Back­ward-Com­pat­i­ble

Maximum PC - - COMMENTS -

In your Oc­to­ber is­sue, a reader, Jeff Gold­stein, wrote about an is­sue he’d had with his B350 motherboard and his Ryzen 5 2400G. As he men­tioned, the board had an old BIOS. The real is­sue wasn’t the GPU, it was the gen­er­a­tion of the pro­ces­sor. The B350 and X370 chipsets were de­signed for the first- gen Ryzen chips. The B450 and X470 chipsets are for the se­cond- gen Ryzen chips.

What is nice is that the older boards can work with the se­cond- gen chips if you up­date the BIOS. That means that you must have ac­cess to a first- gen Ryzen chip in order to up­date the BIOS. Both AMD and I be­lieve the new In­tel chips will do this. For In­tel, I think that’s the word for the 9thgen with re­gard to the 370 and 390 chipsets— cor­rect me if I’m wrong. Any­ways, ev­ery­thing from PC parts picker to ev­ery PC chan­nel on YouTube has men­tioned this re­quire­ment. I agree that any­thing com­ing di­rect from Asus should have an up­dated BIOS, but if you buy it from any kind of re­tail busi­ness, it is un­re­al­is­tic to think that the board is nec­es­sar­ily a re­cently stocked item. Be­cause of that rea­son, you should not as­sume that the board was shipped af­ter the new­est BIOS was cre­ated.

I was also sur­prised when, in the re­sponse, none of this was men­tioned. Chipsets are the big­gest thing on the mobo to re­search be­fore buy­ing. Com­pat­i­bil­ity im­me­di­ately af­ter that. The is­sue is an an­noy­ing one, but one that isn’t hid­den by any stretch. I hope he got his build up and run­ning, but I am a bit sur­prised that the real prob­lem that was caus­ing his is­sue wasn’t men­tioned.

– Kurt

EX­EC­U­TIVE ED­I­TOR, ALAN DEX­TER, RE­SPONDS: This is a po­ten­tial is­sue with any back­ward com­pat­i­bil­ity, but it’s par­tic­u­larly acute in this case, due to the first gen­er­a­tion of AMD’s Ryzen pro­ces­sors not hav­ing in­te­grated graph­ics, and thus re­quir­ing hav­ing a graph­ics card to hand— even if you aren’t us­ing one in the ac­tual build. It’s some­thing we faced again this is­sue when build­ing the bud­get ma­chine for the cover fea­ture, and while we’re lucky that we can just grab a dif­fer­ent pro­ces­sor and graph­ics card to get it up and run­ning, not ev­ery­one has ac­cess to such parts. While you’re right that the sec­ond­gen­er­a­tion moth­er­boards are built with the newer chips in mind, you can still use first- gen boards with them, and in­deed due to price dif­fer­ences, you’ll of­ten want to. And yes, you can use In­tel’s 9th- gen­er­a­tion CPUs with the last- gen­er­a­tion mo­bos, but th­ese re­quire a BIOS up­date to do so—in ex­actly the same way (bar need­ing a graph­ics card in most cases).

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