Why you can't run Ryzen 5000 on old AMD motherboards

amd ryzen 1800x build resizedImage: Brad Chacos/IDG

No Internet, you still cannot officially use AMD’s newest Ryzen 5000 desktop CPU in ancient motherboards—and now, you can’t seem to do it unofficially, either.

Those who own original X370, B350, and A320 boards had already known this as stated fact for some time. But the latest dust-up, covered by WCCFtech’s Hassan Mujtaba, arose when ASRock customers were caught passing around beta BIOSes that actually allowed Ryzen 5000 to go into older boards. Once AMD got wind of the underground dealings, the company put the kibosh on them.

“Hi Jörg, unfortunately, we received AMD’s warning that X370 shouldn’t support Vermeer CPU,” according to an email posted last week, purportedly from ASRock to one popular AMD hardware hacker. “Obviously, some customer didn’t operate it under table, AMD noticed it and said ASRock shouldn’t do this anymore. The attached file is BIOS and it is the last BIOS which I can provide for you in this case, please pass it to user under table.”

And yes ASRock, even your email talking about the fun being ruined by loose lips got posted to the Internet, so don’t expect secrets to stay secret.

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AMD has been genrous with CPU support, but it doesn’t look like X370 will ever officially see Zen 3 support.

When asked for comment, a company spokesman told PCWorld: “AMD has no plans to enable or support the AMD Ryzen 5000 Series on AMD 300 Series chipsets. Customers of these motherboards are advised to upgrade to a newer motherboard with a compatible BIOS.” If that sounds familiar, it’s the same thing AMD told Paul Alcorn of Tom’s Hardware in December when the BIOS began making the rounds. That was when it was thought to be a homebrew UEFI instead of an official, but beta, BIOS.

PCWorld reached out to ASRock and other board makers for comment as well and hadn’t heard back at, but WCCFTech’s Mujtaba found some willing to talk. “We did talk to a few manufacturers and they say that BETA BIOS support for AMD Ryzen 5000 CPUs on X370 motherboards is indeed possible,” Mujtaba said, adding, “AMD has restricted them from even a BETA release.”

To be fair, AMD isn’t trying to be a Buzz Killington. After an outcry, AMD allowed beta support for X470 boards, but X370 is just a bridge too far for it.

The company pointed to its original statement when Ryzen 5000 was released, which cites several technical issues. “The average AMD 400 Series motherboard has key technical advantages over the average AMD 300 Series motherboard, including: VRM configuration, memory trace topology, and PCB layers,” AMD said. “To ensure the best possible customer experience, AMD must focus its support on AMD 400 and 500 Series products. Customers with an AMD 300 Series motherboard are advised to upgrade to a newer and more advanced motherboard with BIOS support for AMD Ryzen 5000 Series processors.”

Whether you believe that’s the real reason or not, it is at least very plausible. The original Ryzen and X370—while ground-breaking in 2017—weren’t exactly known for having a robust memory subsystem. Not all of the older motherboards could likely support the voltage requirements of the newest chips, either, which increases the chances of confusing customers rather than building goodwill. For a company that has to appeal to mainstream customers and gamers to be successful, it has to have product lineups that don’t confuse them.

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