AMD has provided an update on the process of making B450 and X470 motherboards compatible with new “Zen 3” processors. We first reported on this situation back in May. However, in a nutshell, AMD is to support Zen 3 on 400 series boards after community pressure. This isn’t easy and will involve some compromises, one of which was that BIOSes wouldn’t be available right away. AMD has now given an estimated date for B450 and X470 Zen 3 BIOSes. According to /u/AMDOfficial on Reddit, “You can expect the first beta releases of these BIOSes to be available for download starting in January 2021“.
Estimated Date for B450 Zen 3 BIOSes Not This Year
So, AMD announced Zen 3 for the 5th of November this year. However, the BIOSes for B450 and X470 motherboards aren’t due until 2021. The delay is expected – AMD said there’d be one back in May. The door is also open for even longer potential delays in some cases. The announcement adds, “The BIOSes will be made available directly from your preferred motherboard vendor when they are ready – exact timing and availability will depend on the development, implementation, and test schedule for your specific motherboard vendor and model”.
This is a little disappointing, but not really surprising. A CPU launch is a busy time for firmware engineering, and with a significant increase in working from home, productivity is likely lower than normal. Moreover, when the release date for Zen 3 BIOSes on B450 and X470 does roll around there’s no doubt everyone involved wants it to go smoothly.
In addition to the update on timing, AMD announced that they have reversed course on verification. Previously, BIOSes were to be available only to confirmed owners of a Zen 3 CPU. Now, they will be publicly available. This should make the process easier.
Finally, AMD has reminded users that this is the final upgrade path for B450 and X470. With DDR5 on the horizon, we might see a socket change anyway.
Stop Press: Confusion over ASUS Support
This should be taken with a grain of salt, but not mentioning it would be a serious omission. As this article was being written, it emerged on Reddit that ASUS may not support Ryzen 5000 CPUs on the X470-based Crosshair VII Hero. A Crosshair VII owner asked ASUS support about compatibility with the upcoming chips. The support rep replied that they should get a B550 board or an X570-based Crosshair VIII.
It’s fairly common for users to ask customer support reps questions about future products. Of course, a frontline rep probably doesn’t have any more information than the users do. If a company wanted to make an announcement they would make it directly. It’s unlikely ASUS would just tell their reps and wait for someone to ask.
Sure enough, while this article was pending editorial review, ASUS has confirmed that their X470 and B450 boards WILL support the Ryzen 5000 series, on the schedule discussed above. Of course, an X570 or B550 board remains the best option for launch day support. This may be what led to the confusion.