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Ryzen 9 5950X Spikes to 5 GHz on Old $60 A320 Motherboard

Asus A320M-K
(Image credit: Asus)

TechEpiphany (opens in new tab) has decided to install AMD's Ryzen 9 5950X on one of the cheapest A320 chipset motherboards on the market, the Asus A320M-K. Thanks to new official support for Ryzen 5000 series on select A320 motherboards, AMD's flagship Ryzen 9 5950X CPU appears to be perfectly happy living in the A320 motherboard with reported CPU clock speed spikes 5 GHz thanks to the enablement of PBO.

A single core out of a 16-core processor boosting to 5 GHz looks good and all. However, the more affordable 300 series motherboards have modest power delivery subsystems that may not extract the full performance of a high-end chip, such as the Ryzen 9 5950X. For example, multi-core performance could vary by 20% to 30% on a budget A320 motherboard compared to a higher-end motherboard.

This configuration is possible only because Asus gives its A320 motherboards full Ryzen 5000 series support with a new BIOS and the latest AGESA code, version 1.2.0.3C. We reported on this two months ago, noting that Gigabyte and Asus, in particular, have begun delivering new BIOS updates to A320 boards to support AMD's latest Ryzen 5000 series processors.

More specifically, the BIOS name containing the new AGESA code is version 5862, and it came out in November of last year. Patch notes indicate that the updated AGESA code adds support for new processors and drops Bristol Ridge 7th Gen A-series and Athlon X4 series CPU support entirely to make that happen. Strangely, the CPU support list does not reflect any updates to show Ryzen 5000 series support, and the patch notes don't indicate Ryzen 5000 processors, in particular. However, we're confident Asus is talking about Ryzen 5000 support, as they are the newest processors AMD currently makes.

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For some reason, this phenomenon is only happening on A320 chipset motherboards for the time being, as motherboard makers haven't enabled Ryzen 5000 support on more appropriate chipsets such as B350 and X370.

But, there is still hope; yesterday, we reported that AMD is not giving up supporting 300 series chipset motherboards just yet. AMD's corporate VP, David McAfee, notes he and the engineering team are hard at work trying to figure out a way to get Ryzen 5000 support on 300 series boards and how to get the chips running smoothly at the same time.

Due to the age of 300 series motherboards, getting Ryzen 5000 to perform well is not an easy task. There are several blockers in place, including IRM definitions and current capabilities from the motherboards VRM -- which for most 300 series boards, is notably weaker than that of B550 and X570 boards. As a result, the boards can't deliver enough power to Ryzen 5000 chips to perform adequately on 500 series boards.

AMD also notes 300 series motherboards lack support in its engineering validation coverage matrix. As a result, AMD does not test 300 series boards when producing a new AGESA code to push out to motherboard manufacturers. Meaning, all the system stability of the new code falls exclusively on the motherboard makers themselves if they are patching 300 series boards to the more recent version.

Due to this, we would recommend you use caution when taking advantage of Ryzen 5000 series support on A320. There is a higher chance of bugs occurring on these older motherboards. Keep in mind that most A320 motherboards have vastly weaker power delivery setups than B350 and X370 chipset motherboards (let alone 500 series). Running a Ryzen 9 5950X at its maximum power rating could be dangerous.

To avoid this, be sure to do research and make sure your specific A320 motherboard has a beefy VRM system to handle Ryzen 5000 -- or at the very least, turn the eco mode on if necessary.

Aaron Klotz
Aaron Klotz

Aaron Klotz is a freelance writer for Tom’s Hardware US, covering news topics related to computer hardware such as CPUs, and graphics cards.

  • wifiburger
    this type of VRM even with heat sinks is junk and eventually requires a direct fan for 24/7 daily especially with 16cores

    The question, is 100$ worth saving to get stuck with this horrible basic board ?
    Reply
  • m3city
    I'd say that is definitelly not worth it and meaningless to put 5950 to A320. It could serve as an interim solution if one really really had to use that CPU and had nothing else at hand.
    But it shows perfectly flexibility of PC - especially systems based on AMD.
    Reply