In a nutshell: Tech companies undergo extensive testing to ensure new products are functioning properly before they are introduced to the market. Testing environments can sometimes lead to peculiar situations, particularly for key players in the PC industry like AMD.
YouTube channel Gamers Nexus recently toured AMD's lab in Austin, Texas. The tour provided a glimpse into some of the "secret" tools utilized by the company, as well as unreleased products in the prototype phase. One intriguing detail from the tour pertains to AMD's testing methods for new chipsets and hardware designs, which eventually become part of consumer AM5 socket-based platforms.
At one point in the nearly hour-long video, AMD engineers showcased a distinctive motherboard built on the AM5 platform. However, unlike commercially available boards, this particular device did not have an embedded chipset. Instead, it included additional PCIe slots designed to accommodate modular chipsets.
Plug-in boards offer their own chipset builds and a variety of I/O options, including different USB connection types, SATA ports, M.2 slots, Ethernet network connectivity, and more. The truly intriguing aspect is that each custom chipset-testing board is designed to be stacked on top of another, providing engineers with even greater flexibility in terms of I/O options and combinations.
According to AMD engineers, this unique and stackable test platform has the potential to connect an "infinite" number of prototype chipset boards, as long as the boards stay within the limitations of the AM5 mainboard's PCIe Gen4 interface. The chipset boards are capable of simulating various I/O combinations and chipset features found on B650, B650E, X670, or X670E motherboards.
An endlessly stackable testing platform gives AMD the flexibility to quickly test new chipset features and make sure everything is working properly. This eliminates the need to replace reference testing boards and ultimately reduces overall maintenance costs.
Aside from the intriguing testing aspect, Gamers Nexus' tour of AMD's Austin facility showcased various labs spread throughout the company's sprawling campus. The video also hinted at unreleased prototypes, including unnamed CPU models and vapor chamber coolers. It even explored a mysterious "red door" lab.