Forget about those BIOS updates: Pre-X570 mainboards will not support PCIe Gen 4
BIOS updates can do a lot for mainboards based on older chipsets, but sometimes the power to provide support for a certain technology — or take it away — is out of the manufacturers' hands. While a set of recent BIOS updates included support for PCIe Gen 4 in various pre-X570 mainboards, AMD has decided that this is "an error" that should not happen.
According to AMD's Robert Hallock, "This is an error we are correcting. Pre-X570 boards will not support PCIe Gen 4. There's no guarantee that older motherboards can reliably run the more stringent signaling requirements of Gen4, and we simply cannot have a mix of "yes, no, maybe" in the market for all the older motherboards. The potential for confusion is too high."
In such cases, the mainboard makers should be allowed to do their own testing and provide support for the new technology as they see fit. Sadly, Hallock conclusion reads the following: "When final BIOSes are released for 3rd Gen Ryzen (AGESA 1000+), Gen4 will not be an option anymore. We wish we could've enabled this backwards, but the risk is too great."
Given the feedback he received, one can only hope that AMD will decide to leave the decision to the manufacturers. Two of those who shared their opinions on AMD's aforementioned decision called it "a huge mistake" and concluded that "this reeks of marketing opportunity and purposeful disabling of features to upsell other parts."
If AMD moves on with this, some people might consider it a betrayal and switch to Intel/NVIDIA. Disabling PCIe Gen 4 on the Radeon VII was not a very popular decision, either, and dropping support for it on pre-X570 mainboards could end up as a second bad decision. Obviously, doubling the clock rate is not something that many older mainboards can handle, but the testing and validation of this capability should be left to those who manufacture them.
As usual, feel free to drop your thoughts in the comments section below. Should AMD change its mind or push forward by forcing its decisions upon hardware makers?