AMD’s decision to drop Zen 3 support from the B450 boards has drawn a lot of flak from enthusiasts and media alike. Earlier, multiple partners had claimed that the 4th Gen Ryzen CPUs would support the budget B450 platform, prompting many users to upgrade to a 3rd Gen SKU. The general idea was to leverage the power of the Zen 2 chips till Zen 3 got here, and then upgrade a second time to the latter without buying a new board. However, the announcement of the B550 motherboards and the revelation that the B450 chipset won’t be compatible with the 4th Gen Ryzen lineup sent a flurry of panic across the fanbase.
There still might be some hope though. According to the YT channel, TechDeals, the decision to drop Zen 3 support from the B450 platform was business-related and not a technical one. What this means is that technically the B450 boards should still be able to support the Ryzen 4000 processors, just not officially. This would be very similar to how many B350 and A320 boards were able to run the 3rd Gen Ryzen CPUs despite AMD dropping them from the compatibility list.
The most likely reason behind this was pressure from board partners who are used to seeing chipset compatibility retained over just two generations. Earlier, AMD’s market share was just a small fraction of the total CPU market. However, with Ryzen that has changed significantly, with AMD taking the lead in many markets across the globe.
This has put a wrench in board partner sales. As more and more users switch to AMD CPUs, they don’t have to upgrade with every successive generation or two. This, in turn, reduces motherboard sales. The B550 platform is most likely a response from AMD to calm nervous OEMs concerned over the compatibility of the upcoming Zen 3 parts with existing B450 boards.
After all, motherboard manufacturers make the bulk of their sales when a new generation of CPUs is launched. If AMD’s 4th Gen Ryzen lineup would retain the B450 platform officially, this would prevent most users from upgrading their motherboards, considerably affecting their sales and therefore, profits.
Please keep in mind that we have no confirmation from AMD over whether the B450 boards will support the Zen 3 based Ryzen 4000 CPUs. This is mere speculation at this point.