisse" processors. Ryzen 3000 "Picasso" APU are not supported. What's more, older Ryzen 2000 "Pinnacle Ridge," "Raven Ridge," and first gen Ryzen 1000 "Summit Ridge" aren't supported, either. The Athlon 200 and 3000 "Zen" based chips miss out, too. AMD argues that it ran into ROM size limitations when trying to cram AGESA microcode for all the older processors. We find that hard to believe because B450 motherboards with the latest ComboAM4 AGESA support 2nd gen and 3rd gen processors, including APUs and Athlon SKUs based on the two. On the bright side, AMD assured us (within its marketing slides for the B550), that the chipset will support upcoming processors based on the "Zen 3" microarchitecture. The company also came up with a new motherboard packaging label that clarifies that the processors won't work with the 3400G and 3200G.
AMD B550 chipset highlights AMD B550 processor support AMD B550 vs B450

AMD B550 motherboards will feature partial PCI-Express gen 4.0 support. The main PCI-Express x16 slot, and one of the M.2 NVMe slots that are wired to the "Matisse" processor will be PCI-Express gen 4.0, however, all downstream PCIe lanes put out by the B550 chipset are gen 3.0. This is still a step up from 400-series "Promontory" chipsets, which are limited to gen 2.0. B550 puts out eight PCIe gen 3.0 lanes, which combine with the 20 usable processor lanes from "Matisse" to take the platform's total PCIe budget to 28 lanes (x16 gen 4.0 + x4 gen 4.0 + x8 gen 3.0). The B550 chipset itself connects to the "Matisse" processor via a PCI-Express 3.0 x4 connection.

In terms of connectivity, AMD's B550 chipset puts out up to six SATA 6 Gbps ports with AHCI and RAID capability; two each of 10 Gbps USB 3.2 gen 2 and 5 Gbps USB 3.2 gen 1 ports; and six USB 2.0 ports. PCIe, SATA, and USB connectivity from the "Matisse" processor is unchanged: four 10 Gbps USB 3.2 gen 2 ports, and up to two SATA 6 Gbps ports.
AMD B550 platform layout
The processor includes a PCI-Express 4.0 x16 PEG connection that can be split between slots. AMD is allowing motherboard designers to have multi-GPU capability with the B550, where the x16 PEG link is split between two x16 slots (electrical x8). Previously this capability was limited to the top-tier X370 and X470 boards. The processor also puts out one PCI-Express 4.0 x4 link meant to drive one M.2 NVMe slot or U.2 NVMe port. Every B550 motherboard we've seen so far features one M.2 PCIe gen 4.0 x4 (64 Gbps) slot.
AMD B550 motherboards
As with both its predecessors, the B350 and B450, the new B550 chipset enables full multiplier-based CPU overclocking, along with broad memory overclocking support. Motherboard designers are at liberty to kit out the B550 with the most elaborate CPU VRM solutions. Expect some of the pricier B550 boards to match their X570 counterparts in overclocking capability.

Motherboards based on the AMD B550 chipset are expected to launch on June 16, 2020. Prices start at $100, according to AMD.
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433 Comments on AMD B550 Chipset Detailed, It's Ready for Zen 3, Older AM4 Motherboards not Compatible

#26
trom89
ShurikN
I wouldn't be surprised if board vendors give X470/B450 support for 4th gen Ryzen.
And miss the opportunity to sell new boards? Dunno.
This official "not supported" from AMD is the perfect scapegoat.
Posted on Reply
#27
TristanX
too small ROM, hahahaha
It is very difficult, to prepare ROM with limited / removed support for Ryzen 1000 / 2000 just to make space for Ryzen 4000.
Posted on Reply
#28
bug
TristanX
too small ROM, hahahaha
It is very difficult, to prepare ROM with limited / removed support for Ryzen 1000 / 2000 just to make space for Ryzen 4000.
These boards being mainstream, probably don't pack 256Mbit ROMs :(
Posted on Reply
#29
lynx29
just set up my refund for my b450 tomahawk max, will be going z490 and intel 10 core, and ampere. fk it
Posted on Reply
#30
logain
I can understand leaving out the 1st and 2nd gen Ryzen CPU support. Leaving out 3200g and 3400g support is just stupid. Either they don't care about APU's anymore, or there are some new ones coming soon, that we are just not aware of.
Posted on Reply
#31
Cheeseball
Not a Potato
lynx29
just set up my refund for my b450 tomahawk max, will be going z490 and intel 10 core, and ampere. fk it
Just go for a 3800X/3900X and a X570 and call it a day. Hell, go for 3950X if you got the budget. Amazon US has it for $720 at the moment and I'm trying not to be tempted.
Posted on Reply
#32
bug
logain
I can understand leaving out the 1st and 2nd gen Ryzen CPU support. Leaving out 3200g and 3400g support is just stupid. Either they don't care about APU's anymore, or there are some new ones coming soon, that we are just not aware of.
You do realize 3200G and 3400G ARE 2nd generation Ryzens, don't you?
Posted on Reply
#33
lynx29
Cheeseball
Just go for a 3800X/3900X and a X570 and call it a day. Hell, go for 3950X if you got the budget. Amazon US has it for $720 at the moment and I'm trying not to be tempted.
nah, Z490 is almost here. might as well go with that will get the $169 MSI Z490 board and the $499 Intel 10 core, and hopefully rtx 3080 will be out before cyberpunk 2077 comes out. i really enjoy overlcocking gpu and navi was never able to deliver on that stable, i won't be overclocking cpu so ryzen is still decent, but i might as well go with z490 now that its here. it will be faster in most games i expect, 9900k still beats amd by 5-10 fps across the board. i expect it will be around same here if not a little more.
Posted on Reply
#34
Apocalypsee
Mobo manufacturer can bypass this, you can see A320 boards supporting Ryzen 3000 series no problem at all.
Posted on Reply
#35
bug
Apocalypsee
Mobo manufacturer can bypass this, you can see A320 boards supporting Ryzen 3000 series no problem at all.
Yes, but they do it by dropping some features. Whether that affects you or not will vary, official support would have been nicer.
Personally I'm not fretting over this, but supporting several generations with the same chipset was one of Ryzen's selling points, I can see how some are getting a dose of reality check now.
Posted on Reply
#36
IceShroom
Is the slide showing out of box compatibility?? X370/B350 boards defenetly support Mattise cpus with updated UEFI, but the slide only showing it supports X470/B450.
Posted on Reply
#37
R0H1T
bug
Yes, but they do it by dropping some features. Whether that affects you or not will vary, official support would have been nicer.
Personally I'm not fretting over this, but supporting several generations with the same chipset was one of Ryzen's selling points, I can see how some are getting a dose of reality check now.
The issue is supporting Zen3 on x3xx or x4xx boards will mean a lot of compromise & workarounds for AMD, board partners & consumers. Then when something doesn't work or a (low quality?) board craps out the user will bring his tiki torch for the MB vendors &/or AMD, this is definitely unexpected though the move to PCIe 4.0 & 16 core necessitated it!
Posted on Reply
#38
bug
IceShroom
Is the slide showing out of box compatibility?? X370/B350 boards defenetly support Mattise cpus with updated UEFI, but the slide only showing it supports X470/B450.
The slide shows what AMD mandates. Support for anything else is up to the manufacturer.
Posted on Reply
#39
logain
bug
You do realize 3200G and 3400G ARE 2nd generation Ryzens, don't you?
Yes, but there is no justifiable reason not to include them, as they are a starter CPU, for many. I can understand leaving the 2nd gen CPU's out, but these APU's should be included.
Posted on Reply
#40
bug
R0H1T
The issue is supporting Zen3 on x3xx or x4xx boards will mean a lot of compromise & workarounds for AMD, board partners & consumers. Then when something doesn't work or a (low quality?) board craps out the user will bring his tiki torches for the MB vendors &/or AMD, this is definitely unexpected though the move to PCIe 4.0 & 16c ore necessitated it!
Which is why I didn't give Intel any grief over changing sockets. But there are those that disagree with my view ;)
logain
Yes, but there is no justifiable reason not to include them, as they are a starter CPU, for many. I can understand leaving the 2nd gen CPU's out, but these APU's should be included.
I don't think you understand how this works. Support is added for the entire architecture, not on a per SKU basis.
Posted on Reply
#41
xman2007
lynx29
first gen ryzen couldn't keep ram stable for it's life. so not really, 2 generations if we talking stable performance.
Don't be silly I've ran several mismatched kits on ryzen 1 and b350 since the very first bios which are nowhere near as refined as today's and had no problems, and even overclocked them, yes people had issues though you can't make out like it was the whole platform, it wasn't, and it has been 3 generations, some people are still rocking x370/b350 boards with ryzen 2
logain
Yes, but there is no justifiable reason not to include them, as they are a starter CPU, for many. I can understand leaving the 2nd gen CPU's out, but these APU's should be included.
They're zen+ not zen2 though
Posted on Reply
#42
R0H1T
bug
Which is why I didn't give Intel any grief over changing sockets. But there are those that disagree with my view
Intel did this every gen, even when it wasn't needed. They're not at all comparable in the least.
ASUS is on record saying Z370 boards didn't need to exist, for 8700k, yet Intel forced the change. False equivalence there :shadedshu:
Posted on Reply
#43
trom89
bug
These boards being mainstream, probably don't pack 256Mbit ROMs :(
Most of the MSI "MAX" boards have 256Mb (32MB), we shall see...
From my opinion I would gladly trade the GUI bullcrap (hate it btw), StoreMI and even raid support for Zen2 support.
Posted on Reply
#44
Cheeseball
Not a Potato
lynx29
nah, Z490 is almost here. might as well go with that will get the $169 MSI Z490 board and the $499 Intel 10 core, and hopefully rtx 3080 will be out before cyberpunk 2077 comes out. i really enjoy overlcocking gpu and navi was never able to deliver on that stable, i won't be overclocking cpu so ryzen is still decent, but i might as well go with z490 now that its here. it will be faster in most games i expect, 9900k still beats amd by 5-10 fps across the board. i expect it will be around same here if not a little more.
If budget is of your concern, the 12-core 3900X is also at $432, which is good deal. I use a 2080 Super in mine and I don't have any problems. I would only go Intel if I absolutely need high FPS and even then thats only for competition.
Posted on Reply
#45
bug
R0H1T
Intel did this every gen, even when it wasn't needed. They're not at all comparable in the least.
ASUS is on record saying Z370 boards didn't need to exist, for 8700k, yet Intel forced the change. False equivalence there :shadedshu:
Let's not go there again. All I said was I wasn't bothered then and I'm not bothered now.
Posted on Reply
#46
R0H1T
Sure but again they're not comparable, at least IMO.
Posted on Reply
#47
IceShroom
bug
The slide shows what AMD mandates. Support for anything else is up to the manufacturer.
You also need to check the slide carefully , casuse there is a footmark with this line -> *Planned feature support,Subject to change.
And there is nowhere says AMD mandates it.
Posted on Reply
#48
windwhirl
Cheeseball
Wooooooo so it was a good idea to invest in a X570 board early on. :love:
Yeah, same thought here. Bah, I had to buy a motherboard anyway (coming from Intel), so it wasn't like I was investing in something that I could potentially not need.
bug
These boards being mainstream, probably don't pack 256Mbit ROMs :(
I'm not sure that ROM size limits are the true reason why AMD won't support 300 and 400 chipsets for Zen 3, but I don't know how much space is needed to support each Ryzen gen. And thinking about it, if Zen 3 really needs a lot of space, it would be a nightmare to have a BIOS version to support Zen & Zen 3 (for upgrading from a Ryzen 1700 on a X470 board to a Ryzen 4700X, for example), another to support Zen+ & Zen3, and another one to support Zen2 and Zen3. And we still haven't taken into account the UI that mobo makers add for the BIOS and some other stuff, I guess.

That aside, how much more expensive would it be for a consumer if motherboard makers used 256 Mbit ROMs? I think someone said it was like just an extra dollar per board to switch from 128 to 256Mbit per ROM chip...
Posted on Reply
#49
bug
windwhirl
I'm not sure that ROM size limits are the true reason why AMD won't support 300 and 400 chipsets for Zen 3, but I don't know how much space is needed to support each Ryzen gen. And thinking about it, if Zen 3 really needs a lot of space, it would be a nightmare to have a BIOS version to support Zen & Zen 3 (for upgrading from a Ryzen 1700 on a X470 board to a Ryzen 4700X, for example), another to support Zen+ & Zen3, and another one to support Zen2 and Zen3. And we still haven't taken into account the UI that mobo makers add for the BIOS and some other stuff, I guess.

That aside, how much more expensive would it be for a consumer if motherboard makers used 256 Mbit ROMs? I think someone said it was like just an extra dollar per board to switch from 128 to 256Mbit per ROM chip...
I don't know specifics, but when Zen2 support was added to (some?) 128Mbit boards, features were lost in the process. Non-essential features, of course, but it's never nice to lose something you paid for.
Posted on Reply
#50
IceShroom
windwhirl
That aside, how much more expensive would it be for a consumer if motherboard makers used 256 Mbit ROMs? I think someone said it was like just an extra dollar per board to switch from 128 to 256Mbit per ROM chip...
If the MB maker put more money on big ROM chip, they cant put more useless RGB and RGB header on the board. RGB is more usefull than bigger ROM chip.
Posted on Reply
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