Something to look forward to: If you've been contemplating buying a Ryzen 5000 series CPU but aren't too excited about the need to purchase a newer motherboard, you may be in luck. AMD is currently exploring ways to allow people with B350 and X370 motherboards to use a Zen 3 CPU, which was previously out of the question.
AMD's CES 2022 event was packed with announcements of new hardware as well as software enhancements for existing and upcoming Ryzen and Radeon products. The company revealed a new top gaming CPU in the form of the Ryzen 7 5800X3D, as well as Ryzen 6000 mobile processors based on a Zen 3+ architecture, a new budget Radeon RX 6500 XT graphics card, Radeon Super Resolution, and more.
However, some Team Red fans are also interested in potential support for Ryzen 5000 series CPUs for older motherboards equipped with 300-series chipsets. David McAfee, who is AMD's Corporate VP and GM of the Client Channel division, told Tom's Hardware in a recent interview the company is currently exploring options on how to officially enable Ryzen 5000 series CPUs to work on 300-series motherboards.
McAfee explained "it's definitely something we're working through. And it's not lost on us at all that this would be a good thing to do for the community, and we're trying to figure out how to make it happen."
However, this is likely in response to criticism received from AMD enthusiasts after the company reportedly blocked motherboard manufacturers from adding support for Ryzen 5000 series to B350 and x370 motherboards. This happened soon after some companies enabled this level of support on A320 motherboards, which aren't particularly high-end.
AMD has been in a weird position ever since it launched its Zen 3 CPUs, as the company promised to support the AM4 ecosystem as long as possible. At the time, its plan was to only support Ryzen 5000 series CPUs on 500-series motherboards. However, it wasn't long before it caved in to public pressure and allowed Zen 3 to be supported on B450 and X470 motherboards via BIOS updates that came with some caveats. Now it feels compelled to extend the same treatment to 300-series motherboards, mostly because it's been criticized by a "vocal part of the community."
To AMD's credit, the AM4 is an old socket and it's not easy to deal with the limited capacity of 16-megabyte SPI ROM used to store the BIOS along with the AGESA microcode for an increasing number of CPUs. And according to McAfee, the company is worried about the possibility that some 300-series motherboards may hold some Zen 3 CPUs back. Now that AMD is at least considering adding support, maybe you won't have to resort to using bootleg x370 firmware or purchasing a newer motherboard.