Originally, AM4 motherboards with X370, B350, and A320 chipsets weren’t supposed to work with Ryzen 5000 processors. But in a surprising reversal, AMD changed its mind—with the caveat that only select motherboards would get the necessary BIOS update.
This generous policy can mean the difference between having enough money to afford better replacement hardware and having to cut a few corners. But if you’re still relatively new to PC building, it may not be immediately clear how to determine whether your motherboard works with a new CPU like the Ryzen 5 5600 or Ryzen 7 5700X.
Figuring that out is actually quite simple. Just find your mobo’s support page online and look at the recent BIOS updates. If you see one that lists support for Vermeer and Cezanne processors (aka Zen 3 CPUs and APUs), you’re in luck. Should the BIOS update lack a description, look for one that bumps you up to AGESA version 188.8.131.52b or 184.108.40.206.
For folks who hit the lottery and want to move up to Ryzen 5000, our instructions on how to update your BIOS will streamline the process. But before you get started, keep these three things in mind:
Make sure you’re downloading your BIOS updates from the correct support page for your motherboard model and revision number (if the latter is applicable). Some manufacturers use different files for mobos with similar names, or for the form factor variations of a mobo model. You don’t want to accidentally flash the wrong BIOS update and bork your motherboard—not all mobos protect against that kind of mistake.
With some motherboards, once you update the BIOS, you may not be able to flash back to an older version. So if you encounter instability issues, you’re stuck. You can read up on other people’s experiences with the new BIOS version on forums and Reddit before taking the plunge yourself.
Be prepared for multiple BIOS updates. If you’re like most people and haven’t regularly updated your motherboard’s BIOS, you’ll very likely have to do several flashes before you can apply the version with Ryzen 5000 support. Usually you have to apply each major AEGSA release, plus any versions that the mobo manufacturer specifically calls out as necessary before you can apply subsequent updates. For a 5-year-old motherboard, this process can take upward of an hour to get through.
Alaina Yee is PCWorld's resident bargain hunter—when she's not covering PC building, computer components, mini-PCs, and more, she's scouring for the best tech deals. Previously her work has appeared in PC Gamer, IGN, Maximum PC, and Official Xbox Magazine. You can find her on Twitter at @morphingball.