AMD has once again hit a snag with its PC hardware; this time it’s a problem with the Ryzen 7600X processor and software that’s causing major issues for certain users.
To be fair to AMD, the AGESA 188.8.131.52 firmware was released in beta; the catch is that not all motherboard makers clearly marked it as such when they sent the upgrade out to customers via their own channels.
According to a tweet by chi11eddog, who first brought this to light on Twitter, even in its beta form, this firmware had a particularly nasty gremlin in the works for users of the Ryzen 7600X, in that with certain chips, it caused major misfires and reportedly boot failure.
MSI & ASRock removed X670/B650 AGESA 184.108.40.206 (SMU 84.79.204) BIOS from the websites. It’s rumored some 7600X are downcore from 2-CCD SKU with Core0 disabled, with which 220.127.116.11 can’t boot. AGESA 1003 is fine. New SMU 84.79.210 will fix. 18.104.22.168 BIOS still on Gigabyte website. pic.twitter.com/N8wnryyXggJanuary 7, 2023
The situation becomes even more complicated since it seems that the damaged Ryzen 7600X processors are the twin CCD versions (two chiplets, in other words). Since chiplets are only employed when necessary, in the heavyweight CPUs with more than 8 cores, the Ryzen 7600X processor leaves us scratching our heads as to why it even exists.
To explain, if AMD has defective Ryzen 7950X or 7900X (dual CCD) CPUs, the firm may theoretically deactivate one CCD, block it off, and utilise the chip for a lower-end CPU, such as the 7600X. (and therefore save wasting a chip). This strategy, as Tom’s Hardware notes, was also purportedly used by AMD with its Ryzen 5000 series of processors (including the 5600X).
Those with a 7600X that has two separate CCDs (one of which is disabled) are apparently affected by the problem, since the newest firmware attempts to boot the chip from the disabled CCD. Those who use a 7600X with a single CCD sensor will not be impacted.
Especially with firmware, it’s important to properly designate beta software
Given that AMD doesn’t provide this beta firmware to end users directly but rather to its manufacturing partners who subsequently integrate it into BIOS upgrades for their own devices, it’s reasonable to say that at least some of the blame here falls outside of Team Red’s control.
Evidence from reports and images (the latter of which may be seen in the aforementioned tweet) suggests that MSI and Gigabyte did not properly designate their revisions as beta versions (while ASRock clearly applied a beta label, so at least folks knew what they were getting into). Only the courageous should go into the realm of beta software, especially when dealing with something as potentially disastrous as a firmware upgrade.
The good news is that all of these motherboard manufacturers have now removed the beta firmware from their download pages. (Gigabyte had the update online; luckily, it has been taken down since). If you installed the beta firmware and ran into problems, your only option is to roll back to the previous version.
While it is true that any beta software may have flaws, we must emphasise that this is a particularly terrible issue for the 7600X in certain circumstances. It seems like AMD has been making some uncharacteristic blunders as of late, with reports lately making news about a flaw in Ryzen CPUs that causes the computer to freeze up while running Windows 11.
Not to mention the new RX 7900 XTX GPU controversy, with AMD acknowledging that certain reference design versions have a significant cooling issue (plus previous to that, concerns were aired about wonky clock speeds with RDNA 3 graphics cards).
With any luck, AMD will be able to provide an updated version of AGESA 22.214.171.124 once the issue with the Ryzen 7600X has been fixed.
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