Robert Hallock, AMD technical market lead, confirmed that AMD’s upcoming Zen 3 processors will not work with motherboards with 400 series chipsets and older.
In a blogpost, Hallock confirmed that Zen 3 processors will continue to use the AM4 socket, but will only be backwards compatible with AMD’s X570 and B550 motherboards. While 500 series motherboards would only require a BIOS update to enable compatibility, users on older platforms would need to purchase a new motherboard.
“AMD has no plans to introduce ‘Zen 3’ architecture support for older chipsets,” Hallock wrote. “While we wish could enable full support for every processor on every chipset, the flash memory chips that store BIOS settings and support have capacity limitations. Given these limitations, and the unprecedented longevity of the AM4 socket, there will inevitably be a time and place where a transition to free up space is necessary—the AMD 500 Series chipsets are that time.”
the AM4 socket was announced alongside the first generation Ryzen processors in 2016. When it was released, AMD had promised to support the AM4 socket until 2020. Because the socket has yet to reach end-of-life, users of AMD’s older platforms hoped to be able to upgrade to AMD’s 4th generation Ryzen processors once they arrive. Zen 3 will be the first time where a Ryzen processor isn’t backwards compatible with all three generations of AMD’s platforms (assuming the motherboard vendor provides the BIOS that supports them as well). Up until now, all AMD motherboards are compatible with most processors from all three generations of Ryzen processors.
Although AM4 is nearing its obsolescence, AMD has yet to announce its retirement or successor. The company is looking to cement its future processor development before making an announcement.