When AMD introduced its Zen CPU architecture to the world with its first-generation Ryzen processors, to pair with the best AMD motherboards, the company made a promise to stick with the same AM4 socket until 2020. Adulation followed, and AMD has stuck to its word by announcing third-gen Ryzen processors earlier this week that are, once again, socket AM4 chips. However, that doesn't mean every Ryzen processor will work with every socket AM4 motherboard.
Somewhat surprisingly, AMD's brand new X570 chipset is not compatible with first-gen Ryzen CPUs, like the Ryzen 7 1700. Same goes for first-gen Ryzen APUs like the Ryzen 3 2200G and Ryzen 5 2400G—they are not supported by AMD's newest chipset. (Don't let those model numbers confuse you: the 2200G and 2400G use the Zen architecture and are technically 'Raven Ridge.' There are no 'Picasso' 2nd Gen Ryzen APUs for the desktop, only laptops.)
For most users, that's not going to be a big deal. Anyone building a PC from the ground up and wanting the best CPU for gaming should skip AMD's first-gen Ryzen hardware and jump straight to the new stuff when they become available in July, or grab a second-gen Ryzen processor on sale, as prices are sure to shift downward. It just doesn't make much sense to pair a first-gen Ryzen processor with an X570 motherboard.
Still, this means anyone rocking a first-gen Ryzen platform will not be able to upgrade their motherboard to a new X570 model without also buying a new CPU. Typically you would want to upgrade both in one fell swoop anyway, but if you're looking to piecemeal your way to the latest and greatest AMD has to offer, that specific upgrade path (motherboard first, CPU second) is officially cut off. (Not that we'd recommend it normally: CPU first and mobo second would make more sense, assuming your motherboard supports the new CPUs.)
What about AMD's other chipsets? Here's a handy chart that AMD put together:
AMD's previous generation X470 and B450 chipsets are compatible with every Ryzen CPU to date, from the first generation CPUs through the new third generation silicon. X470 and B450 motherboard may or may not need a BIOS update. For new builds, AMD is attempting to make things easier with a new badge.
"With the new AMD X570 chipset and AMD Ryzen 3000 series processors, we’re launching Ryzen 3000 Ready. If a new X570, X470 or B450 motherboard is calling your name, just look for the 'AMD Ryzen Desktop 3000 Ready' badge on the box to ensure processor drop-in compatibility," AMD says.
AMD's X370 and B350 chipsets are also technically capable of supporting every Ryzen processor, though if you're planning to drop a third-generation Ryzen 3000 series CPU into one of those motherboards, you'll need to update the BIOS, if one is available. If not, you're out of luck. The good news is, we've seen a rash of BIOS updates for those older motherboards made available already. Still, not every single model will get a BIOS update. Check your motherboard maker's website before assuming you can upgrade to a Ryzen 3000 series CPU without also buying new motherboard.
Finally, there was some question as to whether AMD's budget-oriented A320 chipset would support third-gen Ryzen processors. Not surprisingly, it doesn't, according to AMD's chart. While not listed, that should also be true of AMD's A300 and X300 for older small form factor (SFF) builds.
Tl;dr—if you're planning to upgrade your AMD system to the latest silicon, check your motherboard maker's website first to make sure your model supports the new CPUs (by way of a BIOS update). And if building a new AMD PC, grab yourself an X570 motherboard and pair it with either a third-gen (preferably, assuming the reviews are favorable) or second-gen Ryzen processor.