If you can't get your shiny new Ryzen APU on the motherboard you bought last year, don't panic: AMD officials have confirmed that they will indeed ship you an older, dual-core chip to help you make it work.
The problem relates to AMD's new Ryzen APU and how it interacts with older stocks of motherboards. It's a classic chicken-and-egg situation: Some older motherboards won't recognize the new Ryzen APU without a BIOS update. And the only way to update that BIOS is to boot the system with a chip that it recognizes.
While some advanced motherboards allow updating a BIOS without a CPU, many budget boards don't. For those few cases, AMD said it would offer a "boot kit" (once you've provided a qualifying APU serial number and other information). That "boot kit," as it turns out, is actually an AM4-based Bristol Ridge APU. In a post by "Hansmuffin" at tech site arstechnica.com, a user wrote that AMD was sending a previous-generation APU to help perform the update.
"Interesting that they're seemingly sending out 'AMD A6-9500 Dual-core (2 Core) 3.50 GHz Processor' parts," Hansmuffin wrote.
If you're skeptical, an AMD official confirmed with PCWorld on Friday afternoon that this is, indeed, the plan. "If anyone reaches out to AMD and is not able to get support by their motherboard manufacturer to their satisfaction, AMD can help. All the motherboard manufacturers have committed to supporting any affected users (as well)," an AMD spokesman told PCWorld.
If you're thinking AMD is just giving away A6 APUs with a street price of $72, think again. The older A6 Bristol Ridge chips are intended to be used only to help those who can't update their boards—they're not freebies to be sold on eBay. In fact, Hansmuffin noted that the chip came with RMA paperwork.
It does appear, however, that AMD isn't asking for a deposit or credit card number to provide that A6 APU, which suggests AMD is expecting people to be on their best behavior and not take advantage of the system. We'll be interested to see how this goes.