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Please change the motherboard compatibility warning

GalacticRuler456
  • 2 months ago

Every time I go on /r/buildapc, /r/buildapcforme, or the LTT forums, there is always one person who is so scared that their B450 motherboard won't work with their 3rd-gen Ryzen processor. There is a possibility that it doesn't work, but it would be better left as a note rather than a warning which makes the user think something won't work. It's gotten to the point where I have a message stating "It's a generic message. That board will work fine." sitting on my copy-paste document. At this point, nearly all B450 motherboards come with 3rd-gen Ryzen support, and the way the bright red bar on the top of the screen makes the user think they did something wrong just causes unnecessary worry. I've used PCPartPicker since 2013, and the red error always meant something would physically not work. The possibility of an incompatible BIOS isn't an absolute incompatibility, it's a possibility, like the CPU cooler/RAM clearance note on the bottom of every build.

Comments

  • 2 months ago
  • 3 points

I understand what you're proposing, but here's a bit of the counterpoint: Just recently we had someone carry their build into our office so we could flash their BIOS using an older CPU. It is not uncommon. Even if updated BIOS versions are shipping from the manufacturer, there's no way of knowing how old various motherboard stock is at each retailer.

If we downgrade the warning to a note, we'll get absolutely hammered by first time builders who think our compatibility checking is broken when their builds don't boot. Getting a substitute CPU and going through a BIOS update process is fine for experienced builders, but not for first-timers.

  • 2 months ago
  • 1 point

I would discourage "demoting" the message as a lower priority warning.

It's true that nowadays most if not all these mobo support the Ryzen 3rd gen but the compatibility is BIOS dependant. None of these boards are likely to be shipped with the latest firmware, hence they aren't "plug and play" and always require a BIOS update prior to being able to mount a Ryzen 3rd gen processor.

Here come the tricky part, some boards (a niche) are capable of flashing the new BIOS from a USB stick without the need of any component installed (namely Q-Flash Plus from Gigabyte and BIOS Flashback from Asrock to name a few), but the majority of the other boards in order to be updated needs a compatible CPU to be installed first to run the BIOS update and this might be a major drawback. Not everyone has a spare CPU to use, nor a techy friend to ask to borrow one.

Furthermore even if some manufacturers offer the above-mentioned capability, not all the boards in their catalogue have it but only a few.

I would keep this in mind regarding the compatibility warning.

  • 2 months ago
  • -1 points

The way it is right now, most people don't realize that it's only a possibility, not an absolute. Countless people have responded to my builds for them saying "B450 doesn't support new Ryzen," only for me to explain again to them that it does. The only other warning that creates the red "Error" is when parts do not physically function together. Even the warning about a power supply only having a 4-pin ATX when their motherboard requires a 8-pin EPS is only a yellow "Warning," and that's far more of a direct problem than a possible old BIOS. It feels the motherboard warning was slapped on, as it doesn't follow any of the other warnings in terms of priority and its associated potential issue.

The red "Error" should be reserved for when your part list is guaranteed not to boot with your setup, not when there is just a possibility that the BIOS is incompatible.

  • 2 months ago
  • 1 point

The way it is right now, most people don't realize that it's only a possibility, not an absolute.

Having a USB flash without CPU feature as something list and filterable would be nice, rather than having to check each product individually. Then can just tell the user they may need to do a USB flash, and save any more scary warnings for when a CPU may be required.

The red "Error" should be reserved for when your part list is guaranteed not to boot with your setup, not when there is just a possibility that the BIOS is incompatible.

I wouldn't personally buy a board that may not be updated, and needs a CPU if I didn't have access to one. I know AMD was doing that loan thing, which I suppose could be noted, but you needed the hardware before you could ask them, then that takes some time, probably adds weeks to the build.

4-pin ATX when their motherboard requires a 8-pin EPS is only a yellow "Warning,"

Often a motherboard has more EPS pins than are possibly needed. Something like 150W for the 4pin. It's the CPU/overclock mostly defining power draw on that, although pcpartpicker could also be "smart" here, and grade the warning severity based on the combination.

  • 2 months ago
  • 1 point

For your last point, the motherboard in question was a Z97 with a single 8-pin, and would not boot without it. But I know what you're getting at.

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