The cause of AMD Ryzen 7000X3D burning out has been identified

Previously, reports emerged that individual users encountered sudden failure of their Ryzen 7000X3D series processors, with accompanying images displaying burnt traces on both the processor’s contact points and the motherboard’s socket. Approximately 10 to 12 contact points on the processor were raised, and the corresponding LGA pins on the motherboard socket were deformed. Speculation at the time attributed the issue to the voltage regulation mechanism of these motherboards, which may have pushed the processor’s voltage too high, causing damage.

According to TomsHardware, the problem originates from chip voltages being raised to unsafe levels, potentially caused by preset voltages used in EXPO memory overclocking profiles or users manually adjusting the SoC voltage (to squeeze out more headroom for memory overclocking).

Modern chips frequently operate at their thermal limits, wringing out every last drop of performance within safe boundaries. Under normal circumstances, if a chip’s temperature exceeds safe limits, it will automatically adjust to bring the temperature back down. However, in some cases, excessive SoC voltages can compromise the chip’s thermal sensors and protection mechanisms, eliminating its only means of detecting and protecting itself from overheating. Consequently, the chip continues to operate without a clear understanding of its temperature, leading to physical damage. A recommended safe SoC voltage is 1.25V; raising it to 1.4V or higher significantly increases the likelihood of failure, while a voltage of 1.35V seems “safe,” though users assume the risk.

It is understood that this issue may also affect regular Ryzen 7000 series processors, although the 7000X3D series is more sensitive, and the root causes for both chips may differ. All motherboard brands, including ASUS, MSI, Gigabyte, ASRock, and Biostar, may encounter such problems.

AMD is expected to release a fix soon, although the exact timeline remains uncertain. The solution may include voltage limits or locks in firmware/SMU, which should prevent EXPO memory profiles and simple BIOS operations from exceeding undefined limits. The challenge, however, lies in the fact that AMD’s locking mechanism cannot entirely block SoC voltage manipulation, as the voltage supplied to the chip is determined by the VRM, leaving room for motherboard manufacturers to allow voltage fluctuations. Some motherboard manufacturers have already released updated BIOS versions to address this issue in part.