AMD loans out boot kits to ensure Zen 2 compatibility

Written by Branton

Last updated Feb 14, 2020

If you’ve recently bought a Zen 2 (Ryzen 3000-series) CPU but it won’t boot on your 400-series motherboard, AMD has a solution. Well, they’ve presented a handful of solutions. One involves AMD temporarily loaning you a boot kit.

Although Zen 2 CPUs are running the same AM4 socket as the previous Ryzen CPUs, motherboards on the 400 and 300-series chipsets will require a BIOS update before they’re compatible. There are basically 2 ways to do that, either by using a CPU that’s already supported or if you’re lucky a USB BIOS flash. Currently, the only other option is spending $200+ on an X570 chipset motherboard.

USB BIOS Flash

The absolute first thing you want to do is check if your motherboard supports USB BIOS flashing. Each company will call it something different, Gigabyte calls it Q-Flash, MSI calls it M-Flash, ASUS calls it USB BIOS Flashback, ASRock calls it Instant Flash, etc. Some boards may require that you use a specific USB port and some might require an installed CPU, so you’ll want to double check what it says in your manual.

If your motherboard does support USB BIOS flashing without a CPU, you’re in luck and this whole process just got a lot quicker… Unfortunately, this won’t be most of us. Not many boards will support this outside of the extreme high-end and a handful of MSI B450/X470 and even some X370 boards.

Now, all you need is a spare USB flash drive (requires less than 100mb) and the newest BIOS version available. You’ll have to download the BIOS update that’s specifically for your motherboard. To do that, you’ll have to head over to the manufacturer’s website, find your board in their product list, then download the BIOS update found under the support section. Here’s an example of what that would look like for Gigabyte’s B450 Aorus M.

Request a Boot Kit

If a USB BIOS flash is not an option on your motherboard, you’re going to have to request a loaner boot kit from AMD. It’s a bit of a process and it will take a while, however, it’s completely free on your part.

Basically, the boot kit will contain an Athlon 200GE APU and a compatible CPU cooler. Once you receive it, you have 10 days to get your BIOS flashed and ship the APU (without the cooler) back to AMD using the pre-paid packaging you’ll receive with the boot kit.

Before AMD will send your boot kit, you’ll have to provide them pictures of both your Zen 2 CPU and your motherboard. It’s worth noting that AMD only specifies the B450 and X470 chipsets as qualified. They may or may not send you a boot kit if your board is running a 300-series chipset.

To start your request for a boot kit, you’ll have to file an RMA with AMD through this form.

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