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.
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).