Over the past few months we’ve seen a few glimpses of AMD’s upcoming AM5 socket and its companion: a Zen 4 CPU. So far it’s just been photos, however, with no video. Now that Computex has arrived and more info has been revealed by AMD, we finally get to see a Zen 4 CPU in action.
MSI had posted a how-to video to YouTube showcasing the upcoming CPU and socket, which was summarily pulled down several hours later. Whoopsie. However, an upright citizen reposted it, and it can be seen below. The video covers the basics: how to install the CPU, mount a cooler to it, then reverse the process. The video gives us our first “live” look at both the new CPU and the all-new AM5 socket. It’s a pretty big deal as the new socket is a dramatic shift for AMD. It’s finally moving away from a PGA socket with pins on the CPU to putting the pins in the socket. In doing so it follows Intel, which has been doing it that way since 2004. The socket is called LGA 1718 and it marks the end of AM4, which has been around since 2016.
Overall there aren’t any surprises in the installation process, and it looks exactly like installing an Intel CPU. The package has notches both sides so you know the CPU is aligned properly. Once it’s installed a semi-opaque protection lid pops out of place. Given the, um, interesting design of the integrated heat spreader (IHS), it seems a drop of thermal paste in the center is the best application method. Trying to do an X pattern might result in it leaking into the cutouts. When the CPU cooler is removed it’s shown to have spread the thermal paste rather evenly, which is a good sign. The heat spreader also looks thick; much thicker than Intel’s. However, it could just be the cutouts are playing tricks on our eyeballs. Being able to see from the top of it all the way down to the substrate makes it look thicker than average.
The motherboard in the video looks rather pedestrian, suggesting it’s an entry-level B650 board. According to Wccftech, the text on the IHS shows a serial number that’s appeared in leaks before, suggesting it’s a 16C/32T CPU. The text also shows it was made in 2021, so it’s an early engineering sample. Retail CPUs will likely look exactly the same however, with a bit more text on the IHS explaining their providence.
For now this will have to hold us over until more info trickles out about Zen 4. AMD said this week it is launching in “fall,” so more information should be coming out soon. We’re still waiting to find out about final clock speeds, core counts, overclocking potential, and more. We’re especially interested in finding out whether Zen 4 will feature V-Cache. Since AMD didn’t mention 3D stacking at Computex it seems unlikely to be included in launch products. It might end up being just like the Ryzen 7 5800X3D, in that it was added later on as an update to an existing product.