New BIOS updates attempt to keep Ryzen 7000X3D processors from frying themselves

silversurfer

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Over the weekend, users on Reddit and YouTube began posting about problems with AMD's newest Ryzen 7000X3D processors. In some cases, the systems simply stopped booting. But in at least one instance, a became physically deformed, bulging out underneath and bending the pins on the motherboard's processor socket.

In a separate post, motherboard maker MSI indicated that the damage "may have been caused by abnormal voltage issues." Ryzen 7000X3D processors already impose limits on overclocking and power settings, but new BIOS updates from MSI specifically disallow any kind of "overvolting" features that could give the CPUs more power than they were built to handle. You can still undervolt your CPU to attempt to reduce temperatures and energy usage by giving the CPU a bit less power than it was designed for.

The Ryzen 7000X3D processors are set to a lower voltage than regular Ryzen 7000 CPUs by default because the extra L3 cache layered on top of the processor die can raise temperatures and make the CPU more difficult to cool. This has also made the chips much more power-efficient than the standard Ryzen chips, but that efficiency comes at the cost of overclocking settings and other features that some enthusiasts use to squeeze more performance out of their PCs.

The users reporting the issues mostly seem to be using Asus or MSI motherboards based on the X670 chipset, and many indicated that they were using the default settings for their CPUs. But the sample size is so small that we'd avoid drawing conclusions about any particular chipset or motherboard maker.
 

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AMD has responded to the numerous reports of chip failures with a short statement acknowledging that claims do exist and that the company is investigating. The statement confirms that AMD is working with its ODM partners (motherboard makers) to ensure safe voltage settings are applied to its Ryzen 7000X3D CPUs, but doesn't name the specific actions that it is taking:

"We are aware of a limited number of reports online claiming that excess voltage while overclocking may have damaged the motherboard socket and pin pads. We are actively investigating the situation and are working with our ODM partners to ensure voltages applied to Ryzen 7000X3D CPUs via motherboard BIOS settings are within product specifications. Anyone whose CPU may have been impacted by this issue should contact AMD customer support." -- AMD Spokesperson to Tom's Hardware.
 

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AMD has issued a second statement on the issues surrounding its Ryzen 7000 processors, noting that the company will cap SoC voltages to rectify the issues we've seen with Ryzen chips partially melting due to excess voltage. The damaged chips have not only bulged out and overheated to the point they have become desoldered, but they have also significantly damaged the motherboards they are installed in. Here is the full statement:

"We have root caused the issue and have already distributed a new AGESA that puts measures in place on certain power rails on AM5 motherboards to prevent the CPU from operating beyond its specification limits, including a cap on SOC voltage at 1.3V. None of these changes affect the ability of our Ryzen 7000 Series processors to overclock memory using EXPO or XMP kits or boost performance using PBO technology.
We expect all of our ODM partners to release new BIOS for their AM5 boards over the next few days. We recommend all users to check their motherboard manufacturers' websites and update their BIOS to ensure their system has the most up-to-date software for their processor.
Anyone whose CPU may have been impacted by this issue should contact
AMD customer support. Our customer service team is aware of the situation and prioritizing these cases." — AMD Representative to Tom's Hardware.
 
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