Not all AM4 motherboards offer the same degree of compatibilityWe know that. AMD promised to offer full compatibility of its processors launched until 2020 with the AM4 socket, something that for the moment they have fulfilled, but in a limited and less efficient way than we would have expected.
As we have advanced, not all AM4 motherboards have the same level of support or compatibility. For example, AM4 motherboards with B350-X370 and B450-X470 chipsets are compatible with Ryzen 3000 processors thanks to a BIOS-level update, but to proceed with its installation it is necessary take up significant space on the chip dedicated to the BIOS. If that space fills up, the only way to get space is to erase data, and this forces remove support of certain processors, or to eliminate specific functions.
That has been precisely one of the most important problems of motherboards that only have 16 MB of storage capacity. For example, my motherboard, an AORUS GA-AX370-Gaming 5, removed support for Bristol Ridge APUs with the F30 version due to lack of space. It is an understandable and perfectly acceptable sacrifice in most cases, since in exchange for removing support for “old” chips you can use new CPUs and APUs.
There is no doubt that this has been one of the most relevant commitments that many motherboard manufacturers have had to face when launching new BIOS updates to expand support and make them compatible with new generations of AMD processors, but it was not the only one, We must also take into account the own limitations of each motherboard at the hardware level.
AM4 motherboards and the problem of power and cooling
Some specialized media, such as HardwareUnboxed, confirmed that although it is possible to use Ryzen 3000 series processors on motherboards that have updated to the corresponding BIOS, the experience can vary greatly depending on the quality of it, and pointed directly to two major keys, the feeding system (VRM) and its cooling.
For example, a motherboard like the GIGABYTE GA-AB350M-DS3H is compatible with the entire Ryzen 3000 family, but it’s not a good idea to mount a processor like the Ryzen 9 3900X on it, let alone a Ryzen 9 3950X. With this I do not mean that they will not work, in fact they will, but we will be subjecting the VRM to a significant load And without proper cooling we may end up having problems.
The build quality of each motherboard and its power system are two key points that will determine, together with the BIOS, the real support they offer from the different generations of Ryzen processors, divided, as we know, in the architectures Zen, Zen 2 and Zen 3. Only motherboards with 32 MB ROM At the BIOS level they can accommodate full support.
At the hardware level it is important to note that not all AM4 motherboards with B450 and X470 chipset offer fully optimal support Ryzen 9 3900X and Ryzen 9 3950X. I recommend that before updating you confirm with the manufacturer of your board that you can install these processors without having to fear for the integrity of your system, and without having to establish any special type of cooling.
In my case, for example, my AORUS GA-AX370-Gaming 5 could mount a Ryzen 9 3900X without problem, but to install a Ryzen 9 3950X I should make sure that the cooling inside the equipment is good, and that helps to cool, even if indirectly, the VRM, since otherwise it will reach temperatures that are not recommended.