AMD is gearing up to launch its Raven Ridge APUs on the desktop, and in preparation for that, motherboard makers are starting to roll out BIOS updates to support the upcoming chips. This highlights one of the benefits of the AM4 platform, in that AMD is committed to supporting future processor releases through at least 2019, based on previous roadmaps that show Matisse (desktop) and Picasso (desktop/notebook APU) both sticking with the AM4 socket.
Raven Ridge APUs are based on AMD's Zen architecture, combining up to 4 Zen-based CPU cores with integrated Vega graphics. We recently had a chance to put a mobile variant through its paces with the HP Envy x360 15z, which features a Ryzen 5 2500U APU. That chip sports 4-cores and 8-threads running at 2.0GHz to 3.6GHz, with 6MB of cache and 8 Radeon Vega Compute Units (CUs) clocked at up to 1,100MHz.
As for the desktop launch, ASUS is one of the first out the door with BIOS updates, for the following motherboards:
ASUS is still working on BIOS updates for a handful of other AM4 motherboards, including the EX-A320M-Gaming, Prime A320M-C, Prime A320M-C R.20, ROG Crosshair VI Hero, and ROG Crosshair VI Extreme.
AMD deserves kudos for not forcing users to upgrade their motherboards. Intel has taken the opposite approach with its Coffee Lake release, as even though Coffee Lake uses the same LGA 1151 socket as Kaby Lake, they requires an upgrade to a Z370 chipset motherboard. To make matters even more frustrating, Intel has instructed motherboard makers not to support Kaby Lake CPUs in Z370 motherboards.
Raven Ridge is an exciting release on the desktop, as it should over a significant performance bump over AMD's Bristol Ridge APUs, both in CPU and GPU performance. And with BIOS updates supporting Raven Ridge starting to roll out, it likely means that an official launch is right around the corner.