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AMD’s B550 motherboards brings PCIe 4.0, but leave older Ryzen CPUs behind 4

AMD has recently disclosed that its upcoming “Zen 3” 4th generation Ryzen desktop processors will only support AMD 500-series (or later) chipsets. The next-gen processors will not work with older 400-series or 300-series chipsets. This comes as a blow to those who bought premium X470 motherboards hoping for latest CPU compatibility running into 2020. At this time only B550 is available, but you can expect more news on enthusiast chipsets as the Zen 3 launch date comes closer.

AMD B550 is a fascinating new mid-range chipset by AMD. Launching today as a successor to the popular B450 chipset, B550 is a low-power silicon with roughly the same 5-7 W TDP as the older 400-series chipset. Although AMD won’t confirm it, it’s likely that the chipset is sourced from ASMedia. It brings a lot to the table that could draw buyers away from B450, but it also takes some away.

Update: The AMD B550 currently only supports 3rd generation Ryzen “Matisse” processors. Ryzen 3000 “Picasso” APU are not supported. What’s more, older Ryzen 2000 “Pinnacle Ridge,” “Raven Ridge,” and first gen Ryzen 1000 “Summit Ridge” aren’t supported, either. The Athlon 200 and 3000 “Zen” based chips miss out, too. AMD argues that it ran into ROM size limitations when trying to cram AGESA microcode for all the older processors. We find that hard to believe because B450 motherboards with the latest ComboAM4 AGESA support 2nd gen and 3rd gen processors, including APUs and Athlon SKUs based on the two. On the bright side, AMD assured us (within its marketing slides for the B550), that the chipset will support upcoming processors based on the “Zen 3” microarchitecture. The company also came up with a new motherboard packaging label that clarifies that the processors won’t work with the 3400G and 3200G.

B550 motherboards are exactly what you expect: They’re like the existing B450 mainstream Ryzen motherboards, built around the backward-compatible AM4 socket, but with support for PCIe 4.0 included. The cutting-edge interface promises faster speeds for any device that taps into it, but it’s especially beneficial for storage. PCIe 4.0 SSDs hit ludicrous speeds—and this first wave doesn’t even come close to maxing out the technology’s potential.

On the bright side, the mainstream B550 boards support a full 20 usable PCIe 4.0 lanes, so you’ll be able to run both a PCIe 4.0 SSD and a PCIe 4.0 graphics card if you desire.

Lauch Date of B550 Motherboards

Motherboards based on the AMD B550 chipset are expected to launch on June 16, 2020. Prices start at $100 (Nrs. 11,000 expected), according to AMD.

But if we’ve already waited this long with patience on an X570 upgrade, what’s another couple of months for the B550 motherboards, right ?


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