Surprise! Gigabyte Invites A320 Motherboard Owners To The Zen 3 Party With BIOS Updates
Last week, owners of one of Gigabyte's motherboards based on AMD's A320 chipset
had a limited CPU upgrade path, if they didn't want to overhaul their platform. And now? Gigabyte is dishing up beta BIOS updates that enable support for both Zen 2 (Ryzen 4000) and the latest Zen 3 (Ryzen 5000) processor from AMD.
This is potentially great news for budget builders who want to extend the life of their platform. As Intel's Alder Lake processors come into view, retailers have been dropping prices on some of AMD's latest generation Ryzen 5000 series chips. Take for example the Ryzen 7 5800X. It debuted at $449, and is now selling on Amazon for $393.99
That's not a budget chip by any stretch, and normally an odd pairing with an entry-level chipset from yesteryear. Or it would be odd if building from the ground up. But if you own, say, a Gigabyte A320M-H motherboard and your PC is feeling long in the tooth, an 8-core/16-thread Ryzen 7 5800X
would certainly offer a sizable performance boost. It's one of those situations where a CPU upgrade alone can have a meaning impact on the user experience, versus overhauling the motherboard, CPU, RAM, and storage.
Even the 16-core/32-thread Ryzen 5950X
can now run on Gigabyte's five-year-old A320 motherboards. Again, not the most sensible combination, but it's suddenly an upgrade path that previously did not exist. Whether this means AMD's upcoming Zen 3+ refresh will be supported too, we'll have to wait and see.
In the meantime, here are the specific motherboard models Gigabyte has developed new firmware for...
What's also not clear is whether Gigabyte has AMD's blessing for these BIOS updates or not. They're based on AMD's AGESA 18.104.22.168 B code. Motherboards based on AMD's A320 chipset utilize the long-standing AM4 socket, but due to concerns over power requirements and the overall feature-set, they're not supposed to be compatible with Zen 3.
Interestingly, AMD initially only intended for Ryzen 5000 series chips to be compatible with 500-series motherboards. Follow a bit of an outcry from the community, AMD expanded support to 400-series motherboards. And as recently as this past May, AMD said in a statement
it has "no plans to enable or support the AMD Ryzen 5000 series on AMD 300 series chipsets. Customers of these motherboards are advised to upgrade to a newer motherboard with a compatible BIOS."
Oddly enough, though Gigabyte has extended Zen 3 support to several of its A320 motherboards, the same doesn't appear to be true for its X370 lineup. Go figure.