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AMD B550 Motherboards to Restart AGESA with v2

Apparently, AMD will be taking a slightly confusing step with its new AGESA codes - at least for the B550 platform. A report via Hardwareluxx has AMD rebooting AGESA (the most basic firmware for your motherboard and chipset support that's a requirement for correct CPU and feature support) versions back to version 1.0.0.0, but with a catch. The new AGESA version that's supposed to allow for support for AMD's Zen 3 CPUs will be coded as ComboAM4 v2 1.0.0.0 - instead of the next version in the current AGESA nomenclature, 1.0.0.6. It is still unclear if this change only refers to AMD's B550 or if it will also move on to X570's next AGESA releases.

It's expected that new motherboards based on AMD's B550 chipset will start landing in June. For now, there's confirmation on at least two motherboards running with this V2 of AGESA: MSI's MAG B550 Tomahawk (ComboAM4 v2 1.0.0.0), and the Gigabyte B550 Aorus Master (ComboAM4v2 1.0.0.1). So if you're looking to use AMD's B550 motherboard (or even X570) with AMD's upcoming Zen 3 CPUs, make sure to read your motherboard manufacturers' release notes for each AGESA version, so that you install the correct one and avoid yourself a potential load of pain with a non-functioning AGESA for your shiny new Zen 3 CPU.

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.

DRAM Calculator for Ryzen v1.7.2 Released

Yuri "1usmus" Bubliy over the weekend released the latest version of DRAM Calculator for Ryzen, the definitive tool for overclocking and optimizing memory on your AMD Ryzen-powered PC. The tool lets you calculate the best possible memory-related settings specific to your machine. Version 1.7.1 introduces several new changes. For starters, it now has updated presets for three of the most popular DDR4 DRAM die types obtained from hundreds of hours of re-testing various brands of memory modules on the latest version of AMD AGESA. These affect everything from procODT to VDDG settings, and the introduction of CL15t, which stabilizes problems encounted in finding timings with CL14t.

The R-XMP button (which attempts to translate your DIMM's XMP to AMD-compatible settings), and "Calculate EXTREME" buttons have been removed, and in their place, the "Calculate FAST" button has been optimized for the best possible stable settings; and "Calculate SAFE" for reasonably fast yet safe settings. DRAM Calculator for Ryzen now has DIMM PCB revision awareness. Several popular memory vendors have multiplie revisions of PCBs for the same DIMMs (and same DRAM chips, which can affect tuning headroom). This provides an additional layer of accuracy in calculating timings. In addition, there are several UI changes, such as a "compare timings" button with added functionality. Preliminary support is also added for future "Zen 3" based processors. Grab the tool from the link below.

DOWNLOAD: DRAM Calculator for Ryzen v1.7.2 by 1usmus
The change-log follows.

Update 09:07 UTC: The DRAM Calculator for Ryzen has just been updated to v1.7.2. Detailed below.

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 Releases AGESA ComboAM4 1.0.0.5 Microcode

AMD formally announced its AGESA ComboAM4 1.0.0.5 microcode. The new microcode is intended to be encapsulated into motherboard UEFI firmware updates and distributed by motherboard- and OEM desktop manufacturers, at their discretion. AGESA 1.0.0.5 improves POST (time) with select Micron Technology DDR4-3200 memory chips. An intermittent virtual memory error with certain Realtek onboard Ethernet PHY chips has been fixed. The microcode also improves PCI-Express bus stability and interoperability, in general. A PCIe lane configuration issue with Ryzen 3 Pro 2100GE has been fixed. Besides these, all other performance- and stability-improvements part of older 1.0.0.4 a/ab/abb/abba microcodes are incorporated into 1.0.0.5. Keep an eye on the BIOS updates section of your socket AM4 motherboard's product page on its company website.

AMD Announces Ryzen 9 3950X, Details 3rd Gen Ryzen Threadripper, unlocked Athlon 3000G

AMD today announced four new desktop processors across three very diverse markets. To begin with, the company crowned its socket AM4 mainstream desktop platform with the mighty new Ryzen 9 3950X processor. Next up, it released its new baseline entry-level APU, the Athlon 3000G. Lastly, it detailed the 3rd generation Ryzen Threadripper HEDT processor family with two initial models, the Ryzen Threadripper 3960X and the flagship Ryzen Threadripper 3970X. The company also formally released its AGESA Combo PI 1.0.0.4B microcode, and with it, introduced a killer new feature for all "Zen 2" based Ryzen processors, called ECO Mode.

The Ryzen 9 3950X is a 16-core/32-thread processor in the AM4 package, compatible with all socket AM4 motherboards, provided they have the latest BIOS update with AGESA Combo PI 1.0.0.4B microcode. The processor comes with clock-speeds of 3.50 GHz base, with 4.70 GHz maximum boost frequency, and the same 105 W TDP as the 12-core Ryzen 9 3900X. With 512 KB of dedicated L2 cache per core, and 64 MB of shared L3 cache, the chip has a mammoth 72 MB of "total cache."

BIOSTAR Ready for AMD New Firmware and Ryzen 9 3950X

BIOSTAR, a leading manufacturer of motherboards, graphics cards, and storage devices, is proud to announce it's full support for the newly launched AMD Ryzen 9 3950X processor. The 3950X, a 16-core, 32-thread desktop CPU running at a 4.7GHz boosted clock, has been highly anticipated and BIOSTAR has been well prepared for it. Supported by BIOSTAR X570, X470, B450, X370, B350, and A320 chipset with AM4 socket motherboards, the monster CPU from AMD brings the latest in PC tech with support for dual-channel DDR4 memory at 3200+MHz and PCIe 4.0, a perfect match for the feature-loaded GEN4 RACING X570 and X470 motherboards from BIOSTAR.

By updating the supported motherboards with the latest AGESA 1.0.0.4 Patch B BIOS, the users can unlock support for the new AMD CPU and its benefits, as well as improved system boot time as tested by our engineers. By updating the supported motherboards with the latest AGESA 1.0.0.4 Patch B BIOS, users can unlock support for the new AMD CPU and its benefits, as well as improved system boot time as tested by our engineers.

AMD CEO Lisa Su Talks About 3rd Gen Ryzen Boost Issue in Q3 Earnings Call

AMD CEO Dr Lisa Su in response to a question, spoke about 3rd generation Ryzen processor boost issue. Dr. Su was responding to a question by Mitch Steves of RBC Capital on whether she had comments on "the software side" of 3rd gen Ryzen, and articles in the press still popping up about them despite AMD's fix. This was interpreted by the AMD CEO as a question specific to the Precision Boost controversy surrounding 3rd gen Ryzen chips, in which processors would seldom/never hit the advertised maximum boost frequency. AMD tried to address this by issuing updates to its processor microcode under AGESA Combo 1.0.0.3 ABBA, distributed through motherboard BIOS updates. The new microcode is supposed to increase the maximum turbo clock-speeds for "the vast majority" of users.

In her response, Dr. Su began by stating that the company is pleased with the sales of these processors. She then mentioned that AMD is working with its motherboard partners and ODM partners to "improve the optimization of the maximum boost frequency." She notes that the issue has been "largely addressed over the last couple of weeks" (referring to 1.0.0.3 ABBA). She goes on to state that AMD sees its response to the boost issues as more of an "optimization," rather than a "major update," possibly trying to allay investor fears that AMD is firefighting a costly problem with its products. "We're going to continue to improve the platform," she adds, possibly referencing the upcoming AGESA 1.0.0.4 Patch B microcode that's beginning to ship out by motherboard vendors. The earnings call can be accessed here. The specific question can be found at 47:00.

MSI Outs AM4 Motherboard BIOS Updates with AGESA Combo 1.0.0.4 Patch B

MSI, the world leading gaming motherboard manufacturer, takes initiative to release BIOS updates for AMD motherboards. This latest AMD Combo PI version 1.0.0.4 Patch B (SMU v46.54) has a massive improvement at all points concerning debugs and optimization for the previous version. Specifically, optimized system boot up procedure allows users to shorten boot time and speed up the boot process. Compared to previous 1.0.0.3 version, the boot speed entering into BIOS is faster by 20%.

At the moment, the BIOS for X570 motherboards will be ready for users to download and update in the end of October. The updated BIOS version supports Ryzen 5 2400G and Ryzen 3 2200G running in X570 platform. On the other hand, it also supports RAID function including SATA- and NVMe-based drives for X570 motherboards. We are still working hard on other existing lineup of 300- and 400-series motherboard and will be released soon in November.

Intel Marketing Tries to Link Stability to Turbo Boost

There is no correlation between CPU frequency boosting behavior and system stability. Intel today launched its "10th generation" Core X HEDT processors, with core-counts ranging between 10 to 18, priced between $590 and $978. Based on the 14 nm "Cascade Lake-X" silicon, these chips have the same exact IPC as "Skylake" circa 2015, but offer nearly double the number of cores to the Dollar compared to the 9th generation Core X series; and add a couple of useful instruction sets such as DLBoost, which accelerates DNN training/building; a few more AVX-512 instructions, and an updated Turbo Boost Max 3.0 algorithm. The chips offer clock-speed bumps over the previous generation.

Intel's main trade-call for these processors? Taking another stab at AMD for falling short on boost frequency in the hands of consumers. "The chip that hits frequency benchmarks as promised, our new #CoreX -series processor, provides a stable, high-performance platform for visual creators everywhere," reads the Intel tweet, as if to suggest that reaching the "promised" clock speed results in stability. AMD was confronted with alarming statistics of consumers whose 3rd generation Ryzen processors wouldn't reach their advertised boost frequencies. The company released an updated AGESA microcode that fixed this.

AMD Ryzen CPUs to Get Plenty of Microcode Improvements

According to Planet 3DNow, owners of AMD's Ryzen CPUs will receive a new microcode update said to feature many performance fixes and improvements that bring additional features. Dubbed AGESA 1.0.0.4, the new microcode improvement should bring over 100 new features that don't just include bug fixes, but also additional features.

Leaked by MSI's "Insider Show" YouTube series host Eric Van Beurden, he revealed that new microcode will arrive next month after getting tested by motherboard manufacturers for stability and compatibility with existing models of motherboards. Unfortunately, Van Beurden didn't reveal anything specific about what features will be present with the new AGESA microcode update, however we can expect to see plenty of new additions, and possibly higher CPU performance that further firmware optimizations bring.

AMD Confirms: Ryzen 9 3950X and Threadripper 3rd Generation Coming in November

AMD just released an update on their upcoming processor launches this year. First revealed at E3, just a few months ago, the Ryzen 9 3950X is the world's first processor to bring 16-cores and 32-threads to the consumer desktop space. The processor's boost clock is rated at "up to 4.7 GHz", which we might now actually see, thanks to an updated AGESA software that AMD released earlier this month. Base clock for this $749 processor is set at 3.5 GHz, and TDP is 105 W, with 72 MB cache. While AMD said "September" for Ryzen 9 3950X back at E3, it looks like the date got pushed back a little bit, to November, which really makes no difference, in the grand scheme of things.

The second big part of today's announcement is that AMD is indeed working on "Rome"-based third generation Threadripper processors (probably the industry's worst-kept secret), and that these CPUs will also be launching in November, right in time to preempt Intel from having any success with their upcoming Cascade Lake-X processors. Official information on AMD's new HEDT lineup is extremely sparse so far, but if we go by recent leaks, then we should expect new chipsets and up to 32-cores/64-threads.
AMD's full statement is quoted below.

AMD AGESA 1.0.0.3ABBA Detailed, Fixes Zen2 Boost Issues

AMD is giving final touches to an AGESA microcode update that fixes the issue of underwhelming Precision Boost behavior on its 3rd generation Ryzen processors. Version ComboAM4 1.0.0.3ABBA is being pushed to motherboard manufacturers to integrate with their UEFI firmware, and one such dispatch to MSI got leaked to the web on ChipHell. Tom's Hardware grabbed the BIOS as it was compatible with the MEG X570 Creator motherboard they have, and tested the Ryzen 9 3900X and Ryzen 7 3700X with it.

In its testing, posted in a mini-review article, Tom's Hardware observed that with AGESA 1.0.0.3ABBA, their 3700X sample was correctly hitting 4.40 GHz across the board at stock settings. With the older 1.0.0.3AB, it would touch 4.375 GHz. The Ryzen 9 3900X behaves slightly differently with this microcode. Tom's Hardware was able to raise its peak boost frequency from 4.575 GHz to 4.625 GHz (above the 4.60 GHz specification), but in certain tests such as POV-Ray and Cinebench, its boost frequency decays down to 4.250 GHz. Overall, the reviewer tabulated improved performance on the chips with the new microcode. The new microcode also apparently changes the processor's thermal thresholds.

Update (10/9) AMD posted an elaborate release detailing the AGESA 1.0.0.3ABBA update.

AMD's Latest AGESA Update Removes PCIe 4.0 Support from Pre-X570 Motherboards

AMD's latest AGESA update, which is being seeded to motherboard manufacturers, culls efforts to implement support for PCIe 4.0 in boards not carrying the latest X570 chipset. Some motherboard manufacturers had enabled support for the new standard on existing B450 and X470 motherboards - some with limited support, as was the case on some of ASUS' motherboards, others with full support. However, these efforts from motherboard manufacturers went against AMD's strategy with their X570 platform - all in all, these "rogue additions" reduced one additional feature of new X570 motherboards over their older counterparts.

The new AGESA code carries the part number AM4 1.0.0.3 ABB, and will likely be reflected in manufacturers' release notes for new BIOS versions that incorporate the code - and remove added PCIe 4.0 functionality. Other changes in this AGESA code release include fixes for Destiny 2 gamers' woes, which were having a hard time getting the game to run properly on Ryzen 3000 processors. If you're an avid Destiny 2 player and want PCIe 4.0 support, you'll likely be reminded of Rick and Morty's pickle episode. If not, you can always defer these AM4 1.0.0.3 ABB updates, if your system is behaving properly.

AMD Readies AGESA ComboAM4 1.0.0.3ABB, Addresses Several Issues Affecting 3rd Gen Ryzen

AMD today addressed multiple issues with its 3rd generation Ryzen processors through a highly-recommended update to its Chipset Driver software. To begin with, it stated that several users noticed anomalous behavior with 3rd generation Ryzen chips where the voltages and clock-speeds would be raised as the processor would misinterpret low-scale performance requests from certain software as a request to unlock higher performance states (combinations of higher clock-speeds and voltages to support them). This first came to light when users reported abnormally high voltages at idle when performance was measured by certain software that caused the Observer Effect. The new version 1.07.29 of AMD Chipset Drivers refine the AMD Ryzen Balanced Windows power scheme to be more aware of low-priority workloads and ensure the right state when the system is idling. AMD recommends Ryzen Master software. Version 2.0.0.1233 (or later), as they have fixes to the hardware monitoring module.

The AMD Chipset Drivers 1.07.29 also includes a "beta" fix for the bug that rendered "Destiny 2" unplayable on machines powered by 3rd generation Ryzen processors. The company had earlier tried to fix this bug through an update to its AGESA processor microcode, through ComboAM4 1.0.0.3ABA, although that particular version, not to be confused with the widely circulated 1.0.0.3AB, was found to be buggy and pulled. AMD said it's working on a newer version of AGESA, version ComboAM4 1.0.0.3ABB, which will include "a more comprehensive solution" to the bug affecting "Destiny 2."

AMD Addresses "Destiny 2" Bugs on Ryzen 3000 with a Chipset Driver Update

AMD fixed a bug that caused "Destiny 2" to be unplayable on 3rd generation Ryzen processors, through updated chipset drivers. The company had, earlier this month, released an update to its processor microcode with the AGESA ComboAM4 1.0.0.3ABA update (not to be confused with 1.0.0.3AB), before pulling it for causing other bugs. Ahead of its publication on AMD website, Robert Hallock, the company's technical marketing head for processors, posted a Google Drive link to the driver's installer. It bears the version number v1.07.26.0551, and is marked beta. Hallock comments that this is a "workaround" to help "get you into the game." It looks like a more permanent solution to the bug still lies in updating the microcode, once AMD figures out what went wrong with 1.0.0.3ABA.

AMD AGESA 1.0.0.3ABA Buggy, Company Pulls it from Motherboard Vendors

The latest version of AGESA ComboAM4 microcode that enables 3rd generation Ryzen support on AMD 400-series chipset motherboards has been deemed buggy and pulled from motherboard vendors. AGESA ComboAM4 1.0.0.3ABA (not to be confused with 1.0.0.3AB that's being widely distributed), was originally released to fix an application crash noticed with "Destiny 2." The microcode inadvertantly destabilizes PCI-Express on motherboards, with users of ASUS motherboards complaining of stability issues with the latest BIOS updates that include 1.0.0.3ABA.

Peter "Shamino" Tan from ASUS commented that the company was under a tight schedule to push 1.0.0.3ABA out as BIOS updates, and didn't have the time to properly validate it. "We just got told to pull (was undergoing validation prior) 1003 ABA version," he said, adding the root cause of the problem being "that PCIE speed of BXB-C downgraded from gen4 to gen2,..." He comments "so its not surprising that bugs emerge since the source has hidden bugs that only gets unraveled with thorough testing. combine that with trying to get firmwares out in a tight time frame, kinda damn if you do (release firmware quickly) and damn if you dont (dont release firmware quickly) situation." It's interesting to note that in their BIOS update change-logs, quite a few motherboard vendors omit the full version string of AGESA. You may encounter ComboAM4 1.0.0.3AB being referred to simply as "AGESA ComboAM4 1.0.0.3."

MSI MAX AM4 Boards Real: 32MB BIOS ROMs and Ryzen 3000 Out-of-the-Box Support

MSI is among the motherboard manufacturers who had to significantly modify their UEFI firmware packages to cram in AGESA ComboAM4 1.0.0.3ab microcode on their AMD 300-series and 400-series chipset motherboards, due to firmware ROM size limitations. Most older MSI AM4 motherboards have 128 Mbit (16 MB) SPI flash ROM chips, which proved insufficient to integrate the latest AGESA microcode alongside its feature-rich ClickBIOS 5 UEFI setup program. MSI addressed the issue on two fronts. For its existing motherboards that have 128 Mb flash chips, it released BIOS updates that have AGESA 1.0.0.3ab, but shed some bulk on the setup program, by replacing ClickBIOS 5 with the "GSE-lite" setup program. The company is also releasing newer revisions of many of its AMD B450 chipset motherboards anticipating demand from the section of 3rd gen Ryzen buyers who don't want to spend at least $170 on an AMD X570 motherboard.

These revised motherboards feature "MAX" in the name, and come with 256 Mb (32-megabyte) SPI flash ROM chips, enabling MSI to combine AGESA ComboAM4 1.0.0.3ab with ClickBIOS 5, and not compromising on any of the motherboard's BIOS-level feature-set. These motherboards also come with out-of-the-box support for all of the 3rd generation Ryzen processors launched so far, as indicated on the box. The boards also retain support for A-series "Bristol Ridge" and "Raven Ridge" Athlon APUs that had faced the axe with the latest BIOS updates. The B450 Tomahawk MAX and Mortar MAX are characterized by matte-black heatsinks replacing silver; while the B450-A PRO MAX has the "MAX" logo clearly printed on the VRM heatsink. Pricing of these boards are expected to be on par with the models they're replacing.

ASUS Begins Enabling Limited PCIe Gen 4.0 on AMD 400-series Chipset Motherboards

ASUS believes that PCI-Express gen 4.0 support on older socket AM4 motherboards based on the AMD 400-series chipset is technically possible, even if discouraged by AMD. The company's latest series of motherboard BIOS updates that expose PCIe Gen 4 toggle in the PCIe settings, does in fact enable PCIe gen 4.0 to all devices that are directly wired to the SoC. These would be the PCI-Express x16 slots meant for graphics, and one of the M.2 slots that has PCIe x4 wiring to the SoC. Below is a list of motherboards scored by Chinese tech publication MyDrivers, which details the extent of PCIe gen 4.0 support across a number of ASUS motherboards based on the X470 and B450 chipsets.

AMD apparently did not explicitly block PCIe gen 4.0 for older chipsets. It merely suggested to motherboard manufacturers not to enable it, since the newer AMD 500-series motherboards are built to new PCB specifications that ensure PCIe gen 4.0 signal-integrity and stability. ASUS wants to leave it to users to decide if they want gen 4.0. If their machines are unstable, they can choose to limit PCIe version to gen 3.0 in their BIOS settings. Among other things, AMD's specifications for 500-series chipset motherboards prescribe PCBs with more than 4 layers, for optimal PCIe and memory wiring. Many of the motherboards on ASUS' list, such as the TUF B450 Pro Gaming, use simple 4-layer PCBs.

MSI Scampers to Launch New AMD 400-series Motherboards with 256Mb BIOS Chips

Our Monday story chronicled how MSI inadvertently erred in giving many of its AMD 400-series chipset motherboards 128 Mbit (16-megabyte) SPI flash ROM chips instead of larger 256 Mbit (32-megabyte) ones, which nearly jeopardized the company's "Zen 2" support deployment, forcing it to greatly thin its motherboard firmware feature-set, and break SATA RAID support on many of its boards. To be fair to MSI, the company may not have anticipated the AGESA microcode growing tremendously in size with its latest ComboAM4 1.0.0.3-series. We are now hearing from Polish tech publication PurePC that MSI has scrambled to remedy this by re-releasing many of its AMD 400-series chipset motherboards with larger 256 Mbit SPI flash ROM chips.

The PurePC report states that MSI will brand the revised motherboards "MAX" in the product name (eg: B450 Gaming Pro Carbon AC MAX, B450M Bazooka MAX, etc.), although we don't know if the new model names will have the company's latest MEG/MPG/MAG prefixes. The 256 Mbit SPI flash ROM chip allows MSI to cram in AGESA 1.0.0.3a, which lets you use 3rd generation Ryzen processors to their full capabilities (barring PCIe gen 4.0 on these motherboards of course). More importantly, the larger ROM chip allows MSI to have AGESA 1.0.0.3a without sacrificing on its feature-rich Click BIOS 5 UEFI setup program, SATA RAID module, or losing support for any of the socket AM4 processors.

BIOS ROM Size Limitations Almost Derail AMD's Zen2 Backwards Compatibility Promise

AMD succeeded in delivering on its backwards-compatibility promise for the 3rd generation Ryzen processors on motherboards based on AMD 300-series and 400-series chipsets. This promise was very close to being derailed suggests a community thread on MSI forums. According to MSI representatives active on the forum, the capacity of the SPI flash EEPROM chip that stores the motherboard UEFI firmware is woefully limited to cram in the AGESA ComboAM4 1.0.0.3a microcode on many of its motherboards.

The company had to make several changes to its UEFI BIOS package that's currently being circulated as a "beta," to accommodate support for 3rd generation Ryzen processors along with AGESA ComboAM4 1.0.0.3a. First, it had to kick out support for A-series and Athlon processors based on the 28 nm "Bristol Ridge" silicon. Second, it had to [and this is a big one], kick the RAID module, breaking SATA RAID on many of its motherboards. Third, it had to replace its feature-rich Click BIOS 5 setup program with a barebones "GSE Lite" Click BIOS program, which lacks many of the features of the original program, and comes with a dull, low-resolution UI. This program still includes some essential MSI-exclusive features such as A-XMP (which translates Intel XMP profiles to AMD-compatible settings), Smart Fan, and M-Flash.

AMD Ryzen 3000 "Zen 2" BIOS Analysis Reveals New Options for Overclocking & Tweaking

AMD will launch its 3rd generation Ryzen 3000 Socket AM4 desktop processors in 2019, with a product unveiling expected mid-year, likely on the sidelines of Computex 2019. AMD is keeping its promise of making these chips backwards compatible with existing Socket AM4 motherboards. To that effect, motherboard vendors such as ASUS and MSI began rolling out BIOS updates with AGESA-Combo 0.0.7.x microcode, which adds initial support for the platform to run and validate engineering samples of the upcoming "Zen 2" chips.

At CES 2019, AMD unveiled more technical details and a prototype of a 3rd generation Ryzen socket AM4 processor. The company confirmed that it will implement a multi-chip module (MCM) design even for their mainstream-desktop processor, in which it will use one or two 7 nm "Zen 2" CPU core chiplets, which talk to a 14 nm I/O controller die over Infinity Fabric. The two biggest components of the IO die are the PCI-Express root complex, and the all-important dual-channel DDR4 memory controller. We bring you never before reported details of this memory controller.

MSI Rolls Out AMD 400-series BIOS Updates with "Zen 2" Microcode

MSI mid-March began quietly rolling out BIOS updates for its socket AM4 motherboards based on AMD 400-series chipset, with a very ominous BIOS change-log entry: "Support new upcoming AMD CPU." At first, we dismissed this for being the company's follow-up to its 6th March announcement of support for some of the newer Athlon processor models, namely the 220GE and 240GE. After updating our MSI B450 Gaming Pro Carbon AC with one of these BIOSes, however, we discovered a very interesting microcode string - AGESA COMBO-AM4 0.0.7.2.

Such a major change in AGESA shouldn't be warranted to add support for two new chips based on existing "Raven Ridge" architecture that both AGESA "Summit Ridge" and AGESA PiR (Pinnacle Ridge) series microcodes should be able to comfortably run. We spoke with sources familiar with AMD microcode, who revealed that this AGESA COMBO-AM4 0.0.7.2 is designed for the upcoming "Zen 2" microarchitecture, and its first socket AM4 implementation, codenamed "Matisse." AMD internal versions of AGESA with Matisse support begin with the version sequence 0.0.7.x., and as we head closer to formal launch of these chips, AMD could release a 1.0.0.0 version of "AGESA COMBO-AM4." For our B450 Gaming Pro Carbon AC, the BIOS version packing this new AGESA is v1.60, and we wager this board should now be able to run Ryzen "Matisse" engineering samples. Now, if we can only get our hands on one.

MSI Goofup Unlocks Overclocking on AMD Athlon 200GE

MSI late November released BIOS updates for its entire range of socket AM4 motherboards, mainly to include AGESA 1.0.0.6, which improves memory compatibility. The updates also pack various motherboard model-specific fixes. Apparently there has been a goof-up with this update (not in a bad way, though). The latest BIOS updates "accidentally" unlock the otherwise locked Athlon 200GE dual-core processor with integrated graphics.

No, you won't get more cores or iGPU stream processors, but the base-clock multiplier letting you easily overclock the processor is now unlocked. This adds value to the $55 processor, given that competing Celeron and Pentium Gold SKUs are overpriced in the market these days. In their overclocking adventures with the 200GE paired with a MSI B450 Gaming Pro Carbon AC motherboard, TechSpot observed that the chip (which is clocked at 3.2 GHz by default) wouldn't POST beyond 3.90 GHz, and that you need vCore at 1.4 V to sustain even 3.90 GHz. They found 3.80 GHz at 1.35 V to be 100% stable (an 18.75% overclock). The memory clocks are still restricted to DDR4-2666, although you can still play with timings.

AMD Second-generation Ryzen "Pinnacle Ridge" Confirmed to Support AM4

AMD, in an interview with Overclockers UK (OCUK), confirmed that its second-generation Ryzen desktop processors will support the existing AM4 socket, so current Ryzen platform users can seamlessly upgrade to the new processors, with a BIOS update. Most current AM4 socket motherboards will require BIOS updates to support Ryzen "Raven Ridge" desktop APUs, and Ryzen "Pinnacle Ridge" CPUs, as the two require an update to the latest AGESA 1.0.0.7 version. In the interview, AMD representative James Prior confirmed that the company plans to keep AM4 its mainstream-desktop processor socket all the way up to 2020, which means at least another two to three generations of processors for it.

The next generation is "Pinnacle Ridge," which is rumored to be an optical-shrink of the "Summit Ridge" silicon to the 12 nm process, enabling higher clock speeds. The decision to keep AM4 doesn't mean the company's 300-series chipset will be made to stretch over 3 years. The company could release newer chipsets, particularly to address 300-series chipset's main shortcoming, just 6-8 older PCI-Express gen 2.0 general purpose lanes (while Intel chipsets put out up to 24 gen 3.0 lanes).
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