AMD decides to play nice, extends AM4 socket support through 2020

Got a nice LGA 1151 socket motherboard you just bought last year and you want to upgrade to the latest Intel Coffee Lake chip (e.g., the 8700K etc.)? Well too bad, you can’t, unless you just happen to have a motherboard with a Z370 chipset. And you probably don’t; the previous generation Kaby Lake chips (e.g., the 7700K etc.) aren’t compatible with the Z370s. So you’re sh*t out of luck unless you upgrade your whole platform, motherboard included. This predicament has been extremely frustrating for Intel fans this year.

AMD, sensing the growing ire among team blue patrons, has promised to extend the compatibility of socket AM4 motherboards through at least 2020, which will include two new generations of Zen processors. This is great news for anyone upgrading to the Ryzen (part of Zen 1) platform in 2017; you shouldn’t have to swap out your motherboard just to upgrade to a Zen 2 or Zen 3 chip in 2018-2020. By the way, Zen 2 will involve shrinking the die down from 14 to 7 nanometers (beating Intel, which is only now gearing up to switch over to 10 nm next year), and Zen 3 is expected to see a boost in energy efficiency. All good things.

So if Ryzen weren’t already looking good to you, I suspect it is now… especially if you’re one of those unfortunate souls stuck with a non-Z370 1151 motherboard. AMD is playing off of what appears to be an Intel cash grab, and for many the performance gap is now close enough to warrant the big switch.

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