AMD’s AM5 socket and Ryzen 7000 CPUs may be annoying but you don’t have to upgrade just yet. Here are five reasons
After teasing the long-awaited refresh of the platform at CES 2022, AMD presented the Ryzen 7000 CPUs with the AM5 platform at Computex a few months later. The company brought next-generation DDR5 memory and PCIe 5.0 support to its computer processors and revised its layout, moving from the PGA socket on the previous AM4 platform to the LGA socket on AM5. After the great success of the AM4 socket, consumers are waiting to see what the new platform will bring.
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Now, almost a year since the introduction of Ryzen 7000 processors and the first AM5 motherboards, it’s time to look back and see the journey of AM5 so far. Despite the acceptance of the latest memory and PCIe standards, as well as improvements in power supply and cooling, today’s AM5 socket is not the definitive choice that AMD would have hoped for. There are good reasons to choose AM4 or Intel’s Alder Lake or Raptor Lake over an AM5 platform. Let’s break it down.
1 Low gene-gen correlation
Everyone loves the hype around new and advanced PC hardware. Higher clock speeds, better initialization, faster memory speeds – the list goes on. But, upgrading to new and advanced technology makes sense as long as it doesn’t mess up your entire PC configuration. For example, getting one of the best GPUs in 2023 is an easy way to connect with many users. But, the same flexibility doesn’t exist when jumping to new socket designs.
Due to the AM5 socket type and Ryzen 7000 CPUs, you can no longer use your old hardware if you switch to an AMD platform. You will not only need to buy a new AM5 board with a Ryzen 7000 CPU but also a DDR5 RAM memory kit as AM5 boards are not backwards compatible with DDR4 RAM.
A little relief may be the fact that CPU coolers that are compatible with the AM4 socket are also compatible with the AM5 socket, saving you the need to buy a new AM5 cooler specifically. Although, your cooling system may still need to be upgraded to last longer with the power-hungry Ryzen 7000 CPUs. Building on the AM5 platform is obviously future proof, as AM4 won’t see any new processors after the Ryzen 5000 series. But, upgrading to a more powerful CPU and staying on the AM4 platform seems to make sense for the budget buyer.
2 Early adoption tax
The price controversy against AM5 doesn’t just affect those who are upgrading their existing PCs. Even if you’re in the market for a new build, you may want to consider cost considerations when choosing AM5 over AM4 or Intel. Every new technology has an early adopter tax on those dying to experience it before others. The same is true, even today, of AM5 motherboards, Ryzen 7000 CPUs, and DDR5 memory kits.
For someone comparing the cost of a complete PC build on the AM4 platform versus AM5, the cost is on the AM4 side. Just because a new generation of CPUs and motherboards brings technological advantages over the previous generation doesn’t make the latter worthless. AM4 motherboards and processors are also selling at the lowest prices ever, as are DDR4 memory kits. Sure, prices dropped last year for the parts associated with the AM5 build, but you can’t beat the AM4 price right now.
3 Low profit for many jobs
Performance is one reason why everyone would upgrade their PC hardware. New graphics cards bring better FPS and new gaming technologies, and new CPUs are expected to do the same for a variety of tasks. Although the Ryzen 7000 processors represent a significant leap in performance over the Ryzen 5000 CPUs, the benefits for most people are not worth the higher price.
For casual users, gaming, say, the Ryzen 7 7600 will not be ahead of the Ryzen 5 5600 or 5600X, not enough to justify the higher price. Upgrading from the Ryzen 5 5600 to the Ryzen 7 5800X3D can get you the same performance at a much lower price.
The same issue plays out in the memory department when you enter the DDR4 vs. DDR5 debate. The benefits of DDR5 RAM will make sense if you’re aiming for high framerates and have the savings. For everyone else, DDR4 is still the way to go, until the prices of DDR5 RAM are reduced.
4 Development and reliability problems
Since AM5 was launched at the end of 2022, reports about RAM stickers and BIOS versions started circulating on Reddit. People have encountered problems such as no boot, long boot time, incompatible with EXPO profile, no video signal from GPU, etc. These reliability issues were attributed to the fact that AM5 was a new platform. There were even rumors of AMD pushing back the availability date of the Ryzen 7000 CPUs due to AMD struggling with firmware issues.
In any case, it was the original adopters who suffered in the end. Forced to return motherboards and memory kits, and flash a few BIOS updates, the community was not happy with the setup, to say the least. Although these problems gradually faded from memory, it was revealed in May 2023 that Asus motherboards were killing Ryzen 7000 CPUs due to power failures and the company’s BIOS patch to fix the problem voided the board’s warranty.
These electronic problems are not limited to one motherboard manufacturer. Almost all manufacturers released BIOS updates to reduce the voltage supplied to Ryzen 7000 processors to 1.3V. What was initially thought to be a problem for the more powerful 7000X3D CPUs was later found to affect other chips in the series as well. These issues make one cautious about jumping on the new AM5 platform, and it might be best to wait for the issues to be resolved and enjoy the setup you’ve made so far.
5 Strong competition from Team Blue
Intel’s impressive comeback to form its 12th-gen Alder Lake and later 13th-gen Raptor Lake processors helped it regain its top spot in the current generation of desktop CPUs. Intel’s 13th-gen lineup of CPUs is better than its AMD counterparts at every price point and in every situation. This means there’s a powerful alternative for AMD fans to consider when upgrading their hardware or building a new PC.
Alternatively, if you’re already rocking an Intel 12th-gen processor, upgrading to a 13th-gen CPU will be an easy upgrade. You don’t need to buy a new LGA 1700 motherboard and you can continue to use your old one with a BIOS update for your 13th generation CPU. You don’t need to throw away your DDR4 RAM as Intel’s 12th- and 13th-gen processors support both DDR4 and DDR5 RAM. This greatly complicates the discussion against the AM5 platform for users who do not want to be bothered with multiple upgrades and spend more money than they need to.
Upgrade to AM5: The timing is not good
If you are a productive user, professional, or hobbyist, the AM5 platform is a great investment, especially considering AMD’s announcement to support the socket until 2025. But, if you use your PC mainly for gaming and simple editing, editing, or office work, AM4 is the choice good if you want to stay on Team Red.
Intel’s powerful line of 12th and 13th-gen CPUs offer better performance and in some cases, better value for money compared to both AM5 and AM4 platforms. For now, the best bet is to wait and watch for AMD’s Ryzen 8000 and Intel’s 14th Gen CPUs, and review the market later.