AMD has stumbled upon another sticky patch on the PC hardware front, this time regarding an issue with the Ryzen 7600X CPU and firmware that was really hampering the CPU in some cases.
How Tom’s gear (opens in a new tab) reports, the issue is with the AGESA 18.104.22.168 firmware and to be fair to AMD this firmware was pushed out in beta – the twist is that when rolling out this update through their own channels some motherboard manufacturers didn’t mark it as beta .
Even in beta, however, this firmware had a particularly nasty gremlin in the works for Ryzen 7600X owners as it caused severe misfires and apparently a boot failure with some chips, according to a tweet from chi11eddog who originally tagged it on Twitter.
MSI and ASRock have removed the X670/B650 AGESA 22.214.171.124 (SMU 84.79.204) BIOS from their websites. Some 7600X are said to be downcore with 2-CCD SKUs with Core0 disabled which 126.96.36.199 cannot boot with. AGESA 1003 is fine. The new SMU 84.79.210 will be fixed. BIOS 188.8.131.52 still on Gigabyte website. pic.twitter.com/N8wnryyXggJanuary 7, 2023
This is where things get even more tricky, as apparently Ryzen 7600X chips with dual CCDs (in other words, two chiplets) are affected. Now the Ryzen 7600X processor has only 6 cores and therefore one CCD – chiplets are only used where required in heavy processors with more than 8 cores – so what does it give?
The explanation is that, in theory, if AMD ends up rejecting Ryzen 7950X or 7900X (dual CCD) CPUs that are not up to spec, the company could just disable one CCD and lock it, then use the chip for the smaller CPU – like the 7600X (so save chip wasting). As Tom’s points out, this is a tactic used by AMD also for the Ryzen 5000 series (including 5600X).
Bugbear is reportedly hitting those with a dual CCD (one active, one not) model 7600X, and what is reportedly happening is that the new firmware tries to boot the chip from a disabled CCD – which obviously won’t happen. Those with only one CCD-toting 7600X will apparently not be affected.
Analysis: Beta software should be clearly labeled – especially firmware
In fairness to AMD, one of the biggest issues here is not Team Red’s fault, namely as mentioned some motherboard makers didn’t mark the relevant firmware as beta when they released it to customers (not something AMD ships directly to end users but to manufacturing partners who then incorporate them into BIOS updates for their products).
From what we can tell from the reports and screenshots (the latter provided in the tweet above), MSI and Gigabyte did not label their updates as beta (while ASRock clearly applied the beta label, so at least people knew what they were getting into). Beta software, especially with something like a firmware update, is territory only the brave tread – because serious problems can occur, as here.
Right now, all of these motherboard manufacturers have downloaded the beta software from their download portals, so the good news is that you can’t download it anymore anyway. (Gigabyte still had the update when Tom posted his report, but luckily it had already been removed.) For those who installed the beta software and encountered problems, the only way out is to roll back to the previous version.
While, as we mentioned, there can be bugs in any beta software, and that’s to be expected, in some cases it’s a particularly nasty affair for the 7600X. AMD seems to be making an unusual amount of bugs lately, and other issues with Ryzen processors, reportedly affected by a bug that freezes the computer on Windows 11, have made headlines recently.
Not to mention all the hype surrounding the new RX 7900 XTX GPU, where AMD admitted that some reference models have a serious cooling problem (and earlier there were concerns about unstable clock speeds of RDNA 3 graphics cards).
Hopefully the issue with the Ryzen 7600X will be resolved in the near future and AMD can release a patched version of AGESA 184.108.40.206.