Motherboard makers are all set for AMD's Ryzen desktop APUs

Next week we'll see the launch of AMD's Raven Ridge-family Ryzen processors with Radeon Vega graphics, but are motherboard vendors ready? The answer is a fairly unambiguous "yes" across the industry. We've checked the websites of Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, ASRock, and Biostar to make sure each company is prepared for the new processors.

What started this little voyage was a press release from Asus wherein the company specifically announced support for "AMD's Ryzen 2000-series APUs" across its whole range of Socket AM4 motherboards. Indeed, we can find BIOS updates on the Asus website from within the last two weeks, touting support for "new upcoming processors" for every single board we checked. The company hasn't updated its CPU support lists with the new chips, but then they haven't actually launched yet either.

In lieu of a press release, we simply went snooping around Gigabyte's website. Likewise, we found BIOS updates for Gigabyte's Socket AM4 motherboards in every price tier that mention Raven Ridge CPU support. Most boards have newer updates that enable GPU overclocking for Raven Ridge APUs, too.

Prospective members of MSI's Dragon Army are also in good shape; most of that company's AM4 boards have firmware updates ready that proclaim Raven Ridge processor support. Just be careful—not all of MSI's boards have updates ready yet.

Like Asus, ASRock doesn't list the Ryzen APUs in any of its CPU support lists, but the company does publish separate memory QVLs for the new chips on some boards' pages. ASRock apparently tested Raven Ridge with RAM running at 2933 MT/s from G.Skill and 3000 MT/s from GeIL and Klevv. The most recent BIOS updates for the company's boards do mention support for "future upcoming processors," so we suspect ASRock users will be squared away next week.

Meanwhile, Biostar's boards mention Raven Ridge in neither BIOS updates nor CPU support lists, although there is a note on each motherboard's page that says "please ensure [you've updated to the] latest BIOS before [installing a] Raven Ridge CPU."

One additional bit of interest is that the AGESA versions listed by the vendors don't necessarily match. AGESA is essentially AMD's name for what we more generically refer to as "microcode" on Intel machines, and the low-level code can have a big effect on the PC's performance and stability. As an example, the AGESA update that came shortly after Ryzen's release dramatically improved many users' ability to overclock their RAM. RAM overclocking has significant performance impacts on Ryzen, as attentive gerbils likely are aware.

Curiously, Asus and Gigabyte both list the AGESA version in their most recent BIOS updates as Before that, both companies had updates to versions or, and Gigabyte had marked those updates specifically as being for Raven Ridge. MSI meanwhile lists the AGESA version on its Raven Ridge updates as This version number confusion could result from the fact that AMD actually has two sets of upcoming CPUs—Raven Ridge and the refreshed Zen+ processors. It's possible we'll hear more about this in the coming weeks.

In any case, it looks like users can choose any vendor of AM4 motherboards for AMD's new APUs. We doubt many users with existing Socket AM4-based systems are looking to grab one of the quad-core APUs, but if you are, better go ahead and grab the applicable update now.

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