UPDATE (May 19): After fan backlash on Reddit and other platforms, AMD took the decision to take back their recent announcement. You can disregard some portions of my article like the title (AMD Zen 3 Not For Your Current Mobo) and the earlier announcement. Basically, AMD is now allowing Zen 3 CPUs on X470 and B450 (AM4) motherboards via BIOS update, but once you flash it, you won’t be able to downgrade as the update will make space by deleting data to accommodate Zen 3 support data into the BIOS.

“We’ve heard our audience, and we understand the concerns. We are going to work out a way to support Zen 3 on our 400-series chipsets between now and launch – we’re still working out the what and the how, but we will update you closer to Zen 3 launch.”

The “Zen 3” Architecture is Coming to AMD X470 and B450

As we head into our upcoming “Zen 3” architecture, there are considerable technical challenges that face a CPU socket as long-lived as AMD Socket AM4. For example, we recently announced that we would not support “Zen 3” on AMD 400 Series motherboards due to serious constraints in SPI ROM capacities in most of the AMD 400 Series motherboards. This is not the first time a technical hurdle has come up with Socket AM4 given the longevity of this socket, but it is the first time our enthusiasts have faced such a hurdle.

Over the past week, we closely reviewed your feedback on that news: we watched every video, read every comment and saw every Tweet. 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 blog just like this to provide the remaining details and a walkthrough of the specific process.

At CES 2017, AMD made a commitment: we would support AMD Socket AM4 until 2020. We’ve spent the next three years working very hard to fulfill that promise across four architectures, plus pioneering use of new technologies like chiplets and PCIe® Gen 4. Thanks to your feedback, we are now set to bring “Zen 3” to the AMD 400 Series chipsets. We’re grateful for your passion and support of AMD’s products and technologies.

We’ll talk again soon. — SOURCE: AMD Reddit


AMD has dropped the bomb on many gamers with AM4 motherboards. Future AMD Ryzen (Zen 3 architecture) processors will only be compatible with the upcoming X570 or B550 motherboard (on sale late May-July 2020).

So if you wish to benefit from future Zen 3 CPUs, you will have to migrate to the X570 — back-compatible with Zen 2, which means you can move your current Zen 2 CPU to the upcoming X570 chipset motherboard.

The X570 seems the premium option looking forward to the future, while also allowing you back-compatibility to use your current Ryzen 3000-series CPU.

The B550 chipset will be the cheapest way to access PCIe 4.0 starting at $109.99. These will start to ship out mid-June. However, you should steer away from B550 if you want to bring Zen 2 CPUs into it. Stick to the X570 instead for a broader range of back-compatibility.

The lingering question is whether AMD will stick to supporting AM4 socket when the Zen 4 architecture is announced some time between 2021-2022. So far AMD has supported the AM4 socket since 2017.


The AMD B550 chipset will be the cheap version to get into PCIe 4.0.

The AMD B550 chipset enables PCIe 4.0 Compatibility for NVMe storage and graphics on mainstream motherboards for future-proof compatibility with upcoming and future AMD Ryzen (Zen 3 architecture) processors.

  • 20x usable PCIe 4.0 lanes with a Zen 3 processor
  • Up to 4x usable PCIe 3.0 lanes
  • 8x usable PCI3 2.0 lanes
  • Up to 2 native USB 3.2 Gen 2 Ports (Superspeed 10Gbps)
  • Up to 6 native USB 3.1 Ports
  • Up to 6 native USB 2.0 Ports
  • Up to 8x SATA Ports
  • Overclocking Support

They haven’t shown up yet on Amazon, but should be very soon. These are some of the models coming out first:

  • Asus ROG Strix B550-E Gaming
  • ASRock B550 Taichi
  • Gigabyte B550 Aorus Master
  • MSI MPG B550 Gaming Pro Carbon WiFi
  • Biostar Racing B550 GTQ



The X570 chipset is the equivalent of the premium motherboard somewhere in the mid-high price range.

So far I have found the listings for some of these X570 motherboards compatible with the AMD Ryzen (Zen 3) and backward compatible with Zen 2 Ryzen 3000s (except codename Picasso). The dates below show when they might ship.






The Zen 3 architecture CPUs (aka the Ryzen 4000s) aren’t yet on sale. They are coming for laptops initially, and the desktop versions at a later time.

Rumors online say the desktop version might be unveiled mid-2020 or late-2020. Another rumor sets its release by August 2020. Time will tell which turns out to be true.

For now, the current AMD Ryzen 3 (Zen 2 / 7nm) Processors come in two options: built-in Radeon graphics or without built-in graphics.

Those without built-in graphics can be used on current X470, B450 chipset motherboards, and will also be compatible with the upcoming X570 and B550 chipset motherboards.

Those with built-in Radeon graphics are compatible with the most range of current motherboards: X370, B350, A320, X470, B450; and the upcoming X570 and B550.

There are a few Ryzen 3 (Zen 2) models, but I will just ignore them all except for the one highly recommended by reviewers for Gaming at an affordable $$$ range:

The AMD Ryzen 5 3600X CPU (Usually $249 — as of today at $204.99 for a limited time).

This CPU delivers 100+ FPS performance on most popular video games with its 6 cores/12 threads; clocked at 4.4GH Max Boost unlocked for overclocking. It offers 35MB game cache and support for RAM DDR4 3200. Supports PCIe 4.0 on X570 motherboards.


The AMD Zen 3 architecture processors combined with the X570 or B550 chipset motherboards with PCIe 4.0 support provige up to an average 42% faster SSD storage performance from the current 3.3GB/s to a whopping 5.0GB/s sequential read and from 3.2GB/s (current) to 4.3 GB sequential write.

AMD recommends these PCIe 4.0 SSDs for both: the X570 and B550 chipset motherboards and Zen 3 architecture CPUs. At a glance, in terms of Max Sequential Read (5000 MB/s), Max Random Read (up to 750K IOPS), and Max Random Write (up to 700K IOPS) — the SSDs listed below are the best choices. I removed from this list the Corsair option — which lags behind slightly, compared to these brand models.

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