AMD AM4’s unprecedented longevity may continue if latest Zen 4 rumours hold true

Could Zen 4 chiplets be made available to existing AM4 boards?

With Ryzen 7000 desktop CPUs thought to be arriving as soon as September 15, we are getting a new rumour from frequent Twitter leaker Greymon55 suggesting AMD may have plans to launch Zen 4 CPUs compatible with its existing AM4 socket.

Though such speculation should be taken with a pinch of salt, such a move would be fantastic for AM4 owners as it gives them yet another upgrade path, and a path no one was expecting. Don’t get too excited, mind, as the rumour contradicts AMD itself, who said that Zen 4 will only support DDR5, implying that there is no DDR4 Integrated Memory Controller (IMC) on Zen 4 cores.

A Zen 4 CPU on an AM4 socket would imply AMD making special versions of its Zen 4 cores, unless there is some secret information about the architecture we still don’t know about, which makes it compatible with both DRAM generations, similar to what available on Intel’s Alder Lake CPUs.

AM4 compatibility would also indicate the use of ‘older’ I/O dies supporting only DDR4 and PCIe Gen 4 to lower costs, in turn avoiding DDR5’s high price tag which detracts from low or even mid-range builds. Add to that some potentially expansive motherboards and Intel Raptor Lake’s DDR4 support, and you get a reasonable explanation as to why AMD would go this route.

Another permutation is that Zen 4 parts built for AM4 could be intended as OEM-exclusive hardware, helping lower prebuilt PC prices while featuring next-generation naming and logos to attract new buyers in what is anticipated to be a hotly contest fourth quarter.

Time will tell, but either way, few could begrudge AM4 being laid to rest given how long the platform has served. The socket first launched way back in September of 2016.