Tuesday, May 19th 2020

AMD Backpedals, Zen 3 Support Coming to B450 and X470

AMD backpedaled on dropping support for its future "Zen 3" processors on AMD 400-series chipset motherboards. The company will work with its motherboard partners in integrating "Zen 3" processor support on certain beta versions of motherboard BIOSes. AMD also detailed how it plans to go about it. The said BIOS will be a one-way ticket to using "Zen 3" processors while losing support for all older microarchitectures.

The way it works is the motherboard manufacturer will integrate the Zen 3-only AGESA with a firmware that can squeeze into a 16 MB ROM. They may also choose to conserve ROM space in areas such as the UEFI setup program, which may not correspond with the motherboard's original feature-set. This is essentially similar to how MSI integrated "Zen 2" support on some of its older motherboards with 16 MB ROMs, by slimming down its UEFI setup program.

Since the BIOS will chop support for all older processors, to prevent motherboard RMA chaos for manufacturers, they will set up a system that issues BIOS updates only to customers upon verifying that they actually own a "Zen 3" processor. The way we imagine this works would be similar to game bundles (retailer issues a BIOS update token along with the processor, or a scratch card next to the case badge inside the PIB). Flashing a 400-series chipset motherboard will be a delicate process. You will have to use the USB BIOS flashback feature (which luckily is well proliferated on the AM4 motherboard ecosystem). Alternatively, you should be able to begin the BIOS flashing process with an older processor installed, and immediately switch over to the newer Zen 3 processor once the flashing process is complete.

Also, the beta BIOS updates won't be immediately available, but rather when "Zen 3" processors are readily available in all the markets AMD serves. AMD reiterates, that "Zen 3" will be the final microarchitecture 400-series chipsets support, recommending that the processors will work best with a 500-series chipset motherboard for best performance and support for the latest features.

Controversy erupted when AMD revealed in its B550 chipset slide deck that 400-series (and older) chipsets won't support "Zen 3," which users felt betrayed AMD's promise of platform support running into 2020. In the absence of B550, many value-conscious buyers paired their brand new 3rd generation Ryzen processors with some of the more premium B450 chipset motherboards, in hopes of an upgrade path to "Zen 3."
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93 Comments on AMD Backpedals, Zen 3 Support Coming to B450 and X470

#26
bug
evernessince
Wrong. Go watch GamersNexus videos on the topic. AMD removing support for last gen was a shit move but there were multiple legitimate reasons why they would need to do it.
I didn't say there weren't reasons. I said their first instinct was not to bother.
Posted on Reply
#27
Mats
GoldenX
Oh no, get ready for another round of broken BETA BIOS that no one will ever fix.
These BIOS versions will drop all the old models, and you won't be able to go back (officially). This could hopefully make the transition less buggy.. who knows.
Posted on Reply
#28
Athlonite
If you want to buy a Ferrari buy a Ferrari don't try making a 700BHP mini which is basically what's going on here people with B450 motherboards (Mini's) wanting the same power as a X570/B550 (Ferrari)...
But on the otherhand I can see where users of high end X470 mobo's are coming from too and I'd have agree that atleast high end X470 should be given the option atleast to upgrade with a BIOS update who cares if you won't be able to run ZEN 1 and APU's or ZEN 2 and their associated APU's I was never going to run one of those so excise those chips from BIOS and give us the upgrade path if we want it
Posted on Reply
#29
evernessince
bug
I didn't say there weren't reasons. I said their first instinct was not to bother.
You said:

"AMD was about to do what their fans accuse Intel of: removing CPU support for no good reason."

That statement is wrong. period. There were good reasons as explained by gamersnexus.
Posted on Reply
#30
bug
evernessince
You said:

AMD was about to do what their fans accuse Intel of: removing CPU support for no good reason.

That statement is wrong. period.
Well, their reason was no good. Proof: it's fixable.
Posted on Reply
#31
evernessince
bug
Well, their reason was no good. Proof: it's fixable.
Wrong, just watch the video

Posted on Reply
#32
windwhirl
Mats
Dunno about that. I mean, how official was that reddit post to begin with? Yeah he worked for AMD, but I have no more info than that.

This wasn't a simple yes/no question. AMD really had to give it a thought if it was feasible, and to what extent.
What Reddit post? Nevermind
Posted on Reply
#33
bug
evernessince
Wrong, just watch the video


I'm clearly right, if their reason wasn't fixable, you wouldn't be getting support ;)
Posted on Reply
#34
Mats
bug
I'm clearly right, if their reason wasn't fixable, you wouldn't be getting support ;)
Tell that to 300-series board owners. :D
Posted on Reply
#35
ShurikN
Oh boy I can't wait to look at forum posts 5 months from now from ignorant dumbasses, that bricked their mobo, crying for help. And blaming AMD of course.
Fun times ahead
Posted on Reply
#36
Jack1n
This BIOS flash is not really a one way ticket since you can probably just flash it back if you need to.
Posted on Reply
#37
Mats
Jack1n
This BIOS flash is not really a one way ticket since you can probably just flash it back if you need to.
That's not what's been told. In the end there are of course workarounds tho.
Posted on Reply
#38
DeathtoGnomes
Mats
That's not what's been told. In the end there are of course workarounds tho.
who told what where?
Posted on Reply
#39
windwhirl
DeathtoGnomes
who told what where?
AMD. They said that it would be a one-way BIOS update for 400 series boards. That is, once you update the BIOS to get Zen 3 compatibility, you can't go back to previous versions, meaning you lose compatibility with the CPUs for which support was removed in the BIOS update.
Posted on Reply
#40
NoJuan999
DeathtoGnomes
who told what where?
-- AMD -- We hear that many of you hoped for a longer upgrade path. We hear your hope that AMD B450 and X470 chipsets would carry you into the “Zen 3” era. Our experience has been that large-scale BIOS upgrades can be difficult and confusing especially as processors come on and off the support lists. As the community of Socket AM4 customers has grown over the past three years, our intention was to take a path forward that provides the safest upgrade experience for the largest number of users. However, we hear you loud and clear when you tell us you would like to see B450 or X470 boards extended to the next generation “Zen 3” products. As the team weighed your feedback against the technical challenges we face, we decided to change course. As a result, we will enable an upgrade path for B450 and X470 customers that adds support for next-gen AMD Ryzen Processors with the “Zen 3” architecture. This decision is very fresh, but here is a first look at how the upgrade path is expected to work for customers of these motherboards.
  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.
There are still many details to iron out, but we’ve already started the necessary planning. As we get closer to the launch of this upgrade path, you should expect another post like this to provide the remaining details and a walkthrough of the specific process.
From this article:
www.guru3d.com/news-story/amd-zen3-to-get-series-b450-and-x470-support-after-all.html
and this one as well:
www.anandtech.com/show/15807/amd-to-support-zen-3-and-ryzen-4000-cpus-on-b450-and-x470-motherboards
Posted on Reply
#41
B-Real
bug
At least they reversed their stance quickly.

With all that talk, AMD was about to do what their fans accuse Intel of: removing CPU support for no good reason.
At least they reversed their stance quickly. But not quick enough for people not to notice where their heart truly is ;)
Reversed what? Was there any official post that B450/X470 mobos will support Zen3? The only official note since Zen was released in 2017 as far as I know is that AM4 will be up till 2020. And that is true. I can't remember they promised they will support mobos back to 2 generations.

Where their heart is? They are a company just like Intel or NV. They want money. At least they can make a reverse so who were bothered got a right answer.
Posted on Reply
#42
oxidized
evernessince
Wrong. Go watch GamersNexus videos on the topic. AMD removing support for last gen was a shit move but there were multiple legitimate reasons why they would need to do it.
No reason is good enough to contradict oneself.

Nice to see AMD fixed this crapstorm promptly, wonder where all them AMD boyos are since they tried saying every possible thing to excuse an intel-like move.
windwhirl
AMD. They said that it would be a one-way BIOS update for 400 series boards. That is, once you update the BIOS to get Zen 3 compatibility, you can't go back to previous versions, meaning you lose compatibility with the CPUs for which support was removed in the BIOS update.
Can't one just flash an older version if they need to? What's exactly a one-way bios update? Sounds like some randomly made up name to me.
Posted on Reply
#43
jmcslob
I have a 2 month old B450 /2600x I thought was then wasn't going to be supported so I bought an x570 with a 3600....I also wanted PCI-E 40. x4 NVMe.
Any way the wind blows...doesn't really matter...to me.
Momma eww...oh wait.
I bet b450 mobo prices are about to go up.
Posted on Reply
#44
moproblems99
thesmokingman
You are not getting it. The early boards were not made with 32MB ROMS cuz the cpus only addressed up to 16MB. Board partners are going to have to make news bios per MB per needs.
No, I get that, but as noted previously in this thread, there are a lot of useless CPUs already supported that are not going in B450/X470, hell, even the 300 series. They don't even make those cpus anymore so drop support of anything before 1st Gen Ryzen....profit.
Posted on Reply
#45
R0H1T
Decryptor009
Good to see AMD fixing their mistake.
It was never a mistake, sure probably going a bit for that $$ though remember supporting AM4 right from Excavator (yes from Bulldozer fame!) till zen3 is no easy task & please don't bring any Intel comparisons up ~ it's frankly embarrassing!
Posted on Reply
#46
InVasMani
windwhirl
AMD. They said that it would be a one-way BIOS update for 400 series boards. That is, once you update the BIOS to get Zen 3 compatibility, you can't go back to previous versions, meaning you lose compatibility with the CPUs for which support was removed in the BIOS update.
Technically that's probably correct and true and it is a one way ticket, but that doesn't mean you can't then take a one-way ticket backwards. I think what AMD means is once you update it for Zen 3 that's all the BIOS ROM is able to storage information for so Zen/Zen 2 support is lost. That said once on a Zen 3 BIOS ROM update with a Zen 3 CPU I can't foresee a barrier reason why you couldn't flash the BIOS ROM to a Zen/Zen2 BIOS ROM and switch the CPU back out for a Zen/Zen 2 CPU in place of the Zen 3 CPU. That of course is a rather unlikely scenario in the first place. How many people would actually bother to do all of that. It's a one way ticket in a sense in either direction due to the limited ROM storage space to support the assortment of Zen CPU's of a given generation due to the variety of various SKU's between each generation of them.
Posted on Reply
#47
Darmok N Jalad
Maybe board partners are actually fairly happy with this change, as it allows them to keep selling old designs with minimal effort, especially the B450. If support died with the 3000 series, then the existing supply loses value rather quickly. Now they can just revise the BIOS and keep selling these as entry-level products. It might be cheaper than developing entry-level B550 models.

The problem will be getting them to support boards they no longer produce and sell. There is little incentive to go back to update those products. The X470 is probably less a concern, since X570 has been out for a while, and it’s the enthusiast grade chipset. Could we actually see better support for B450 than X470?
Posted on Reply
#48
windwhirl
oxidized
Can't one just flash an older version if they need to? What's exactly a one-way bios update? Sounds like some randomly made up name to me.
InVasMani
Technically that's probably correct and true and it is a one way ticket, but that doesn't mean you can't then take a one-way ticket backwards. I think what AMD means is once you update it for Zen 3 that's all the BIOS ROM is able to storage information for so Zen/Zen 2 support is lost. That said once on a Zen 3 BIOS ROM update with a Zen 3 CPU I can't foresee a barrier reason why you couldn't flash the BIOS ROM to a Zen/Zen2 BIOS ROM and switch the CPU back out for a Zen/Zen 2 CPU in place of the Zen 3 CPU. That of course is a rather unlikely scenario in the first place. How many people would actually bother to do all of that. It's a one way ticket in a sense in either direction due to the limited ROM storage space to support the assortment of Zen CPU's of a given generation due to the variety of various SKU's between each generation of them.
I think that what AMD meant is that you will not be able to go back to an older BIOS version the "easy way", that is, using the BIOS/UEFI setup program or the firmware updater that usually comes already bundled with the BIOS. You can always take the chip out and flash it with an EEPROM programmer or similar tool if you have the skill for that.

Why you wouldn't be able to do it the easy way? I do not know the internals of a BIOS update process, so this is just my guess and take it with a truckload of salt:

1-The updater checks the version number and doesn't allow you to flash an older version. Probably the most simple way to block it. Getting past that limitation could be as easy as changing the new/old firmware filename or as complicated as reverse-engineering the whole thing.
2-The update/downgrade process works in such a way that it would end up being truncated half-way through if you were using a Zen 3 processor, which would leave you with a bricked board.

If there is someone around who may actually know, it might be @R-T-B ...
Posted on Reply
#50
Ultra Taco
I just wanted to thank TPU for sparking consumer outrage toward AMD for the second time.

Keeping the multi billion dollar companies honest can only be done if there is journalism that feels the same dissapointment and outrage over a company decieving or going back on it's word, and if there is a community of folks that will stand up to (while remaining seated) this injustice.

It wasn't but last year that TPU made a similar article about how b350 370x motherboards wouldn't support zen 2 / mattise.

There was huge backlash and policy reversed.

If only actual politics worked this justly and swiftly. The FCC just getting it's way again and such.

A meager victory, but still, a victory for the people.
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