One of the topics we’ve been covering in the past month is the behavior of the Core i9-7900X when overclocked, as well as the performance characteristics of the X299 chipset. In both cases, Intel has been criticized. First, for a CPU that traps a great deal of heat below the heatspreader, thanks to the use of thermal paste instead of solder, and second, for X299 board specs that apparently allow motherboard manufacturers to use poor VRM cooling.
It’s not clear who’s actually responsible for the latter issue. It could be that Intel didn’t provide the necessary platform documents within a reasonable manufacturing window, or it could be that motherboard manufacturers made their own assumptions about product specs and wound up with VRMs that run too hot for their own on-board cooling solutions. Either way, it’s not a great look.
Now, veteran high-end overclocker der8auer has moved over to the Threadripper side of the equation. The first thing to know is that AMD, unlike Intel, is specifically using solder in Threadripper, whereas Intel’s 10-core Core i9-7900X doesn’t use it. The second is that Threadripper has a different CPU configuration under that solder than we would’ve expected.
That’s no moon…
According to der8auer, who spoke with AMD, Threadripper is an Epyc CPU configuration with four dies, each packing eight cores. At first, we thought this meant AMD had gone for a similar arrangement to what it used for Ryzen 3: four cores active on each die (with SMT enabled in this case) and 16 cores/32 threads on the entire chip. But that’s not the case if der8auer’s information is accurate. According to him, Threadripper only uses two of the four Ryzen dies mounted on the PCB. The other two aren’t functional. His video on the topic is embedded below.