AMD’s upcoming Ryzen refresh won’t require a new motherboard, company confirms

AMD Ryzen CPU 1700 in hand
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
James Prior, a senior product manager at AMD, recently addressed a question in an interview regarding Ryzen 2 and the possible need for yet another motherboard upgrade. AMD-based system builders currently wanting to jump on the Ryzen desktop processor bandwagon are required to upgrade their motherboard because the chips rely on a different “seat,” or socket, called AM4. Naturally, customers want to know if they will be forced to swap out motherboards again when the next-generation chips arrive in the future.

Naturally, Prior can’t really comment on unannounced products. But he did reiterate a comment publicly announced by AMD that it will support the AM4 motherboard socket through 2020. He also talked about the “Zen” processor development, which started four years ago and eventually required two teams.

“If you look back to when we first started talking about the Zen core, before we even unveiled the Ryzen name, we were saying that when we were creating the Zen architecture, the core team came together some four years ago, they started building the design, they started creating this awesomeness,” he said  “And after they got the fundamentals worked out, they peeled off part of it, started them working on the next-generation micro-architecture.”

In other words, once Zen development reached a specific point, one team continued to work on the design that now resides in the Ryzen and Ryzen Threadripper processors while another began working on what will essentially be Ryzen refresh. And now that the Ryzen and Threadripper chips are on the market, the first team has moved on to Ryzen 2. All the while, AMD will continue in its tick-tock manufacturing schedule.

“Zen, a brand new architecture, came on Globalfoundries 14 nanometer process, a brand new process at the same time,” he added. “We’re going to do an optimization. We’ve got a new process from Globalfoundries — they already announced it — we started talking about that as well. We’re going to come in, but it won’t be the next-gen micro-architecture, but it will be an improvement of what we’ve got today. That’s what’s going to happen next, so we’re getting ready for that now.”

He added that the move from Ryzen to Ryzen refresh is why AMD plans to support the AM4 motherboard socket through 2020: Because both rely on the same infrastructure. Customers will be able to remove their Ryzen chip and simply drop in a Ryzen Refresh model along with a simple BIOS flash supporting the newer CPU.

Given Ryzen arrived in 2017, and Ryzen refresh will likely land in 2018 based on 7nm FinFET process technology, AMD’s release of Ryzen 2 could very well take place in 2019, falling within the AM4 socket umbrella. That is speculation, however, because Prior didn’t say when Ryzen Refresh would hit the market, nor did he confirm the Ryzen 2 product.

Of course, by the time Ryzen 2 arrives, you will want to upgrade the motherboard anyway given new technologies the processor and accompanying chipsets will bring. The whole motherboard-swap-out debate really only applies to the Ryzen refresh chips.


Here’s how you can watch today’s Nvidia GTC 2019 keynote live

Nvidia's rumored 7nm Ampere graphics could debut soon. The company will be kicking off its GPU Technology conference at 2 p.m. PT today, Monday, March 18, and you can watch the opening keynote here.

It’s time to check out the best Apple Watch deals for March 2019

The Apple Watch has surged to prominence in recent years. If you're in the market for an iOS wearable, we've sniffed out the best Apple Watch deals available right now for all three models of this great smartwatch.

Intel’s next-gen Comet Lake processors will reportedly arrive with 10 cores

Intel may give its next-generation desktop processor, known by its Comet Lake code name, a maximum of 10 cores, according to code found within the company's Linux drivers. Laptop CPUs will reportedly top out with six cores.

Nvidia’s rumored 7nm Ampere graphics could debut next week, but not for gamers

Nvidia's next-generation 7nm Ampere graphics could debut as early as next week at the GTC show as part of an effort to catch up to rival AMD, which announced a competing 7nm Radeon GPU earlier this year.

Paper designs digitize in real time using an Illustrator-connected paper tablet

Love graphic design, but prefer the feel of real paper? The new Moleskine Paper Tablet - Creative Cloud Connected syncs with Adobe Illustrator in real time, turning paper sketches into digital drawings.

Make the most of your toner with our five favorite color laser printers

Color laser printers have improved dramatically over the years, and today's models offer both blazing print speeds and great image quality. Here are our favorite color laser printers, from massive all-in-ones to smaller budget options.
Product Review

4K and 144Hz? Yup, the Acer Predator XB3 will max out your gaming PC

The Predator XB3 isn’t for the faint of heart. But if you have a system that can push over 100 frames per second in 4K screen resolution, this monster of a monitor might be the perfect match for your overpowered gaming rig.

Firefox 66 is here and it will soon block irritating autoplay videos

Do web advertisements have you frustrated? Mozilla is here to help. The latest version of the browser will soon block autoplaying videos by default and will also help make web page scrolling smoother.

USB4 will be the fastest and most uniform USB standard yet

USB4 is on the horizon and alongside a massive boost in speed it's also unifying with the Thunderbolt 3 standard to help finally create a singular wired connection protocol that all devices can enjoy.

The U.S. government plans to drop $500M on a ridiculously powerful supercomputer

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced plans to build a $500 million exascale supercomputer by 2021. The project, known as the Aurora supercomputer, is expected to boost research efforts in fields such as public health.
Buying Guides

Apple has powered up its iMac lineup, but which one should you opt for?

With new processors and graphics cards for both the 4K and 5K models, the iMac feels like a good option for creatives again. But which should you buy? Here's our guide to choosing the right Apple all-in-one for your needs.

HP spring sale: Save up to 58 percent on laptops, desktops, printers, and more

From now until March 23, the HP spring sale lets you take as much as 58 percent off of a huge range of laptops, desktop PCs, printers, and more, potentially saving you more than $1,000. We’ve rounded up a dozen of the best deals right…

Yes, Apple’s new iMacs look great, but they do have one glaring problem

With processors ranging up to the eight-core Core i9, the 2019 iMac update looks like a pretty solid upgrade to Apple's classic all-in-one. But hidden in the details of the product page, there's one outdated component Apple is holding onto.

Grab 1 terabyte of SSD storage for just $100 with this sale on Amazon

If you're looking for an excellent opportunity to pick up a 1TB SSD at a low price, Amazon has you covered with Samsung's 860 QVO 1TB 2.5-inch SATA III Internal SSD. It is an excellent offering for both multimedia enthusiasts and gamers.