Although AMD has already confirmed Ryzen 5000 compatibility for 400-series motherboards, it's up to each respective motherboard maker to decide if they will extend backward compatibility to their hardware – AMD has made it optional. It's encouraging, then, to hear MSI announce its commitment to provide support for the brand's entire lineup without exceptions.
The list of MSI motherboards includes offerings based on the X470 and B450 chipset as well as the company's Max and non-Max models. MSI will supply new firmwares for the aforementioned motherboards to accommodate the Zen 3 chips without hiccups. MSI estimates that the firmware should be ready in January 2021. Once AMD has provided the AGESA code to MSI, the motherboard manufacturer will post a more precise release schedule.
Ryzen 5000 chips officially go on sale on November 5, and AMD will not release a new chipset for the Zen 3-based parts. Therefore, AMD 500-series motherboard owners will be the only ones to use the processors at launch. Barring any last-minute changes, 400-series motherboard owners have to wait until January of next year.
Unfortunately, the 300-series motherboards' future is clear – AMD hasn't said it wouldn't extend support to the older chipsets.
After a bit of uproar from the chipmaker's followers, AMD backpedaled to allow support for Zen 3 processors on the 400-series motherboards. Due to the BIOS chips' limited capacity, there will be certain compromises for 400-series motherboard owners, like removed support for older Ryzen chips and a one-way ticket with no option to roll back to a previous firmware. Upgraders will also miss out on PCIe 4.0 support; the older chipsets aren't designed to support the interface. That's not a problem for gamers, though; PCIe 4.0 has no impact on game loading performance.