AMD Giving Away Free CPUs? Well Sort Of.
As we know AMD has generally been good about motherboard chipset and socket compatibility for future products. They release way fewer sockets per any given time period than Intel for their CPUs, the reasoning behind this is to allow people to buy current hardware and have support for future hardware as well. This entices a lot of people to go with AMD for their CPUs simply for the fact they don’t have to upgrade their motherboards to get newer CPUs that perform better. There is one issue however, the older BIOSs don’t often support the newer chips, in fact, they pretty much never support the newer chips, so a BIOS update would be required to allow older motherboards to work with newer CPUs. So just flash over a new BIOS right? It’s not that hard anyway. As we know, things aren’t always that simple, you see sometimes motherboards get shipped with the older BIOS even after the new CPUs are shipping. Sometimes buyers purchase a new CPU with an older motherboard, and all of a sudden they can’t use their CPU with their motherboard since the BIOS isn’t updated.
Asus does have a simple fix for this, allowing users to update their BIOS without a CPU installed, but it’s not on their entire lineup, and many other boards don’t have this feature. This puts users in an odd situation, you have a CPU that can’t work without a BIOS update and a BIOS which can’t be updated without a CPU. The solution many companies have presented in these situations is to go out and buy the cheapest CPU they can that will work on their board and update the BIOS. But of course, not everyone has the means, or even wants to do that.
AMD Support stepping up
Luckily, this time around AMD has stepped up to help buyers solve this problem. If you contact AMD support you can fill out a warranty request form explaining your situation to AMD. They will then send you what they’re calling a “bootkit”, which includes an AMD A6-9500 APU and heatsink. It’s the cheapest AMD APU with integrated graphics you can get right now, at least on the AM4 socket, but it’ll get the job done.
Ultimately you’re supposed to send the APU back to AMD afterward, but oddly enough without the heatsink. Not that it would be any use with a Ryzen chip, but I guess AMD doesn’t need them either, maybe they just have an excess of heatsinks, who knows. But as far as we know there is no formal agreement to sending the chip back, so many users may end up just keeping theirs.
This is pretty, dare I say, noble of AMD to do, potentially losing money to help people out with their products. A solution to this issue is a great thing, though. Users have been faced with this for a while, and it’s not like AMD will have to do this forever, once all the motherboards that have been sitting on a shelf for a couple months have sold out, the ones to replace those will have their BIOS updated from the factory.