Is AMD readying a new round of processors for its AM4 platform? It certainly seems so, with Asus releasing a new BIOS update for its entire range of B350 and X370 motherboards that effectively confirms this.
Asus released a series of BIOS updates for its full selection of AMD B350 and X370 chipset motherboards. Each of the individual updates share the same description:
“Update to AGESA 1071 for new upcoming processors.”
We’ve already discussed the finer points of the AGESA protocol, and it’s not a new or unexpected feature for the AM4 platform; AMD and its partners frequently release BIOS updates that support new revisions of the code. However, Asus stating that the update is for new upcoming processors indicates that AMD will be expanding its AM4 processor family in some way. Asus currently seems to be the only AMD motherboard partner offering the new BIOS (dated 11-17-17), and it seems the company has let a significant cat out of the bag.
Intel’s release of Coffee Lake processors (and the new Z370 chipset) seemed like a direct answer to AMD’s Ryzen processors, offering more cores for the money. It was certainly Intel’s least expensive per-core CPU launch in recent history, at least at its recommended MSRP--a play AMD has been making since its FX-series processors debuted. With a new round of AMD AM4 processors apparently inbound, it seems unlikely that AMD would be upping the ante with even more cores, and it's likely taking aim at the low end market with a set of new APUs with integrated Vega graphics (as the company recently did with its debut of mobile Ryzen APUs). Although it's a far shot, AMD could also be laying the groundwork for 12nm LP FinFET products, though the timing still seems a bit premature for that.
Without an official statement from Asus or AMD (we’ve reached out to both), we can only speculate what kind of processors AMD could be preparing to unleash and how soon we will see them at market. However, with Asus already releasing a BIOS update for these mystery chips, it seems apparent that we’ll be seeing them sooner than later.