BIOS Update Information for AMD X470 and B450 Motherboards - Summer 2019
Background: AMD New Ryzen 3000 Series CPUs
In July of 2019, AMD released a series of new CPUs known as the Ryzen 3000 Series. These new CPUs boast many exciting features and benefits offering performance capabilities not seen before, however one constant is that the new CPUs are designed to physically fit in AMD’s existing motherboard Socket AM4. Along with the new series of CPUs, AMD also released a new compatible chipset known as X570. Motherboards based on the new AMD X570 chipset are designed to work out of the box with the new CPUs. Earlier motherboards based on the AMD X470 and AMD B450 chipsets will also be able to work with the new CPUs, however if these boards were manufactured before the release of the Ryzen 3000 Series, they will most likely require the additional step of updating the BIOS in order to be compatible.
Background: AMD X470 and B450 chipsets
The AMD X470 and AMD B450 chipsets were originally designed and released before the new Ryzen 3000 Series CPUs were available. Because of that timing, motherboards based on these slightly older chipsets will not be able to properly recognize the new line of CPUs without first having a BIOS update.
Why do I need a BIOS update?
The motherboard's BIOS is what recognizes the CPU and allows the components to work with each other. If your motherboard meets the physical requirements such as Socket AM4 and is based on the AMD X470 or AMD B450 chipset, but it was manufactured before information was available regarding the new Ryzen 3000-series processors, updating the BIOS is the way to introduce your motherboard to this new line of CPUs.
Update the BIOS BEFORE using the new Ryzen 3000 Series processor
While specific instructions may vary from one motherboard manufacturer to another, here is one simple tip: If you have an existing system board that is up and running already and you are going to upgrade to one of the new compatible Ryzen 3000-series CPUs, UPDATE YOUR BIOS FIRST and then upgrade your CPU after the BIOS update is complete and tested. This is the most direct path to a successful outcome.
For those that are completely upgrading or building a new PC, it is still best for the BIOS update to be done before installing the new processor. New inventory on the store shelves prior to the time of this release may not necessarily have a BIOS version that is able to boot up with the new Ryzen 3000 Series processors installed. In these circumstances, you will need to boot the motherboard with a compatible processor in order to flash the BIOS.
Micro Center has proactively updated select X470 and B450 chipset motherboards to have available to our customers with the release of these new CPUs - these boards which have gone through this process will be disgnated with a sticker on the box indicating Ryzen 3000 Series Compatible. Check with your Micro Center Sales Associate or Knowledge Expert before leaving the store to understand the status of the board you are selecting, whether the BIOS has been or will need to be updated, and what next steps will be necessary.
Updating the BIOS on your motherboard
Below is support related information for the various manufacturers of motherboards that may fall into this category and that are currently sold by Micro Center. Also, as previously referenced, the best thing to do would be to check with your Micro Center Sales Associate or Knowledge Expert before leaving the store – we will be happy to help you understand whether or not any additional steps would be necessary to ensure the compatibility of your particular purchase.
Support Information: https://www.asrock.com/support/index.asp?cat=BIOS
Support Information: https://www.asus.com/us/support/
Support Information: https://www.gigabyte.com/Support
Support Information: https://us.msi.com/support/mb
BIOS Updating Basics for a Computer Motherboard
For those who are qualified and comfortable to proceed on their own, here are some common facts and qualified opinions regarding updating the BIOS of your motherboard:
FACT: Improperly updating the BIOS of your computer motherboard could render the motherboard unusable. In a best case scenario, a qualified service technician might be able to reverse this problem. In a worst case scenario, the motherboard has been rendered useless and you will need to replace it.
OPINION: It is important to understand whether you feel comfortable with the process or risk involved in flashing a BIOS. Most people who are build your own computer enthusiasts should have no problem completing a routine BIOS update, but it is not a task that everyone is completely comfortable with. If you are not comfortable with this process, seek the assistance of a qualified technician BEFORE attempting the process.
FACT: It is important to never interrupt a BIOS flash during the process. An intentional shutdown, or an unexpected power surge or failure, could cause undesirable results and likely failure of the update.
OPINION: Read and understand all instructions PRIOR to beginning the BIOS update process. This process is most likely to be successful if you are informed and understand all the details first.
FACT: It is important to ONLY use a BIOS update for a motherboard that is provided by, tested by, and approved by, the motherboard or computer manufacturer. BIOS update versions are typically done for specific reasons, and for specific models of motherboards. Improperly updating the BIOS of your computer by using the wrong BIOS version could render the motherboard unusable.
OPINION: If everything is working fine with your motherboard, you probably don’t need a BIOS update. Resist the temptation to update your BIOS just because an update is there. Understand the purpose for the update before proceeding to use it and understand if this purpose is beneficial to you. A BIOS update is best used only after specific recommendation by a qualified service or support technician or the motherboard manufacturer.
FACT: When new versions of CPUs are released AFTER a motherboard was designed and released to manufacturing, this can be one example of when you REQUIRE a BIOS update. Many modern motherboards and processors are designed with physical specifications allowing for upcoming CPUs to be compatible with recent motherboards. In these situations, if the physical hardware specifications are compatible, the BIOS update might be necessary to effectively introduce the newly released CPU to the recently designed motherboard. Without the BIOS update, the motherboard might behave unexpectedly, and possibly might not even boot up with the new CPU, even though there is nothing wrong with either piece of hardware. Manufacturer recommended and provided BIOS updates are the solution that is required for these situations.
OPINION: Manufacturer warranties do not typically cover end user errors when it comes to things like updating the BIOS. Being informed, following instructions, and asking questions proactively are three ways to ensure the best possible outcomes, and to enjoy the fun of building your own computer.