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AMD Raven Ridge 'Boot Kit' Includes Unnamed Bristol Ridge Chip, Heatsink

AMD is issuing what it calls a “boot kit” to those who are unable to update their motherboard's BIOS to be compatible with the freshly released Raven Ridge products.

The Ryzen 5 2400G and Ryzen 3 2200G CPUs are the first Ryzen parts to feature integrated graphics. These chips don’t require new motherboards--any AM4 motherboard should work--but they do require a BIOS update to be compatible with those boards. That's fine if you already own an AM4-based system and are just dropping a new Ryzen G into it. However, if you’re new to the platform and purchased your first AM4 motherboard with your Raven Ridge chip, you might find that your new motherboard won't arrive with the BIOS update already installed.

To solve this dilemma for anyone whose motherboard can't receive BIOS updates without a CPU, AMD announced that you can request a special kit that contains exactly what you need to prepare for Raven Ridge. (Note that AMD refers to Raven Ridge parts as "2nd Gen Ryzen" in its announcement. It's not referring to Zen+, which is expected to debut in April and will also be compatible with current AM4 motherboards.)

AMD said in its announcement that you should first ask your retailer to update your motherboard for you or have it replaced at the manufacturer's local service center. (We presume, then, that this refers only to brick-and-mortar retailers.) Requesting the boot kit is supposed to be the last resort, not the immediate response to encountering this problem, and AMD will require you to provide a response from your motherboard vendor confirming that it can't update the board.

Following reports that the boot kit contains an A6-9500 processor, we contacted AMD to find out what exactly it plans to send to consumers. Apparently, it’s an unnamed A-series (Bristol Ridge) processor (which leaves the door open for other SKUs besides the A6-9500) and an accompanying heatsink. The Bristol Ridge parts predate the release of the Ryzen parts and were actually the first CPUs for the AM4 platform. AMD will also thoughtfully include a thermal solution, so you don’t have to waste your own thermal paste or use the cooler bundled with your Raven Ridge chip, which has pre-applied paste.

AMD won't require you to pay for the kit or place a hold on your bank account or credit card until it gets the parts back. Instead, the company merely expects you to send a picture of your Raven Ridge chip's serial number along with the proof from your motherboard vendor that it can't update your board itself. Then it will send you the kit, which it expects you to return within 10 days via pre-paid postage. (You can keep the heatsink, though.)

AMD said it plans to update a knowledge base article on its site that will more accurately represent the process through which Ryzen G owners must go to receive one of these boot kits.

  • InvalidError
    I wish AMD/Intel would simply implement their BIOS in such a way that they can run "unknown" chips in some sort of safe-mode (ex.: all non-essential features disabled, voltage and clocks stuck at the lowest power working state available) instead of being out of luck without a compatible chip available for BIOS update.
    Reply
  • razor512
    What ever happened to the option to update the bios without the CPU being installed? I believe Asus and gigabyte implemented this on some of their boards in the past.

    Beyond that, a safe mode would be useful, most CPUs can easily run at 1 volt, Why not just run the CPU at something like 1V at 500MHz if it is unknown, and then update the bios?

    Or better yet, why not have the bios chip in a socket where it can be removed and replaced? Old motherboards did it, and it would be cheaper than AMDs current solution of mailing out a CPU and heatsink, and allowing the user to keep the heatsink, buut return the CPU (because the weight of the heatsink would make return shipping more expensive than the value of the heatsink).

    If it was an industry standard to make the chip socketed, then AMD could literally just have a pile of pre-flashed bios ICs, and then simply mail them out to users when they select their motherboard and provide proof of purchase.

    Those smaller flash chips cost less than 10 cents each, and can be mailed out in a tiny padded envelope.

    Reply
  • jchambers2586
    asus supports it. others don't I think its a patent thing. I talked to gigabyte they said I would need to send the board back to them so they could update the bios.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    20727202 said:
    What ever happened to the option to update the bios without the CPU being installed? I believe Asus and gigabyte implemented this on some of their boards in the past.
    Key word: 'some', which means everyone else needs a supported CPU. They do this by having a micro-controller hijack a USB port at boot and side-flash the BIOS from a USB key. This means needing said micro-controller, some support logic to re-route USB signals and possibly some logic to isolate the SPI flash from the chipset during that process if necessary.
    Reply
  • alextheblue
    20726938 said:
    I wish AMD/Intel would simply implement their BIOS in such a way that they can run "unknown" chips in some sort of safe-mode (ex.: all non-essential features disabled, voltage and clocks stuck at the lowest power working state available) instead of being out of luck without a compatible chip available for BIOS update.
    If this was just a clock bump new revision kind of new chip it would probably work. In fact that has happened in the past, recent past even. I strongly suspect there are occasionally serious technical barriers to supporting unknown future chips on a current BIOS (sitting on a shelf), since this has happened to both AMD and Intel from time to time. If it was that easy, their engineers would probably be able to manage it.

    Semi-related:

    So AMD apparently ships these new APUs with documentation showing an example label to look for, so you know that your motherboard is drop-in compatible with these chips. It's a "AMD Ryzen Desktop 2000 Ready" label. But I had already seen listings on Newegg where some AM4 boards were claimed to be Ryzen Desktop 2000 Ready. I set a couple of models aside for later viewing... a couple days later I started seeing articles about AMD's "Boot Kit" and when I returned to Newegg all traces of that Ryzen 2000 Ready tag are gone. Etailers apparently were experiencing a lot of "my new build won't POST" situations and realized their "2000 ready" boards weren't actually 2000 ready in the intended sense. Whoops. Don't know if that was a miscommunication with the motherboard vendors or what.

    20727202 said:
    What ever happened to the option to update the bios without the CPU being installed? I believe Asus and gigabyte implemented this on some of their boards in the past.
    Asus has gotten really stingy with their USB Flashback. For AM4 I've only seen it on a couple of their highest end ATX models. Annoying. Personally I wish AMD would integrate this directly into their chipsets (at least B and X chipsets).
    Reply
  • btmedic04
    i wonder what it would cost to put an arm core on the chipset just for the sole purpose of being able to update the bios without a cpu in it.
    Reply
  • spdragoo
    20727445 said:
    i wonder what it would cost to put an arm core on the chipset just for the sole purpose of being able to update the bios without a cpu in it.

    Probably add a significant cost to the motherboard. Depending on the original cost of the motherboard, you could even be looking at doubling the cost of a budget board, for a chip that only gets used if and when you update the BIOS.

    Reply
  • msroadkill612
    Whatever, AMD is being jolly British about fixing the problem on some partner's moboS, and they should get kudos for that. Its a solution which focuses on the convenience to the customer, not the cost to them.
    Reply
  • msroadkill612
    PS re my prev point:

    e.g. returning the mobo wouldnt work for me. What a hassle if its installed? Yet thats all Gigabyte would (or could really) offer, and Intel ...? Oh you are funny.

    Customer empathy is not their strong suite.
    Reply
  • shrapnel_indie
    20727202 said:
    What ever happened to the option to update the bios without the CPU being installed? I believe Asus and gigabyte implemented this on some of their boards in the past.

    Beyond that, a safe mode would be useful, most CPUs can easily run at 1 volt, Why not just run the CPU at something like 1V at 500MHz if it is unknown, and then update the bios?

    Or better yet, why not have the bios chip in a socket where it can be removed and replaced? Old motherboards did it, and it would be cheaper than AMDs current solution of mailing out a CPU and heatsink, and allowing the user to keep the heatsink, buut return the CPU (because the weight of the heatsink would make return shipping more expensive than the value of the heatsink).

    If it was an industry standard to make the chip socketed, then AMD could literally just have a pile of pre-flashed bios ICs, and then simply mail them out to users when they select their motherboard and provide proof of purchase.

    Those smaller flash chips cost less than 10 cents each, and can be mailed out in a tiny padded envelope.

    At one time, not only was the CPU socketted, the FPU was too, along with discreet RAM chips. Then came cost saving methods and an improvement in reliability (no more worries of socket creep) by soldering in everything that wasn't optional. eventually the FPU socket went away completely (with the birth of the Pentium and the demise of the 486 where an integrated FPU became common.) ROM chips eventually got replaced with FLASH which could be updated without any costs outside of time (time includes update time and developer time) and a small amount of storage space.

    tl;dr: The standard moved away from socketted chips as much as possible, I seriously doubt that they will ever return.
    Reply