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Esteemed Contributor III

AMD Shipping Free APUs to Customers to Address Firmware Update Issue

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Earlier this week, we covered a familiar problem when pairing new processors with older motherboards. Older boards often need firmware updates to properly support new processors, but not every board on the market has been flashed to support new APUs. This means it’s possible for a customer to purchase a new APU like the 2400G, but end up with a board whose UEFI is too old to boot the CPU properly. This isn’t a new issue — Intel CPUs have also had this problem in the past — but AMD’s solution is frankly exemplary.

AMD’s support page walks through various options available to customers and recommends that customers check with their motherboard vendors for a free replacement or use a previously purchased Ryzen CPU to install the BIOS. That’s pretty standard stuff.

Here’s what’s not standard. If you can’t use UEFI flashback to install an updated BIOS or receive no support from your motherboard manufacturer, AMD will ship you an APU guaranteed to work on all systems. Here’s the exact text:

AMD will provide affected and qualified users a boot kit to perform the BIOS update on their motherboard. This solution is offered through AMD warranty services and is available only for affected and qualified users of this specific boot up issue. This boot kit is free of charge.

To obtain the boot kit, please carefully follow these instructions:

Go to the AMD online warranty claims page:

Fill in your full contact and product details

In the Problem Description field enter “Boot kit Required” (without quotes)

NOTE: The product must be a valid AMD processor with authentic OPN and serial number

Once the claim is received and approved, confirmation details and boot kit instructions will be provided in a follow up email.

A forum member at Ars Technica identified the APUs AMD is shipping out as the A6-9500, a dual-core Bristol Ridge APU with a modest integrated GPU and a boost clock of 3.8GHz. It won’t hold a candle to Ryzen as far as performance is concerned, but that doesn’t matter. We’ve never heard of a company shipping out free CPUs to people with a problem like this, and it’s a heck of a thing for AMD to offer.

One other thing worth noting: The reason this problem hits AMD is because AMD is sticking to the same chipsets it launched last year. Intel, in contrast, historically spins new chipsets for major launches. While backwards compatibility is maintained in some cases across Intel product lines, AMD has pledged to support its Ryzen chipsets (X370, B350, A320) through 2020. The inevitable result of that promise is that some boards may need flash updates from time to time. But it’s not an issue unique to AMD and to the extent that it may affect AMD more often, it’s a consequence of AMD supporting its motherboards and chipsets through multiple product generations, as opposed to some kind of failure in quality control. Given that AMD is literally sending people free processors to fix this problem, I’d much rather deal with the minor hassle of a UEFI flash as opposed to buying an entirely new motherboard every few years.

AMD Shipping Free APUs to Customers to Address Firmware Update Issue - ExtremeTech

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Esteemed Contributor III

Re: AMD Shipping Free APUs to Customers to Address Firmware Update Issue

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It's also a great way for AMD to dispose of otherwise useless processors.

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Esteemed Contributor III

Re: AMD Shipping Free APUs to Customers to Address Firmware Update Issue

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It's also a great way for AMD to dispose of otherwise useless processors.

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Esteemed Contributor III

Re: AMD Shipping Free APUs to Customers to Address Firmware Update Issue

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good one

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Esteemed Contributor III

Re: AMD Shipping Free APUs to Customers to Address Firmware Update Issue

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Remember they did face a lawsuit over Llano APUs which cost them $30 million.

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Esteemed Contributor III

Re: AMD Shipping Free APUs to Customers to Address Firmware Update Issue

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Adept I
Adept I

Re: AMD Shipping Free APUs to Customers to Address Firmware Update Issue

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A worthy solution, but don't get ahead of yourself. At least Intel's introduction of new chipsets each gen leaves no questions. With AMD, I seems to me that not a single board was released alongside the 2200G and 2400G to signal that there is some sort of difference in compatibility, even if those boards would hypothetically be the same socket and chipsets. It was made to seem completely compatible, and the fact is, it's not. Not by AMD, mind you - this mistake is being made by motherboard manufacturers. Calling the new processors "supported" with no fine print.

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Esteemed Contributor III

Re: AMD Shipping Free APUs to Customers to Address Firmware Update Issue

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You see this happening with laptops...where a OEM buys up APU's with soon-to-be-legacy graphics at a rock bottom price and pairs it with a cut-down version (M) of a popular high performance series card. The integrated APU graphics are 'Legacy' and are not support by the latest drivers..which the popular high performance clone does. No switchable graphics. No bueno.

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Esteemed Contributor III

Re: AMD Shipping Free APUs to Customers to Address Firmware Update Issue

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The 400 series chipset boards will be released shortly with Zen+, but they should be nothing more than a rebadge to guarantee compatibility. Also, remember AMD designed a sticker for the board partners to place on their boxes and webpages to certify the boards have already been updated to compatible BIOS files.

See the source image

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Esteemed Contributor III

Re: AMD Shipping Free APUs to Customers to Address Firmware Update Issue

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Sadly it seems they're not simply GIVING them away, they're lending them to customers which they then send back...but without the heatsink? Doesn't make much sense to me..

AMD sending out free processors to solve firmware flashing Catch-22 | Ars Technica

Once you've got everything up and running on the new chip, you're then meant to send AMD back the temporary chip, though oddly, without its required heatsink. The heatsink isn't compatible with the Ryzen chips, so it's not particularly worth keeping, but apparently AMD has no use for it either.

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Journeyman III
Journeyman III

Re: AMD Shipping Free APUs to Customers to Address Firmware Update Issue

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I had this issue with r3 2200g, on feb.16th i entered my warranty info for the kit,i received an email same day saying "new request received" with ticket #, then i received another email that said "global customer care account created" and to expect a follow up email. Has anyone gotten past this part yet? Like do they usually get back to you quick or?

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