AMD Ryzen Threadripper gets delidded, unexpected dies uncovered

Shawn Knight

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

AMD plans to begin shipping its Ryzen Threadripper processors and motherboards early next month. Engineering samples are already in the wild and fortunately for us, one recently fell into the lap of Roman Hartung (better known in the enthusiast community as Der8auer).

The well-known overclocker decided to remove the chip’s integrated heat spreader (IHS) – a process known as delidding – in order to have a look at what’s going on under the hood. The IHS on Threadripper is soldered directly to the dies underneath, further complicating its removal.

Although Der8auer ended up killing the processor, its sacrifice was well worth it as we learned that Threadripper is hiding four (not two) dies under its IHS. When probed for comment, AMD told him that Threadripper is based on its Epyc line of server chips (hence the extra dies).

This of course begs the question… can the additional cores / dies be unlocked?

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Kotters

TS Maniac
It's an engineering sample, not a retail chip. Your article title is misleading.
haha so you think the retail chips will be different? :D

Anyway this doesn't surprise me too much. Threadripper is the same size as EPYC and the chips are way way too big to just be two Zeppelin dies.
http://www.pcworld.com/article/3211409/computers/why-ryzen-threadripper-has-two-mysterious-chips.html

PC World said:
So did AMD really waste two perfectly good "Zeppelin" dies? Nope.

Those other two "chips" are nothing more than spacers to help maintain the structural integrity of the gigantic heat spreader, PCWorld has learned from a source who declined to be identified.

...

So no, your fantasy of somehow magically turning a 16-core Ryzen Threadripper 1950X into a 32-core won't happen.
:D
 
"Those other two "chips" are nothing more than spacers to help maintain the structural integrity of the gigantic heat spreader, PCWorld has learned from a source who declined to be identified."

LOL what :S haha, expensive chocks those things.
Not as expensive if they kept having to replace RMAd chips where the heat spreader bent/melted because it didn't have them in place...
 

Steve

TechSpot Editor
Staff member
Not as expensive if they kept having to replace RMAd chips where the heat spreader bent/melted because it didn't have them in place...
It's the dumbest explanation I've heard. The two extra dies are there because Threadripper is really just EPYC with two Zeppelin dies disabled, it's not an entirely new chip with stabilizer dies :D
 

wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
"Those other two "chips" are nothing more than spacers to help maintain the structural integrity of the gigantic heat spreader, PCWorld has learned from a source who declined to be identified."

LOL what :S haha, expensive chocks those things.
Let's think about it a bit.

Remove two of the chips or the spacers from the set of four (remember, we're experimenting to see what happens to the lid under the force from the clamped heat sink, so we presently do not care if the CPU itself is functional), put the lid back on, and then put it in a socket and clamp a heat sink on there.

In the spots that are now open, there is nothing to support the force coming from clamping the heat sink onto the spreader. So, the spreader starts to deform. With that deformation comes, perhaps, several things such as excess force on the edges of the real dies, localized disconnect from the heat sink, etc.

Makes perfect sense to me that the spacers are needed to maintain structural integrity.
 
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Nakedpotato

TS Rookie
Let's think about it a bit.

Remove two of the chips or the spacers from the set of four (remember, we're experimenting to see what happens to the lid under the force from the clamped heat sink, so we presently do not care if the CPU itself is functional), put the lid back on, and then put it in a socket and clamp a heat sink on there.

In the spots that are now open, there is nothing to support the force coming from clamping the heat sink onto the spreader. So, the spreader starts to deform. With that deformation comes, perhaps, several things such as excess force on the edges of the real dies, localized disconnect from the heat sink, etc.

Makes perfect sense to me that the spacers are needed to maintain structural integrity.

... Or they could just, you know, put only 2 chips sideways in a perfectly symmetrical way so that you can apply pressure and nothing will bend or deform
 
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Not as expensive if they kept having to replace RMAd chips where the heat spreader bent/melted because it didn't have them in place...
It's the dumbest explanation I've heard. The two extra dies are there because Threadripper is really just EPYC with two Zeppelin dies disabled, it's not an entirely new chip with stabilizer dies :D
I think the Troll has been fed enough :)

I believe they (AMD) are binning the ones that have all cores working for Epyc, and that they lower clock speed for thermal and timing reasons. The CPU's with a few bad cores will get two dies disabled, this lowers thermal load and allows AMD to raise the clock speeds. I just wonder if they disable the cores with fuses because if they don't use fuses there may be a way to enable them. And, if enabled would you gain PCIE lanes? Very interesting indeed.
 

lostinlodos

TS Booster
Keep in mind AMD has been repurposing "faulty" CPUs for a lower brand tier for many many years. Chances are these are production dies that were unstable for some reason, locked out, and sold for less.
AMD fans have been unlocking the 7/8th core, the 3/4th core, the 2nd core etc for a decade. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't.

What I wonder is will they run a pin compatible 32 core product in this line. I'd buy that. Talk about stomping intel into the ground with a sub $1000 32 core consumer processor.
 

Kotters

TS Maniac
Keep in mind AMD has been repurposing "faulty" CPUs for a lower brand tier for many many years. Chances are these are production dies that were unstable for some reason, locked out, and sold for less.
Are you new to computers? This is a process called binning. Every manufacturer does it and has for years. Intel, AMD, and nVidia all sell cut-down chips to recoup costs. It's not some secret thing, nor is it an AMD-only thing, like you've implied by the language in your post. It's the only way to make massive dies affordable.
 

lostinlodos

TS Booster
Are you new to computers? This is a process called binning. Every manufacturer does it and has for years. Intel, AMD, and nVidia all sell cut-down chips to recoup costs. It's not some secret thing, nor is it an AMD-only thing, like you've implied by the language in your post. It's the only way to make massive dies affordable.
Nope. Been a technician for 15+ years. And yes well aware of the industry wide practice, though I've always heard it call sliding and sloping, not binning.
But since the thread implies this is some new thing, I opened my mouth.
I'm not seeing anything really surprising here was the point I was, er, pointing, to: this looks no different than standard practice.
I don't think anyone is going to be unlocking these into super chips that are stable. But it's kool to see what it actually is; opens hope for a consumer 32core monster in the future. That would be awesome.
 

captaincranky

TechSpot Addict
... Or they could just, you know, put only 2 chips sideways in a perfectly symmetrical way so that you can apply pressure and nothing will bend or deform
Not so fast. The dies are arranged to allow the shortest possible paths to the necessary circuitry on the motherboard. I think giving the entire CPU pathways a quarter turn this way or that, would leave you right back where you started.

As trivial as it may sound, there was likely some aesthetic consideration given, as to whether or not, consumers would accept a rectangular shaped CPU, as opposed to the traditional square one.

Any of that notwithstanding, those extra dies could be failures, which were then used as spacers.

So, the medieval equivalent to those extra dies, would be a codpiece, designed to make AMD's "junk" look bigger.

After all, y'all are impressed as hell with the size of that thing, aren't cha now?. And as we all know, one half of the entire population are lying through their teeth when they say, "size doesn't matter".