Your motherboard BIOS is the firmware responsible for loading essential functions and executing commands before the operating system shows up. It’s safe to assume that it is a very important aspect of your computer. “What happens if my motherboard BIOS is old?“, you ask and here is the answer.
Essentially, nothing special will happen if your motherboard BIOS is old. You can still use your computer as it is. However, you might miss out on some newer features and, more importantly, better compatibility. While it is uncommon to see new features being added into an older BIOS, compatibility is not. In fact, it is the most common reason why people update their BIOS in the first place.
If you are asking, “But what happens if my motherboard BIOS is old and I want to install a new CPU?” and “Should I update my BIOS regularly?“, don’t worry. You can find the answer to these questions down below.
What Happens If My Motherboard BIOS Is Old?
If your motherboard BIOS is old, you should update it as soon as possible, right? Well, not exactly. The tech community is divided when it comes to the opinion of whether you should update your BIOS regularly or not. On the one hand, you might get minor stability improvements in your day-to-day usage and possibly even performance improvements, but it is not always the case.
If you do not update your BIOS correctly, which is a real danger because updating a BIOS can be a bit tricky, you are running the risk of bricking your motherboard. In other words, you would turn your motherboard into a non-functioning “brick“. The only way to fix a bricked motherboard is to return it to the manufacturer for an RMA or have an expert replace the physical BIOS chip.
So, unnecessary BIOS updates are one of those things that have very little reward but pose somewhat of a risk. So, if you are still asking, “What happens if my motherboard BIOS is old?“, the answer is that you should not update it unless you absolutely have to.
If a new feature that improves performance by a significant margin comes out or perhaps your computer is crashing all the time and you have ruled out all the other possibilities like overheating and a bad PSU, then updating your BIOS is a sound idea.
More importantly, updating your BIOS can improve CPU, RAM, and SSD compatibility. In other words, an NVMe or a stick of RAM that previously did not work with your motherboard could potentially start working after the update. If you are in a situation where you just bought a new piece of hardware and it is not working, updating your BIOS could very likely make it work.
And when it comes to CPUs, compatibility is even more important. For example, if you have been using an older motherboard like a B450 for some time with a first or second-generation AMD Ryzen CPU and now want to buy the latest Zen 3 CPU, updating your BIOS to the latest version will allow you to use the latest generation of Ryzen CPUs.
Bear in mind that you should update your BIOS in the order that your manufacturer has listed. You will also have to update your chipset driver to the latest version before updating your BIOS. If you don’t, you could easily brick your motherboard. In most cases, you will have to install three or four different BIOS versions before getting to the latest one.
If you have bought a new CPU and your BIOS is old, you will have to update it in order to make it work, provided that the CPU is on the list of supported CPUs. The same is true for other hardware like RAM and SSDs. Also, if there has been a vulnerability, stability, or performance issue, updating your BIOS is a good idea.
But if you do not have any problems with your computer now, there is no reason to update your BIOS. Since it is a bit risky, you should only update your BIOS when you really have to. You do not have to keep it up to date like drivers to get the most out of your hardware.